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“This is the real Marrakech”

Medina of Marrakesh
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Experience Morocco: Visit a Souq and Cook a Tagine in Marrakech
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Marrakech Medina Walking Tour Including Bahia Palace and the Photography Museum
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Marrakech Full-Immersion Day Tour with Lunch
Ranked #12 of 166 things to do in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Stroller parking
Reviewed July 16, 2013

Make sure you are well rested and hydrated because the medina can be exhausting in its hustle bustle. But it has to be experienced or you haven't done marrakech properly.

Thank EdCabott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,405 - 4,409 of 12,629 reviews

Reviewed July 14, 2013 via mobile

We arrived in Marrakech at night on the first night of Ramadan. The square was heaving with people leaving the mosque and breaking their fast at the food stalls. It was loud, crowded and quite good fun. The atmosphere was very good. However, after a while, it became quite repetitive with shopkeepers almost grabbing us to sell us their wares and not liking it when we said no. At one point, my boyfriend had to shout at one man so he got the message.

The orange stalls are a good price and the juice is lovely.

During the day, you really do see
how dirty the place is. I wore flip flops and stood in puddles of what I imagine was horse and cat pee. I saw several, emaciated, dead kittens thrown to the side of the road and didn't appreciate seeing monkeys grabbed and thrown about by leads from their collars. At no point would I pay to have photos with the monkeys or the snakes - which were regularly smacked with the lids of the baskets they were in. Also, in 42c, I didn't agree with letting horses drag people around the square. Yes, there's an atmosphere and it is vibrant at night, but inside the medina, the Western and African cultures are poles apart and it's like going back several decades.

Don't stop to consult a map - you will be harassed and eventually cajoled for a tip by someone wanting to point you in an direction that they fancy. Don't stop at a stall unless you are willing to haggle 3 quarters of the price off or willing to argue with the stall keeper. Do NOT let women give you henna tattoos in the square! I refused and the woman grabbed my hand, started painting on it & then demanded 200 Dirham. I shouted her down and have her 20 dirham - and for that she was lucky! Also, they use black 'henna' which is cheap and contains a toxin called PPD which can scar - so be warned - it's not the proper stuff !!

The food is so so, not brilliant but some of the ice cream is lovely. Don't forget it is a Muslim country so if you want a beer (some places sell alcohol on roads just off the square) you pay a lot for it and can't drink it on the street.

Also, a couple of times I wore strapless dresses and no onesaid anything to me. I gave up covering myself when I saw quite a few women hadn't bothered - plus the men look at you even if you are covered.

Overall, I liked some stalls and some of atmosphere but the stall keepers are constantly harassing you as are the taxi and carriage drivers! It's so bad I almost lost y temper at times. The place is also filthy and smells of pee (especially closer to mosque where the horses stand). It's a bit of a toilet and I can't wait to go home!

4  Thank MRL007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Loved staying and being in the Medina, lots to see all the time, loved the culture and hussle bussle

Thank srr86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

In Marrakesh: when walking at the Medina we were approached by men asking if we needed help with directions. We tried to explain we didn’t but they were very pushy so we let one of them “help” us. After about 1-2 minutes he “got us to the right way”. We realized that he just took us off the right way, through this very cramped alleys and then back to the way we were at. For this he charged us 20 dirhams, about 2 euros. Actually, first we gave him 10 but he got very angry and said “this is nothing in Morocco”…we were a bit scared, so we gave him another 20.

In Jemaa El Fnaa: you can find everything there, monkeys, birds, snakes, food and shopping. It’s extremely touristy, but a must see! The only thing that bothered me was the constant harassment – to buy this, see that… one guy in particular, the snake guy, was very annoying. We took from far a picture from the snakes he then approached us and put on a snake over my husband’s shoulders even though we tried to tell it wasn’t really necessary…he then wanted to charge us 20 euros for that! Of course we didn’t pay that and he got very angry and a bit agressive…

How much to tip: at hotels, we read that about 10 dirhams per luggage is fine and 10% service in restaurants.

Restaurants: touristy places charge about 120 dirhams per person, but you can find other restaurants just as good for much less, about 80.

Dress code for women: in Marrakesh and Fes, they are more used to tourists. I tried to wear at least knee length skirts, but I did see some tourist with short skirts and shorts, up to you! The other cities are a bit more conservative, so with knee length or long skirts I felt comfortable. I also always brought with me a scarf, so when it was hot and my shoulders were uncovered, if I felt the need I just put on the scarf.

Taxis: there are 2 kinds, the small one and the large. The small only fits 3 people, the big fits 4. Some small ones didn’t have a meter, so we had to negotiate the price.

3  Thank Carolinakemi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

We had a great time here and really didn't get much hassle. Women should cover up, this is a Muslim country and Marrakech is very old fashioned. I wore a maxi dress with my shoulders and upper arms covered.

You have to be strong when moving about the medina, if you are not interested in getting a picture taken with the monkeys, getting a henna tattoo, want a hat, then DON'T engage in any conversation. You are not there to make friends, just say no thank you and keep walking, don't say anything else. If you want to have peak at some items in a shop, keep your sunglasses on and the shop keepers won't know what you are looking at to be able to thrust it into your hands.

You must visit this site, you get a real sense of Marrakech, just be strong!

The medina is best at night, the atmosphere is great.

1  Thank Emmie-Scot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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