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“A must visit but takes some getting used to”

Medina of Marrakesh
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Sunset Camel Ride Tour in Marrakech Palms Grove Area
Ranked #14 of 173 things to do in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Stroller parking, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Reviewed November 15, 2013

Having never travelled anywhere even remotely like Marrakech before, the Medina was an enormous culture shock for me. It's nothing like anywhere I've ever been before and my initial impression was just 'madness.'
The medina is very busy at almost every hour of the day. It is crowded, noisy and smelly (sometimes good, sometimes bad!), there are bikes, motorbikes, taxis and donkeys pulling carts everywhere and not on any particular side of the road, so DO beware of traffic. As far as we saw, they won't crash into you - they know what they're doing - so don't stop/play chicken with them, just keep going and be aware of who's moving where around you.
Locals in the medina LOVE tourists. Tourists are where they make their money. If you need to look at a map, try and do so discreetly as you will be inundated with offers of guides if you show off that you are lost. DON'T go with a guide unless they have been arranged for you by your Riad. The street guides are pushy for money, and while most are harmless, are more likely to get you lost, taking you to small squares and shops where they can get commission rather than where you actually want to go. We made the mistake of using a guide, gave him 100 dirhams, and he harassed us for more quite unpleasantly - not a mistake we made again!
Women should dress respectably as the culture in old-city Marrakech still requires many women to wear full burkha and headscarf, so short skirts/shorts and low cut tops will draw unwanted attention to you. Also expect stares if you are blonde - things that make you different attract attention!
If you want to buy something, look around at a few places to get prices. When you have an idea of how much it is widely sold for, go for it. DO haggle. We found that most traders were not offended if we offered them half their initial price, and if you start to walk away, they will lower the price even more. NEVER offer more than you are willing to pay. And don't waste their time - don't start to haggle over something you're never going to buy.
The medina is beautifully rich with local food and crafts, and is a wonderful place to just walk around and take in the sights. While it can be intimidating to get the attention of every trader you walk past to begin with, they are (from my experience) harmless and are jsut trying to make a sale. Once you get used to where you should be going and work out how to navigate the medina, it's much less intimidating. If you ignore the shouts of traders and other overly-interested locals, they will more often not give up straight away - tourists are good for them and the last thing they want is to get a bad reputation for scaring them away.
After a couple of days, you will relax and feel more used to the medina. Then you can really enjoy it and take in the culture and sights.

3  Thank fiionaking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"snake charmers"
in 477 reviews
"narrow streets"
in 144 reviews
"the main square"
in 236 reviews
"donkey carts"
in 67 reviews
"walk away"
in 142 reviews
"buy something"
in 94 reviews
"food stalls"
in 172 reviews
"hustle and bustle"
in 75 reviews
"leather goods"
in 73 reviews
"for sale"
in 67 reviews
"orange juice"
in 79 reviews
"jemaa el"
in 83 reviews
in 82 reviews
in 158 reviews
in 259 reviews
in 247 reviews
in 252 reviews

4,540 - 4,544 of 13,465 reviews

Reviewed November 14, 2013

I have been in Marrakech for about 5 days and I fell in love with the Medina. It's markets, street vendors, juice stands, spice stands burning incense...a thousand lights lit to show their beautiful lanterns. I visited the Medina in Marrakech again tonight and will go back again tomorrow before I return home. It's crowded, it's a bit chaotic and its a jumble of sights, sounds and smells...but somehow my trip to Marrakech wouldn't have been the same without it.

Thank GoodnessCo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2013

Took a guided tour of the labyrinth of the medina ending up in Jemaa el Fna. We started from the outer medina walls and passed through the various sections of the medina which we would not have found on our own, tanneries, bakers, lighting, much to see and very hectic. Well worth paying for a tour.

Once in the Jemaa el Fna we were treated to a sweet tea in a cafe overlooking the square and Marrakech. The square was being transposed ready for the evening, very busy location but worth the visit.

Time to view and barter the vast array of stalls and find some bargains.

Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2013

The Medina is smaller than the one in Fes and far easier to navigate on your own, and if you want to buy cheap locally made crafts and goods than this is the place.

The second the seller see you he or she will know that you are a foreigner and that means to them to you are as wealthy as Bill Gates. The price they give will usually by doubled, tripled or even quadrupled compared to what a local will pay.

Now how do you get down to paying the local price or as close as possible to it, this is where haggling comes into play! When you ask the price carefully look for flaws and damage to bring your price down, next take the given price and divide by two and work around that new number. Try to go lower far lower until they do not want to sell it to you. When the seller is so annoyed and angry that they don't want to sell it to you any longer then that is when you have found the local price.

This wont always work because you are a foreigner and therefore have money according to local logic, so shop around and don't buy the first one you see as the possibility that the same exact thing is just around the corner at a different price.

Thank Alex G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 11, 2013

The unfamiliar smells, the intense shop keepers, the mini mountains of spices, the unique restaurants tucked away in upstairs locations, the monkey in the square, the watermen who smilingly pose for photos and then demand money from you, the men loitering in alleyways -- this is the experience of the Medina, and the reason you just weren't happy on Rodeo Drive.

Thank Jeanette G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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