Guide to Transport in Marrakech
Marrakech is an expansive spiders web of streets, alleys and souks, meaning at first glance it can seem utterly impossible to navigate. However, once you have started to get your bearings and have a few transport tips under your belt, you’ll be able to explore without any fear of getting lost in the maze.
In this article, we take a look at the various ways you can travel around the city, and Morocco as a whole and when it is best to use each method.
Travelling on foot is perhaps the most reliable as you’ll be in control of your own direction, while allowing you to enjoy an authentic experience within the city. Especially when looking to explore the Medina and the souks (markets), walking is undoubtedly the best option. That said, there are some important tips to bear in mind when navigating the seemingly endless stalls and streets:
Familiarise yourself with the route from your accommodation to the main square (Djemaa el Fna). As the saying goes “all roads lead to Rome”, well in Marrakech, all roads lead to the square; or most of them at least. If you know how to get to and from your accommodation from the main square, then this will give you more confidence when exploring the souks. As many of the alleys and signs will guide you towards the square, it’s an important waypoint to be aware of.
There are also some signs that hang from the top of the souks that can be helpful guides, often pointing towards the square or other major landmarks. These won’t always be in English, so it’s worth trying to memorise the French or Arabic of this location. Don’t accept any ‘helpful’ offers for navigation as this can be a local scam to get you lost and then have a demand for money. Saying ‘non merci’ or ‘la shokran’ (no thank you) when faced with these offers will be enough to get you off the hook. For more reliable navigation, use a map (although sometimes even these can be more of a ‘guide’ than factual), or ask a shopkeeper, definitely not a local on the streets.
The city has a grand looking train station that is roughly 40 minutes walk from the main square. Trains can be caught to various cities around the country including Fes, Casablanca and the capital, Rabat. Prices are reasonable, and the trains are in better condition than you may expect. If you’re looking to head out of the city, then trains are likely the best way to do so.
Taxis can be a great way to get around the city and see some of the sights that are slightly further afield. Taxis are extremely common in the city and can be picked up from most places. However, many taxi drivers will have the intention to either scam or increase the price when they see tourists coming their way, so bear this in mind. We’d suggest checking with a riad staff member or restaurant staff to see how much a fare should roughly cost, and make sure to agree on the price with the driver before you get into the car. Remember, bartering and negotiating is part of their culture, so be confident when discussing prices and don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s worth noting that if you’ve previously relied on Uber for transport while travelling, then this, unfortunately, won’t be an option in Marrakech. Due to regulation issues, Uber is not available in the country.
There are two main types of buses in Marrakech, reliable, and unreliable. Those that fall into the reliable category are often tourist buses run by companies such as Supratours who have routes to both Essaouira and Agadir from the city. The buses that fall into the unreliable category are the local services in and around the city. We’d suggest avoiding these services as drivers can sometimes not even hold valid licenses.
Tuk tuks are a great way of exploring Marrakech as they will be able to get to areas of the souks that car taxis won’t be able to. Similar to taxis, ensure you and the driver are clear on the price before setting off to avoid any unsavoury arguments upon arrival. Prices are reasonable for most journeys and will typically range from 20 – 100 MAD (£2 – £10). Although it’s not likely, some drivers can get a little carried away so be sure to let the driver know if you wish for him to drive slower (shouting ‘doucement’ will do the trick!).
A final word from us, traffic in the city can be pretty hectic, so make sure to have your wits about you. Traffic can include anything from taxis and buses to mopeds and donkey carts, either way; you’ll be the one expected to move. It can take some getting used to, but really it’s part of the charm of the city.
If you would like to book your next Moroccan adventure, why not check out our desert experience? This will allow you not only to see the grandeur of Marrakech but also experience the unique tranquillity of the Sahara Desert. You can also check out our blog for lots more information on the countries that we travel to!