Withdrawing money and managing travel finances in Marrakech

You will not get very far without money — especially not in Marra-Cash. Some of the most frequently asked questions regarding money are how you can organize your travel finances during your trip and how to get Moroccan Dirham at attractive rates once you’re there.

There are several ways to approach currency exchange issues. Most of them have both advantages and disadvantages. In the past, it was common to order and pick up the desired amount of foreign exchange from your local bank. But today no one does it anymore because of the cumbersome process. You are only allowed to take up to 1000 Dirham with you to Morocco and you are probably not to keen on keeping an eye on your cash permanently during your trip.

Moroccan money: one hundred Dirham

100 Moroccan Dirham banknote

Traveler’s cheques have lost their popularity as well, since their use is equally complicated and too expensive. European cash can be exchanged at many places but not at very good exchange rates, and you would still have to carry around too much cash. So the only option left is plastic money. Read more

Cafés and Restaurants in Marrakech: Restaurant Jama

A tranquil atmosphere, traditional Moroccan dishes, low prices and an ideal location. Restaurant Jama is a real insider tip for eating out in the southern medina of Marrakech.

If you are going out for dinner in Marrakech with the mere goal of satisfy your hunger, you don’t have to look far. There is food offered on almost every corner, whether it’s at the food stalls at the Jamaa el Fna, the small diners in the medina, or at restaurants frequented by a large number of tourists, such as Les Nomads or Café des Épices. However, finding a cozy restaurant where not only excellent Moroccan food is served, but where you can also spend the whole evening in peace and quiet, requires some patience. If you do not have this kind of patience, you should try the Jama restaurant.

Restaurant Jama Marrakech

The family-run Jama restaurant is hidden in a pretty riad in the southern medina, about a five minute walk from the large Jamaa el Fna square in Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid. Note that the location indicated on Google Maps and TripAdvisor is not correct. You enter the riad through a small candle-lit door and arrive at a tree-covered courtyard with several tables. The restaurant also has two separate rooms with comfortable seating. As it can be a bit cooler in the courtyard in winter, there will be gas-fueled heaters next to the tables, making it pleasantly warm for the guests. Read more

Day Trips and excursions to Essaouira

The port city Essaouira is one of the most beautiful places in Morocco and not as far away from Marrakech as you might think. Day trips are offered by various travel agencies, but can also organize them on your own.

A visit to Essaouira is a must for every trip to Morocco. The Portuguese-influenced port city at the Atlantic Ocean stands out with its relaxed atmosphere and eye-charming maritime blue and white contrasts. Unlike lively and hectic Marrakech, Essaouira is a very laid-back town. There are neither motorcycles nor exhaust fumes, the vendors are more reserved, and you don’t have to be wary of faux guides. Since 2001 the entire medina of the city is a UNESCO world heritage site.

At the port in Essaouira

Famous photo motif: View from the Scala du Port to the medina of Essaouira

A view from the port to the city walls of Essaouira is one of the most popular photo motifs of Morocco, and can be found in numerous travel guides. Time seems to have stopped in the city, anyway. On a walk through the medina, you can easily feel taken back some hundred years. It’s therefore not surprising that the city served as filming location for the Fantasy TV Series “Game of Thrones”. Read more

Cooking Classes and Food Tours in Marrakech

Cooking classes and culinary excursions during holidays are becoming more and more popular. Marrakech with its lively souks, the delicious cuisine and exotic oriental promises is a hotspot for Foodies and hobby cooks. Here is a selection of the best offers.

Nowadays you can find lots of cooking classes offered in Marrakech, which provide deeper insights into the special traditional cuisine of Morocco than a simple restaurant visit. The cooking classes differ in length and complexity. Guided tours through the souks to shop vegetables and spices are not inevitably part of these courses, but offer an extraordinary adventure. Prices for cooking classes of 3 to 6 hours normally range from 45 to 60 € if you exclude the cheap and highly recommendable course offered by Amal or the luxury cooking class at the House of Fusion. To help you find and book the perfect individual cooking class for you, you will find an overview of the different offers in this article.

Cooking class just outside the city gates: „We have never had such a fantastic tagine before!“

The Faim d’Épices just outside the gates of Marrakech offers halfday cooking classes (6 hours), which give you an introduction into Moroccan cuisine. After the transfer from your accommodation to a small farm outside the inner city, chef Nezha teaches you how to prepare a traditional dish and delicious Moroccan drinks. The main dish varies from day to day, but the culinary framework with an introduction into Moroccan flavours, a spice workshop and an overview of kitchen tools is always constant. Participants describes tthis cooking class as pleasant, recreative and informative. The course ends with a feast including the prepared dishes, salads, bread and desserts under olive, lemon and orange trees. Read more

Desert tours and Excursions to the Sahara

The Sahara, desert of seemingly endless vastness, ocean of sand, invites you to spend romantic nights under the most impressive starry sky, only a stone’s throw from Marrakech. But is this really what an excursion to the desert is like?

Most people believe so and put an excursion to the desert on their bucket list when travelling to Marrakesh. However, the truth looks a bit different, unfortunately, since getting from Marrakesh to the two big dune areas Erg Chebbi and Erg Chegaga will take you about 8-10 hours by car. Doing this non-stop is exhausting, even though the tour across the High Atlas and the fertile valleys of Draa and Dades which are lined with thousands of palm trees is definitely a visual feast with beautiful panoramic views.

desert excursion morocco

(map: Google Maps, photos: Travelguide Marrakech, Wikimedia)

Sand dunes, dromedaries, Berber tents, starry skies and campfires

You will find uncountable travel agencies offering shorter and longer tours to the desert. If you have only little time and still want to go to the dunes, you may choose a short overnight (sleep in a Berber tent) trip in two days. This means leaving Marrakesh very early in the morning, a short break at Unesco World Cultural Heritage site Ait Benhaddou and reaching your camp in the dunes in the early evening. After a short night you will return to Marrakesh. It is more worthwile to go on a longer trip which also allows you to see some more sights on the way, like, for example, impressive Todra Gorge or Kasbah Taourirt near Ouarzazate.

In Morocco, there are two popular dune areas: “Erg Chebbi” near Merzouga in the southeast of Erfoud and “Erg Chegaga” near M’hamid south of Zagora. Yet before you reach these extensive seas of dunes you need to cross the similarily extensive hamada, a largely barren, rocky plateau, via an unpaved road. The question of which of the two dune areas is the most beautiful is a difficult one. Some love Erg Chegaga for its remoteness which may give you a more authentic Sahara-feeling, others prefer Erg Chebbi, especially, if you can stay overnight in a hotel close to the dunes in Merzouga. Driving to Erg Chegaga also gives you the opportunity to see the valleys of Dades and Draa River. For travellers with only very little time, there finally is a third option: Agafay desert, close to Marrakech. Read more

Low-Budget-Tips: Marrakech for Backpackers

Backpackers will not be immune to Marrakech’s magic. Even though the city is relatively expensive in comparison to the rest of the country, you will be able to have a great time on a small budget there. How this works, you will find out with the following tips on low-budget holidays in Marrakech.

backpackers marrakech

Marrakech can roughly be divided into three areas: the gardens, the ville nouvelle (new town) and the historic centre, the so-called medina. While the ville nouvelle is characterised by broad avenues lined with modern buildings with glass fronts, the atmosphere in the narrow, maze-like lanes around the central square Jamaa el Fna (“assembly of the dead“) is much more oriental and traditional. So if you want to come close to the orient, this is your place to be!

Cheap Hotels for Backpackers

Most low-budget-accomodation can be found in the medina. Usually, it will be simple, small hotels in different conditions. The rooms in most budget hotels do not include private bathrooms — you will usually share the facilities with the other guests on the same floor. Showers may have to be paid extra. Many of those hotels are located in magnificent town houses or riads which are decorated in a much richer way than the outside may pretend. Often, you will find little paradises behind the red brickearth walls and almost all hotels have a roof terrace from which you can listen to the muezzins’ polyphonic calls to prayer.

backpacker hotel essouira marrakech

Roof terrace of Hotel “Essaouira” Read more

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