Get in & around
Marrakech-Menara Airport (IATA: RAK), Tel: +212 (0)4 444 7865. This international airport is located about 6km (4 mi) and 10-15 minutes away from the city by taxi. Plenty of low cost companies now fly to Marrakech. Some companies fly to Casablanca additionally where a plane change for the 45 minute flight to Marrakech can be made. The best way, if you do not have too much luggage with you, is to take a new bus (line 19) that goes over the main points of the City (Place Djemaa L’Fna, Bus station, Gueliz, hotels…). It costs 20DH one way, 30 DH with return included. You avoid one of the worse moments of a traveller, the hassle of the taxi drivers when you arrive to a new country.If going from airport by petit taxi, make sure to have the driver use his meter or agree on the price beforehand. As you exit the airport terminal, there is a sign which actually gives you an idea of how much the taxi ride should cost. As to whether you can convince or bargain with the driver to use these prices is another matter however. It depends on the number of taxis and potential passengers around. Essentially, you should pay no more than 60 dirham from the airport to the centre of the city during the day and 90 dirham at night for a petite taxi. If you press the drivers, these prices are easily obtainable. However, be aware that you might have to accept a higher price. In this event, dont pay more than 100 dirham in the daytime and 150 at night.If you are traveling from the airport to somewhere further afield (e.g. Essaouria), your hotel or guest house may be able to arrange a grand taxi to pick you up at the airport, and charge a fixed price for the journey. Grand taxis are generally more expensive than petit taxis, but more comfortable especially when you have luggage. It also avoids hassle, as it’s not always easy to haggle with a taxi driver after staggering off a long plane journey half-asleep.As a guide for using taxi services in Morocco, you should approach the taxi, tell the driver where you want to go and how much you will pay. If the driver doesn’t accept, just move onto the next driver.Several international rental car companies are based at the airport as well.
You can fly from several European cities direct to Marrakech on Royal Air Maroc, British Airways flies from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Marrakech, Easyjet began fly to Marrakech from Madrid and begin flying from Gatwick airport in the UK in July 2006.
German airline TUI flies to Marrakech from five cities in Germany.
Ryanair announced alos fly since 2007 direct flights from London Luton to Marrakech. Ryanair also flys from Frankfurt Hahn to Marrakech. (sometimes for under £40 return). Thomsonfly travel from Manchester for under £60.
Royal Air Morocco, 197 boulevard Mohamed V, Tel: 43 62 05. Connects to other domestic destinations such as Agadir, Casablanca (daily), Fez (daily), Ouarzazate, Al Hoceima and Tangier.
Money exchange in the airport
The Arrivals hall at Terminal 2 has a money changing outlet and an ATM. Terminal 1 has two money changing outlets in the Arrivals hall and one in Departures. So if you find the money changing outlets are closed when you arrive, it’s worth taking the short walk across the car park to the other terminal.
Train connections are available from the train station, Avenue Hassan II, Tel: 44 77 68, to Casablanca and Rabat and Tangier, which connect on with most domestic rail destinations in the country. There is a train hourly during all the day. First and second class differ in the seating comfort and with the amount of people and that seats are not reserved in second class, but since Marrakech is the first station, you’ll find place if you arrive with time to the station.
Trains arrive from Casablanca around every 2 hours, and regularly from other destinations such as Rabat. The train station is located in the recently developed ville nouvelle. Frequent local buses leave from just across the street into the medina and modern tourist area. Petit taxi drivers will also be quick to offer their service, but pay no more than Dh 10 – 15 for this short ride during the daytime up until 8pm. After this time, taxi drivers will charge the daytime rate plus 50%.
For those wishing to travel by train from Tangier, the cost from Tangier to Marrakech is currently 180 Dirham 2nd class and 310 dirham 1st class. The journey is an excellent one for sightseeing, so, if you can, try and do this journey by day. It’s about a 10 hour journey. The Tanger to Marrakech route is definitely recommended as a way to see Morocco and best taken during the daytime, for this purpose.
During the daytime, you will need to change train for a connection halfway through the journey and this makes a welcome break for about 30 minutes. The night trains which leave for Marrakech from Tangier travel straight through to Marrakech without the need for a connection.
The night trains do have sleeper cars on board, though you will need to pay extra for these if you want a bed (around 350 dirhams).
There is currently no train line further south than Marrakech in Morocco.
Some advice for the train journey would be to stock up on some bread, eggs and cheese in advance and remember to bring plenty to offer to share with locals in your carriage – this is received well and will result in a return offer and lots of conversation. Additionally, there is a snack trolley which does the rounds on the train about once per hour serving coffee, Cappucino, tea, sandwiches and chocolate snacks. Be aware though that you will pay tourist prices, though in the end the difference is not much.
There are many long distance bus companies operating within Morocco which serve Marrakech and other cities.
The usual recommended bus companies for tourists are CTM (CTM website) and Supratours. Other companies do exist, though these two companies are usually your safest options.
Most ALSA (local destination bus company) and private bus lines arrive at the long distance bus station near Bab Doukkala, a 20 minute walk (Dh 15 – 20 by petit taxi) from Jema el-Fna. Supratours and Eurolines buses operate from here. It’s the place to take the buses from the small companies, that go directly to small destinations.
From the long distance bus station, CTM and private bus companies service destinations such as to Agadir, Safi, Casablanca, El Jadida, Essaouira, Fez, Meknes, Ouarzazate, Rabat and Taroudant.
CTM has another small station at the Gueliz, at Zerktouni street. It’s better to take them there, because you can buy the tickets for advance (you’ll find place) and the buses that leave from Bab Doukala go directly there and stop for half an hour and even change the bus. Besides, the CTM’s offices there are better, and there’s no people trying to push you to their bus company.
Cost from Marrakech to Agadir: 90 Dirham.
Once in the medina, everything can be seen on foot, though you’ll be doing a lot of walking. For exploring more of the city, buses and petit taxis are plentiful. Almost all buses stop at Jema El Fna and Place Youssef Ben Tachfine and fares range from Dh 2 to Dh 5 depending on the distance. Important municipal bus lines are:
- No 1 – Towards Gueliz
- No 8 – Stops at the central train station
- No 10 – Stops at the long distance bus station
- No 11 – Will drop you off at the gardens of Menara
An alternative and romantic way to travel is by caleche – pronounced kalesh – a small horse-drawn carriage. They can be hired at Square de Foucauld (the small park at the bottom of Djemma El Fna). It’s wise to agree a price before setting off. As a guide price, you should pay around 80 Dirham per hour, per carriage.
There is an open-topped City Sightseeing bus that will take you around the outskirts of the city, with commentary provided via headphones (supplied with your ticket) in any of 8 different languages. The best place to catch it is from the coach stops by Square de Foucauld. Tickets cost 130 Dh each and are valid for 24 hours from the time of issue, no matter how many times you get on or off. However, check the timetable carefully, as the buses can stop running earlier than you might think.