Located in the northwest of Morocco, Marrakech is a beautiful city to explore rich in history, tradition, and culture. It was founded almost 1000 years ago on the edge of the Sahara, and it grew to become the fourth largest city in Morocco. It is its natural red orchid pigmented walls and buildings that give it its nickname, “Red City.”
Petty crime is common in Marrakech, especially in tourist areas. Be alert to potential threats.
Also known as the old city, Medina is the heart and soul of Marrakech. This UNESCO world heritage site is the biggest ancient market in all of North Africa where narrow streets packed with shops, food vendors, mosques and homes will capture your heart.
As this is a busy area with travelers and locals, a few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pick pocketed. If you decide to hire a guide, make sure that he is operating with the agreement of local authorities.
The former royal quarter, Kasbah, is south of the old city. And just like Medina, you will find yourself walking narrow winding streets and admiring the city’s old spirit. There are also two main tourists sites in this area: Palais El-Badj and the Saadian Tombs.
Marrakech’s Mellah is home to the city’s small Jewish community. It’s located east of the Kasbah, and it is surrounded by walls and entered via two gates. This area is less touristy than the Medina, so you can sit in the courtyard, drink a cup of Berber tea, and admire the Alzama Synagogue.
This is the modern district also known as Ville Nouvelle located outside the ramparts. Some people refer to it as the European quarter of Marrakech due to its boulevards, cafés, and the Royal Theatre among other more modern sites. You will also find the famous Majorelle Gardens here.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Marrakech does not have a high crime rate, but it is important to be vigilant and keep your luggage and money secure. As Morocco is a Muslim country that follows Islamic laws and customs, you should be mindful and respect them.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
Petty crime is common, especially in tourist areas, big cities, and beaches. Do not be fooled by people’s appearances, even seniors have been known of pickpocketing.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
Muggings and kidnappings are not common. There have been reports of some kidnappings of Westerns by terrorist organizations. Avoid quiet areas and be vigilant at all times.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
Some people may try to lure you into their shops for tea, and then ask you to buy something. The same applies to people asking you to read/translate a letter or postcard.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK:MEDIUM
Overall, transportation in Marrakech are safe. However, travelers need to keep an eye on their belongings at all times. If you are taking a taxi, make sure you negotiate the price before you get in or the price will be substantially inflated when you arrive to your destination. City buses are not considered safe for travelers due to the poor driving conditions. They also get very crowded.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There are occasional flooding during the rainy season (November-March) and earthquakes. If you decide to go to the Sahara, be alert of snakes and scorpions.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
It is somewhat likely that terrorists will try to carry out attacks in Morocco. While there have been no attacks since 2011, there have been threats to government institutions/personalities. Travelers should be vigilant at all times.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
Women, especially when traveling alone, may get some unwanted attention from men. Wear clothes that cover your arms, legs, and chest in order to blend in.