For those who’ve read the previous post, I think we can agree that flying to Marrakech from Europe is not only easy, because of the number of flights from all over Europe serving the city. It’s also cheap and getting there is quick. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here.
So once you land, things are pretty much straight forward. Going through immigration is simple and quick for those who don’t need a visa (at the end of the post you will see a list of nationalities that don’t need a Moroccan visa). You’ll just need to complete a landing card, which will be given to you on the plane or you can get one before immigration. You’ll be required to complete the same form to leave the country.
You will find money ATM and exchange facilities in the baggage area, but people tend to queue up here. You’re better off using these facilities in the main hall – I could see at least three ATMs and as many bureaus de change. Marrakech Menara Airport was refurbished a few years ago and is modern and very easy to get around, although there aren’t many interesting shops.
If your hotel or riad hasn’t organised your transfer, you may take a taxi outside the airport. If you’re on your own, it will cost you around 50 dirhams (around £4, €5, USD6) to go to the medina. If you’re staying in the city centre it may cost you slightly more, but always negotiate, bearing in mind that if the deal is too good, you’ll be sharing the taxi with other passengers. Make sure you clarify that. Another alternative is the bus, which costs 35 dirhams (appr. £2.80, €3.50, USD4.40) and stops at the entrance to the medina. In my opinion, taking the bus is the best way to go from Marrakech airport to the medina.
It was drizzling when I got off the bus. I was walking to my riad, which was just yards off Djema el-Fna Square. And that, I found out the hard way! I asked a gentleman for information and he explained to me how to get there, but since I hadn’t “adjusted” my ear to French, it wasn’t very clear to me. Until I was approached by an old man who asked me to follow him.
It’s funny that sometimes, no matter how many times you’ve been to a place and know (almost) all its traps, you still get into one. The man took me around some alleyways, until we got to my riad. He asked me for 50 dirhams for the “favour” and I gave him 10, which he declined. A younger passer-by overheard the old man and told me to give him the 50 and I ignored him. Since the man didn’t want the 10 dirhams I offered, I walked away, until he said it was ok. Believe it or not, the entrance to my riad was just 30 yards from the square. And it was just the beginning of the trip… Boing!
Moroccan Visa: Countries whose nationals don’t need it
I thought it would be helpful to list the countries whose citizens currently don’t need a Moroccan visa. Peeps, remember that this information can change without notice, so in any case double check with the consulate in your country. Although it’s unlikely EU citizens and those from Arab countries will be required a visa at any time in the future. Quoting the page of the Moroccan Consulate in London, “if your stay is longer than 90 days, a resident permit is required and can be issued by the Police Department of your place of residence in Morocco”:
Algeria – Andorra – Argentina – Australia – Austria – Bahrain – Belgium – Brazil – Bulgaria – Canada – Chile – Congo (Brazaville) – Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – Germany – Greece – Guinea (Conakry) – Hong Kong – Hungary – Iceland – Indonesia – Ireland – Italy – Ivory Coast – Japan – Kuwait – Latvia – Libya – Liechtenstein – Lithuania – Luxemburg – Mali – Malta – Mexico – Monaco – Netherlands – New Zealand – Niger – Norway – Oman – Peru – Philippines – Poland – Puerto Rico – Qatar – Romania – Russian Federation – Saudi Arabia – Senegal – Singapore (They can stay one month without visa) – Slovakia – Slovenia – South Korea – Spain – Sweden – Switzerland – Tunisia – Turkey – United Arab Emirates – United Kingdom – United States of America – Venezuela.