Learn everything you need to know about your arrival in Marrakesh at Marrakech-Ménara International Airport in our Travel Guide.

Arriving in Marrakesh: the best insider tips for 2024

Find out every­thing you need to know about your arrival in Marrakesh here. The jour­ney from Europe is uncom­pli­cated, but with our insider tips you can start your trip in a more relaxed way.

Espe­cially when you arrive late in the evening and just want to get to your hotel, it’s reas­sur­ing to know what to expect. 

North Africa is easy to reach from Europe 

There are direct flights to Marrakesh from many major Euro­pean cities. Easy­jet, Ryanair and Vuel­ing in partic­u­lar offer many flights to Morocco. There are many flights to the Maghreb, espe­cially from France, and some airlines even serve Marrakesh twice a day.

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Unfor­tu­nately, many airlines tend to arrive very late and it is not uncom­mon to land after midnight. Airlines such as Ryanair now have several planes stationed in Marrakesh, which explains the very late arrival times and some­times very early depar­ture times.

Your hotel is used to this, but it would be nice if you could let them know your arrival time in advance. In many riads, only the night watch­man is on duty at this time of day. If you arrive late in the evening, it would be nice for him to know when to expect the guests.

Arrival in Marrakesh: view of the city
View of the city center of Marrakesh

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Just under 4 hours flight from Germany and you are already in Marrakesh, the red city. It’s easy to see where this name comes from when approach­ing the airport.

All shades of earthy reds domi­nate the picture, peppered with the occa­sional olive grove. But then the airport comes into sight, the arrival in Marrakesh draws closer and the antic­i­pa­tion of the next few days takes on concrete forms.

Espe­cially in winter, you may be lucky enough to catch a beau­ti­ful view of the snow-covered High Atlas. 

Inci­den­tally, there are no flights over the medina, so you can see more of the new town and the outskirts of Marrakesh. 

Landing approach to Marrakesh airport with Easyjet
View of the inter­na­tional airport

Inci­den­tally, in most cases it does­n’t matter which side of the plane you are sitting on, as the approach direc­tion and the approach lanes change depend­ing on the weather and it is there­fore impos­si­ble to predict which side will offer the better view on approach.

When it is very warm in Marrakesh, the land­ing approach can some­times be quite shaky. Due to the heat and the nearby moun­tains, ther­mals develop, espe­cially in summer, which do not allow for a smooth landing.

Do you need a transfer?

Book your trans­fer conve­niently and reli­ably with GetYourGuide.
The drivers are reli­able and friendly and a reser­va­tion is made quickly!

Arrival in Marrakesh: One of the most beautiful terminals in the world

Opened in 2014, the termi­nal of the inter­na­tional airport with the melo­di­ous name Marrakech-Ménara (abbre­vi­a­tion RAK) is consid­ered by insid­ers to be one of the most beau­ti­ful in the world. Up to 5 million passen­gers are handled here every year. However, before you can admire the success­ful combi­na­tion of modern, airy archi­tec­ture and tradi­tional Arabic elements of the airport, you usually have to take a short walk across the tarmac.

Landing at Marrakesh airport
Marrakech-Menara Airport, one of the most elegant airports in the world

You can smell it as soon as you get out of the car: Marrakesh, so foreign, so spicy, so differ­ent. Also usually so much warmer than here. If you get on a plane in Germany early in the morn­ing in winter, you want to get rid of your thick winter jacket quickly. If you’re lucky, it’s 20 degrees higher than at home.

Arrival in Marrakesh: Marrakech-Menara Airport, one of the most beautiful modern airport buildings in the world

Passport control

There’s no need to dawdle when disem­bark­ing: first you go up the stairs, then down the stairs through the termi­nal and then you have to queue: pass­port control is the first hurdle on your arrival in Marrakesh. Impor­tant: Entry to Morocco is only permit­ted with a valid pass­port, an iden­tity card is not accepted. The current entry require­ments for Great Britain for exam­ple can be found on the ministry of foreign affairs website.

Until the end of 2019, an entry docu­ment still had to be filled out, but digi­tal­iza­tion is also making inroads here and so the cumber­some proce­dure has been eased some­what. However, it can still happen that you have to queue for over an hour until you finally have the neces­sary stamps in your pass­port. If it’s quick, the whole thing can be done in five minutes. 

Please note: each trav­eler must go through pass­port control indi­vid­u­ally. Fami­lies should split up and chil­dren over the age of 16 need to see the customs offi­cers alone at the check­point. That’s why we always send our teenage chil­dren ahead of us to pass­port control, so that we are still with them in case any ques­tions arise. If you have already passed through immi­gra­tion before your child, secu­rity staff will some­times ask you to leave the area and of course you don’t want to do this if your chil­dren have not yet offi­cially entered the coun­try. Pass­port control takes quite a long time, which is not due to the Moroc­can customs offi­cers, but to the slow computer system. 

After­wards, please do not put your pass­port away yet — at the exit of pass­port control it will be checked again that each pass­port actu­ally contains a stamp. It is quicker if you have opened the page with the stamp and the inspec­tor does not have to search for it. I suspect this is also the reason why the pass­port is always stamped on the last avail­able page.

Continue to baggage claim

Those who have passed pass­port control in just a few minutes can now wait for their suit­cases. Good for those who only have hand luggage. If you are wait­ing for luggage, you can expect it to take at least half an hour from the time you get off the plane until the first suit­cases are handed out, if not longer. So time to take care of other things: in this area of the termi­nal there are (clean!) toilets and exchange offices in addi­tion to the baggage claim area.

Marrakesh Airport arrivals hall and baggage claim
An unusual sight from Covid times: the almost empty baggage reclaim hall

Not a good idea: changing money at the airport

The Moroc­can currency is called Dirham (MAD) and is not a freely convert­ible currency. This means that you cannot exchange dirhams at a bank outside Morocco. 

When you arrive in Marrakesh, you must make sure that you can exchange dirhams. 

On your depar­ture, you must exchange any remain­ing funds back, as dirhams may not be exported except for small amounts. 

Arrival at Marrakesh airport - money exchange

However, I would advise caution with the exchange offices at the airport. The exchange rates are rather unfa­vor­able for the trav­eler and in the city there are exchange offices with better rates as well as ATMs where you can with­draw money with your credit card.

If you do want to change money at the airport, do not under any circum­stances have a card loaded with credit handed to you. These cards cost a basic fee and you can only use them to pay in large restau­rants or hotels, but not at the small traders in the souk. In addi­tion, you have no overview of how much money is still on the card. And if there is still credit on the card at the end of your stay, the refund will also cost a fee.

If you need money for a taxi or bus, only change a small amount to cover your arrival in Marrakesh and make sure you also have small bills. The taxi driver will certainly not be able to hand over large amounts. It is custom­ary to pay the taxi driver appro­pri­ately and not to expect change. The tourist taxis some­times also accept euros, but you should clar­ify this before setting off.

When you stay with us at Riad Selouane you can exchange your money at the exchange office just around the corner and our manager will be happy to accom­pany you if you need help. ATMs are also avail­able a short distance away.

Check again

Once you have collected your baggage, you will have to queue again — even if you are only trav­el­ing with hand baggage. Your luggage will be checked and scanned and you will be informed that drones may not be imported into the King­dom of Morocco with­out autho­riza­tion. Then you come out of the airport build­ing through the large arrivals hall and land in a large crowd.

A good idea: buy a Moroccan phone card

If you would like to have Inter­net access outside the hotel, you can purchase a SIM card from a Moroc­can tele­phone company before you leave the hotel. Inci­den­tally, Morocco has much better LTE network cover­age than for exam­ple Germany. You can expect excel­lent recep­tion even in the middle of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. As it’s easy to get lost in Marrakesh, I can only advise every­one to buy a map like this. This means you can no longer be reached by phone by your regu­lar tele­phone number, but you can be reached via the Messen­ger service.

The employ­ees of the tele­phone compa­nies install the card and you are online right away. Normally the cards cost 10–20 euros for enough giga­bytes for a week’s vaca­tion and you can usually pay in euros, because Moroc­cans are enter­pris­ing people. The PIN for the SIM card is 0000 by default in case you need to change the card. 

Recently, e‑SIMs have also become avail­able in Morocco. You can order an e‑SIM in advance via Getyourguide*.

Detailed infor­ma­tion about Moroc­can phone cards can be found in our arti­cle on the use of eSIM and SIM cards in Morocco.

Finally out of the airport

Arriving in Marrakesh at the airport - where to find a cab

At this square, drivers wait for their guests to take them to their hotels, tour groups are welcomed and family members greet their rela­tives from Europe. 

There is shout­ing, push­ing, search­ing and finding. 

It’s not easy to keep an overview, because by now you’ve arrived in the Moroc­can hustle and bustle.

And how do you get to the hotel now?

The easi­est way to do this is to book a trans­fer* with your hotel in advance. Espe­cially for your first stay or if you arrive in the evening, a pre-orga­nized trans­fer will make your arrival in Marrakesh much easier. A trans­fer usually costs around €15 for 2 people and saves you having to search for your accom­mo­da­tion in the maze of alley­ways in the medina, as you will be met at the edge of the old town by hotel staff and accom­pa­nied to your accommodation.

Trans­fers to hotels in the Marrakesh region cost up to €30, depend­ing on the distance.

Arrival in Marrakesh: Marrakech-Menara Airport, one of the most beautiful airports in the world
The cacti at the airport are a nice prelude to the days in Marrakesh

If you want to travel on your own, you can take a taxi, which are wait­ing in large numbers outside the airport. Please do not expect the driver to know the riad you have booked in the old town — there are hundreds of riads in Marrakesh and they are all within walk­ing distance. In order to get out of the taxi at a suit­able point on the edge of the medina, you should know near which sight your hotel is located and indi­cate this to the driver as your desti­na­tion. You can usually ask your hotel for this infor­ma­tion in advance.

Looking for a hotel in Marrakesh?

The best loca­tion in the medina, break­fast included, an oasis of peace in the middle of the souks: the Riad Selouane is the ideal address for your city trip!

Riad Selouane Marrakesh: View into the courtyard and over the roofs to the Ben Youssef Mosque

Small and large taxis

There are two types of taxis: tourist taxis and petit taxis.

With a tourist taxi, usually a van with enough space for 4 people and luggage, you have to nego­ti­ate the price in advance. Here, too, the price is around €15 per trip. The drivers are geared towards tourists and usually speak English as well as French.

Petit taxis, which are small (yellow) vehi­cles with little space for luggage, are metered. These cabs are mainly used by locals and it may well be that the driver only speaks Arabic. Depend­ing on traf­fic condi­tions, you can get from the airport to the old town for around €5, making your arrival in Marrakesh an adven­ture in the first half hour.

Arrival in Marrakesh: Marrakech-Menara Airport, one of the most beautiful airports in the world

Further transfer options

There is also the option of taking bus no. 19 to Place Jemaa el Fna and walk­ing to the hotel from there.

If you have planned a self-drive tour with a rental car, it is a good idea to hire the car after your stay in the medina, as there are virtu­ally no park­ing facil­i­ties. The rental car station is located in the imme­di­ate vicin­ity of the airport. 

Usually the car rental compa­nies also deliver the vehi­cles to a pick-up point near our Riad, so that after a few days in the old town you don’t have to go back to the airport to pick up the car.

For more infor­ma­tion on how to get to Riad Selouane, please visit how to find us. You can book a trans­fer to the Riad Selouane via our contact page.

You can conve­niently arrange a trans­fer to another hotel via GetYourGuide*.

Even those who travel to Agadir*, Essaouira* or Casablanca* can book the trans­fer quickly and reli­ably via GetYourGuide.

Marrakesh airport is located just 6 kilo­me­ters outside the city. It usually takes about half an hour to arrive at the hotel from the airport and you can finally process your first impres­sions over a Moroc­can mint tea .

olive twig light brown

Merhaba in Marrakesh!

Looking for more information about Marrakesh?

Visit our travel guide to learn more about the sights of Marrakesh and Morocco!

Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh
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