Car hire in Marrakech
Hiring a car in Marrakech
The city of Marrakech in western Morocco has been enchanting visitors for centuries and is a fantastic place to explore. It includes a medieval walled city that was established during the height of the Berber Empire. Its labyrinthine alleyways and myriad souks, which still thrive to this day, make it feel almost as if you’re stepping back in time.
Not all of the city lies within the old medina, however, with a number of notable sights falling outside of the walls. You’ll be able to discover it all by hiring a car and investigating both the city and the surrounding area. Marrakech’s Airport lies just a 20-minute drive away along Avenue Guemassa.
What you need to know
Hiring a car in Marrakech is easy and made all the more simple by booking through Holiday Autos prior to travelling. Our booking tool will show you all the options, including where to pick up your car and the types of vehicle available.
You’ll find that the most choice can be obtained by hiring your car from Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK). Here there are more than ten car hire companies to choose from, with the majority of them ranked 'very good' or 'good' by our customers.
Alternatively, there are nine car hire firms that can offer city centre pick-up, so be sure to check which ones are close to your riad or hotel prior to your visit to Morocco.
Where to pick up your car
The majority of vehicles hired through Holiday Autos for pick up at the airport can be received through the desks within the terminal. Companies such as Hertz, interrent, Air Car and Avis all have representatives at stations within the terminal building, so simply look for the sign that corresponds to your car hire firm.
A meet and greet service is offered by all of the other companies operating out of the airport, meaning you will be escorted to the car hire office once you have landed.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
When it comes to exploring Marrakech, there’s so much to see and do you’ll be spoilt for choice. Head into the medina to get a real feel for your destination straight away. The central square, known as the Djmaa El Fnaa is a hive of activity, complete with snake charmers and musicians. It is also full of orange juice sellers, allowing you to refresh yourself before heading into the souks.
Anyone who likes to shop will find themselves in paradise within the souks, with these maze-like alleyways absolutely full of stalls. Everything from handmade leather products and silver through to argan oil and traditional musical instruments are on display.
Just under an hour’s drive away from Marrakech along the P2012 and P2010 roads is the magnificent Ourika Valley. The area in the High Atlas is popular with Marrakshis keen to escape the heat of the city. You can take your car up to the village of Setti Fatma, but if you want to go any further, it is a mule ride to explore more of the valley via more basic tracks.
Another option is to head to the village of Imlil and a glimpse of Morocco’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal. You’ll be on the road for just under two hours, making your way firstly along the R203 and then the P2005. Then you can set off along Berber trails, exploring more of the High Atlas on foot and seeing a million miles away from city life.
While the Sahara Desert isn’t exactly close to Marrakech, its relative proximity means it’s too hard to resist for many people. It takes around six hours to drive to Zagora in the desert from Marrakech along the N9. Your journey will be put into perspective when you arrive and see the iconic ‘Tombouctou, 52 jours’ sign that points to the Malian city 52 days away by camel. The long drive makes it worthwhile spending at least one day in the desert before returning to Marrakech.
You may wish to break the journey up by stopping off at Ait Ben Haddou along the way. Alternatively, you could make a visit to this incredible fortified city on the original caravan route to the Sahara for its own sake. Film fans may recognise it as a location for the likes of Gladiator. It lies three and a half hours away from Marrakech along the N9.
Top attractions in Marrakech
Marrakech certainly isn’t short of fascinating sights and as you wander around the medina you’ll come across plenty of places that will delight and intrigue.
Ben Youssef Medersa
One of the finest examples of Islamic architecture you’ll find in the whole city is at the Ben Youssef Medersa. At the height of its usage, the Islamic college could have accommodated as many as 900 students, all living amongst the incredible cedar, marble and stucco decorated surroundings. The central courtyard is particularly beautiful, with its mosaics and archways. The medersa closed down in 1960 and was reopened to the public in 1982.
In the new town area of Marrakech are the gardens that were created by the French artist Jacques Majorelle. He spent 40 years creating a stunning botanical garden, complete with his signature blue walls and pots, but it went to rack and ruin when he died. It was revived by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and is once again an incredible place to relax and enjoy.
Lying undiscovered for centuries, the Saadian tombs date back to the reign of the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour between 1578 and 1603, but only came to light again in 1917. They are a fitting final resting place for a sultan and around 60 other members of the Saadi dynasty. With Italian marble and intricate plasterwork decoration, it is almost impossible not to be overcome by their beauty.