By Bus, Marrakesh
A great way to see the city if you are short on time is by jumping on the hop on/hop off Bus Touristique. You can purchase two types of tickets: 24h and 48h and are good for a full 24 and 48 hours from the exact time of purchase. Ticket prices as of Sept 2011 are 80/150 (child/adult)Dirhams for 24h and 100/200 Dirhams (child/adult) for 48h. Headphones are included in the price and you can plug in at each seat. Audio Tour is provided in English, Moroccan, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese and Portugese.
There are two different routes. Tour Historique which stops at all the famous spots such as: La Koutoubia, Place Jemaa El Fna, Palais La Bahia, La Menara and the Palais Badii (and others) and Tour Oasis which stops at a number of Palmeraie's as well as the Jardin Majorelle.
During the summer, peak hours Tour Historique buses run every 20 to 30 minutes from 9:00 to 18:30h. Duration of the loop is 1h30min. Tour Oasis buses run every 1h10min from 12:00h to 17:30h
Phone: 06 42 38 97 24
Buses are the most popular way to get around Morocco, and the system caters for everything from broken down mini-buses to super luxurious air-conditioned expresses. For most tourists the two companies to use are CTM and Supratours. CTM are an independent company with a very good reputation, Supratours are an extension of Moroccan Railways, to take passengers to places the trains can't. Both have comfortable, clean, safe air-conditioned buses, although Supratours offer a luxury bus for about 30% more. These buses have much more space (three seats across instead of four) and other comforts.
I used Supratours for the trip to Essaouira and back. They were excellent, although there timetables are completely off. The bus was 30 minutes late leaving Marrakech, and yet still managed to arrive early at Essaouria. On the way back the bus arrived in Marrakech over an hour early. Maybe they make allowances for traffic and breakdowns. Timetables for Supratour buses can be discovered through the ONCF railways webpage.
One recommendation: Buy your ticket at least a day before you travel, especially on popular routes like Marrakech-Essaouria. The bus was full both legs. Although a few people were lucky enough to get on at the last minute without a ticket, some people were left behind. Booking online is not possible for Supratours. CTM do offer online booking, but it doesn't seem to accept credit cards from outside Morocco.
One last tip: Because Supratours are run by the railway company, they don't tend to run from the main city bus stations (Gare Routiere). This can be a convenience in many cases, as in Essaouria where the Supratours stop is right next to the Medina. In Marrakech the main bus stop is on Boulevard 11 Janvier, just outside the city walls to the north at the Bab Doukkala city gate. Supratours run from a stop attached to the train station. Just walk down the main street to the left of the train station as you approach it, and Supratours is about 500m past it after the Ibis hotel.
Website: http://www.ctm.ma/Add to your Trip Planner
We opted to jump on the Hop on/ Hop off bus since we didn't want to be haggling every time we wanted to go somewhere .... and we're so glad we did ..... we paid 140 dirhams about $15 US for a 2 day pass and we didn't have to worry about anything after that ....
The bus has 2 routes .... the red line takes you to all the major sites within Marrakesh and the green line to takes you the the nice resorts north of town ..... The busses run from 9:00 to 18:00 on the red line and from 9:00 am to 17:00 on the green line ....
the green line tour takes a little bit over 45 minutes and the red line takes about 90 minutes ....If you don't want to haggle with annoying taxi's then this is the way to go !!!!!
Once on board the bus, you are given a cheap pair of ear plugs which you connect to the side of your seat ..... you can choose from 8 different languages !!!! The actual audio is pretty informative and helpful !!!!
Phone: 05 24 43 03 02
Always travel on the local buses with the local people.Great fun!The journey to Essaouira took about 3hrs but was really interesting stopping in all the small villages.I was also able to get off and have a short look around if we stopped for a little while.I had had my hands and feet hennaed in Essaouira and there were 3-4 older ladies(I'm 53!!)on the bus who couldn't speak a word of English but were showing me their hands and feet done in traditional designs and colours.
I had shared a big taxi to get there-me and 6 moroccans stuffed into an old merc!!Very hot and friendly.
The local bus system in Marrakech is cheap, safe, friendly and totally confusing. It also tends to be very crowded. The problems start with the map, which you can helpfully access on the Internet. It doesn't match up to anything, at least no map I found. The coloured lines obscure the map, the names of the terminals (no stops are detailed) are missing or refer to something no other map of Marrakech mentions, the lines themselves are spaghetti and the map doesn't even seem to be to scale. I'm pretty sure most of the buses stop near Djemaa el Fna, one of the most obvious sights in Marrakech, but neither that nor the Koutoubia mosque nearby are mentioned.
The only thing I can help with is that I know that Bab Doukkala is the main bus terminal just outside the Medina walls on the north-west side. This is the start of the number 1 bus, and you can see the big number 1 next to Bab Doukkala. I'm also pretty sure that the cluster of bus numbers south of Bab Doukkala is either Djemaa el Fna, or somewhere very close.
It might feel a bit daunting getting on the bus after looking at the map, but it's not a problem. In fact the friendliness of the passengers and driver (they'll probably be surprised to see a tourist) helps alleviate some of the problems. Both times the driver told us where to get off. In fact the second time we knew where to get off, at Majorelle Gardens, but decided to stay on until the end of the line. We wondered why the bus was waiting so long at the gardens, until a young guy came up to us, smiling, and said in his best, slightly bashful, English, that "the driver has instructed me to tell you that this is your stop."
It was incredible! Despite the fact that it was rush hour, despite the fact that the bus was packed, and despite the fact the bus driver was so obviously running late that he was hurrying people to get on, he made time to find an English speaker among the passengers, and wait there while he came to find us. Even though we didn't actually want to get off at that stop now, we felt obliged to surrender to their generosity and find another way to our destination.
Tickets can be bought from the driver when you tell him your destination. They are 4 dirhams for most rides. Try to have some change rather than big notes.
Website: http://www.alsa.ma/fr/marrakechAdd to your Trip Planner
At first glance the hop-on hop-off bus service in Marrakech might seem the ideal way of introducing yourself to the city. Unfortunately Marrakech is a bit different to most cities. Much of what is interesting in Marrakech lies inside the ancient walls of the Medina, and there's not much of that part of the city that a bus can visit. For the Medina you will really need to get down on the ground and walk.
That said, there are a few places worth visiting outside the Medina, and they are quite spaced out, so if you want to combine them with a couple of other stops, like Marrakech Plaza and central Gueliz for the tourist office, it might prove a convenient, if a little expensive, transport option. However, if you are capable of haggling taxi rides down to 20-30 dirhams, then you would probably be better off shuttling between these sights by taxi instead.
Marrakech is a city to be walked. You need to fell lost in the Medina to feel the authentic character of the city. But unlike any other touristic buses around the world, here they are a good option to know the off the beaten path from a tourist point of view. They're quite useful to have a quick (or slow) glance at the complete Moroccan way of life. The service is managed by the Spanish bus company Alsa.
They propose two lines, both of them with its first stop in Ville Nouvelle (Guéliz) and it works in the typical 24 / 48 hours for hop on and hop off along its trail. There is the "Tour historique", near the Medina, Koutoubia, Royal Palace, Train Station, Menara Gardens... And the other one is the "Tour Oasis", heading for the Palmeraie and Majorelle Gardens
The airport is served between 8 am and 9 pm every half an hour by bus no. 19. A ticket on this line is 30 Dirham, return 50 Dirham (2015) which makes it around ten times more expensive than a ticket on any other bus line. Still, it is cheaper than a taxi (around 60 Dirham one way, depending if the meter is working or on your haggling skills) or a hotel shuttle (usually between 120 and 200 Dirham, if not included in your hotel stay). Bus number 19 stops at the train station, in the new town (Avenue Mohammed V), the coach station and Djama el Fnaa (South of Foucault Square).
Bus 11 and 18 are often recommended as a cheaper alternative to number 19. They stop in Bouakkaz, a 10 minute walk away from the terminal building. If you are that tight on budget, you may consider a walk into the city centre which is around 50 minutes away.
Unless you are with a tour then the best way to get around Marrakech is via the Hop on Hop off bus. These brightly coloured buses are the same in a lot of countries. They depart every 60 minutes.
The hop on and hop off bus is the best way to see Marrakech.
You can buy your tickets on the bus and they have head phones to listen to the commentary as you go around.
According to my travel book Essaouira is a good spot for travellers, unfortunately I didn't get a chance to go, but there is a bus service from Marrakech that takes about 4 hours.
Bus station is next to the train station and you can get to many places around Marrekesh. See pic for the bus schedule and ticket price.