The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) akush, which means “Land of God.” It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours away from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it an enviable destination in Morocco.
The city is divided into two distinct parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new European modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores.
The airport is located about 5km (3 miles) from the city. The best option, if you don’t have too much luggage, is by bus (line 19). Otherwise it’s easier to take a taxi which takes about 15 minutes to get to the centre of the Medina. Although the taxi is easier, the drivers will almost certainly try to rip you off. The locals pay about 40 Dirhams for a ride to the medina (more at night). It is not uncommon for drivers to try and charge (and sometimes get) 500 Dirhams.
The No 19 Airport express bus is Dh 30 for a single trip or Dh 50 for round trip (if the return trip is within 2 weeks of initial purchase). It serves all the major hotels and is a great way to go from the airport to the hotels. You can easily find its departure stop, to the left of the road immediately outside of the Arrivals Hall at terminal 2, after the taxis. The bus leaves the airport every half an hour between 7Am and 9:30PM. The bus has no particular stops except Jeema El Fna and can stop anywhere on the route. The driver has a small map to hand out and you can tell the driver your hotel you’re heading to. You can also catch No 11 city bus which runs from M’Hamid district to the long distance bus station at Bab Doukkala, stopping also at Jeema El Fna. It stops on Avenue Gnassa – main road near airport, 500 metres from terminal. This is an option only for people without large, heavy luggage, but it is the cheapest one – the bus costs Dh 3.5