My colleague is visiting Marrakech next week, and as I was giving her some tips for places to visit, I realised I haven’t gotten to write a blog about my experience there! I visited Morocco with a friend for the first time in November 2017, which is actually a perfect destination for that time of year – not too hot, but still warm and sunny! We stayed in Marrakech only, for 7 days, but we did decide to book 2 accommodations there. First within the Medina, at a Riad, to really experience the vibrant city. And the second part of the week in a more quiet area, in basically a palace (Palais Dar Ouladna, which I really can recommend)! It had a swimming pool with a wonderful garden so we could spend the rest of our time for relaxations and tanning.
Hereby sharing my experience of this trip, with some recommendations of places to visit and of course plenty of pictures. In my opinion, Marrakech is the perfect destination for a short trip – with beautiful sights to see in the city, potential cool day trips to visit the surroundings of the city and due to the pleasant climate, a nice escape from the cold Netherlands ;)
For exploring the city centre, you don’t need that much time to stroll around through the souks, visit the wonderful palaces and museums. Everything is a short walking distance from each other, and it’s a really crowded area – so you’ll want to escape sooner or later anyways ;) Watch out you don’t get run over by motorbikes, cause yes they are everywhere and the fumes are not so pleasant. Also, people can get in your face a lot, trying to sell you stuff, which you shouldn’t fall for. I don’t mean to be too negative, but I also think I should be honest and warn you of these things. As a girl visiting Morocco, I would also advise you to dress moderately, with covered shoulders and long skirts or pants, in this way you won’t receive unwanted attention either. Overall, just be a bit aware of your surroundings, don’t pay too much attention to annoying people and you’ll have a wonderful time. Cause definitely, all your senses will be tickled as there is a lot to see, feel, smell and taste in this vibrant and colourful city!
What to do in Marrakech – Our highlights:
- Explore Djemaa el Fna & the Medina: the busy square and surrounding small streets (souks), with plenty of small shops to purchase authentic Morrocon souvenirs, see snake charmers (a bit creepy and sad for the snakes in my opinion) and street artists. In the evening you also have a possibility to eat a bite at the square, however, we were too much turned off by annoying sellers that we decided to walk away quickly. Keep your eye open, because hidden in between the souks are really nice restaurants hidden, I will list our favourites below!
- Walk around the Koutoubia Mosque: Unfortunately, as a non-Muslim, you aren’t able to visit the mosque, however, it’s still worth the visit and you can make a nice walk around the park.
- Visit Medressa Ben Youssef, a Quran school: a beautiful old architectural piece and an interesting sneak-peak into the Islam culture.
- Visit Palais de la Bahia & Palais Dar Si Said: Beautiful colourful palaces, with plenty of Morrocan tiles and mosaics. Both entries are not expensive at all, so definitely worth a visit.
- Visit another palace: Palais El Badii and the closely located Saadi tombs: The palace is very different than the ones above, as it’s built in the 16th century it is really impressive to see. When you’re in the neighbourhood, it’s also worth to visit the Saadi tombs, which is just a quick walk-in walk-out to see the mausoleum and cemetery of the sultan.
- Relax at a Spa: We went to get a traditional hammam massage in a beautiful spa, which I can really recommend for some relaxation:
Les Bains de Marrakech Morocco, 2 Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou, Kasbah, www.lesbainsdemarrakech.com
- Enjoy the gardens of Jardin Majorelle: This place can get pretty crowded, with very long waiting lines, so make sure you get there as early as you can in the morning. It’s a nice place to enjoy some greenery in the busy city and take some Insta-worthy pictures ;) It’s also fun to walk around this neighbourhood a little bit, as it’s a lot more modern than the traditional city centre, so we were quite surprised to discover this other side of Morocco.
- Take a trip outside the city: We took a one day trip through the Atlas Mountains and to Aït-Ben-Haddou, it’s a long drive but with really beautiful desert landscapes and the old little town was very unique to me, like a large sand castle rising up in the middle of nowhere. There are also opportunities to go on a multiple-day-trip and go further into the desert, to the sand dunes. Which would be cool if you’d like to spend a night in a Berber tent under the skies and ride a camel through the sand. Or take a trip to another city like Essaouira at the beach – which is supposed to be really beautiful and different as well.
Our favourite hotspot restaurants in the city:
- Le Jardin, 32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, www.lejardinmarrakech.com – beautiful courtyard and decorations and great food! Be sure to make a reservation though.
- Café Kif-Kif, 28 Rue Koutoubia, www.cafekifkif.com – such a cute restaurant with a nice view of the Mosque
- Nomad, 1 Derb Aarjane, Medina, www.nomadmarrakech.com – Enjoy lunch on the roof terrace and enjoy the view over the souks and square!
Of one thing I’m sure, I definitely want to re-visit Morocco, drive through these unique landscapes and visit the other cities. Each of them has different colours and vibes to them, so I’m curious to see these as well! Let me know if you have any recommendations!