Marrakech had long been on my list of places to visit so when I finally got to grace the intriguing city I was in awe. My what a city it is. The smells, the rose coloured walls and buildings, the culture, the winding never ending streets and the hecticness all just add to to the charm of this Moroccan gem of a city.
Marrakech is the 4th largest city in Morocco and a hugely popular travel destination. It’s a city of the unexpected. You will see new things in every step and if you know me you know one of my top travel tips is to get lost and I can assure you this is something you will do in Marrakech whether you’re like it not. Don’t even attempt looking at a map that won’t help you here. Not at all!
There is so much to see and do and this is a city that caters to everyone’s taste no matter what you are looking for in a holiday. There is the Atlas Mountains dominating the views, the desserts to wander in, souks full of shopping delights, food so good you may only ever want to eat Moroccan for the rest of your life, sunrises that replenish the soul and street scenes that make you feel a million miles away from your daily life on your regular high streets.
So what do you need to do when you visit this magical city? Well let me tell you my top pics
Moroccan food is AMAZING. You don’t even need to go to the most expensive places to get the good stuff. There are so many restaurants and cafes and I can assure you after sampling the tagines and couscous you will still remember the taste sensations years after. There is lots of street food on offer and as per any street food just be a bit cautious, you don’t want to miss your holiday because you are stuck in the loo.
Visit or take in the views of the Atlas Mountains
These breathtaking mountains dominate the views around Marrakech. Considering how close they are it’s also a popular day trip or several day trip option from Marrakech. Hiking, camping or even staying in luxury travel options it’s a must when you are in the city.
The best drink you can have in Marrakech. I didn’t even miss my old faithful English Breakfast. I liked it so much I even tried to find the mint tea back in the UK but nothing compared to the real experience.
Watch the sunrise over the city
This goes down as one of my all time favourite moments. Standing on top of our Riad with my gorgeous friends watching the sunrise over the city, Atlas mountains in the distance and the call to prayer playing out to call in the morning. Well worth getting up for it. Still, makes me have goosebumps even now.
Visit Jardin Majorelle
If you didn’t think Marrakech was colourful enough already then you need to visit Jardin Majorelle. A beautiful luscious tropical garden, bubbling water fountains, a vibrant blue villa and ties to Yves Saint Laurent what’s not to like.
This is the heart of the Marrakech and has to be a must visit on any itinerary. There is so much going on that you’ll need to keep your eyes open to take it all in. Snake charmers, monkey trainers, street food stalls, street performers and music playing through the square. It’s a truly intriguing experience and one you don’t want to miss.
So I’ve already mentioned the sunrise from the roof but there are many other roof top views to enjoy. Cocktails while watching the sunset, the views over the sprawling Medina, the snow capped Atlas mountains, women going about their daily business. Looking out and down with a bird’s eye view is a great way to take in the delights of the city.
Pack for the heat in the day but have layers for the evening
It’s hot there, especially in the day. Out of respect for the Moroccan culture and Islamic religion try to dress respectfully especially if you’re in public places. Save the skimpy clothing for sunbathing on the riad roof. Also be aware when the sun goes down it can go off chilly so always have layers on hand.
Stay in a riad
Riads are like little-hidden paradise. So unassuming from the outside but as soon as you walk through the door and are greeted by the serenity you actually consider never leaving the tranquil oasis. A riad is a traditional and common style of accommodation in Marrakech and which usually has a courtyard, garden, pool (or all 3!) in the centre of the building surrounded by rooms. They often also have roof top which is good for sunbathing, eating breakfast in the sun or watching the sunrise (see point above). There is a lot of them to choose from in the Medina and some include spa facilities so do have a look around. The contrast of relaxing in the riad after a day of exploring in the Medina is one you would never really appreciate until you are there.
Visit a Hammam
I know getting scrubbed and washed by a person you don’t know probably isn’t on most peoples to do list for a holiday unless you are maybe on one of those 18-30s singles holidays but I can assure you trying a Hammam on your trip to Marrakech certainly should be considered. It is such an interesting experience you come out feeling the cleanest and freshest you ever have been in your life. They also use to much argan oil that you make you want to purchase it by the bucket load before you leave the country.
So many alleyways it’s like a labyrinth that you’ll ponder (more than one) if you’ll ever make it out the other side. Full of restaurants and cafes, animals, market stalls selling an array of trinkets and fresh produce. Walk till your feet are sore and your senses have exploded.
Now haggling just feels a bit odd for us westerners. We see a price in a store and we pay that price. This is not the way in Marrakech. Especially if you are shopping in the souks. The price they give you initially will be extremely inflated so you need to get your negotiating skills on and do some haggling. Stay strong, know your price and know when to walk away.
For more ideas of what to see in Marrakech and wider Morocco – http://www.visitmorocco.com/en
Now go and enjoy your trip you lucky darlings!