My sister and I grabbed our passports and started searching for the best places to visit in the winter. We wanted somewhere that was relatively close but also warm and sunny, taking us away from rainy London.
Marrakech was one of the first recommendations that came up – about 3.5 hours away and 21 degrees at least. We booked our trip and started planning. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a major planner – I don’t like just showing up and figuring things out as we go along. I like to have a plan. So, I got planning and boy did I get excited.
Our flight was really early but it meant that we got to Marrakech by 11am. As soon I got off the plane, I felt that warmth of the sun. We got a taxi to Riad Amira, our hotel which was located in the Kasbah (a 15 to 20 minute walk to the main square). It was gorgeous and literally an oasis in what is a really busy and hectic city.
Marrakech is an extremely vibrant city with inspiration around every corner. Having said that, it can also be extremely overwhelming. Be prepared for this – the traffic is insane, particularly the motor cycles speeding in the tight little alley ways.
Places you should definitely visit include Jardin Marjorelle, Ben Youssef Madrasa, El Badi Palace, Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadien Tombs.
It felt as though everyone wanted to sell me something or other and you get called in to every shop in the souks. Just be confident and firm if you’re not interested, particularly in the souks. Be prepared to haggle – it’s part of the experience! Also, don’t be scared of getting lost (although it can be a bit intimidating) cause it will happen – just go with the flow.
For a bit of luxury, I would recommend going to the La Mamounia Hotel – it is truly a beautiful place. The hotel has vast grounds which are great to walk around. It is a perfect place to relax for lunch/dinner or even just a cup of coffee.
Finally, as a huge foodie, I can’t not talk about food. Marrakech has an awesome rooftop restaurant culture which I love. It’s always nice to escape the hectic souks and just see the blue skies and feel the warmth.
If you’re in the Kasbah area, I would recommend Café Clock – they have a mean camel burger and the chicken and blue cheese and fig salad was amazing!
If shopping in the souks, be sure to go to Nomad. It has a cool vibe and the food was really good, especially the lemon chicken tagine.
Try one of the restaurants in Jemaa el-fna – we went to La Marrakchi. You get a great view of the square and can soak up the atmosphere from high up. The lamb tagine with apricots was great. I believe they also have a belly dancing show on some nights though we didn’t get to see this.
1) Keep a map with you at all times – you will find that people will start to approach you and offer to give you directions – some even offer to take you to your destination personally but then expect a tip in return. Be confident and say no unless you are really struggling. I personally didn’t feel comfortable following a stranger and preferred finding my own way. If you are really lost, think about who you ask for directions e.g. if you see a museum, pop in and ask someone at the ticket desk – we did this and felt a lot more confident in the directions we received.
You may also find that people may tell you certain places are ‘closed’ and will try to divert you. Just politely tell them you’re fine and continue.
2) When you get to your hotel, ask them what the average taxi costs from your location – this shouldn’t be more than 20 or 30 Dhms. Taxis will quote ridiculously high prices but after some haggling, you will find that most will accept. If possible, pre-book your taxi from the airport to your hotel. It shouldn’t be more than 100-150 Dhms max.
3) Keep lots of change on you as a lot of the shops in the souks and taxis may say they don’t have change.
4) There are lots of day trips on offer – if you are in Marrakech for more than three days, it’s definitely worth having a look at one of these.
5) Definitely visit a hamam (spa) while you’re there – it is an amazingly relaxing experience and the black soap treatment in Morocco is a must! Look online for recommendations for the best spas or ask your hotel. We went to ‘5 elements’ in the Kasbah.
Hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below:)