Hey Loves, firstly let me apologize for taking this long to write this Marrakech travel guide, thank you for reading, I hope you find this guide helpful.
I have been wanting to go to Morocco for the longest time, there are so many beautiful cities to visit in Morocco, but Marrakech is the most enchanting one in my opinion. It is unlike any other city I have ever visited. Wandering through the Marrakchi streets is truly a feast for the senses. from the unbelievably beautiful architecture, to the colorful spice stalls in the Medina, to the aroma of the fine Moroccan cuisine.
Marrakech was founded in 1071 under the Almoravides dynasty, the people of Marrakech were already muslims, the city has a multitude of mosques. Marrakech is the city of arts, history and culture, the color of the city is ocher, the signature dish is Tanjia. The climate is sunny 340 days a year. Its pleasant temperatures make it an ideal destination for vacations.
Day 1: We arrived in Marrakech in the morning, the airport was jam packed, it took us a long time to go through customs and get our luggage. As soon as we got out of the airport area I just felt at home, there is something about African cities. Whether you are in Dakar or in Marrakech, there is something magical about being under African skies, the sounds, the smells and the colors, they just make me happy.
On the first day my friend and I just chilled at the Riad, it was a long trip so the rest was much needed. We got a lot of helpful information from the Riad owner (Shout out to Mon Riad they gave us exceptional customer service).
Day 2: I was awakened by the noise of the hustle and bustle of the Medina, and it felt good 🙂 We wandered in the Medina, I had loads of fun haggling, I haven’t been home in such a long time and missed that so much. There is an art to it, let me give you some tips: when you see an item you like, no matter how excited or in love you are, do not show it. Then ask for the price, when the seller gives you the price, offer to pay 25% of that price (so if they say $100, you say I can pay $25) then he will say no that is way too low, now you can just negotiate. In my experience most of the time a fair price would be half of what they first told you.
After the Medina, we walked to the main square, Jemaa El Fna where we were accosted by women offering to paint our hands with henna, by a guy with a little monkey on his shoulder offering to take a picture with said monkey. Of course we said no, because nothing is free.
We walked to Le Jardin Secret it is one of the biggest and oldest riads in Marrakech’s Medina. A riad is a traditional home, at the center of which there always is a garden. It is a safe haven separated from the exterior by high walls. Le Jardin Secret was built more than 400 years ago, it is a must see when in Marrakech.
We ended our day with a trip to the spa, Alphais Spa was a very pleasant surprise. It is nestled in the Medina, it is located a few minutes’ walk from the famous Jemaa El Fna square, in a most renowned area of Marrakech traditionally reserved to the beautiful mansions of the Medina . When we knocked on the door, we had no idea that behind was this welcoming, beautiful, relaxing and peaceful place that would enchant our senses. I definitely recommend this spa, for only $49 I had a full body scrub in the hammam, 45 minutes of massage, plus yummy Morrocan tea and sweets. The massage was so relaxing that I fell asleep and snored 🙂
We then had dinner at Dar Es Salam, it is in the heart of the Medina, it has been open since 1952, it is huge, and it has so many different rooms. The food is amazing, they play music from different Moroccan regions and also have belly dancers. Some scenes of the Hitchcock movie “The Man who knew too much” were shot there in 1956. How cool is that?
Day 3: We took a bus trip to Essaouira, formerly known as Mogador, it is a small seaside town on the Atlantic coast. It combines some of the best of what Morocco has to offer: beautiful beaches, succulent food and vibrant culture. It is very tranquil compared to other Moroccan cities.
On our way there we stopped to take pictures of goats climbing argan trees :), we also stopped at a women’s co-op that make argan oil products.
Day 4: We moved to our new riad, Dar Les Cigognes one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The riad faces the royal palace, it is right in the heart of the historical district. It takes its name from the storks that are in the area. In French cigognes mean storks, I enjoyed sitting on the terrace and waiting to see the storks come back in their nest on the high walls of the royal palace. The riad only has 11 rooms, it is charming and made me feel like I was in Les Milles Et Une Nuits. The personnel was so nice, we had fresh flowers and fresh fruit in our rooms every day. The rooms were done morning and night, and every night they put Moroccan sweets on the night stand.
We had dinner for the first time at Jemaa El Fna, at night it transforms completely, there are pop up restaurants everywhere, we had dinner at Aicha’s #1, her food was clean and delicious. We ended the night by having drinks at Kosy Bar.
Day 5: we went to Carre Eden mall for some shopping, it is a nice mall where you will find stores like Zara or H&M. After long hours of shopping we went to Maison De La Photographie this museum in the Medina exhibits photographs that show the history, the customs and Moroccan traditions. There, you can find an impressive collection of photographs taken between the 19th and 20th century. At the end of your visit you can enjoy beautiful views of Marrakech and the Atlas mountains from the terrace. After our visit to the museum, we took a stroll in the souk and bought some kaftans.
Day 6: It was a much needed chill day, we had a drink at La Sultana then we spent the afternoon at La Mamounia these two hotels are definitely the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen. If your wallet permits it, it is a magical place to stay, if you are into the business of saving your coins like me, you can just pay 500 dirhams and use the facilities, have a drink and take some pictures.
Day 7: We visited the Palais Badi, it is an ancient residence of which only ruins remain. It is one of the favorite touristic sites in Marrakech, however it is still a magnificent edifice,it was built in the 15th century. We then went to the Koutoubia mosque, it is located in the Medina, this huge mosque was built in 1120 during the reign of the Almoravides, it is also called the mosque of the booksellers because it has been built on the old souk books. This mosque is not open to non-Muslims.
We then visited the beautiful Jardin Majorelle , it is one of the most visited sites in Morocco. It took French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the Marrakech. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered the Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech. They bought the Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and saved it from falling victim to a real estate project and becoming a hotel complex.
The garden grounds are absolutely magnificent, I really enjoyed the Berber Museum and the Cafe Majorelle.
Day 8: This was unfortunately my last day in Marrakech, I felt like I didn’t even scratch the sufarce, I would have needed at least one more week to see all the places I wanted to see.
On my final day I went to the souk to buy some gifts and visited the beautiful Palais Bahia, Bahia means “The Bright” in Arabic, the palace was built by Vizier Si Mouassa in order to meet the desires of his coquettish women. In the 19th century, this luxurious residence consisted of 160 richly decorated rooms.
I will definitely be going back to Morrocco, I hope to go back to Marrakech first, then I would like to visit ChefChaouen, Casablanca, Fes,Tangiers etc.
My Favorite things in Marrakech:
- The food
- The architecture
- The warmth of the Marrakchis (people of Marrakech)
My least Favorite thing: notice it is singular, because there was really just one thing: the racism of certain people. I was randomly called names while strolling in the Medina like: chocolat, charlotte au chocolat, Obama’s sister etc. I didn’t let it bother me, but I just want you to know that if you are black, especially a woman, it will happen.
Below are some places to see in Marrakech. I hope you enjoy this travel guide/itinerary. Thank you for reading, let me know in the comments if you have questions. XOXO
- You have to stay in a riad, because they are kind of the best thing in Marrakech.
- Do not take photos of the locals without permission, do not take photos of the monkeys and snakes at Jemaa el Fna, it will cost you a lot of money
- Avoid the roaming fees on your cellphone, buy a local sim card, they sell them at the airport or in the city.
- Nothing is ever free, if someone offers their help without being asked, most of the time they want you to give them money.
- Marrakech is a pretty walkable city, but if you decided to take a taxi, it is preferred to ask your driver to use the meter. Sometimes they refuse, if they do, make sure you negotiate the price.
- When shopping, always haggle
- 1 Moroccan dirham= $0.11
- Never have henna done at the square, go to a spa or Henna Art Cafe
- In the summer it gets really hot, make sure you bring a good hat, lots of sunscreen and stay hydrated
- Dress Code: Morocco is a muslim country but it is not too strict, I would still recommend to not dress too short.
- Useful Arabic words:
- Salaam Aleikum= Hello
- Waaleikum Salaam= in response to hello
- Bslama= Goodbye
- Laa= No
- Wakha= OK
- Labess= How are you?
- I am good= Labess Hamdullah
- Mzien= Good
- Zwin= Beautiful
- Affek= Please
- Bchal= How much?
- Kawa= Coffee
- Zukar= Sugar
Monuments to Visit:
- Jardin Majorelle
- Yves Saint Laurent Museum
- Porte Bab Agnaou
- Medersa Ben Youssef
- Fontaine Chrob
- Koutoubia Mosque
- Bahia Palace
- El Badi Palace
- Mouassine Mosque
- Place Jemaa El Fna
- Saadian Tombs
- The Walls of the Medina
- Museum of the Art of Living
- Women’s Museum
- Maison de la Photographie
- Alphais Spa
- Les Bains d’Orient
- Spa O de Rose
- Les Bains D’Orient
- Elite Concept Store
- Cote Bougie
- Max & Jan
- The barrage and the lake Lalla Takerkoust
- Imlil Village
- The desert of Agafay
Restaurants & Cafes:
- Kafe Merstan
- Manzil la Tortue
- Jardins de la Medina
- Cafe Kif Kif
- Cafe Clock
- Zwin Zwin CAfe
- Cafe Arabe