Marrakech is known for a few things: beautiful architecture, delicious mint tea, rugs rugs rugs, that classic pink thats painted all over the city, and so much more. We traveled to the Red City fell in love with it. All the beauty we experienced first hand is something we'll never forget.
We thought we'd put together some of our tips for traveling there, where to go, and other good things to know before booking your one way ticket 😉.
Quick tips for Marrakech:
-Dress for heat but also dress more conservatively in respect for the culture. Light and loose clothing that covers shoulders and also knees, and bring a longer scarf just in case.
-Don't believe the rumors, there is wine in Marrakech- you'll just have to hunt around for it a bit. You will find wine and cocktails in certain restaurants, but found that the mocktails that they had to offer were delicious and refreshing especially after a day out in the sun.
-Be mindful of taking photos of people while out in the city. Many people prefer to not have their photo taken, and others will ask for payment afterwards.
-Go to the souks prepared! Time goes by quick when you're looking at and buying beautiful things, before you know it you'll be a couple hours in and maybe even a few miles away from your riad. If you get lost, don't worry-- it's a fun experience.
-People are just as friendly here as anywhere else, we were warned and cautioned by some to be weary especially traveling during Ramadan, but we found that most everyone was generally pleasant and kind. We followed advice you would take anywhere else: keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. Although we were not aggressively hassled, we were still foreigners in a foreign land and women at that- keep walking if someone is getting too excitable and take directions only from trusted guides. A polite shake of the head no seems to do just fine when approached by sellers on the street.
-Comfy walking shoes, bottled water, sunglasses, allergy medicine, and sunscreen were some everyday necessities.
Eating in the city:
We ate at sooo many delicious places in Marrakech, and we barely scratched the surface. There's street food galore, fresh juices everywhere, and great restaurants all around. We drank our weight in fresh juices, mint tea, and virgin mojitos (the perfect drink for when you're out in the souks). Bread was EVERYWHERE and we had a lot of Ma'akouda-- fried potatoes (need I say more, GET THEM). Also a note here to say you have to get a Moroccan chicken pastilla, just trust us.
Where to eat:
Nomad because the hype is real, it's delicious*
El Fenn for rooftop views and gray rosé*
Le Jardin* for a quick bite after exploring the secret garden (right around the corner!)
Cafe Des Espices for juice and lunch while out in the market
Le Salama, belly dancing after hours and a good happy hour!
Bazaar Cafe*, tapas baby (and lots of lounging kitties too)
*These places usually need a reservation, because we went in during a slow time of the year we had no problem getting seated, but call ahead just incase.
Must see's of the city:
The YSL museum is an absolute must-see. Seeing past pieces, original sketches, and beautiful costume jewelry was such a treat in the city that inspired Yves Saint Laurent so much.
Majorelle Garden was a sight for green lovers. The grounds are sprawling with lively plants and also hosts two villa houses that have become the Islamic Art Museum and the other the Berber Museum.
*We recommend buying tickets for both the YSL museum and the Majorelle Garden at the same time to avoid waiting in two lines.
Le Jardin Secret was a relaxing pit stop after a day of walking. While you walk the gardens you also can explore beautiful buildings and see beautiful examples of Islamic art and architecture. The smell of the lavender garden is out of this world.
Jemma el-Fnna is an outdoor market and food court of the city center. You'll find street vendors, small shops, street food, and restaurants in every direction. It is also considered a center point of the area (which is helpful if you're ever lost).
Lil extra sea side get away:
While staying at your riad, it may be suggested to go on an excursion or two. We decided to take a day trip to Essaouira a sleepy seaside town about two hours away from Marrakech. The city has Portuguese, French, and Berber influences, making for a bright and vibrant city with maze-like streets. Relaxing is the name of the game if you decide to make a day trip out. We walked up and down alley ways of the medina, enjoyed lunch with beautiful ocean views, hung out by the port to see the hustle of the fish market, and enjoyed the fresh ocean air. Along the way we stopped to check out Argan nut eating goats (super cute), and see how Argan oil is made (which is way more tedious than expected!).
If you're looking for a break from the business of Marrakech, consider taking a stroll through Essaouira.
Walk the city, keep hydrated, eat the food, and ENJOY!
Photos by Marielle V Chua