Marrakech, one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the world and an absolute must visit when visiting North Africa’s Morocco. The ‘red city’ greets visitors with its earthy terracotta hues that are complemented by intricate geometric pattens. The Lively souks draw in the most tentative of visitors with their intoxicating scents, exotic spices, artisan craftsmen and street food vendors that serve up the finest of Moroccos incredible cuisine.
How to get to Marrakech
The majority of visitors arrive in the city at Marrakech Menara airport which is the only local airport. It is a 20 minute drive from to the city centre via your own private transfer or taxi. Alternatively, you can catch the bus (line 19) which operates every 10 minutes from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm everyday which can be found just outside the terminal exit.
When to visit Marrakech
Marrakech is beautiful and stays warm year round. The best months to visit are April to May and September as these months aren’t scorching in addition to not being swarmed by tourists. However, these periods still allow you to enjoy the warmth and enjoy being outdoors to soak up the atmosphere.
The highlights: What to see and do in Marrakech
Explore the souks
There is a never ending list of labyrinth liken souks found in all over the city, the most popular is called ‘Summien’ that is found in the heart of the Medina. From colourful spices, to geometric rugs, golden lanterns and hand painted ceramics, there is is a plethora of items to be discovered down each alleyway and crevice. Some of the merchants will request (demand) you pay a small fee for a photo of their stunning displays, others will encourage you to take photos in exchange of tagging their business on social media such as instagram. Just be mindful before whipping that camera out as they can be extremely persistent.
Owned by no other than Yves Saint Laurent, ‘Jardin Majorelle’ is unsurprisingly breathtakingly beautiful. It boasts stunning contrasts of deep blue and yellow that the intricate Moroccan style building beholds and is surrounded by cacti and pops of colourful hues from seasonal blooms. This place is a must visit. The venue can become very busy with long lines so I recommend aiming for 8am to avoid this. You also are required to purchase a ticket for entry.
Ben Youssef Medersa
The 20th century mosque is open to all and can be found north of the Medina. Originally a college housing 900 students in its heyday. The 50 dirham entry fee allows you access to the entirety of the stunning Islamic building. Tiled in pink and blue geometric patterns, you can explore all the rooms, halls and pool that the mosque has to offer. If you’re wanting to snap a photo of this picturesque building, opt for early morning as it does become busy full of tourists throughout the day.
Located south east of the Medina, Bahia palace delights the eye with its entrancing gardens and Moorish architecture that show cases incredible detail in every room, garden and crevice of this timeless masterpiece. The palace was built in the latter of the 1800s by Si Musa, grand vizier of Alaouite sultan Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman and finished in 1900 by his son Si Ba Ahmed ibn Musa, grand vizier of Sultan Moulay Abdelaziz.
It costs 75 dirham entry fee which allows you access to tour independently or join a guided tour at no extra charge.
The world famous square neighbours the medinas’ souks and is engulfed by terracotta clad buildings that play host to boujee cafes and restaurants. Although confronting due to the hectic rumblings of traders and entertainers, the square plays home to countless fresh juice vendors, live entertainment and at night, the worlds biggest barbecue whose scent wafts through the whole city.
Although fantastic for entertainment, there is a handful of things to be very vigilant of; pick pocketing and harassment is rife and animal exploitation is freely on show. Make sure you keep your valuables well hidden and keep your wits about you. I cannot stress enough that you need to be assertive when saying no – this area of the city is notorious for traders forcing henna and jewellery on to you and demanding payment. As adorable as the monkey appears, don’t pat them.
Where to eat and drink in Marrakech
Located just 3 minutes walk from Ben Yousef, this rooftop cafe boasts scenic views of the city skyline and iconic mosques where you can take in the sound of the call to prayers and singing sound through the city.
Café des Épices
Dubbing itself as Marrakech’s “best restaurant” I had high expectations and can happily say, it’s definitely up there. Located centrally in the Medina, overlooking the bustling markets and terracotta tones from the architecture, this restaurant makes the perfect environment to soak in the atmosphere without the chaos. The food exceptional without a compromise in quality. From a traditional Moroccan breakfast to a mouth watering tagine for dinner, this is the place to go.
Tucked out of the way of the busy and chaotic Medina and souk is NOMAD. Here they fuse traditional Moroccan with contemporary yet genius twists on their dishes. The restaurant itself is unassuming, but as you walk up the twisting stairs every level offers a more luxurious feeling and escape from the hustle beneath. It can get busy here, so plan to make a reservation before arrival for prime seating and views of the city.
If you’re wanting to move away from the casual restaurants and cafes to something a little more special and fancy, than this is the place to go. You can expect traditional Moroccan, Lebanese and Mediterranean dishes with a contemporary twist. The interior decor is candle lit, highlighting the geometric patterned furniture and red walls. Perfect for a date night or for the lone traveller wanting to treat themselves.
There is a stall to be seen everywhere you go in Marrakech. From the chaotic souks to the open squares, market stalls line up together offering anything from freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and fruits to the best couscous you will ever taste.
Where to stay in Marrakech
Riad Baja – Budget
If you’re looking for some cosy Marrakech accomodation without breaking the bank, look no further! You can still experience the bucket list moment of staying in a riad without compromising on your budget. The classical Moroccan furnishings and idyllic location of a few minutes walk from the train station, this is perfect for backpackers and quick moving travellers.
Riad star – Mid range
Located just minutes from Ben Yousef, this riad was the former home of French American jazz superstar, Josephine Baker. The centrally located plunge pool sits in an intimate central room that allows you to cool down after sitting out on the scenic levelled rooftop. There is no wonder Gordon Ramsay chooses this as his residence to cook in whenever visiting Marrakech.
Riad Palais Callipau – Mid range
Located in the heart of the Medina in the Casbah district, this accomodation provides quintessential Moroccan style in a contemporary way. From an indoor swimming pool to its very own massage room, this is a quiet haven to escape the bustle of Marrakech.
La Mamounia – Luxury
This former royal estate is now available to stay in. Boasting luxurious classical decor, four restaurants, a world famous spa and endless experiences, there is no wonder that people such as Winston Churchill have visited from all over the world to enjoys the hotels magical and entrancing ambiance.
Jaal Riad Resort – Luxury
The quintessentially Moroccan themed resort is a Riad on a large scale. Boasting vivid Moroccan architecture, bright mosaics and a gigantic pool that centrepieces the outdoor area, this is the place to go if you’re wanting to escape the bustle of the city.
I’m an Australian blogger based in Central West NSW who has spent the last few years exploring the four corners of the globe, living as an expat and falling in love with the world just a little bit more everyday. Here you can find my tips, guides and experiences to help inspire you for your next trip!
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