Despite the fact that I’ve been to Marrakech three times in the past year, I am oddly lacking in a decent amount of photos of the city. I suppose that just goes to show how much I was enjoying myself! Marrakech is a great city, there is a huge amount to get involved in, and pretty much anything you’re looking for can be found here. It’s the cultural capital and generally the no.1 place people will visit when travelling to Morocco. It’s easy to get around with a train station in the city centre and petit taxis (cream coloured in Marrakech!) found all over the city.
The new city is great, plenty of shops, restaurants, hotels and something you might see posters for – Jardin Majorelle. It’s the memorial site for Yves Saint-Laurent and the garden provides an array of plants, cacti, trees and flowers displaying vibrant colours. A museum and cafe can also be found within the garden and entry to the site is around five pounds. It’s a lovely and relaxing haven to spend an afternoon away from the busy city.
The main square of Marrakech is quite the opposite experience of the tranquil Jardin Majorelle. Here you’ll find the classic image of Morocco; hustling tradesmen, monkeys, snake charmers, a bustle of traditional restaurants, erratic motorbikes and ambling tourists. It’s good to see but not somewhere I’d recommend spending a lot of time – hectic is an understatement and it’s easy to get caught up in it, especially in the heat! The Koutoubia mosque is also worth a visit, it’s the largest mosque in Marrakech and no building is allowed to be built taller than this, so the mosque can be seen from any elevated point.
As for evening entertainment I strongly recommend taking a visit to Palais Jad Mahal, it’s like no other restaurant I have ever been to! In fact, we were recommended by a local that it’s the one thing we should absolutely do, considering we only had a couple days in Marrakech. He was right! I couldn’t take any photos as the restaurant is dimly lit by candles but the food is delicious, despite service usually being on the slow side. Staff all wear the traditional fes hat and different evening entertainments are provided such as live music and dancers – it’s absolutely worth the priciness for a really fun night. If you go and enjoy the experience it’s also worth checking out Bo & Zin, it’s a more relaxed vibe but a great place for a drink or two. If, after these couple of drinks you decide the night is still young, there are two night clubs you can go to ‘555’ and ‘Theatro’, however I didn’t end up making it to either of these so let me know your views if you try them out!
In terms of accommodation, you can find some fantastic deals in Marrakech. On my first visit we managed to find an airbnb for 11 of us and only around £50 each for 3 nights. The traditional riad was beautiful and clean with a pool and the staff were incredibly welcoming and hospitable. They also made us a Moroccan breakfast each morning for a small extra fee. If you’re using Airbnb make sure that you check the ratings on a listing from other airbnb guests, and make sure that there are plenty of these reviews so you can get an honest idea of the pros and cons of the property. This is honestly the most important thing to look out for, my friend got badly caught out with this on our second trip to Marrakech where there were only about two reviews on the property it turned out to be the opposite of what we had expected!
On our first visit to Marrakech we organised a trip into Ourika Valley in the High Atlas and we all agreed that this was the cheapest yet best thing that we did. We organised for a driver to take us all from the city centre and spent the day hiking to find a waterfall, the scenery along the way throughout the mountains was stunning. We had a traditional moroccan couscous lunch in a river – we literally had our feet in the river whilst we ate! It was a great experience which I definitely recommend, you can kind of get the idea from the picture below (apologies for the bad quality!), the different umbrellas you see are different restaurants set along the river.
Marrakech is a really fun place for a holiday, there are endless amounts of activities to get involved in, the landscape surrounding the city is very diverse. Quad biking is also a very popular activity! I personally much preferred the new medina (city) in comparison to the old medina. I stayed in the old medina on my first two visits and it had a strange feel to it, some areas seemed quite run down and shops etc were all shut, whereas some areas were very modern and seemed out of place. It definitely didn’t have the same authentic, traditional feel as the Fes medina, which is fully functioning as the locals still depend on it for their daily shopping. Having said this, it’s easy to see why Marrakech is Morocco’s number one holiday destination for tourists, and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss out on!