Its been a year since Jamie and I went to Morocco so here is my throwback post sharing our experience in Marrakesh
Marrakesh has two parts the old town (the medina) and the new town, we stayed in the Medina in a beautiful Riad we found on Air Bnb. Every morning we were greeted with a traditional Moroccan breakfast and our host would give us tips on surviving the souks and ideas of places we should visit.
We visited Marrakesh during Ramadan a time considered to be low season, however it was the hottest time of the year, over 40 degrees and the souks were hot, crowded and humid. Getting lost in the mazes was both frustrating and tiring but walking through doorways and courtyards you could find yourself in a cool spot of shade being offered mint tea.
The souks are the heart of the Medina and a must-see when you’re visiting the city. If you don’t plan on shopping for leather, tea or spices, the souks are still a crazy experience. There are motorbikes, people and cars trying to squeeze down the smallest alleyways and lots of cats! It is a unique atmosphere that heightens your sense; the smells of tea and donkeys, the sticky heat, and the loud motorbikes and stall owners shouting at nearby tourists.
We decided to purchase a rug and we discovered that as well as haggling, Moroccans like to trade. So alongside a small amount of money we traded a pack of cigarettes and some sunglasses for a lovely berber rug. Both parties were extremely pleased with the trade, I even got a hug off the stall-owner because he was so grateful!
Navigating through the souks is tough challenge, it is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of concrete walls as you cannot depend on the Moroccan signposts, and locals who want to “help” (ask for money for awful directions that then lead you to the wrong place)
“Follow this road , turn left, head towards the alleyway then walk past the tourism shop and you will be greeted with a road, turn right and you will be in Jemaa el Fna square”
It took hours to reach the main square,even with a map! You almost feel like a real-life Hansel and Gretal, wanting to leave trails of breadcrumbs behind you to avoid becoming totally disorientated.
The Marjorelle gardens were made famous by Yves St Laurent and without a doubt was my favourite place in Marrakesh. Tranquil, peaceful and visually stunning these gardens are picturesque. The bright colours and surrounding cacti took my breath away.
If you are going to Morocco it is definitely worth trekking up to the Atlas Mountains, we organised a car to take us and even though the trip was roughly two hours in the 40 degree heat, the Ouzoud falls are just stunning. We had the chance to go swimming in the pools, had lunch with the locals and even fed some monkeys! I think this was Jamie’s holiday highlight.
Our last day was spent at a beautiful farmhouse just outside the towns not far from the airport. We relaxed by the pool, met this cute chocolate Labrador puppy and also had a private lunch (chicken tagine) in the olive gardens. The quiet poolside was a far cry from the craziness of the Medina and was definitely the best way to spend our last day.
Marrakesh is a beautiful place, the bright colours, the lush greenery and gardens that thriving in the souring heat. A truly fascinating place where you can find a tiny slice of peace in a Riad or courtyard among the craziness that is outside.
Things to do in Marrakesh:
- Buy some tea, spices or leather handbags
- Visit the Koutoubia Mosque, although it’s not open to those that are not Muslim, the building itself it magnificent.
- Stay in a Riad,
- Try Moroccan mint tea and eat a traditional tagine.
- Visit Museum of Marrakech.
- Visit the Atlas Mountains
- There is plenty of temples and muesuems so you won’t be short of culture.
- Go to a hammam and get scrubbed down
- Go see an exhibition at the Maison de la Photographie.
- Visit the Jardin Majorelle
- Find a rooftop in the square to spot the storks