3 days in Marrakech
Needing to escape the cold winter, we booked a 72 hour trip to Marrakech. We did and saw so much in our short time there, so I thought I would share with you all the best bits we discovered in this culturally rich city.
This trip is actually my second time in Marrakech. The first time I went was in 2013 with my sister. I have to admit that going this round with my boyfriend made for a much more pleasant experience while wandering the streets of the Medina.. The rumors are true that a woman or women alone in this city will be the target of many cat calls, stares, and offers for dates. I was MUCH happier to have avoided most of that this time around. Although I never felt unsafe in Marrakech, it just makes it less... creepy? (for lack of a better word)..
But now to the fun stuff... first off Tip: download the offline google maps of Marrakech on your phone and pin the locations of all the places you want to go and then you can use this without using any data. It was a life saver for us, the medina is a MAZE. Somehow we kept wandering back to Jemaa El Fnaa which is the large square in the medina full of vendors, snake charmers, juice stands and more.
What We Saw: There are so many things to do and see in Marrakech. Wandering around the Medina is an event in of itself. The street vendors, mosques, shops and donkey lined streets are a sight to see. We wandered into many places, but one of the most beautiful was the El Bahia Palace (the busy place and the grand courtyard pictured below).
Pictured below is the El Badi Palace. These 16th century ruins are amazing to explore and the rooftop view gives you a stunning outlook over the grounds (and of Marrakech's famous storks).
The Saadian tombs are a personal favorite, although only needing a quick visit this is definitely a spot you have to stop at while in Marrakech. It comes with a resident tortoise so...
Unfortunately for us, two of the places high up on my list were closed for renovation: Madersa Ben Youssef and Dar Si Saïd. If you're headed to Marrakech you should definitely check these two places out. I don't have any photos to share with you obviously, but I had already been to both in 2013 but wanted to see them again because they are so beautiful.
What to buy: Some places you travel don't have many souvenirs to buy, not in Marrakech! There are countless souvenirs you can take with you from your trip. I recommend Moroccan pastries (buy in bulk and bring home with you!!), olives (never liked them until I ate them in Morocco), Argan Oil (edible ones to add into your soups or use on your skin!), traditional Moroccan spices (you're seriously going to want to recreate some of the foods you eat here), handcrafted metal lanterns, woven baskets, wooden animal figurines, and beautiful dishware. The list goes on! But don't forget to barter ( I hate bartering, but its really necessary here) !!
What We Did: My boyfriend's one request was to get out of the city a bit and do something a bit more active, but since we didn't have enough time to head into the Sahara for a desert tour, we found something else to do: a half day quad tour! There are a ton of different companies that offer this experience and we went with Dunes & Desert. The staff was very kind and multi lingual. We took the quad into the rocky desert and around the mountains through tiny villages. Half way we stopped and had traditional Moroccan crêpes (I am obsessed with these) and hot tea (also amazing in Morocco). Some local school kids stopped by and wanted to practice their French. All in all it was a perfect afternoon and lots of fun!
Relaxation: Morocco is well known for its Hammam. This time around we didn't have enough time for both Hamman and a massage so we just went for a massage. Right next to our riad was Heritage Spa. They gave us an excellent massage at a great price and I wish I could've gone there every single day. If you have time, do the hammam massage combo for a truly relaxing experience. I definitely recommend! (Don't forget to book in advance because they book up quick).
What we Ate: Moroccan food might be one of my all time favorite cuisines that I've ever had. First up, we ate at Nomad which had the best view of them all and the food was good but not our favorite of the bunch. Our favorite was La Terrasse des Epices. This place had the best food, a wonderful terrace and a great atmosphere. If we had more time we would've come back here for sure. I recommend the vegetable couscous. Another delicious stop was Dar Cherifa. It was in a stunning candlelit courtyard and very romantic for dinner. They also have a rooftop for dining in warmer seasons. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of Dar Cherifa but take a look above at the other two (top row is Nomad, bottom is Terrasse des Epices). We also ate at our riad, which you can check out in my previous blog post.