I am still reeling from my trip to Marrakech last week, it was absolutely amazing! I decided to do a blog post on everything we did and saw, so that when you book your trip to Marrakech (which you need to do ASAP) you’ll know exactly what to do, where to eat, and where to stay!
We stayed in the Medina, which is the old quarter of Marrakech, full of souks (markets), beautiful mosques, palaces and so much more. Our riad, Riad Dar Alfarah, which is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard, but about a ten minute walk from Jemaa El Fna, the main square in the Medina. We arrived to Riad Dar Alfarah on Sunday midday and, after having just got a taxi from the airport, and been taken from a very busy road down some some quieter back streets, we were welcomed into the amazing tranquillity of where we’d be staying for the next few nights. It’s truly an oasis, I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful! We had breakfast in the courtyard every morning and the staff were really really lovely and polite, always smiling, and the lovely cleaning ladies put up with our rooftop yoga every morning! The room was spacious, the bed comfortable and cleaned every day. I also liked that our riad was away from the hustle and bustle, I saw many riads opening onto very busy streets with markets right outside, but our riad was tucked away and it was so nice to come back to every evening. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay then check this riad out! You can find info on Riad Dar Alfarah here.
What We Got Up To
Sabi, my travel buddy (check her website & IG), had already been to Marrakech a few years ago, so had an idea of what we should do. On our first day after chilling for a bit at the riad and eating some lunch, we made our way from the riad to Jemaa El Fna, the big square. This place is absolutely buzzing, people selling all sorts, monkeys, snake charmers, women selling henna, a gazillion orange juice stands… it’s crazy but such an amazing experience! We walked around the souks and browsed some of the stalls, you can find absolutely anything in those stalls, pashminas, silverware, jewellery, souvenirs, paintings… so many thing! My two favourite things I bought there were a Moroccan tea pot I bought for myself, and these little Moroccan mirrors that I got for a few of my friends. After this we had a sit down in a root top café called Café De France, the views were insane, seeing the craziness of the Square and being able to see all of the medina whilst sipping on a smoothie… bliss.
On our second day we had a mini lie in and then went and did some yoga on the roof top terrace, after this we ventured out onto the back streets and went for a mini photoshoot, where we attracted a fan club of 10 year old boys, some of whom we spotted practicing handstands after they saw our yoga, Sabi got them to get in a photo with her and it’s my favourite souvenir from the trip! After lunch we went to the Jardin Majorelle which is an incredibly beautiful garden and museum open to the public. It was bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980 to stop it from being turned into a hotel complex. It’s full of succulents (any bloggers dream) and amazing touches of cobalt blue and bright yellow, it’s 100% worth a visit! On our second evening we went back into the heart of the Medina and after wondering around the souks again we stopped for dinner in a restaurant on the square.
On our last full day we went into the new town, aka Gueliz and had a wonder round, before venturing to the Four Seasons Marrakech for an afternoon of chill time. In the evening we went to an amazing restaurant called Comptoir Darna in Hivernage, another quarter in the modern part of the city, where we ate, drank local wine and watched a belly dance show! There was so much more that we could have done!
The food was incredible, period. All the new spices and new flavours, it made me so happy (and my belly too!). Of all the places we ate at, here are some of the best: Café Clock, for an urban vibe and amazing Falafel in the middle of the Medina, Nomad for a modern take on Moroccan classics (and in Sabi’s opinion the best carrots she’s ever tasted), as well as insane views on their roof top, Kechmara for a contemporary Parisian vibe in Gueliz, and Comptoir Darna for the best salmon you’ll ever have and an absolutely incredible atmosphere.
What to Wear
Prior to our trip I had a mini panic attack as I was packing and I realised I had barely any t-shirts that would be appropriate for 25+ heat (I am pale and British lest we forget), and I was really keen to pack appropriate clothing so as to reduce any unwanted attention. My advice to you, no short shorts, no mini-skirts, shoulders are fine, I probably wouldn’t have any cleavage out in the medina, and skin tight stuff might bring you some unwelcome comments. We mainly wore vest tops, loose trousers/culottes, sandals or trainers, sometimes yoga leggings with longer tops, and I always had a pashmina on me to cover my shoulders if I felt it was necessary. We got a fair bit of attention, but I think it was more that we were two western girls who are attractive and were by themselves, I never felt uncomfortable in danger in any moment. When you’re in the riad you can of course wear pretty much whatever you like and out of the Medina the vibe is very different, very modern and metropolitan.
I took £200 with me for four days as money for meals, outings and souvenirs. I could have spent way less but our riad was a steal at just £84 each (!!!) and flights with EasyJet were £50 return from London, so I was happy to spend a bit more. Food can be either expensive or cheap, depending on where you go, we ate for £15 one night (for both of us) and £90 the next.
I’ve been to Morocco before and I am lucky that I have travelled to a fair few places with a different culture to us here in the west. I have heard from a few people that they’ve heard Marrakech is dangerous and unsafe. I would honestly say it’s no different to a Spanish city or even London. People tend to let their guard down on holiday and that’s usually when things that can be deemed ‘dangerous’ take place. Just be sensible, keep an eye on your stuff, don’t draw too much attention, but have a good time and you’ll be fine. As I said earlier, I never felt unsafe or in danger at all.
Would I Go Again?
Bah Oui ! I loved it, and will 100% be going again! Sabi and I are already planning our next trip… there was so much we didn’t get to see!
- Get your GCSE French book out – French is one of the main spoken languages in Morocco, and many people speak it in Marrakech. Most people you’ll encounter will speak English too, but it’s always nice to go into a shop or restaurant saying ‘bonjour’
- Take spare £ and € with you (if you have them) – they may come in handy, many places accept Euros and some places will take British Pounds.