In the West, you have watches.
Here, in Morrocco, we have the time.
Today, we will share with you all the best places to visit in Marrakech! We have been a first time to Marrakech last year and we totally fell in love with the culture, the people, the architecture, the warm ambiance and the food. Of course, we decided to go back this year for our first 2019 trip!
Last time we mainly stayed at riads in the Medina and this time we wanted to discover more of Marrakech. That’s why we planned a 7 days trip, with an excursion to the desert and we decided to visit more typical places and have more authentic experiences. Indeed, the Moroccan culture is amazing and has so much to give! When traveling we love the contact with locals and discovering the real culture of a country and not only the tourist’s attractions. We had an amazing week, and we left Morocco full of memories. In this post, we will share with you all our favorites experiences, the best places to visit in Marrakech, the best restaurants, and all the most beautiful and Instagram worthy hotels/riads and of course all our tips and tricks to have enhanced your experience! Let’s go!
WHEN TO VISIT MARRAKECH?
The best time of the year to visit Marrakech is during automn (September-November) and spring (March-June). It’s a little bit cold between October/February and too hot between July/September. We decided to visit Marrakech in February the first time and in January for the second time because we wanted to escape the winter in France. The weather was great (25°C during the day) but a little bit cold on the morning and the night.
HOW TO MOVE AROUND IN MARRAKECH?
There are several ways to move around in Marrakech:
By taxi: take a taxi a great way to move around if you have a big distance to do. All the prices are negotiable in Marrakech but the approximate price from the airport to the Medina is around 200dh (20$). Also, in the medina there is a fixed price for all the moves who is at 50dh (5$) per way.
By walking: if it’s a short way, it’s better to walk. You will save your money and you can discover the city!
By tuk tuk: you can also take a tuk tuk, that will be cheaper and you will help a disabled person. So that’s a great way to move around but it is possible only in the medina.
Please don’t ride a horse caleche, the horses are not treated well!
WHAT PLACES TO VISIT?
The souks are amazing to visit, there are many traditional and local shops: local spicies, pretty lights, argan oil, carpets, traditional bred or potteries. You can walk into the souks to just feel the ambiance and watch the pretty shops! You can start your itinerary from the Jemaa el Fna place because it’s the entrance of the souks. Also, if you wish to buy something, you can negotiate absolutely everything!
The Badi palace is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech! This palace is made of the ruins of the ancient palace. The “Marrakech du rire”, which is a famous humour show, is filmed there. To enter there, you can count 2$ per person.
THE MAJORELLE GARDEN
This garden was created by Majorelle and was saved by YSL from a building construction. This garden, made of cactus and blue walls is really pretty to see. It’s really relaxing and original. To enter you can count 7$ per person. It’s better to visit this place on the morning because in the afternoon there are many tourists.
This hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. The architecture and the gardens are to die for! However, if you can’t afford to stay there (more than 500$ per night), you can just visit the hotel between 11 pm and 6 pm for free. Last year, we could take a “day pass” (80$ per person) to spend the day there, enjoying the pool and have lunch. But they have removed the pass. Now they have a “détente pass” more expensive (150$ per person).
MADERSA BEN YOUSSEF
This ancient school is also a must to visit in Marrakech! Because of the beautiful architecture and the mosaics. But unfortunately this place is closed until 2020 because of renovations. So if you want to visit this place you will have to wait a little bit!
JEMAA EL FNA PLACE
This place is the biggest and the principal place in Marrakech. It is close to the beautiful Koutoubia mosque. Also, there are many shops on this place: fruits, fresh juices, vegetables, spicies, plants… And it’s also the entry to the souks. Little minus: they are monkeys unchained to entertains tourists, please don’t promote this!
WHAT ARE THE BEST EXPERIENCES TO DO?
VISIT THE DESERT
This time, we wanted absolutely to visit the desert, so that’s we did! There is the entry of the desert at only 45min driving from Marrakech. This is where we stayed, in the Agafay desert at the Scarabeo camp. We had an amazing and authentic experience there. When we arrived at the camp, we felt lost in the middle of the desert, there were only sand dunes and tents. The landscape was straight out of a movie! Like Indiana Jones! It was to die for! After that, we decided to move around and explore this place and we found amazing point of views and wild places. We had the privilege to admire nature in its wildest side! We have even seen goats and camels!
Next, we have watched one of the most incredible sunsets of our life on the dunes. We watched the sky turned pink and purple with the moon, it was insanely beautiful. Also, we have spent an amazing time around the fire with the other people, singing and playing guitar together, the ambiance was really warm! Then, we had an amazing romantic dinner with candles and traditional Moroccan food. To ended this perfect day, we watched the stars in the sky, it was incredibly beautiful. The Moroccan desert is a great place for stargazing. We have ended the night by sleeping in our tent by the fire. It was an amazing and authentic experience.
SLEEP IN A RIAD
Sleep in a riad is also a great experience! The riads in Marrakech are the traditional houses. The term ‘riad’ means garden but it is applied to town houses built round a central courtyard. Technically it should have some plants in four planting beds and a central fountain. We have been to the riad Yasmin, the riad BE and the riad La Sultana. La Sultana is composed by 5 riads with 5 amazing atmospheres. It was the most beautiful riad where we have been.
HAVE A MOROCCAN MASSAGE
We had an amazing experience at La Sultana. We went there for a half day and we had an amazing spa treatment. First, a royal Moroccan Hammam. It’s a 30min hammam followed by a scrub treatment. After that, you will have really soft skin! Then, we had an amazing typical Moroccan back massage. We had to choose between 4 oils: argan, argan+verveine, argan+orange fleur or argan+Ilang Ilang. It was so relaxing!
WHERE TO EAT MOROCCAN FOOD ?
This hotel has an amazing gastronomic restaurant on the rooftop where you can eat and admire the view on the city, the Kasbah mosque and the Saadians tombs. The food is so refined and the associations of flavors are just exceptional. It was honestly our favorite restaurant in Marrakech. We tried the vegetarian couscous and the beetroots salad with citrus. Also, the staff is really kind and they have many vegetarian choices.
As La Sultana, this riad has an amazing rooftop, full of cute Instagram worthy corners! We tried the unique menu with Moroccan salads (aubergines, zucchinis, cucumbers, peppers) and the vegetarian tagine. We finished the meal with a Moroccan tea and a few traditional pastries. It was delicious! And we loved discovering typical Moroccan food. The price per person is around 350dh (35$).
Also, we had a lunch at the nomad. It is a cute restaurant located in the souks, they have a beautiful rooftop with a view on the city. The meals are originals and are Moroccan/European mixed. We loved the food and the decoration of the rooftop. Plus: they have a view on the souks!
This restaurant is one of our ABSOLUTE favorites in Marrakech! However, it’s hard to find the entrance because it is a little door hidden in the souks! You will find it on the street between the Jemaa el Fnaa place and the Bahia Palace. The food is a mix between Moroccan and European. We have tried the pasta, the soup and the pizzeta and their homemade strawberry cake and it was delicious!
WHERE TO STAY?
We stayed 3 nights at this beautiful palace located really close to the medina (only 2 kilometers) and we had an amazing stay. It was really well located to visit the city. Also, the suites are beautifully decorated with a typical Moroccan decoration and there was a view on the gardens and the main pool. There are also several beautiful traditional and colorful villas: Berbere, Persian or Romane villas.
FAIRMONT ROYAL PALM
This 5 stars palace is located in the rural zone in the south of Marrakech, so it’s really quiet. The decoration is the perfect mix between Moroccan and modern decoration. It’s really classy. The suites are simply beautiful, the bed was so comfy. The breakfast was amazing too, there was everything we needed. They have also an amazing golf, a spa, a fitness park, and several restaurants.
TIPS AND TRICKS!
Never follow someone when you are lost in the medina! They will help you to find you way and ask you 20 or 30$! Usually, they are also trying to bring you to their friend’s shops to make you buy something. You can upload the “maps me” application (App Store and Android to find your way without internet. Indeed, it’s an offline application.
Moreover, if someone tell you : “hey, don’t go there, there is the mosque, only muslims people can go there”. In effect, the no muslins people can’t go inside the mosque, but you can of course walk in front of a mosque. Don’t listen and continue your way.
Also, you should avoid eating meat, the meat are not so fresh there and there are many vegetarian options in the restaurants.
Be careful in the souks, don’t enter in a shop if you’re not ready to buy something! When you get into a shop they won’t let you leave without buying lol
Don’t use the transports arranged by hotels, it would be more expensive. Try to go out of the hotel and negotiate a better rate! Also, you can discuss with the Moroccan taxis and all the Moroccan people you will meet, they are really friendly. So you will learn many about the Moroccan culture.
Also, you can change your money at the airport there is an exchange office. And to have internet everywhere in Marrakech, you can buy a SIM card at the airport for 10$ (4G 10GO available everywhere).
That’s it! We hope this post will be helpful to plan your trip to Marrakech! We love sharing with you all our experiences my travel family! 😉 If you have any question feel free to comment! Have you seen all our photos of the trip? If no, you can see all of them on Instagram! Have a great day! xxx