Marrakech is one of the largest cities in Morocco, located on the northwest corner of Africa and the most popular for travelers. Built during the Berber empire, Marrakech is 1 of 4 former Imperial cities (ruled by Berber empire) and covered in vibrant dusty pink hues. The city is made up of Medina-the old city-and the new city, which is the newer, residential side of town. A huge melting pot for all types of food and travelers, an enormous economic center and thriving in culture, this is one city you need to put on your bucket list.
The airport in Marrakech is not far from the city center; a taxi ride will take roughly 30 minutes. These taxi rides will run you about 20 USD, be sure to always negotiate taxi fares before entering the cab for your ride. There are trains that run every 20 or so minutes from the airport directly to the Djemaa El-Fna square in the old city. This square can be considered the center of The currency in Morocco is Dirhams, but many will accept Euros all around Marrakech. Be sure to carry enough cash with you for the days food and activities, ATMs are not as easy to come by as you’d think and many places won’t accept card or prefer cash payments. I’ve put together a list of some must do’s in the beautiful red city, here they are:
If you want to go back home with tons of great souvenirs, this is the place to get them. The square is filled with thousands of people at any given time and has endless stores and stands where you can find jewelry, spices, clothing, accessories, etc. If you know how to bargain you can leave with quite a few treats for a low price. Do beware of hagglers while in the square and be aware of your surroundings.
Le Jardin Majorelle
This garden is a hidden Gem in Marrakech. If you didn’t already know about it or stumble across it while on a random street in the city, you could definitely miss the opportunity to walk through this stunning garden. Bought By Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé to stop it from being turned into a hotel, not an inch of the garden lacks mesmerizing color alongside plants from all regions of the world including some of my favorites; bamboo and a water lily pool! Yes. Each section tells a story, with enchanting trees and exotic flowers, you will love your time here.
Souks can be found in the heart of Marrakech and they are the thriving festive markets of the old city, Medina. You can find anything from mint to leather goods or fine rugs here. It is easy to wander into the souks and spend hours smelling, buying and tasting. This is a great way to submerge into the Moroccan culture. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon a vendor inside of a temple on a special day, like a Berber holiday, do see what he has to offer. This wasn’t where we expected to find some of the delicate items we were looking for but it was the perfect de tour. Fair bargaining is a part of the selling culture in Morocco so don’t be afraid to speak up about what you are and aren’t ready to spend, always start at half of the amount you want to spend and then come to a happy medium.
If you want to incorporate a beach day into the hustle and bustle of busy Marrakech, it most definitely can be done. Essaouria is a beach town just 2 hours outside of Marrakech, check with your Riad about day trips to Essaouria and experience Morocco’s most popular beach town on the Atlantic coast. Great restaurants, shops and perfect weather make this town a perfect addition to your itinerary.
Whichever way you choose to experience the desert while in Marrakech, make sure you get it done. Making it to the center of the desert can take at least half a day of travel there and back. There are closer tours to Marrakech that are held right where the desert begins on the outskirts of the city. Whether you explore it by ATV, Camel or foot, it will be more than memorable. Overnight trips and camping experiences can take more than 16 hours of travel to and from Marrakech, inquire about these solely through your riad or in advance through the travel company used.
Almost all of the architecture you will see in Marrakech will be mesmerizing; this palace in particular covers 2 acres of land and captures the essence of Moroccan style with its intricate details and vibrant palette. It is located almost exactly in the center of Marrakech. Expect to spend a few hours here engulfed in its beauty. There are so many other great things to explore in the beautiful red city; this list highlighted my favorites. Look out for my next post highlighting everything you need to know before traveling to Morocco!