Like stepping in to the tales of Arabian nights – all the colors, souks, the medina and all the people – Marrakech is simply amazing.
We decided to take a holiday from our holiday and Marrakech is a city we’ve always been talking about. The boho vibe, all the markets, the tiles….and everything was like we expected. We spend three nights at a riad – Riad al Faras – it’s like a bed and breakfast Morocco style. The rooms are located around an inside garden, where there is also a little swimming pool and a lot of plants and lights to make a perfect and cozy atmosphere. Riad al Faras is in a great location, not too far from the big square and from the rest of the most touristic locations. We found this riad via Airbnb and we warmly recommend it! 🙂
Riad al Faras:
- The square – Jemaa el Fna
Probably the first place you are going to visit in Marrakech, because it looks like all mainly roads leads to that square. Commercial and super touristic, our suggestion is to buy things and eat somewhere else, because here the prices are higher and quality lower…like all other touristic places in the world. It’s really chaotic to walk through here, a lot of people, snake charmers…avoid them, horrifying abuse of monkeys 😦 (don’t take pics with them!!), henna tattoo makers etc.
The most charming thing with this square is during evening, when there is a lot of “music circles”. It looked like who had the better music had a bigger circle of people around them and probably more respect in the square by the musicians.
Another fact about the square is that you will see a huge fog of smoke due to the grills during evening and night. We didn’t eat there because we wanted to avoid the square’s restaurants, but it smelled really good! We had a flashback to the streetfood of Palermo.
At the edge of the square there is a big tower, like the Big Ben of Marrakech. It’s called Koutoubia Mosque – a mosque. Beautiful both during day and night!
Everywhere there are souks. It looks like Moroccans sells everything all day long. What mostly you are going to find around is; ceramics, lanterns, textiles, leather puffs and accessories, spices and the famous Moroccan ruggs.
We loved the style of it, but not always the prices are affordable. One rule of Morocco souks is to haggle. They are going to give you a start price, but always choose at least half of that price and don’t back down. Eventually you are going to meet half way and get a better deal. Once we decided not to be interested in a product so we went away and the seller followed us offering an even lower price.
One store we want to recommend is Al Matjar ( http://www.almatjarmarrakech.com ), where we bought two pillows for a good price. in this store you can’t haggle though.
When you are waking on the road of the souks be careful! The roads are small and full of other people, bicycles, donkeys, horses and scoters.
We have some recommendations for really good Moroccan food – the classic food here is Tajine and couscous. And always after food, and in the afternoon – mint tea!
We really liked Le Jardin, ( http://www.lejardinmarrakech.com ), a boho style of restaurant with plants etc inside. Also close to our riad is an adorable restaurant called Café des épices, ( http://www.cafedesepices.ma ), also this a boho heaven…unfortunately we didn’t book a table here – this is a really popular spot so to be able to eat you have too pre book! Nomad, ( http://www.nomadmarrakech.com ), is another good one, with both a terrace to eat on and tables inside. All these three places are part of a concern with four restaurants, the fourth is name +61, but it’s located a bit outside the center so we didn’t go there.
Café kif-kif is another restaurant we highly recommend, not so far from the big square, in front of the high tower of the mosque. Three floors, with a terrace and a speechless view, especially during evening. The place is managed by a french man, but serves traditional food. If it’s full be prepared to wait a while before you get your food, since it’s three floors + terrace it’s kind of busy.
Cuisine de Terroir could be an everyday choice, because of their traditional food and lovely service. Also not pricy! Located just behind the big square, not far from riad al Faras.
- The hotels
Living in Marrakech we suggest a riad, because it gives another vibe and feeling. There are however two luxury hotels you just have to visit!
La Mamounia Marrakech … wow!
All instagrammers dream, with a big mosaic tile hall. It’s magnificent. Beyond words how beautiful and perfect this is!
Royal Mansour Marrakech
Also this hotel has got a wow factor, with it’s beautiful white entrance, the beautiful white spa and the beautiful gardens to get around the complex.
- Le Jardin Majorelle
Another touristic, must do place, and aslo this one a photogenic dream! A botanical and artistic garden in the middle of the city. In the garden there is also a YSL store and the YSL museum is right beside this amazing place. You can buy entry tickets to both or just one or the other. This time we did not go to the museum, we just had an amazing morning walk around the trees, the beautiful and colorful buildings inside the garden – in the past this was the mansion of Yves Saint Laurent since he loved Marrakech. Money worth spent! The queue where not catastrophically long either.
YSL store + museum and outside:
- Other nice locations
If you have time you can alsto visit the ruins of the old palace – Palais el Badi. It’s from the 1500, much decoration of Italian marble and gold from the Sahara area. We payed to get in but we think it was money well spent.
If you are interested in carpets and tiles, we suggest you to go to the carpet museum. Beautiful hand made carpets and the mosaic tiles….!! If you love tiles Marrakech is a good city for you… it’s tiles everywhere, broken pieces or bigger work, like for example the tile sinks that are around the city here and there.
pics from the museum and random street tiles;
The few things we missed during this three days in Marrakech was the library – Ben Youssef Madrasa – because during this time they were renovating it. Going to the desert or some other activity, like for example hot air ballon in the sunrise. Well, next time we will make time for that as well. Marrakech is a city we’ll gladly visit again and Morocco in general! 🙂