Last summer we took a plane, 3 hours flight from Marseille and we were in another continent. We landed in Marrakech during the afternoon and we felt the tropical weather straight away.
We are not gonna lie here, we spent 3 weeks in Morocco and it was not our favorite trip. Excited to arrived, we loved the agitation and effervescence of the city, but after 4 days in the Médina we were worn out and happy to leave.
For the illustrative purposes of this mini guide we divided the city in three parts : the Medina (the old city surrounded by walls), Guéliz (the new city) and the third part is the one with the luxury resorts. To have a full-on Marrakech experience, we recommend you to stay inside the Medina. Marrakech is truly a special place, and not everybody is going to like it. But in traveling terms the city has a lot to offer.
6 best things to do / see in Marrakech
Place Jema El Fnaa
It was our first impression the city. It is located in the center of Marrakech. Here everything is possible. At the end of the afternoon, the place starts to be alive, food vendors, juice stands, snake hypnotizers, locals drawing henné tattoos, the list is long. We advise you to soak in the vibes and experience the place to it’s full. Try to eat once at one of the food stands, all of them sell the same stuff and offer similar level of quality. For the guys selling is just a competition of who can drag more clients to his stand, so just go with the one your gut tells you, all of them speak a few languages, so it is quite hard to avoid the hard sale when you are walking around there, You have to play the game! It won’t be your best couscous for sure, and you will probably feel harassed by hundred men, but you can see that as the Marrakech experience.
During the morning, go for one of the stands to have an orange juice. Check where the locals go to be sure it is good and be vigilant that what you are served it is plain orange juice, no water, and no ice !
You can go to enjoy the sunset and have a drink from a terrasse with a view of the plaza and see the crazy life of the city from the top.
Maison de la Photographie
The first place we wanted to visit was the Maison de la photographie. Housed within a beautiful and typical building. We enjoyed a lot watching the collection of photography of Morocco, some of the shots are from over 100 years ago. Go to have a drink at the top terrasse to enjoy the view on the medina (probably one of the best in town).
Where ? 46, Rue Souk Ahal Fassi, kaat Ben Nahid
When ? Everyday 9:30 am to 7:00 pm
How much ? 40 dh for a day pass, that means that if you visit during the morning you can come back for the sunset. Just show your ticket.
Get lost in the Medina
The Medina of Marrakech is a maze and you will get lost in its little little streets, don’t panic!, it is part of the charm of the city. Walk around, be confident to get lost in the souks, feel the smells, look around, smile to the locals and enjoy a mint tea. The terracotta colors of the walls of the city are beautiful and terribly photogenic. Look at the light early in the morning when nobody is on the street and compare the contrast with the early afternoon when women and men are out.
Medersa Ben Youssef
The 16th century building was a coranic school, now a museum is a wonderful place to explore. You can admire a perfect and exquisite piece of Moroccan architecture with mosaic and wood carving. Enjoy end take your time to watch all the small details, you won’t regret it.
Where ? Kaat Benahid
When ? Everyday 9 am to 5 pm
How much ? 20 dhr
Jardin de Majorelle
The place we have prefered in Marrakech, an oasis at the middle of the City.Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin de Majorelle in the 80’s and created a wonderful garden with around 300 species of vegetation. We enjoyed the mood, the colors green, blue, yellow and the varieties of plants. A must ! If you have one place to visit in Marrakech, go there. It is perfect.
Where ? Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Guéliz
When ? Everyday 8 am to 6 pm
How much ? 70 Dh
Stay in a riad
A riad is the typical Moroccan house, a central patio (sometimes with a swimming pool) with rooms all around and a roof terrasse. It is charming, quiet and fresh. You can definitely take your time and relax. There are plenty of riads in the Medina that adjust to almost all the budgets!
Where to eat ?
Toubkal : A good snack next to the place Jema el Fnaa
We don’t eat a lot of meat so in Morocco it was complicated sometimes for us. The vegetarian couscous is good here (with pumpkin, that is a must) and feel free to ask the sauce of the couscous, they will give it to you apart in a little bowl, it is like a soup. And the Moroccan fresh salads are good as well. It is cheap and local ! A good place where we ate a few times.
Chez Brahim, 38 Derb Dabachi, Jamaa El Fna. A good cheap place to eat during the night. We ate the best vegetarian pastilla of our trip in Morocco!
Café des épices, 75 Derb Rahba Lakdima. A trendy coffee on a little place in the Medina. You can go on the terrace at the top and enjoy the view!
→ Don’t buy craft things in Marrakech, it’s less expensive in the other cities of the country and you can find the same or better quality.
→ From the airport to the place Jema El Fnaa, there is a bus, it costs 30 Dirhams go and back (around 2€50). Practical and cheaper than a taxi.
→ Once again we advise you to use the app “Maps me” (maps to download that you can use offline). Marrakech is a maze.You will need it!
→ Trust nobody in town and if you are lost, ask your way to a woman inside a shop.
→ It is annoying but check all the bottles of water you buy to be sure there are all well closed, in the shop and in the restaurants.
→ When we were there on summer 2017 the change rate was 1 euro= 11 dirham.