Sightseeing Marrakesh & our top travel tips
Arriving in Marrakesh
The Medina – old town Marrakech
For a long time, Morocco was on our bucket list and so last April we realized going there was our dream and we took a flight from Vienna to Marrakesh. Finally, after 4 short hours of flying, we landed. We were a bit tired, but happy to be in Morocco. With a big smile and a heartwarming „welcome to Morocco“ our driver welcomed us at the airport. The airport is not far away from the city. After a short ride, we arrived in front of the doors of the Medina. He was not able to drive in so he just dropped us off – „just go straight, then left, left, right and straight and left“ easy, no? A bit confused but still full of adrenaline, we tried to find our way. Just after a few meters a friendly local offered to guide us to our riad – of course for some Moroccan Dirhams.
NOTE: The medina in Marrakesh is angled and the riads are not easy to find. To avoid a scam, you should ask the riad for a pickup in advanced – and nope – google maps doesn’t help you. If you take the „service“ of being guided from a local to your riad, don’t pay more than 2 Dirhams.
We stayed in the Riad Dar Fangui what was actually a good choice for starting our Morocco trip. It’s located in the center, with a nice rooftop terrace, charming rooms and a budget price. After checking in, our host served us some delicious traditional mint tea – we immediately felt welcome. The terrace had a fantastic view to the roofs and the nearby Moulay El yazid Mosque, so we stayed there for a while just to relax.
NOTE: Fresh mint tea is the welcome drink in Morocco –and it’s a part of the Moroccan hospitality.
Sightseeing in Marrakesh
El Badi Palace
Our first stop was the El-Badi Palast, an ancient ruined palace. We walked through the vast courtyard with its huge pools and the sunken gardens, where orange trees are blooming. When you climb up the ruined ramparts of the palace, you will get the most wonderful view to the medina on the one side and at the other side to the palace with the Atlas Mountain in the background.
Not getting enough of exploring Marrakesh palaces, we went to the famous Bahia-Palace. The palace means „the beautiful“ – and it’s truly an architectural beauty! The Bahia Palace should not be missed – it’s a main attraction of Marrakesh.
Souks of Marrakesh
The souks of Marrakesh are also located inside of the medina. We wandered around for a while just watching the ongoing spectacle, even if you are not up to buying something, it’s a great experience: The mixture of the smell of spices with the fume of the motorbikes, the butcher selling his meat next to the pottery stall, the shouts of the shop holders – donkey wagons on the buzzling tiny streets.
Note: Try to bargain – never take the first price. You can bargain up to 1/3 of the first price!
Djemaa el Fna & Koutoubia Mosque
A bit hungry, we went to find some nice restaurants. Around the Djemaa el Fna are a few good restaurants, we had some delicious Tajine – the national meal in Morocco. Avoid eating at the Djemaa el Fna, it’s overpriced und not that tasty. Just next to Djemaa el Fna, you will find the Koutoubia Mosque- Marrakesh largest Mosque. The minaret is build about 70 meters from the ground.
Visiting the Djemaa el Fna was quite an adventure! At daytime it’s the home of the Snake Charmers, Water Sellers, Story Tellers, and Henna Makers – at night the food stalls open and you will have the smell of the delicious Moroccan cuisine.
We recommend to watch the sunset from one of the terrace cafes while enjoying a tea. An amazing viewpoint you will find at the Le Grand Balcon Cafe Glacier!
There are no parking possibilities inside the Medina, so we picked up our rental car the next day and started with our Morocco round trip. (Read more > Morocco roundtrip)
back again to Marrakesh
After more than 2 weeks of traveling through this wonderful country we came back to Marrakesh. Because of the fantastic reviews on booking.com we booked the Riad Irene in Marrakech.
Our Riad was a real oasis in this chaotic city – it was so calm and peaceful. Imagine, there was a big banana tree just inside this place! Our room was just beautiful with lot of details and the rooftop terrace was really cozy. Our hosts Pascal and Irene had just been amazing, providing us useful information’s and insider tips of Marrakesh. Every morning we got a fantastic breakfast – with freshly squeezed orange juice, yoghurt, cake and delicious milk coffee.
Note: Stay at one of the beautiful Riads in Marrakesh old town! You will find them in each price class.
“Marrakech taught me color”. Yves Saint Laurent
Jardin Majorelle – Majorelle Garden
The next day we left the medina to visit the Jardin Majorelle, but even though we arrived ealier, there were lots of people who waited to see the gardens. No wonder, it’s the most visited site in Morocco.
The Garden is just beautiful, a little oasis in the middle of the chaotic city. 300 different exotic plants, pretty fountains, cobalt blue colored bridges and buildings- this lovely place gives some fantastic photo motifs!
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Menara Gardens – Jardin Menara
After some refreshing orange juice, we went to see the Menara Gardens. It’s a lovely place to see. We rounded the big pool and watched the locals enjoying their day. Some children jumped into the water, some guys played guitar and families had been picnicking. It was really relaxing and different from the hectic city life in the old town of Marrakesh. That day it was really hot, so we remembered that our Riad hosts told us about the famous ice-cream shop in the new city. Actually, the new city is really cool and a contrast to the old city. It’s very new and modern. You will find plenty of shops like H&M, Zara, Starbuck and McDonalds there. We took some delicious ice-cream from 16 Cafe and went to the closely gardens to relax.
Jürgen is a big fan of tennis and luckily the ATP-Tournament Grand Prix Hassan II took place at this time, so we went there to watch it. In fact it’s a fantastic event, we saw some great games and the tickets had been for free!
Note: The ATP-Tournament takes place each year in March – for more informations you can visit the ATP-Homepage.
Medersa Ben Youssef & Dar Bellarj
The last day of our stay in Marrakech, we got up early again to make the most of the day. We visited the Medersa Ben Youssef, a historic Islam school. This magnificent building with its stuccowork and wood carving is a must see in Marrakesh. We stayed there quite long to enjoy the incredible architecture. For photographers: for good shots, it’s better to come early in the morning.
What to eat/drink in Marrakesh
What to eat/drink in Marrakesh: We loved to eat Moroccan food, the tajines are delicious. Tajine is a traditional meal, named after the special pot in which it is cooked. Try the kefta tajine (meatballs in an egg and tomato sauce) and the lemon tajine (chicken, olives and citrus fruits). And what to drink: Mint tea! Green tea, blend with fresh mint and plenty of sugar.
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PlacesOfJuma – Insider Tips Marrakesh
- Where to stay: Choose one of the typical Moroccan style riads – there is a wide range of different types in all price classes.
- Negotiate prices: Try to bargain – never take the first price. You can bargain up to 1/3 of the first price! You should bargain in souks and with the taxi prices
- Avoid Ramadan: most restaurants and lots of shops will be closed at daytime.
- Best travel time Morocco: Spring and autumn are the most popular times to visit. The weather is the most pleasant at this time.
- Best views of Marrekesh: Visit one of the rooftop cafes at the Djemaa el Fna!
- Photography: Marrakech is a great place for photography – but at the Djemaa el Fna you have to pay for taking pics with the snake charmers or other artists.
- European food: If you fancy to eat some European food you should visit the New City of Marrakesh. There you can find pizza, ice-cream, burger and lots of diffrent stores.
- Shopping in Marrakesh: There are huge souks inside of the Medina, where you can buy spices and morocccan souvenir. The big shopping malls are located in the New City.
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