Salut you guys! Sooo where to start! I was super mega extra excited to go to Marrakech as it was on my list for ages but it left me a little disappointed. It was a cultural shock for me for sure 😀 . We visited in first week of March for five nights. The way I planned the trip was based on availability of the most instagrammable riads 😀 So basically I wanted to stay in either Riad Be or Riad Yasmine but let me tell you they are booked out for like 6 months in advance! When I was looking at it back in October, Yasmine was fully booked for so many months and Be had literally just two nights free in March so I booked it straight away 😀 and then I booked my flights based on those dates. We however stayed for 5 nights and so the other 3 we stayed in a basic Riad – Riad Chams, which was still nice, clean and had nice friendly staff but it wasn’t that instafriendly for sure – but 3 nights were cheaper than 2 nights in Riad Be. Depends what you’re looking for, I think it was worth paying more for Riad Be as not only I could take pretty pictures haha but it was just more luxurious, calm, smelled nice, felt nice..just perfect!
We got a taxi from the airport arranged by the Riad, so the guy was waiting for us at the airport, that was 20 eur for up to 8 people. We got to the Riad, it looked amazing and so we wanted to have glass of wine but I completely forgot you won’t get that in riads (not even in most of the restaurants – somewhere you can find at least a beer) so we decided to walk to the nearest big supermarket Carrefour which was 15 mins walk from us and this is the time when the SHOCK hit me 😀 The busy streets, full of people, raw meat hanging in that heat, cats everywhere, skinny thirsty sad donkeys, fainting horses standing on the sun, motorbikes EVERYWHERE – there is no such a thing like a pavement where you feel kinda safe, that also meant that you couldn’t really breath because of the smoke from the bikes,everything was so dirty, people throwing trash on the floor..just no rules and I am not used that! Also I wasn’t fan of the food there as well, so I lived mostly of fresh orange juice which was so sweet! Yum!
On the other side I loooooved all the riads, most of the people are very nice and friendly (if you don’t piss them off 😀 ), the shopping there is insane and the sunsets are beautiful! We also went on a day trip to see Ouzoud Falls and it was STUNNING! You can either hire a car and go by yourself, you can book a group trip or you can hire a private driver with tour guide and that’s what we did as we didn’t want to depend on anyone and we wanted to go and stop whenever and wherever we wanted. We booked that all in our Riad and it was 75 eur per person. We left the house at 7am and went straight there (the usual tour starts at 8am and they also stop at the local market on the way so we wanted to get there before all the tours did) I think it was about 3 hours drive. Now looking back at the entire trip I would not go to see the Eld Badii Palace and Bahia Palaca as I felt like they are just some Moroccan ruins but I would go on another day trip instead. I feel like 2 days are enough in Marrakech and then you should go and explore places around it.
When you book a hotel/riad most of them offer a transport from/to the airport so I recommend you to do that as the taxi drivers will probably overcharge you and you also need to pay cash. It should be around 20 euros to most of the places in Marrakech. Our riads where in the old town so we pretty much walked everywhere, but when we couldn’t be bothered to walk through the busy streets anymore we took the taxi which be careful does not have a meter reader. So before you take the cab tell the driver where you want to go and when he agrees ask him if he agrees to 50 dirham (around £4) that’s pretty much fee that will get you anywhere. If you are taking a taxi from some popular attractions it will be 70 dirhams. So remember to always agree on the price before you jump in!
Where we stayed:
We stayed two nights in Riad Be and 3 nights in Riad Chams. Riad be is insta heaven so when we got to the Riad Chams it was a step back haha but still it was a pretty place. Both of the places had sweet breakfast included (in Riad Be you can also ask for egg and avocado) and there was also cold and hot aircon if you needed it – it got really cold in the evening! So if you come in March definitely back a jacket for the nights out too.
What to see:
- I’ll start with our riad – Riad Be – okay so if you want to go there you need to book a night there which is fair enough as that way it’s not busy and the actual people who booked their stay there can enjoy the place in peace and quiet. You can however book in for lunch/dinner for 35 euros per person, for full package of spa which is 70 or a cookery course for 45 you can also book a shooting which is 100 euros.
- Riad Yasmine – you can get in if you come in for a lunch otherwise it’s a no no, they do have beer tho and the food is yum! Lunch for a person was I think 200 dirhams.
- Riad La Sultana – kinda posh but you can say at the reception you’re coming for drinks or lunch and they will escort you up to the terrace where you have whatever and then on your way out you can quietly browse through the place 😛 They sell alcohol.
- La Mamounia – expensive hotel/riad, make sure you wear something below the knees as otherwise as a host you might not get in. It is a stunning place with a large garden. Great place to come for drinks.
- Jardin Majorelle – these gardens were the prettiest thing in Marrakech outside of riads! It’s 70 dirhams to get in and if you want to get those pretty shots be sure to be the first to get in! We got there for 10am and it was too busy!
- YSL Museum – I think the ticket was around 100 dirhams but you could get a combined ticket with the gardens which would cost you less you would however have to go to YSL museum first! So if you want to get pictures without many people in the gardens it is not an option.
- Bahia Palace – 70 dirhams to get in, it’s just plain walls with pretty ceilings, if I knew I would probably not go again. I feel like it’s different when you have the guide who explains you what was where and where what happened because by just looking at it it was very boring. You can however take some nice pictures if you come first thing when they open because then it gets busy with the tours.
- El Badii Palace – 70 dirhams to get in, complete ruin, where in one room can watch a video of how it looked and what is was there like, waste of time, you can watch that online 😀 .
- Saadien’s Tombs – we didn’t go to see.
- Bab Agnaou – one of the 19 gates in Marrakech, pretty for picture but don’t know at what time as it seemed always busy around.
- Koutoubia Mosque – mosque with big garden. You can’t get it unless you’re a muslim. Pretty to see during sunset.
- Cyber Park – we didn’t go, apparently there is wifi and clean toilets 😀
- Ben Youssef Madrasa – beautiful school which is now unfortunately closed down due to some refurbishments.
- Beldi Country Club – hotel/spa/restaurant/swimming pool – we didn’t go but few people recommended this place to me. It’s open to public but you have to buy the access. Access to the pool with a meal for two is around 400 dirhams.
- Jemaa El-Fnaa – this is the main square which I don’t want to see ever again. Not only it’s too busy and full of people trying to sell you overpriced stuff but this is the place where you see some real sad animal abuse. Skinny donkeys and horses standing and fainting on the sun without water, drugged snakes without tongues ready for you to take pictures with, birds, turtles and other small animals in cages and one of the most sad monkeys in this world. Monkeys chained on the lead, kicked many times, hungry ..just so sad to watch..well I couldn’t I started to cry so we had to leave and I would not come ever again.
Where to eat/drink:
- Le Jardin – probably the best food we had in Marrakech and also very pretty. If you come in for a dinner I recommend you to book in as it gets busy.
- Dar Cherifa – beautiful place where you can taste typical dishes, great for a desert.
- Le Salama – 3 floors restaurant, very pretty great typical tajine. If you are an influencer and have slightly bigger following you can contact them in advance and you might be able to book for a free meal for exchange of some exposure as they work with influencers. I didn’t work with them and I think this was our most expensive lunch in Marrakech.
- Lotus Privilege – very classy restaurant but expensive. Folk dances and great music.
- Cafe Kif Kif – enjoy food with a mosque view, great during sunset.
- Nomad – great for sunset but you have to book in advance! We were not so happy with the service however and the food was average.
- Cafe de France – more pricey and average but you get the large market view.
- Cafe de Epices – great for a view and food is apparently nice too, we didn’t make it there as we came for sunset and it was full.
- Atay Cafe – it has a pretty terrace with a view at the top. When we got there it was too busy so we sat a level below and only had a coffee because the staff was terrible. Apparently they have great food which I must say looked good on people’s tables.
Trips outside Marrakech:
- Ouzoud Fall – the only trip we did but if I knew I’d only spend 2 days in Marrakech and would do 2 day trips. The waterfall is about 2-3 hours drive to Atlas Mountains where you can see wild monkeys and you can get a boat ride to the base of the falls. You can also find some great food there and all the souvenirs and stuff are half price compare to prices in Marrakech. I recommend you to book all your tours online or in your hotel to avoid any disappointments.
- Cactus Thiemann – beautiful cactus farm about half an hour from Marrakech but they try to save the cactuses so not many people are allowed at the same time and you have to book an appointment! Well we tried to book it on Saturday morning, called straight at 9am when they open but no answer, I messaged them on Instagram but no reply so I also sent an email. I got a reply at 11am saying they only have group slot available at 12pm for two people. So I emailed them that’s okay but I might be 5-10 mins late as I am still in Marrakech but I got no reply. I emailed again asking if she can confirm as we didn’t want to waste our time and money to get there and then not get in as apparently they won’t let you in if you don’t have confirmation. I got no reply, I tried calling but no answer.. I got an email back next morning, saying sorry they were too busy for emailing and that I can book for Monday. Unfortunately we were flying on Monday morning so we didn’t get a chance to visit. So this all being said I do recommend you to plan in advance and book couple of days before!
- hot air balloon ride – less than hour outside.
- Palmeraie – less than hour outside Marrakech, place where they do quad bikes and camel rides. We didn’t go because apparently on the quad bikes you have to go behind each other in the group so you basically won’t see anything because of the dust from the bike in front of you and the camels are not treated well there. Please do your research before you book yourself in any kind of activity which includes animals.
- Essaouira – less than 3 hours outside.
- Ourika Valley and River – less than 3 hours outside.
- Agafay Desert – around an hour outisde.
- Imlil & Atlas Mountains – less than 2 hours outside.
- Ait Ben Haddou – around 4 hours outside.