Marrakech is a whirlwind of a place! You’ll find a beautiful tiled palace in one corner and men attempting to hassle and heckle you to view their worn-out stall in the next. But that is the beauty of Morocco, it is one ultimate chaotic adventure!
Despite the chaos, Marrakech is a charming place where you can revel in the culture, deep tradition, salmon-pink alleyways, beautifully tiled palaces, heavenly gardens, and sunset rooftop views that set against the Atlas Mountains.
Here’s a quick travel guide to Marrakech!
What To Do in Marrakech
Get Lost in The Medina
A medina is the “old town” quarter/section found in many Arabic cities and countries. It is usually composed of winding maze-like alleyways and narrow streets that zigzag up and down. And because the streets are so narrow, they are usually free of car traffic.
At the medina, you will find souks (markets), food, trading goods, lamp and rug shops, souvenir stands, and more! I suggest you explore everything the Medina has to offer and get lost in the madness! P.S. don’t forget to treat yourself to some orange and carrot juice! It’s so yummy!
Admire the Beauty of Ben Youssef Madrasa
Ben Youssef Madrasa was formerly an Islamic school but today it serves as a historical site. Inside you will find ornate, intricate architecture, beautifully tiled walls, and a stunning courtyard with a reflecting pool in the middle. Don’t skip this beauty!
*Unfortunately, I have no pictures for Ben Youssef because it was closed for maintenance and renovations when I visited, but a boy opened the door for us and we got to peek inside.
Visit The Koutoubia Mosque
This is the largest mosque in Marrakech. It is adorned with decorative arches, stunning turquoise tiles, and a tall standing tower. The mosque is off limits to non-muslims but you can admire its beauty from the surrounding gardens and neighboring plaza.
Explore Badi Palace
El Badi was once the palace of a Sultan (king) of the Saadi dynasty. It was build in the 1500’s with only the most expensive materials of the time; like gold, onyx, and marble. The original building consisted of 360 richly decorated rooms, a courtyard, and a central pool. Today, only ruins remain. But it is quite the experience to explore the palace and imagine the riches that once were.
Jardin Majorelle is an enchanting garden full of exotic plants of dreamy origin and water pools and streams filled with lilies and lotus flowers – originally constructed by a French artist. In addition to the garden, there is a building of Spanish charm with hints of Art Deco, a Moroccan cafe, a Berber museum, and an Yves Saint-Laurent Museum. Make sure not to skip this dreamy location!
Le Jardin Secret
Another stunning and dreamy oasis of peace, Le Jardin Secret offers even more buildings and gardens that provide outstanding examples of Islamic art and architecture.
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Where to Eat in Marrakech
There are so many cute spots to eat at in Marrakech, especially because many of them offer rooftop views or welcoming courtyards – but here are some of my favorite:
*I apologize for the lack of quality in some of the pictures, I was usually so eager to eat that I would forget to take decent pictures haha!
Centrally located in the medina, Nomad is a trendy multi-leveled restaurant with stunning sunset views of the Atlas Mountains. They offer delicious modern Moroccan cuisine that will get your taste buds dancing! Make reservations in advance, this place gets packed for lunch and dinner! *Vegetarian options are available.
Head to the top terrace to marvel at the mesmerizing views of the old city and the towers of the mosques. Order some soup, tagine, fries, or whatever your heart desires in this cutely decorated rooftop terrace! *Vegetarian options are available.
Cafe des Epices
Located in the heart of the Marrakech souks, Cafe des Epices has a rooftop overlooking the Medina and it offers authentic Moroccan design and delicious cafe food and drinks. *Vegetarian options are available.
Where to Stay in Marrakech
There is no shortage of trendy hotels in Marrakech, and the most instagrammable ones cost an arm and a leg haha! I would suggest you skip the pricy hotels and stay at a riad instead. Besides, you can always pay an entrance fee or visit their restaurants to enter some of those hotels – this way you’ll still get your Instagram shot without spending too much!
Back to riads! A riad is a type of traditional moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard, they usually offer guest house style accommodation with shared common areas and private rooms.
Here are the riads I stayed at:
This riad is conveniently located right outside the medina and only a 10 minute walk away from Koutoubia. The riad offers a patio with palm trees and a seating area along a plunge pool.
Dar Grawa Luxury Riad
Dar Grawa is absolutely breathtaking!! The tiled walls and ornate arches scream Moroccan design and Aladdin vibes, it is just absolutely stunning! They offer a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy breakfast, the mini bar, and jump into their mini pool.
How to Get Around Marrakech
These are the two best ways to get around Marrakech:
I suggest you walk everywhere because it is the only way to explore and discover all the magic Marrakech has to offer. Maybe you’ll even discover some hidden gems!
Take a Taxi
You’ll need to take a taxi to any attractions outside of the city, which I wouldn’t say that there are many. One of the furthest attractions from the center of Marrakech that we visited is Jardin Majorelle, and even that was walkable. So be sure to only spend on necessary transportation, like a ride to and from the airport.
Travel Tips for Marrakech
- Arabic and French are the main languages spoken. Many speak English but be prepared with a translating app just in case.
- Carry cash at all times, especially when shopping at the medina!
- Ladies, please dress modestly! It will help avoid some of the street harassment and you will simultaneously be showing your respects to the Muslim community.
- Always haggle prices down, especially with taxis! If vendors know you’re a tourist they’ll want to overprice their items or service, so get your poker face on and haggle away!
- Speaking of, when taking a taxi, decide on a price BEFORE you get in the car!
- If you want to decrease the street harassment, travel with at least one other friend or partner.
- Don’t accept help from strangers unless you’re ready to pay them! It is common that they offer directions if you look lost but will definitely charge you once you arrive to your destination.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know if you have any other tips or recommendations that I could add to this guide!