Duration: at least one week
Stay: Be Nomad, Riad Chocolat or Riad Dar Nouba
Marrakesh mesmerized me from the first second. Immediately we were surrounded by “guides” eager to lead us to our Riad. We would have never found our Riad, even though the taxi left us only about 300 m from the entrance. The unimposing door was hiding a beautifully decorated and colorful Riad. We were confronted with the incredible detail of Moroccan style. We stood there with our mouths open: Deeply impressed and taken aback by so many impressions and beauty.
Marrakesh is pure magic
Marrakesh is often the first stop for visitors coming to Morocco. The colorful and lively media attracts people from around the world. Moroccans are not only very talented artisans but genuinely talented in languages. In Marrakesh, you will find people to help you, no matter which language you speak. Marrakesh offers so many things to do and experiences guaranteed to keep you entertained for a while. However, if you ever feel like the medina swallowed you up, Essaouira, with its laid-back vibe, is only a 3,5 hours bus ride away. When people think of Morocco, the first city that comes to mind is usually Marrakesh. This ancient and vibrant city is full of things to do and see, from the Jemaa el-Fnaa square with its snake charmers and storytellers to the beautiful palaces and gardens. So if you’re looking for an introduction to Moroccan culture and history, Marrakesh is a great place to start.
- Sight Seeing 85% 85%
- Culture 95% 95%
- Activities 100% 100%
- Nightlife 70% 70%
I visited Marrakesh for the first time a few years before we started our blog. Tiered of fog, rain, and cold, we sought warmer climes. None of us has ever been to Morocco before. I’ve heard about mixed experiences in Marrakesh and was eager to find out. Secretly, I was hoping for a feeling of 1001 nights and received just that!
Explore the medina of Marrakesh
Colored in pisé, the walls of Marrakesh’s medina shine in many shades, from pink to terracotta. Walking inside the medina for the first time was a bit overwhelming. We mixed with donkeys and people as we passed colorful souks. We stopped every once in a while to marvel at the exquisite architecture. The closer we got to Djemaa El Fna, the busier the streets would get. The medina of Marrakesh is a delightful mix of lively streets and quiet alleys. Even though the salespeople tend to be a little too persuasive, it’s still interesting to visit the shops and souks to learn about the art of creating traditional handicrafts.
Whenever the hustle and bustle of the medina got too much, we would retreat to one of Marrakesh’s rooftop cafes. Sip a fresh mint tea and enjoy the view! Check out Atay Cafe or Cafe Nomad right across from it.
The “Place of the dead” is, without a doubt, Marrakesh’s heart and one of Morocco’s most famous sights. To me, no other place represents the dream of 1001 nights more. Jemaa el-Fnaa comes to live at night. You’ll find food stands, Snake charmers, monkey men, healers selling mysterious potions, and fortune tellers competing for the favors of the visitors. Walking across Jemaa el-Fnaa, you’ll hear anything from modern Morrocan music to traditional Gnaoua sounds.
Standing at Djemaa El Fna, we could glimpse the top of Koutoubia Minaret. With its 77 m high minaret, the minaret is the second tallest in the world and sets the limit to Marrakesh’s skyline. According to Islamic law, no other building is allowed to be higher. We used the impressive tower of the minaret many times for orientation and guidance. But, unfortunately, as non-muslims, we couldn’t enter.
Moroccan Hammam – the ultimate pampering experience
The small, hidden hammam Le Bain Bleu was my first-time visit to a hammam. Let me tell you: It’s an experience I won’t ever forget! Le Bain Bleu in Marrakesh has become my heavenly place. Never, ever have I been pampered in such a way. This wasn’t the typical hammam experience one gets in a public hammam, yet it’s something I can only recommend to everyone! After being thoroughly scrubbed and soaked in soap, we were guided to a room covered with black tiles and two bathtubs. The room was lit by candles only. It was incredible. While each of us enjoyed a bath with roses, petals, oils, and lots of foam, two employees washed our hair. I thought I’d gone straight to heaven. We finished with a massage, a mani- and a pedicure. By the time we left, we almost felt too relaxed to walk. I highly recommend visiting a hammam on our Morocco trip
Find peace in El Jardin Majorelle
The garden is often referred to as the Garden of Yves Saint Laurent. It’s home to more than 300 species of desert flowers. The garden is somewhat unimpressive by size, but I loved how the walkways were arranged alongside colorful vases. The smell and the view of lush green were relaxing to the eyes, which had become a little tired from the business of Marrakesh’s medina. Yves Saint Laurent’s donation of a garden to the city of Marrakesh is indeed a generous and fantastic gift. The park began cultivation in 1924 and is a beautiful oasis with 300 plant species from five continents. Thanks to Marrakshi ethnobotanist Abderrazak Benchaâbane, the garden is wellmaintained and continues to be a psychedelic desert mirage. If you’re ever in Marrakesh, visit this one-of-a-kind garden!
Marvel Villa Oasis
Pay an homage to Yves Saint Laurent. Marrakech was a second home to Yves Saint Laurent, who often stayed in the famous La Mamounia hotel. He was so inspired by the city that he created a fashion collection based on traditional Moroccan clothing. A visit to his former home, now a museum, is a must for any fan of the late designer. The electric-blue villa is now home to Marrakech’s fashion museum. The museum celebrates the life and work of one of fashion’s greatest icons, and his timeless style is on full display. From his early days as a designer for Christian Dior to his groundbreaking work with YSL Couture, the museum traces the evolution of YSL’s unique vision. The museum also features a beautiful garden and art-deco studio, both worth a visit. After exploring the museum, check out the Musée Berbère, which showcases the rich panorama of Morocco’s indigenous inhabitants through displays of some 600 artifacts. Finally, the Yves Saint Lauren Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in fashion or history, and it offers a glimpse into the mind of a true style icon.
Party the night away in the Ville Novelle
We met Simon and Sami at the beginning of our time in Marrakesh. The two passionate entrepreneurs showed us around the medina, and we got to see it through the eyes of young, aspiring, and modern Moroccans. We almost couldn’t believe them when they asked us to go out and party. We didn’t expect a lively nightlife scene in Marrakesh, where alcohol is prohibited inside the medina’s walls. While there certainly is no party within the walls of the medina, the bars, and clubs found in Ville Novelle attract tourists and locals alike. To our surprise, the nights in Marrakesh’s club are quite wild and definitely worth a try!
Get ready to travel Morocco
Marrakesh’s medina is a maze. However, if you get lost, don’t worry. Many people are willing to guide you back for some dirhams.
From the airport:
Marrakesh’s airport is located about 7 miles outside the city center. It will cost you between 150 Dhs by cab. Alternatively, you can take the shuttle bus (#15) for 30 Dirham. No matter if your heart is aching to go to the desert or to the beach: Marrakech is only some hours away by bus!
Marrakesh – Essaouira: 4hrs (80 Dhs)
Marrakesh – Stone desert Agafay: 1 hr
If you want to go on an adventure trip to the Sahara, then the bus ride from Marrakesh to Merzouga, Erg Chebbi, takes around 10hrs.
Visiting the Sahara desert requires a little more time. It is quite a journey until you reach the giant dunes Erg Chebbi and Erg Chegaga (10 hrs).
Best time to travel to Marrakesh
Marrakech is a year-round travel destination. Although it can be too hot in summer with over 38 degrees, the winter is calm but often brings some rainy days. On the other hand, spring brings a fresh air breeze to the Red City.
Places to Stay in Marrakesh:
The place to stay in Marrakesh is, without a doubt, a typical Moroccan Riad. Marrakesh attracts quite a large number of tourists. It’s therefore even more important to choose your accommodation wisely. However, there are lovely, responsible Morrocan riads to stay in.
Shopping in Marrakesh:
The souks in Marrakesh are tempting, but be careful. The quality is often not the highest. But, you’ll find some excellent quality conditions in the smaller alley, close to the wall of the medina.
Where to eat in Marrakesh:
The food stands surrounding Djemaa El Fna is not worth their money.
Nightlife & Alcohol
As in any medina, alcohol is prohibited. However, nightlife can get quite fancy in the Ville Novelle. We were pretty surprised by the fancy clubs
Bring your Lifestraw Pro! Tap water in Morocco is safe for human consumption, according to Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani. The PM made the statement in February 2018 after officials uncovered issues with the public water delivery system. Despite the government’s assurances, however, distrust in tap water is growing. One problem is that the government has been slow to react and often lacks transparency in its communication. In addition, several reports have highlighted elevated levels of nitrates as an issue in Morocco.
Biggest challenge for the responsible traveler
Shopping: Low-quality Chinese products and goods produced under questionable working environments are sold everywhere. When shopping in Morocco, be conscious and check out our shopping guide!
Water: Avoid plastic pollution and bring your own Lifestraw Pro! Your water will stay cool, too!
Packing List Morocco
When packing for a trip to Morocco, it’s important to keep the country’s culture and climate in mind as the weather can vary greatly, depending on the time of year and the region you’re visiting. Check out our packing list so you arrive well prepared!
Places to visit in Morocco
Live the dream of 1001 nights!
Packing list Morocco – Things to bring to your Morocco trip
Are you traveling to Morocco and wondering what you should bring? Check out our packing list! No worries, we have tested and extended it with the things we wish we would have brought!
Meknes – authentic vibes between beauty and roughness
After visiting the blue medina of Chefchaouen, we were off for a more authentic experience. Meknès is not as often visited as its glamorous neighbor Fez. We really can’t understand why. To us, Meknès was a fascinating city to visit. It’s not as busy or big as its famous neighbor Meknes, but that only adds to its charm.
Chefchaouen – Morocco’s blue city
Fez has been lovely. We had a great time roaming the medina’s maze. But Chefauchouen has been calling us. Many travelers have enthused by the charm of the blue city. Of course, we were eager to discover the blue town for ourselves.