Last Updated On: November 15th 2015
The busy streets filled with vibrant colors, the walls decorated with all kinds of knickknacks, and the countless amount of rooftop terraces to chill on are only a few of the reasons as to why Marrakech, Morocco is a place to be.
Marrakech, Morocco – The former capital (the current capital is Rabat) lays in the northwest area of Morocco. Marrakech is also known as the red city due to its reddish colors that invade the town walls. The word Marrakech comes from Berber origin (an indigenous group of North Africa) meaning ‘Land of God/warriors’. Another brownie point, for Marrakech in the area of historical culture.
The summer heat is one to take into account. If you are not comfortable in really humid and hot weather then the best time to plan your trip would be around springtime or in the autumn season. Also, keep in mind that in Ramadan season the city life can take a slow turn.
As a traveler, you can get to Marrakech in many ways. The most easiest and convenient way is to take a flight and arrive at the Menara Airport (RAK), this is the main airport 0f Marrakech. You can get to the Medina (the old city center) either by walking (it’s about 10 kilometers if you’re feeling fit and have a good sense of direction), bus, petit taxi, or Grand taxi. Traveling the nine to 10-kilometers should take you about 10-15 minutes before arriving in the city.
Prices for a Grand taxi at the airport are about 150 Dirham (MAD). Prices for the airport are fixed, but there is space for bargaining. In my experience, I managed to get a price of 100 MAD. A Petit taxi will cost a bit lower, around 80-90 MAD and if you want to travel on a budget you can always take the airport express bus No. 19. This costs about 30 MAD for a single trip and stops at all the big chain hotels in the area and Djema El-Fna.
If you are on the road, in Spain, or near that area you can also take a ferry to cross into Morocco. Your best bet is to arrive in Tangier and then take a train heading to Marrakech. Keep in mind that you have a long road ahead if you go this route!
Depending on how long you are planning to stay in Marrakech there is plenty to do whilst not having to rush through your days. Here’s a short list of things you can do in Marrakech, Morocco.
Djema El-Fna, the vibrant square that seems to never have its lights out. In the morning, the square is a place for a healthy fresh orange juice stands and fresh herbs and dates. At night, the square is transformed into a playground of cultures. There’s music in different circles of the square, street merchants and markets, and food.
Keep in mind that traveling is a learning experience to learn oneself and other cultures. There are things that you will love or disagree with in a culture, but it is all part of the universal understanding of people. In my case, I can say that I was not fond of seeing monkeys in chains being placed in the square for entertainment purposes. Having said that, you should not let it get in your way of seeing how beautiful everything else is.
As for the Souks, the majority of the time I would say that I have a somewhat decent navigation bar in my mind when it comes to traveling. However in the Souks, I got lost many times as it seems an endless road of small streets filled with markets. What I love the most is to see the work and handcraft that goes into each item that was made.
I loved Marrakech but what I also loved about it was the easy access there was for day trips to areas surrounding the city. There are many options you can choose from:
Two day trips to Zagora desert (you can book in one of the shops in the city centre for sometimes a cheaper rate or book online before your trip).
Eat and Drink
How can I start this off. There are so many things you can have in Marrakech — dates, fresh juices, and food from the stands at Djema El-Fna. Traditional food can be found easily in most restaurants and cafes. Tagines, Couscous, Olives, Harira, and Mint Tea — my oh my. I picked three of my favorite spots I had a meal in and as a vegetarian it was easy to find some good meals without a hassle.
Earth Cafe was a small but great place located in a riad like house and they are the first vegan, vegetarian, and organic restaurant in Marrakech, Morocco.
Roti D’or was more amazing than I could have ever imagined. When doing research I found this little gem on TripAdvisor. I decided to have a look and my expectations were not disappointed. A very small spot but with a whole lot of heart and soul.
From resorts to hostels the city of Marrakech is not lacking. For the purpose of keeping with the tradition, many people tend to stay in riads. This is a very traditional Moroccan style of housing. It is mostly known for its internal garden surrounded by the rooms. Here’s three examples of what type of accommodation you can find in Marrakech.
Kaktus Hostel (eco-hostel, budget friendly, and centrally located).
Les Yeux Bleus (amazing riad design, located in a more quiet area of the Medina).
Anayela (designer hotel, 300-year luxury palace).
Here are additional options for where to stay in Marrakech.
Travel Tips and Local Blogs
The best way to know what to expect is to read the experience of your peers.
Another handy tip is to look out for Instagram accounts. Check different tags regarding Marrakech and you are bound to find locals showing off hidden places that a TripAdvisor won’t give you.