It seems like Morocco is starting to see a new wave of tourists. Perhaps its due to the fact that it’s one of the safest countries to go to in Northern Africa, or that people see photographs of this gorgeous place and just need to go for themselves. In January of 2015, I arrived in this exotic city for the first time and was amazed by everything that I saw. The moment I stepped off the plane, the air smelled of spices and there was this feeling of being in a place that has so much history untouched by too much Westernized culture. Having gone with almost no money the first time, I wanted to go again with a bigger budget, so I returned in October 2016 to revisit this beautiful town and experience more of what it had to offer. Now I present my findings to you for your own adventure.
Getting to Marrakech from Europe is incredibly cheap. With many budget airlines flying there, you can find an awesome deal at any time of the year. You’ll arrive at Marrakesh Menara Airport and instantly feel the difference between anywhere you’ve ever been. It’s not a huge airport (although they are currently working on a bigger terminal), so it’s easy to just go through immigration and then walk out into the arrivals area. If you’ve arranged for your place of accommodation to pick you up, the driver should be there waiting for you. If you need to take a taxi, be aware that the drivers will try to scam you into paying more than you should. It should only be 100DH ~ $10 for the short ride into the city. They’ll try to make you pay 100DH for each passenger, but tell them no and offer the set price. If you’re trying to save money and don’t mind taking a bit longer, there’s an airport bus that has a stop right outside near the taxi stand. It’s the number 19 bus and it’s only 30DH and will take you straight to Place Jemaa el Fna in the medina, which is most likely where you’ll be staying.
Where To Stay
Hostel Waka Waka
The nice thing about accommodation in Marrakech is that whether you spend a bit more, or stick to budget hostels, it won’t be expensive. For solo travelers or a small group of friends, I suggest Hostel Waka Waka. I stayed here my first time, and although it can be a bit tough to find, it was incredibly cheap (less than $5/night), the staff was very nice, there was free breakfast and you could pay a little extra to smoke hookah. It has a cool vibe and you’ll meet lots of fellow travelers there.
If you’re traveling as a couple or want something slightly nicer and private, we stayed in Hotel Cecil for only $25/night. It’s literally in the best location, right off the main square so it’s very easy to find and a perfect central location for anything you might want to do. They provide breakfast and the room is air-conditioned (which is a major plus for the hotter months). Despite its location, it’s very quiet and the staff is very relaxed and helpful.
What To Do
Marrakech is a city of many, many sites. If you have 4 days there, that’s plenty of time to spread out your time and enjoy many aspects of the town.
Jamaa el Fna The SouksBen Youssef Madrasa Bahia Palace Spice Market
Where & What To Eat
My favorite place to eat when in Marrakech is the night market at Jamaa El-Fna. In the evening, you’ll see the carts roll in to set up the many small restaurants that make up the food stalls. While all of them have basically the same food, I am a loyal customer of Number 1, Chez Aicha. While other establishments practically grab you in, the servers at Chez Aicha are very kind and professional and I never feel annoyed with them. They’re probably the most popular dinner stall, and I’m guessing that’s the reason.
Coucous, Tajine & Kebobs
These are the main staples of the Moroccan food menu and pretty much all eateries around the city have them, so you can’t go wrong ordering this for your meal.
Orange Juice & Coffee
There’s 4DH freshly pressed orange juice at all the stalls in the square, so get a cup and I promise it will be some of the best orange juice you’ve ever tasted. You won’t easily find coffee to go in the medina, so go sit in a cafe and enjoy a cappuccino that will be made in a European fashion and people-watch.
What To Buy
You’ll see splashes of color everywhere and it will be so hard to not want to buy everything in sight. As time has gone on, a lot of the items in the souks aren’t exactly unique or authentic anymore, but it will still be hard to find them elsewhere, so stock up on some gifts so your friends get excited about receiving an exotic souvenir.
Plates and Tajine
Rugs and Scarves
Spices & Argan OilLanterns
Things To Photograph
This is one of my favorite cities to take photos of because there’s so many things to see. Around every corner you’ll see something beautiful or unique and you’ll not be able to resist the urge to shoot away. Be careful though because many locals don’t like getting their photos taken and will get upset. Also, never take photos of the monkeys and snake-charmers in the main square because they will demand money from you.
Excursions To Take
Because you have a few days in the city, there’s definitely time to take a day trip outside Marrakech without losing any time seeing things. Around the city you’ll find different vendors trying to sell you excursions and realistically there’s no certain one you should buy from. However, you should haggle and try to get the excursion to around 200-300DH, because that’s really what the trip is worth.
Ait Ben Haddou
Ouarzazate Atlas Mountains
Well, I hope that helps you plan out your trip a bit. There’s still a lot of bad stigma surrounding Marrakech, but if you go there yourself, you’ll see that it’s an incredibly beautiful place with a lot of history, kind people and it will give you appreciation for their culture, as well as your own back home. Four days away is more than enough, and you’ll definitely get a taste of a new place and hopefully enjoy it as much as I have.