“Marrakesh – 1000 and 1 night”
What an amazing place and atmosphere on earth. The moment you arrive in Marrakesh you will fall in love with this vibrating city, the light in the street from sand walls, the rich colors, the people, the food and riads, the medina and souks, the smell of spices and mint tea, full of tradition, the merchants on Jemaa el-Fnaa square and the lively crowd on the night market, palaces and well-designed gardens.
We spent 3 days in Marrakesh to have enough time to not only explore the city and its beautiful sights but also to take time, sit on the terraces, having tea and watch the people passing by.
It is very easy to get around by foot. Just one good advice – picture some landmarks on your way leaving the hotel or riad that you stay. You might want to remember those when finding your way back to the place you stay. LOL – but don’t worry, I am sure you will get lost in the medina and its fun, especially for the adventures travelers. You will certainly find your way back but with much, much more to see than you expected. At last you can still take a taxi back, which is relatively inexpensive.
So, I hope the pictures will inspire you to visit Marrakesh and you will enjoy looking through them.
Marrakesh is an unforgettable place.
Places to see in Marrakesh
The Medina and Souk
A medina quarter “the old city” is a distinct city section in the center. Most of the riads will be located in the medina. The medina is typically walled, with many narrow streets. The word medina simply means city or town.
The streets can be less than a meter wide and can be very narrow, the medina is generally free from car traffic. This makes it unique among highly populated urban centers. It contains historical fountains, palaces, mosques and in Marrakesh also the Synagogue.
Some medinas were also used to confuse and slow down invaders because of how narrow and winding they are. And let me tell you we often got lost but that is the thing … you just want to get lost in those narrow little streets fool of the smell of spices, food, leather and mint tea, and the queerly live of the souk with all those little shops. That is the place to buy all your souvenirs. And you must get a bargain.
Don’t forget your camera. There are so many moments, that you don’t want to miss taken a picture of.
is a square and market place in Marrakesh’s medina. It remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists. It is surrounded by the mosque, palace, hospital, parade ground and gardens around the edges of this lively marketplace. It’s good to visit the square in the afternoon to rest from the souks and to stay towards the evening to eat out.
At day, it is predominantly occupied by sellers offering water in traditional leather water-bags and brass cups and wagons of orange juice sellers, snake charming by playing a flute. A typical performance may also include handling the snakes or performing other seemingly dangerous acts. What out that these guys will not hang the snake around your neck when passing buy. It happened to me twice.
Later towards evening the square become more crowded with people walking around, searching for place to eat, magicians, groups of boys performing dancing and acrobatic figures. The snake chambers depart, and the foot stalls open. The smell is amazing and the food is delicious.
Time after dinner to sit in on a terrace with a cup of mint tea and watching the scenery.
The House of Photography / The Maison de la Photographie of Marrakech
The Maison de la Photographie of Marrakech is a private foundation created by Hamid Mergani and Patrick Manac’h in 2009. It has an excellent collection of old photography. It contains photos, post cards, journals, glass negatives, maps, prints, documentaries. The excellent display its collection on different themes, amazing photography of the exceptional diversity of Moroccan live as it was seen by those who visited it, Anonymous travelers or famous photographers, since 1870 to 1960. It’s an invitation to a better knowledge of Morocco.
It is situated in a beautiful build, a Riad with inside court, in the medina and has nice rooftop terrace for views and a cool drink after a good exhibition. It is definitely a place to rest from a day strolling through the narrow little street of the Medina and souk.
The Bahia Palace is breathtaking. The details, the colors and ceilings are amazing. It is very close to the Jamaa el Fna and a good walk through the Medina. A wonderful palace and a set of gardens built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means “brilliance”. There is a 2-acre (8,000 m²) garden with rooms opening onto courtyards.
El Badi Palace
is a ruined palace located not far from Bahia Palace. Commissioned by the Arab Saadian dynasty, sometime shortly after his accession in 1578. The complex contains a museum, with exhibits such as a restored 12th-century. For a number of years, the Marrakesh Folklore Festival has taken place within the palace. Take your time when exploring the side. It also houses a museum.
The Majorelle Garden has been owned by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé since 1980 and that why it is so famous. After Yves Saint-Laurent died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in the garden. The garden has been open to the public since 1947. It also houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakesh, whose collection includes North African textiles from Yves Saint-Laurent personal collection, jewelry, ceramics, and paintings by Majorelle. The inside courtyard has a nice café and restaurant. Majorelle was the son of the Art Nouveau ébéniste of Nancy, Louis Majorelle. Though, Majorelle’s orientalist watercolors are largely forgotten today but many are preserved in the villa’s collection. The garden he created are his creative masterpiece. The special shade of bold cobalt blue which he used extensively in the garden and its buildings is named after him, Majorelle Blue or bleu Majorelle.
Where to Stay
The “Riad” is the most traditional place to stay and we recommend doing this. It is the Moroccan traditional house or palace, with two or more storeys around a courtyard, often with a fountain, and orange or lemon trees. Riads were the stately city homes of the wealthiest citizens such as merchants and courtiers. They were inward focused, which allowed for family privacy and protection from the weather in Morocco. The rooms open into the central atrium space.
In the past years, many riads were bought by foreigners, renovating these old, often crumbling buildings and turned them into beautiful private homes, restaurants, hotels and hostels. The investment has helped with the restauration of the UNESCO site and saved many of the artisan handcrafts that were being lost before this trend.
When staying in Marrakesh a Riad is a must if you want to feel the real atmosphere. You will find budget places, hostels, but also fancy and high-class riads.
Here is our favorite riad:
Riad Zaouia 44
Riad Zaouia 44 is an old property of a famous family of Marrakech. It is located in a very old district of the medina, within 5 minutes of the souks, close to the place of Bab Taghzout, the little sister of the place Jemaa el Fna.
The Riad has a beautiful courtyard with lemmon trees, lounge area for tea, breakfast and dinner, a heated pool of 16m2. The riad is composed of seven suites each one with a lounge area, a bathroom in tadelakt, and balcony’s with into the courtyard. An amazing place to rest after returning from the souks is the roof top terrace with an amazing view of the city and the Atlas Mountains.
The service is amazing and the people are wonderful and very helpful.
When walking through the souks you will certainly get hungry of all the good smell of spices, the street food, and the colors and offerings on the local farmer markets. Authentic Moroccan restaurants are all around for you to experience the delicious Moroccan cuisine. The traditional “Tagine” and couscous with vegetables, fish or meat is offered everywhere. Being a vegetarian wasn’t a problem at all to get vegetable dishes in all places.
GOOD TO KNOW
- The best time of the year
Marrakesh is an amazing destination through-out the year. Sommer can be hot and try but the many gardens and riads are great oasis to get out of the sun for refreshing. Winters can get cold but certainly not as cold as in Europe. Therefore, it’s recommended to always carry a light jacket or sweater with you. Check when Ramadan is that you don’t face any logistical difficulties. I could happen, that restaurants are closed or only open in the evening. However, the best time of the year to visit Marrakesh is spring and autumn.
The currency id Dirham. Credit cards are excepted pretty much everywhere, especially in cities. However, it is recommended to always carry some cash with you, which you can easily withdraw at any ATM. But most place will also accept Euro, GBP, and USD.
If you speak French is great because most of Moroccans study French in school but you will also get around with English.
WiFi is everywhere. At least in all cities but also smaller towns. Cafes, restaurants, hotels all offer free WiFi. It happened many times, that we were sitting in a café and the waiter immediately gave us the code for Wifi. It’s just a normal thing … Morocco is very advanced.