The ultimate citytrip to Marrakech
I always wanted to camp in the Sahara, ride a camel with one of these scarves wrapped around my head and walk through the streets of pretty Marrakech. In only a couple of days you can do all of this. I will let you know exactly where to stay, what to do, and how to arrange the ultimate citytrip to Marrakech right now!
HOW TO GET THERE
There can be really cheap flights to Marrakech with low cost carriers such as Easyjet and Ryanair. For people travelling from Europe, check flights from major cities such as London. I only paid 65 euros back and forth from London to Marrakech with Ryanair!
WHERE TO STAY
When you go on a citytrip to Marrakech you have to stay in a Riad. A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house with an interior courtyard. You can find them all around the city but I would recommend to stay in the old city, the Medina. I stayed at Riad Les Deux Portes which is honestly one of the best places I have ever stayed. The beautifully decorated rooms are very clean and the breakfast is incredible. I paid 50 euros for the two-person suite. I also stayed next door at the Riad MarraKiss, which is a little bit cheaper and very good too. If you travel solo and would like to meet other people it might be nicer to stay in a hostel. A really good hostel within the Medina is Equity Point Hostel, one of the Europe’s Famous Hostels!
Tip: If you book a Riad with a pool, check if the pool is actually open (they are often closed from Oct-April). Kind of sucks if you select a place based on whether they have a pool or not. Also, book an airport pick-up, it can be very difficult to find your Riad in the bustling streets of Marrakech.
WHAT TO DO
Wander around the Bahia Palace
The Bahia Palace, “brilliance” in Arabic, is a must visit when you’re in Marrakech. It was once built for the personal use of the sultan with the intention of becoming the greatest palace of its time. The building is surrounded by a beautiful set of gardens and is open to visitors every day.
Make a visit to Ben Youssef Madrasa
Ben Youssef Madrasa is a former Islamic college in the heart of the city. The building is stunning. You can wander around it and look at the beautiful carvings on the walls. It is interesting to note that these carvings do not contain any representations of humans or animals, as required by Islam. You can walk around yourself or get a guide who can tell you more about the history of the school.
Explore the central square Jemaa el-Fnaa
Jemaa el-Fnaa is the main square of Marrakech within the Medina. As soon as the evening falls the square gets crowded with people and becomes the city’s cultural heartbeat. You can find anything here from live music to food and snake charmers showing off their pythons. Make sure you hang around one of the rooftop bars for sunset!
Walk around Koutoubia Mosque
Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Morocco and only a short walk from the main square Jemaa el-Fnaa. During the French occupation the roads were developed with the mosque as central landmark, therefore many use it as reference point when getting lost in the busy streets of the Medina. Unfortunately, the mosque is not open for visitors but make sure to walk around it through the beautiful park.
Book a trip to the desert
Depending on how much time you have either book the two-day trip to the Merzouga desert or the three-day trip to the Sahara desert. You can ride a camel for sunset into the desert where you can sleep under the stars in a traditional berber tent. It is a really cool experience and I can recommend doing the three-day trip to the Sahara desert. On this trip you will visit a lot of other sites too such as Aït Benhaddou (one of Game of Thrones’ film locations) and the Todra Gorge. The 2-day trip is about 50 euros and the 3-day trip is 70-80 euros. However, the 3 day trip involves long days in the car getting to the Sahara and back. You can book the trip almost everywhere in the city or in your Riad.
A final note about Marrakech:
The citytrip to Marrakech was very different than I expected. Before I went, a lot of people told me Moroccans can be very rude, trying to sell their products and that it is not a pleasant place to visit as a (blond) girl. I did not experience any of this. The Medina is a very safe place to stay. Also, if you look around shops for a long time and do not buy anything, it makes sense the salesman try to push you a little bit. I experienced that if I said: NO, they knew straight away I was not gonna buy anything. Also, the city is very clean and well organized. You will understand what I mean straight away when you arrive at the stunning airport. This is one of the cities I would love to bring my family and friends, I will be back for sure.