It had been 15 years since I went to Marrakech. It was also the first time I took a plane when I was 12, and my first steps outside Europe.
Marrakech has definitely changed in those 15 years – I was expecting the loos to still be “manuals” and the air conditioning to still be a fan – and has drastically modernised. Luckily, it has also kept all of its charm. The centre of town reminds me of a medieval village. There is no supermarkets or big international brands and habitants of the souks live form you diverse commerce and craft, all rhythmed by the 5 times a day prayer.
You’ll find everything you need; from fresh cut meat – with the chicken waiting in the back, ready to be “freshly” prepared – leather, delicious fruits and vegetables, traditional Moroccan sweets, rugs and “babouches”.
Street food is also a big part of the Moroccan culture. You’ll see a lot of locals eating at one of the hundreds food stalls on Jamaa el Fna. Tajines – a Moroccan stew, often made with chicken and confit lemon and olives – Couscous – most famous Moroccan dish – or mouton’s head and Pastilla are the kind of dishes I am the most found of. If you are a little bit more brave – I could eat anything if you tell me it is a traditional dish that locals eat – go to try the food inside the souks. I found some delicious Moroccan soup and spiced coffee for 50p, a mixed meat filled pitta including a fried egg for 2 pounds and some sweet and tasty nougat, made of almond, cashew or sesame seeds for less than a pound.
Where I stayed: Riad Talaa12
Amazingly placed in the centre of Marakesh, the beautiful Riad offers a great traditional feel with all the comfort. The breakfast was delicious, staff very kind and the roof top incredible!
Where I ate: DarYacout
(Excuse the dark photos!) A true Moroccan feast, including all the traditional dishes with unlimited wine and entertainment. It is pricey for Marrakech, but totally worth the experience and the food. There is no menu (another thing I LOVE) and I particularly loved the almond pastilla for dessert!
And ate at so many other places which don’t have Instagram or a website, and that you’ll have the pleasure to find and discover them yourself
What I loved: Le Jardin Majorelle
The unmissable attraction of Marrakesh, totally magical. The coffee/restaurant inside is also a stunning Orangeraie and a perfect little spot for a tea or coffee. (Tip: go early or at the end of the day, forgotten how BUSY it gets!)
Shopping and negotiating in the souks
This was so much fun! I am not the best at negotiating ( because I feel mean …!) BUT it is part of the fun and every Moroccan is going to expect it! So don’t be a boring tourist, and set yourself a challenge haha.
I fell in love with the bags and wanted to buy them all – I came home with 3 – and ended up customising my own hat with pompoms 🙂
Walking around the entire city
I rarely take Taxis when I am travelling, because walking (or cycling when possible) is for me the best way to discover a city. You will get loss – don’t be tricked by people “trying to help” just follow your path until the next street, this is what I have learnt in Morocco – and then find your way 🙂
This is usually how I come across beautiful local garden and quiet local streets, totally worth it!
Experiencing the traditional Moroccan Hammam : Les Bains de Marrakech
Get ready to be surprised! I won’t tell you much here because I want you to experience and discover it yourself, but it is an absolute MUST do! Not only my skin all over my body was smooth like a baby, but I felt so relaxed, happy and content!
This was one of the highlight of the trip and you should spare your 25 pounds to treat yourself 🙂