Trip Report: Marrakech, Morocco

I am always looking at ways to add something new to the website and having come back from Hong Kong, I noticed my partner had been searching through travel blogs to find things to see and do. We weren’t steered wrong once! So as well as providing links to cheap trips away, I said I would do a little trip report of places that I have been recently that may give people a better understanding of what to do and sometimes more importantly what not to do! I am far from a good writer so I apologise in advance!

Marrakech is the most popular trip that is booked through this website so it makes sense to start with it. I visited Marrakech at the start of December 2018. If you are looking for a quiet getaway, this would be the last place you would want to go! The hustle and bustle of the narrow streets was one reason I loved Marrakech. You could walk down the street and not know if a scooter or an animal would be passing by you next!

Where to stay:

  • Stay in a Riad. A Riad is a traditional Moroccan townhouse that is built around a central courtyard. The properties are fantastic in terms of standard, style and value for money. Some riads allow access to the rooftop or have a pool and have stunning views of Marrakech.
  • Should you stay in a riad, I highly recommend getting a transfer organised by the Riad to pick you up from the airport. The riads in the Medina, where the vast majority of where people will stay, can be extremely hard to find as there are no signposts! My advice is to pay the €20 or whatever the Riad is charging and have someone pick you up at the airport. The driver will then take you to the edge of the Medina, where a rickshaw guide will take your bags into a cart and bring you to your riad.

Places of Interest:

  • Jemaa El Fna Square is a square and market place in Marrakech’s medina quarter. It acts as the main market and entertainment hub at night.
  • Close to Jemaa El Fna Square is Koutoubia Mosque, which was built in the 12th Century.
  • Jardin Majorelle in another place of interest and is a far cry from the noise of the Medina. It is a 2 and a half acre botanical garden once owned by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

Experiences/Tours:

  • Go to the Atlas Mountains. Escape the hustle and bustle of the Medina and do a day trip to the Atlas Mountains. We did a trip through Airbnb, where a young man who is from a Berber village, brought us on a camel ride, showed us a traditional Berber village and we also did a hike. It was a fantastic day out and I’d highly recommend it! Here is a link to the tour Atlas Mountains Day Tour.
  • Do a cooking course! I am without doubt the worst cook this side of the Liffey! We did a cooking course, again through Airbnb, where a local woman brought us to the market to pick out our fresh produce and then cook it in her home. The experience was amazing! It was the first time I had done a cooking course and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Food:

A tagine is Morocco’s answer to a Sunday Dinner. It is named after the clay pot it is cooked in and contains your choice of meat and a variety of vegetables. It is cooked under hot ashes for a few hours and the meat would melt in your mouth its so tender! I know the next food item will divide some people but I highly recommend you try it and that’s a camel burger. We went to Cafe Clock and we tempted faith with the camel burger and it was delicious. Cafe Clock also hosts local musicians in the evening which is great entertainment.

Drink:

Morocco is a Muslim country and therefore alcohol is prohibited, however, it is more liberal than other Muslim countries and there are some spots that do serve alcohol. The ironically named Cafe Arab sells alcohol, a glass of wine or beer is around the same price as a pub in Dublin. This Italian restaurant is in the Medina, across from the Secret Garden in Marrakech. It is expensive but it does offer great rooftop views and is perfect to unwind after a hectic day. If you are looking for something to drink in your riad and you are close to Jemaa El Fna Square, then you can go to Supermarché Label’Vie. This supermarket sells alcohol on the bottom floor in the very back corner.

Do Not:

This is the part of travelling that I dislike as it sounds so negative but unfortunately there are people who will chance their arm!

  • If somebody offers to give you directions or walks in front of you saying this is the way, do not follow them! They are looking for money and should you not present money, a friend of his will conveniently happen to be close by to corner you.
  • Like the previous point, people will tell you not to go down this road as it’s closed and offer directions. Mostly young men who may even shout to discourage you, just ignore them.
  • This goes without saying but be very careful in the Medina with your valuables. I recommend a bum bag that goes underneath your t-shirt. There are ones that are extremely slimline and you wouldn’t even notice you are wearing one.
  • In Jemaa El Fna Square be extremely wary of the animals that hawkers offer to take photos with. It may be an old wives tale but I have heard of the monkeys that are there are trained to bite should you not present money.

Marrakech is a fantastic place to visit, I would recommend a 4 night stay as I felt it was the perfect amount of time. Ryanair flies on Thursdays and Sundays, so best to fly on the Sunday to Thursday to get the most out of your trip. This holiday is completely unique in comparison with others around Europe and if the price of the flights is good then it usually will be cheaper than a weekend away down the country.

That concludes my trip report on Marrakech, it is truly an incredible place. Keep an eye out on the website for future deals to Marrakech and should you have any questions or would like to add something, comment below or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram.

Much love,

Mark

18 Replies to “Trip Report: Marrakech, Morocco

  1. There is a pub/cocktail bar just off El Fnaa square…found it by chance on our first night . Can’t remember the name of the street/lane but if you ask I’m sure anyone can help you find it. Needless to say it was frequented every night!

  2. Hi,

    Is Marrakech safe for 2 women travelling alone?
    I have heard so many stories so I am a little nervous to book it

    Thanks,
    Laura

    1. Hi Laura,

      I thought it was safe but I would advise you to go around together and follow the standard rules. There is a lot of catcalling but I’ve found that in most touristy parts in Asia. My main piece of advice would be to get a transfer from the airport to your hotel or riad if you are staying in the Medina as it is chaotic when you first arrive. Also, should anybody try to give you directions or tell you that “it’s prayer time so you cannot go that way” just ignore them (they can be extremely persistent) and just go the way you intended, I downloaded the app Maps.me on my phone and it allowed me to have offline navigation which was very handy. It’s a beautiful place but just keep your wits about you.

      Kind regards,
      Mark

  3. HI Mark
    Would you recommend it for an NYE trip ?
    Had holidays so trying to find a cheap mini break for NYE if possible to someplace that’s not the norm !

    1. Hi Jackie,
      There is lots of fireworks around Jemaa El Fna Square and restaurants book up quite quickly for dinners etc. for Marrakech at NYE but if you are looking for something a bit different I would recommend it as its a short flight and easy on the pocket compared to flying all the way to Asia.

  4. Hi there

    Do you think it would be safe enough to take kids to it? I’ve always wanted to go and in the current situation planning my holidays is keeping me going! Thanks

    1. Hi Laura,

      It would be safe for kids but I wouldn’t recommend Jemaa El Fna Square at night, it would be too chaotic and more of an adult experience. If any young men try give you directions say no bluntly as they’ll demand money. I’d recommend getting a transfer from.the airport to your accommodation as it can be very difficult to find otherwise.

      On the positive side there’s lot of camel rides, hikes and various other activities like zip lining so I’m sure you’ll have enough to keep everyone in the family entertained!

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