Top 10 Places In Marrakesh + Bonus Tips To Discovering Morocco!
Marrakesh is no ordinary destination for me, it has been on my ‘To Visit’ list for a very long time! My father was born in Marrakesh, in the Jewish quarter called the Mellah. At two years old the family immigrated to Israel. As a child I heard so much about Morocco, I always wanted to travel there, see it for myself and get to know my roots better in the process.
I’m so happy to see that more and more people are discovering this wonderful country and its people!
So what should you see, do (and NOT do) while in Marrakesh you ask? Read on!
Marrakesh has so much to offer! Known as ‘The Red City’ due to the fact that most of its buildings are colored salmon pink. This adds to the warmth the city has to offer, regardless of the heat that is :-)
First off, accommodation: Definitely opt to stay in a riad! A riad is a traditional townhouse with rooms built around a large courtyard, it features in the center of it a garden, a fountain & a swimming pool in most cases. It’s very cozy and unique! Aim to stay as close to the Medina (the old city of Marrakesh) as possible so everything is within easy access.
10 places you MUST visit:
Jemaa el-Fnaa market: This square located at the heart of the city is too crazy and colorful for words! You can spend hours here wandering around the main streets and alleys, soaking it all in. You can find everything here! Many, many, many market stalls featuring anything you can think of, from local artistry, clothes, shoes, bags, local foods & spices to snake charmers, musicians and monkeys dancing for you. It is actually organized chaos and once you get used to it a bit you’ll love it! Next to it you’ll find the largest mosque in the city, La Koutoubia. Tip: When buying items in the markets in Morocco you are expected to haggle with the vendor for a price so never accept the first price told to you ,however don’t humiliate them in the process offering a price you know is offensive! They too need to make a living so it’s about a win-win price. PLEASE Don’t engage with the monkies, snakes and other forms of animal cruelty you will encounter here. It broke my heart seeing those little monkies on a chain, forced to do silly little acts for tourists. This is something that needs to stop and it starts with us, tourists.
Visit Palace La Bahia. AMAZING workmanship!
Visit the Mellah and the Jewish cemetery. The Mellah is colorful and very lively, filled with little shops to explore. There is an ancient synagogue called Lazama which still holds services even though there are less than 100 Jews still living there out of the 30,000 who once lived there. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for directions as it’s a bit difficult to find, a true hidden gem. When I entered the shul, I spoke with the Rabbi and he actually remembered some of my family members, grandfather included, it was a very emotional and happy moment. A local boy I spoke to on the street also helped me to locate my last living relative in Marrakesh! I’m so grateful for this experience. The locals are so friendly, nice and helpful!
Take a walk or carriage ride along the city walls. It’s a fun way to see the city.
Visit the Badii Palace: Built by the Sulten Ahmed El-Mansour in the 16th century. Next door you’ll also find the ruins of the Royal Palace.
There are several beautiful and tranquil gardens to visit: Agdal offers a great view of the Atlas Mountains. The Cyberpark is fun and interactive.
Visit Medersa Ibn Youssef: Once one of the biggest and most respected Muslim school in North Africa and now a museum.
Visit the Koubba el Badiyyin, the sole surviving structure of the city’s Almoravid founders.
Enjoy a traditional lunch or dinner in one of the many rooftops above the el Fnaa market. Tip: Moroccan dishes you MUST try: Food prepared in a tagine. This is a clay cooking pot used to slow cook beef, lamb, chicken, and even veggies in. Don’t leave without tasting couscous! Spicy sardines make for a nice on the go snack. And finally to sweeten your day, try a delicious dessert called shebakia.
Visit The Saadian Tombs. This dynasty ruled much of southern Morocco during the 16th and 17th centuries. Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour created these tombs for himself and his family in the late 16th century, 66 of them are buried here.
Excursions I highly recommand:
Visit Palmeraie for a daily dose of palm trees & camels.
Take a day trip to the magnificent Ourika Valley, crossing over at Setti Fatma to begin the climb to the seven waterfalls.
There are excursions to the Atlas mountains, Sahara Desert and Ouarzazate which are just wonderful!
Visit Essaouira, on the coast.
Please DON’T be tempted to visit the area where leather is made in Marrakesh! Besides the garbage, filth and poor animal parts found all around, it stinks to high heaven! Did you know the leather first sits for weeks in pigeon poo and urine?...It was a horrible experience!
Have drinks or lunch at Kasbah Le Mirage when visiting Palmeraie.
It would be best to shop around before picking a tour operator for additional excursions as this changes all the time. We opted for private taxi drivers and it worked very well. The hotel can always recommend someone that is reliable.
Make sure you are dressed accordingly when visiting holy places.
The best tip of all is just to have an open mind!
Do have any questions for me? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s hang out on IG & Twitter: @mytrendytrail