A city in Morocco, full of colors, spices, Arabic buildings and good food. I’m of course talking about Marrakech. Soak in the culture, fragrances, people and atmosphere that can’t be found anywhere else. Next to that, Marrakech is a great place for taking pictures, as you can see in this photographic overview of Marrakech. In this Marrakech City Guide, I’ll show you an overview of which places to visit, where to eat and drink and where to stay (riads for sure!).
The souks and the little alleys of Marrakech are definitely worth exploring. Just walk around and discover something new and local on every corner.
A couple of things you’ll find a lot and are worth buying are the huge leather bags (still use the one I bought a lot and I do get many compliments about it), other leather items (think belts), decorated kitchen stuff such as pots, rugs and different types of lamps.
The medina (city centre) is definitely the part of the city where it is busiest and buzzing. Take your time to also leave the souks and area with the stalls to experience a bit more off the local vibes (you’ll find many small eateries where locals are having their meal for example). When leaving the Medina (for example on your way to Jardin Marjorelle), the vibes becomes different again.
Easy to take with you, the different colors make sure you instantly become happy and there are nice places to eat and drink around the L’Espices square.
One of the main sights in Marrakech is this ruined Palace called Badi Palace, build at the end of the sixteenth century. The place is great if you are into ruins, as it gives you an impression of how it looked in the past. Entrance fees are €6,50.
The Koutoubia Mosque can be seen as the main point of the city as you will recognize it from several corners and angles. The mosque with its recognizable tower, is located behind the famous Djeema El-Fnaa square.
If you are able to miss this square on your trip, respect. It is the main square of Marrakech and very bustling in the evenings. Around sunset, they start building up the market for the evening and all the different food stalls become at your service. Definitely enjoy one evening at the square for street food. During the day, there are some stalls present, so you can enjoy a juice for example.
A stunning palace with an enormous garden. The rooms in the palace are empty but the architecture is worth a visit. Unfortunately, the main area (famous for most of the pictures) was closed during our visit. Entrance fees are as much as €1 only.
The famous Majorelle Gardens, that became famous because of Yves Saint Laurent, slightly outside the centre of Marrakech (it is walking distance though – let’s say 30 minutes). The garden is mainly famous for the bright blue walls, also referred to as Majorelle Blue. The place is pretty, however it felt a bit overrated, maybe also because the large amounts of tourists. The blue walls are stunning for pictures though.
Note: Closed for renovation till mid 2020.
One of the most stunning buildings in Marrakech. It used to serve as a college, hosting around 900 students. Entrance fees are around €5 – but it is well worth a visit. I especially liked the typical ornaments that are all over the place.
Definitely an activity to try and a welcome relaxation after a full day in the city. Make sure to walk in somewhere during the day to make a reservation, as just turning up probably will leave you disappointed at the most famous spas.
Our experience was quite interesting – as the full process wasn’t explained. Women and men are separated and the hammam treatment consists out of different stages that weren’t fully explained to us at the start. Therefore, I got left alone in a room with no clue what to do and when or even if they would pick me up.
However, in the end – the experience was one not to miss (stories are worth a lot too) and the soaping / massage was great. A couple of hammams that are known well are Les Bains de Marrakech, Hammam de la Rose or go with a more traditional one such as Hammam Lalla. Prices for a treatment will differ, but will lie around €40-50 euros.
This Marrakech City Guide wouldn’t be complete without a short overview of the best places to eat and drink in Marrakech. First of all, you won’t find alcohol (well there might be an exception – we once saw wine, however it wasn’t too good), so just stick with tea and juices. Food in Marrakech however is great, enjoy a nice tajine or other typical Moroccan foods. If you are into spices, you won’t be disappointed.
Nomad is probably the best known restaurant in Marrakech and for a reason. The food is great (with European influences) and the settings is very cool. The place as a rooftop that overlooks Les Espices square. We popped in for lunch and were lucky to have a spot. I would recommend making a reservation to fully enjoy the experience. Check out their menu here – believe me, it is great.
A patio like garden, with a lot of greens around you. Especially in the evening, the atmosphere is perfect. The menu consists out of ingredients from over the whole world, all with a Moroccan twist.
Another rooftop place in Marrakech. We went here for a cup of tea and something to snack. The place is also recommended for you pre- or post dinner drink. The place can be found in the middle of the Medina, that you escape straight away when entering this rooftop.
A rooftop cafe with great views on Djeema El-Fnaa. The place itself isn’t special at all, but definitely visit slightly before the sun sets as the views on Djeema El-Fnaa are great and you can follow the process of the stalls getting ready for another evening at the square.
Enjoy some sweets and a cup of mint tea at Henna Art Cafe. When you feel like it, you can also get a henna tattoo in this cafe.
Another cute and cosy cafe, where the centrally used color is definitely: white. This bright place – including a rooftop terrace – is highly recommended. The views over the city are great (Hello, Koutoubia Mosque!), food is great and the service is good.
The last bit of this Marrakech City Guide covers the best places to stay in Marrakech and the answer is, without a doubt, a so-called “riad”. Staying in a riad is a “to do” thing itself and it took us quite some time to look for a riad that was cheap, but still had the looks you expect from a riad (including a swimming pool, that we never used in the end). You’ll probably recognize Riad Yasmine as one of the most famous one from all the instagram pictures. After extensive research, we however choose the following 2 riads. We had 2 different locations as we booked a Sahara tour in between. We already dropped off some stuff we didn’t need or new souvenirs at our second riad.
Riad Lorsya was a basic and decent riad on a 10 minute walk from Djemaa El-Fnaa.
The place has a little pool you can use and the rooms are cute with a small walk in shower. We only paid €40 a night for 2 persons. If I remember it correctly, we were staying in the Pearl room – in case you are planning to book the same place.
The last night, we decided that we wanted a little bit more luxury – as we would only spend one night here, in Dar Doukkala Riad & Spa. For this place we paid €70 for 2 persons. The place is great and upon arrival we received a nice juice and cup of tea. However, I wouldn’t say it is worth the difference in price with Riad Lorsya and when you are looking for a cheap but comfortable and representable riad to stay, I would go with Lorsya.
We spend 3 days in Marrakech, which was sufficient to discover the whole city. Our other days, we spend on a 3-day trip to the Sahara Desert, also covering sights such as Ait Ben Haddou.