North Africa Travel

What to See and Do in Marrakech

It was my first time visiting Morocco and my first time to Africa, so needless to say I was excited to embark on this trip and immerse myself in a completely new culture. Marrakech didn’t disappoint, there is something new and exciting around every corner. We recently spent a week in Marrakech and left no stone unturned. I have so much I want to write about so I split them up into different posts to save this one from becoming too long. Discover the rest of my Marrakech posts here.

What to See & Do

El Badi Palace
Cost 70 DHR

El Badi Palace is the vast remains of a 16th-century palace that was commissioned by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian dynasty around 1578. The palace aptly translates to the incomparable palace because even though it is now a ruin, it is easy to see that it definitely would be a sight to behold in its prime. This attraction can take a while to get around, take your time and wander around and take it all in.

 

Saadian Tombs 
Cost 70 DHR

Very close to El Badi Palace is the Saadian tombs which date back to the Saadian dynasty. It is a small garden with mosaic-covered tombs dotted around. It was nice to see however I don’t think it is worth 70 DHR so if you short on time or on a budget I would suggest skipping this particular destination.

Bahia Palace
70 DHR

Once a palace in the 19th century is now a set of gardens situated in the middle of Marrakech. It is a beautiful spot to escape the heat and wander around for an hour.

 

Majorelle Garden & YSL museum
Garden 70 DHR or Combination ticket 180 DHR

I would highly recommend visiting the Majorelle garden, it is so beautiful and the ultimate Instagram spot. It was probably my favourite ‘tourist attraction’ we visited in Marrakech.

I adored the YSL museum, if like me you love fashion then this will be right up your street. Though the museum is tiny and doesn’t show much it does showcase some of Yves Saint Lauren’s most iconic designs. There is also a really cute cafe in the museum if you want to escape the heat for a little while.

Tips if you plan on visiting: I definitely recommend getting there super early because the place can get super busy. When we got there around 11 am we waited for almost an hour in the ticket queue. If you are opting to the YSL museum I might suggest going down there first as not as many people visit the museum as the gardens and the queue wouldn’t be as long. You can buy your combination ticket there and visit the museum and then head to the garden and skip the long queue. As I was the only one who wanted to visit the museum we couldn’t do it this particular way boo! Also if you are a student you can get a combination ticket for only 100 DHR.

Le Jardin Secret
70 DHR

Le Jardin Secret is exactly that a secret garden nestled in the middle of the busy Madina. Escape the hustle and bustle of the souks and explore the gardens and while you’re there take a break for some coffee or a mint tea on their rooftop terrace. It is a great spot to people watch!

Koutoubia 

While you are not allowed to enter mosques if you are not of the Islamic faith you can certainly admire its architecture from the outside. Koutoubia is located just off Jemaa el-Fna square and located just behind the mosque is the small park of Arset El Bilk. This is another good spot to come away from all the craziness that is the old city.

Experience a Hammam 

Hammam is an essential part of Moroccan life with locals heading to Hammam at least once a week. For Moroccans, it is a place to meet with friends a be social. A Hammam is similar to Turkish baths, it is a steam room where people go to cleanse. A traditional Moroccan Hammam is where you use a black soap scrub with a Kessa glove. Essentially it is a way of exfoliating your body and removing all the dead skin cells. If you want an authentic Hammam experience then head to a public Hammam and join in with the locals, it is certainly the cheapest way of experiencing it. If you opt for the public Hammam, note that men and women are either separated or go different times. You will also need a DIY kit to scrub yourself down. However, some of the spas allow you to go in as a couple and the women there will scrub you down. We went to Les Bains D’Orient and I would highly recommend it.

Exploring the Souks 

Navigating the souks is a challenge, from marvelling at all the vendors selling their wears to dodging tourists, locals on their scooters and the occasional donkey and cart there is literally a surprise around every corner. Take your time when buying from the souks, explore and take in what everyone sells. You will notice that a lot of places sell the same stuff and there are certain areas dedicated to certain things, like spices and lamps. Always bargain when buying, a general rule of thumb is half the asking price and bargain from there. Although I did come across some people who asked for extortionate prices for things, for example, some guys asked for 300 dhirm for a basket bag, no thank you!

Cool things to buy from the souks is a Moroccan pouffe, if I could only have fitted one into my case I would have bought one. A rug, Morroco is known for its rugs and you will find a multitude of rug stores on your journies through the souks. Some of the rugs are stunning and one day I will return when I have my own home. A Moroccan tea set, mint tea is a big thing in Morroco and you can find ordant teapots and glass cup sets by the bucket load. I think a tea set is a really beautiful souvenir to take back with you and something you can definitely get use out of. Moroccan perfume, you will find stores selling small squares that smell divine. I bought some amber and keep it in my room and it just gives off the most beautiful smell. I also rub it on my wrists sometimes instead of adding one of my normal perfumes. Lastly basket bags, basket bags are a huge trend for spring/summer and I totally adore them. Naturally, I was in my element when I visited and came home with a few different options.

Max & Jan

Max & Jan is a cool concept store located in the middle of the souks. They sell a manner of different things from pottery to clothes and funky furniture. They have a cute restaurant terrace where they also host yoga classes.

La Mamounia

Escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech’s old town and visit La Mamounia which has recently been voted as one of the best hotels in the world by Conde Nast. Grab a bite to eat, explore the gardens or if you are feeling like treating yourself opt for a spa treatment which will give you access to their insta famous leisure facilities.

Jemaa el-Fnaa

Jemaa el-Fnaa is the large square situated at the end of the Souks. During the day you will find snake charmers, men with monkeys or snakes, juice stalls and women offering henna. I was paranoid anytime walking through it that someone would come behind me and just pop a snake/money on me, thankfully that didn’t happen. I feel like most people now a days don’t agree with this sort of animal abuse so I don’t feel like I need to elaborate on the matter. Later in the evening, the place comes alive with food stalls, vendors selling their wares and musicians. I would recommend grabbing a table on one of the rooftop restaurants surrounding the square and watch the madness from above.

 

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