When booking my trip to Marrakech I did not know what to expect. I got so inspired to visit due to all of the colorful and patterned pictures I've seen on social media. I had been longing to visit for a long time and took the plunge when the opportunity came up. As you can tell by the title of this travel guide we did not have the time to explore the rest of Morocco, but that it just an excuse to return and hopefully soon.

This guide contains:

- General information

- Good to know before traveling

- Telephones and mobile broadband

- Where to stay

- Transportation

- Where to eat

- What to see

- Excursions from Marrakech

- More information


General information

Marrakech is the third largest city in Maroco after Casablanca and Rabat and is located by the foot of the Atlas mountains. The city has around one million inhabitants and the name in Berber language means "gods country". The old city (the Medina) was founded in 1062 and is since 1985 a UNESCO world heritage site. The city was under French occupation between 1912-1956. The center of the old city is the Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Further west you will find the modern part of the city called Guéliz. The local currency is moroccan dirham.


Good to know before traveling

- Bring cash, especially in the old city there are very few places that accept cards. You can pay with either dirham or euros.

- If you don't have such a sweet tooth make sure to order your mint tea without sugar (they will serve it with the sugar on the side anyway in case you change your mind).

- Stay at a Riad in the old city for an authentic experience. If you are staying in the medina everything is within walking distance. The riads are often cheaper than hotels and when you can walk everywhere you don't have to spend money on transportation.

- Have your adress to the place you are staying in Marrakech easy accessible upon arrival at the airport. When you fill in your disembarkment form you will have to write it down.

- You are allowed to haggle (in the market and with taxi drivers).

- It´s not always sunny and warm. In the wintertime it can get really cold especially at night time. Pack accordingly.

- Fridays are holy days and many places can be closed. Traveling to Marrakech during Ramadan can also be tricky.

- To be on the safe side drink bottled water.

- There are many languages spoken in Morocco: Arabic, Berber, French and English. Most people know English, however it´s a bonus if you can speak some French.

- Mosques are generally closed to people who aren't muslims.

- Traveling as a Swede we didn't have to have a visa to enter the country. (Check with your countries embassy to see the regulations for your country).

- Bring toilet paper with you as not all toilets provide it.

- As Morocco is a muslim country it´s very important to respect the culture and dress modestly.


Telephones and mobile broadband

In the arrival terminal of the airport you receive a sim-card which you can fill up with your preferred amount of mobile data. However I found that most places had public wifi and didn't find it necessary to buy data.


Where to stay

Marrakech offers places to stay for every budget and personal preference. Personally I would advise to stay within the old city. Then you have access to most of the attractions by foot. The luxury hotels and resorts are located outside the city and that makes it harder to visit the media. In the old city there are lots of Riads to choose from offering the full authentic Moroccan experience. The Riads can be very basic or luxurious and range from cheap to expensive. The Riads in Marrakech are the true definition on inner beauty. They do not look much to the world from the outside but when stepping in you find such immense and unique beauty. Each Riad is so different and they all have their own style. Here are a few examples of places to stay in Marrakech ranging from cheap to expensive.


Riad Amskal

Adress: 129, Derb sidi M'barek sidi Mimoune

We stayed here for our entire stay of 4 nights. We paid 30 € per night and the breakfast was included. This small Riad has 5 rooms and is located a 10 minute walk from the Jemaa el-Fnaa square. The residence has a community room, and seating on two floors of rooftops. It´s a perfect stay for the budget traveler.


Riad BE

Adress: 23 Derb Sidi Lahcen o Ali Bab Doukkala, Medina

There is a whole post just about this Riad. Good news it that this popular Riad has opened up several new rooms. They are often fully booked. The decor and details are so beautiful and each room has it´s own name with a unique interior. They have two courtyards with pools and a beautiful rooftop, perfect for relaxing on a warm summer day. The prices rage from 100-180 € per night.


La Mamounia

Adress: Avenue Bab Jdid, Marrakesh 40040

The price starts from 400 € per night and goes up from there. This famous hotel is where many famous people stay or have stayed when visiting Marrakech. The hotel has a vey regal and luxurious feel. It has all the amenities you can think of: restaurants, bars, spa, garden, pool, tennis court, gym and the list goes on. Your stay will definitely be filled with luxury.


Transportation

As I mentioned before if you are staying in the Medina, nearly everything is within walking distance. There are taxis and smaller tuk-tuks which will transport you around. I would recommend to prebook transportation from the airport to your Riad (preferably through your Riad). Then you are guarantied a certain price and avoid haggling upon arrival. The Riads can be very hard to get to and it´s nice to know that your driver knows where to go.


Where to eat

There is no problem finding vegan food in Marrakech, there are tons of options. Vegetable tanginess, couscous dishes, moroccan salads, hummus and many starters are vegan. When ordering you are often served traditional bread called Khobz and olives. One night we bough some food in the market, where you can find lots of juice stalls and people grilling corn on the cob. Not to mention the wonderful fruit markets filled with lots of colorful and fresh fruits. Down bellow you will find some great places to eat in Marrakech.


Atay Café Food

Adress: 62, Rue Amsefah Sidi Abdelaziz

Opening times: 10-22

This multistory restaurant offers seating both inside and on three different levels outside. The interior is splendid and feels very modern but at the same time incorporating the traditional Moroccan style. This place is worth a visit just to experience the amazing views. If you are not hungry you can always enjoy some mint tea or a fresh juice. The food was good and had vegan options. Upon ordering you receive complementary bread, olives and tomato ragu. We ordered a vegetable tangine and a vegetable couscous(served with some yummy caramelized onion). The portions were fairly large and a dish cost around 50 MAD.

NOMAD

Adress: 1 Derb Aajrane

Opening times: 11-23

This place can be a bit tricky to find. It´s located by a famous square but you have to look up to find the sign. Its not marked out in any other way. This place is similar to Atay with both inside seating and two floors of rooftops. This place was very hip and modern. It´s a bit pricier where a vegetable tagine will cost you 90 MAD. We did not eat here but I had their orange, carrot and ginger juice which was delicious.

Henna Café

Adress: 93, Arset Aouzal Souikat

Opening times: 12-20

"The Henna Cafe is a space in Marrakech to enjoy food, henna, art and classes. All income from these cultural experiences is used to give free education and assistance to Moroccan people. The Henna Cafe Marrakech is a registered cultural foundation in Morocco". You will find seating booth indoors and on two different roof tops. This place is probably most famous for doing beautiful henna. But they also have a restaurant with a full vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menu. Upon ordering you will receive bread and olives. This place is perfect for people on a budget as dishes start from 30 MAD. Many restaurants offer the same thing in Marrakech, especially when you are vegan. Here there was a bit more to choose from and some other types of dishes. Much of the food is also traditional Berber cuisine. I love the innovative way they serve their silverware, in a moroccan shoe. You can also enjoy snacks with both cold and warm drinks.


Other recommendations: Zwin Twin Café, Café Kif Kif and Le Jardin.


What to see

Jema el Fna - main square

Ben Yousef Medresa - muslim school

Museum of Marrakech - showcases art, garments, porcelain and much more traditional works from Morocco.

The souks - getting lost in the souks is a must and experiencing the hustle, smells and colors.

Koutouba Mosque - a landmark for Marrakech

Bahia Palace - This beautiful place is dazzled out to the max, filled with patterns and colors everywhere.

El Badi Palace - This was built to be the most important building in Marrakech in 1603. Today all that remains from this magnificent palace once having 360 rooms are ruins. Here you will also find lots of beautiful orange trees.

Jardin Majorelle - Home to the artist Jaques Majorelle and bought in the 80´s by Yves Sant Laurent and his partner. Yves ashes are spread in the garden.

Yves Saint Laurent museum - Showcases YSL´s most iconic pieces and teaches you about the life of Yves.

Menara gardens - A large botanical garden overlooking the Atlas mountains that was established in the 12th century. The centerpiece is a pavilion and a large pool.

City walls - The ramparts surrond the old city and consist of 19 gates, one of the most famous ones is called Bad Agnaou.

Royal palace - You are not allowed inside the premises and you can only pass it by car, however it´s very grand.

Bathe at a Hammam - the traditional spa experience can be found in many places and at different price ranges. One of the most exclusive ones can be found at the hotel La Mamounia.


Excursions from Marrakech

Ouzoud Falls

- Many people (including me) do not know about this place. It´s the widest and second tallest waterfall in Africa. The drive is three hours from Marrakech and will take you through the lovely countryside with wonderful landscapes. The day trip to Ouzoud we went on was booked through Viator and cost roughly 20 €/person. The trip included pick up and drop off from our riad, guided hike around the falls and a visit to a traditional Berber household.

Essaouira

- This costal town is also located three hours from the city. Known as the "wind city of Africa" it´s a hotspot for surfers. The cozy town is filled with galleries and markets in small alleyways.

Atlas Mountains

- A trip to the Atlas Mountains usually includes visits to Berber villages and hikes in the beautiful landscape (this of course depends on the chosen tour).

Sahara Desert

- The Sahara Reser is the largest hot desert in the world covering 9,2 million square meters of land.

Ait Ben Haddou & Ouarzazate

- This big fort located in the town on Ouarzazate is a UNESCO world heritage site. One common excursion is a two day, one night trip that will take you both to the desert and to Ait Ben Haddou, on the way you will also pass the iconic Atlas Mountains.

As you can tell there are lots of excursions from Marrakech, you just have to choose which one suits you and your interests.


More information

Make sure to check out my instagram https://www.instagram.com/graceontour

In the link below you can find all of my blogposts from Morocco:

https://nouw.com/graceontour/category/maroco


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This historical hotel opened it´s doors in 1923. The famous Winston Churchill was a frequent guest and to quote "It´s one of the most beautiful places in the world". This hotel has hosted many famous people and when visiting you can understand why.

This hotel offers a lot of things even for people who are not guests. They have several restaurants and a spa that welcomes anyone.

The gardens are absolutely stunning and filled with orange-trees and they even have a garden where they grow a lot of their own vegetables and herbs.

You literary can find beauty in every corner of this place.

You have probably seen this place on social media and it´s an absolutely stunning hallway filled with Moroccan print in black and white.

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One of the most wonderful experiences we had in Marrakech was escaping to various rooftops. All of them unique in their own way but commonly offering beautiful views over the city and the Altas mountains.


Atay Café-food

Adress: 62, Rue Amsefah Sidi Abdelaziz

Opening times: 10-22

This multistory restaurant offers seating both inside and on three different levels outside. The interior is splendid and feels very modern but at the same time incorporating the traditional Moroccan style.

This place is worth a visit just to experience the amazing views. If you are not hungry you can always enjoy some mint tea or a fresh juice.

The food was good and had vegan options. Upon ordering you receive complementary bread, olives and tomato ragu. We ordered a vegetable tangine and a vegetable couscous(served with some yummy caramelized onion). The portions were fairly large and a dish cost around 50 MAD.


NOMAD

Adress: 1 Derb Aajrane

Opening times: 11-23

This place can be a bit tricky to find. It´s located by a famous square but you have too look up to find the sign. Its not marked out in any other way. This place is similar to Atay with booth inside seating and two floors of rooftops.

This place was very hip and modern. It´s a bit pricier where a vegetable tagine will cost you 90 MAD. We did not eat here but I had their orange, carrot and ginger juice which was delicious.


Henna Café

Adress: 93, Arset Aouzal Souikat

Opening times: 12-20

"The Henna Cafe is a space in Marrakech to enjoy food, henna, art and classes. All income from these cultural experiences is used to give free education and assistance to Moroccan people. The Henna Cafe Marrakech is a registered cultural foundation in Morocco."

You will find seating booth indoors and on two different roof tops. This place is probably most famous for doing beautiful henna. But they also have a restaurant with a full vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menu.

Upon ordering you will receive bread and olives. This place is perfect for people on a budget as dishes start from 30 MAD.

Many restaurants offer the same thing in Marrakech, especially when you are vegan. Here there was a bit more to choose from and some other types of dishes. Much of the food is also traditional Berber cuisine.

I love the innovative way they serve their silverware. You can also enjoy snacks with booth cold and warm drinks.

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This garden is a beautiful oasis in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.

This place was created by the famous artist Jacques Majorelle. It took 40 years to complete the garden. In the 80´s the property was purchased by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked on restoring it. Upon Yves death in 2008 his ashes were spread in the Majorelle garden.

This place is a very popular tourist attraction and there are many visitors each day. Come here early to avoid the crowds.

This pis located a bit out of the city and many people take a taxi to get here. However it´s not far to walk and it took us no time to get there.

The entrance fee to the garden is 70 MAD for adults and 35 MAD for students. While you are in the area I think that you also should visit the Yves Sanit Laurent museum located next to the gardens. It was a lovely exhibition and as you are not allowed to take pictures there you just have to see it for yourself. The entrance fee is 100 MAD for adults (cheaper for students). To get your student discount you need to show a valid student card.

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If Marrakech has taught me something it is that you should never judge a book by its cover. The Riads are the definition of true inner beauty. They do not look much to the world from the outside but when stepping in you find such immense and unique beauty.

We were fortunate enough to visit the amazing and Instagram famous Riad BE.

When stepping in you are met my a courtyard with a pool in the middle. The colors of the water is reflected through out the rest of the courtyard.

We had some lovely mint tea and vegan biscuits by the pool. They are famous for their delicious breakfast, and also serve small bites through out the day. There is also a set menu for both lunch and dinner.

The rooftop offers multiple seating arrangements and is the perfect spot to relax on a warm day.

Riad BE is fully booked most of the time and if you are lucky enough to get a room during your visit its a wonderful place to stay. The owners were so warm and welcoming and it felt like coming home in some ways. When we were there they were extending the Riad and by now there should be even more rooms on offer. They were even building a new pool in the new courtyard.

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The alarm went of at 3.30, and we were not the only people up at this early hour. During the time we waited for the taxi the baker was delivering bread to all of the small shops. When we arrived at the airport it was chaos at the Ryanair desk, due to new regulations. The drama was not over at this point, because as the plane was taxing out on to the runway a passenger shouted out "stop the plane". An older woman was not feeling well and had some anxiety about flying. The cabin crew ran through the plane to call the captain before it was too late. So we turned around and headed back to the terminal. Everything went fine and the lady walked off the plane by herself. We landed at Stanstead midday and had about 7 hours until our next flight. The time was spent in the airport lounge so we did not complain. We arrived at home late the same night and I tried to get some sleep before heading to school early in the morning. Looking back it was an amazing trip and Morocco took me by surprise. I´m also very grateful that I got to share this amazing experience with my mum. This trip will be cherished for a long time to come.

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For our last day in Marrakech we woke up to beaming sunshine. The first stop was the Yves Saint Laurent museum, which was a true pleasure to wander around.

Right next to the museum you also find the famous Jardin Majorelle. The garden was a special place with its fascinating plants and the indigo blue covering all the houses.

As the weather was so wonderful we decided to try out a rooftop restaurant for lunch. Atay Café had the most amazing views and lovely interior.

We wandered around the souks and had a drink at another rooftop called NOMAD. This place was very hip and had stunning views over the snow covered Atlas Mountains.

In the afternoon we visited the famous Hotel La Mamounia. This is the place where Churchill stayed during his visits to Marrakech. The hotel was very grand and we felt a bit out of place wandering around this sophisticated place. While walking in the garden we realised that our Riad is neighbors with La Mamounia.

Once again we finished of our day with a meal at the Henna café and ended our time in Marrakech with our last mint tea. As always when traveling time flies and this was our last day in Morocco. I can’t wait to return and get to explore the rest of this fascinating country.

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This morning the heavens opened and the rain was pouring down. At 8 am a little minivan picked us up for a full day out visiting the Ouzud waterfalls. When heading out of Marrakech we passed the new city and it was hard to believe that we still were in the same city. It was totally different from the Medina. It is also here where many of the luxury hotels are located and the people staying there must take a taxi to get in to the old city. The drive to Ouzud took 3 hours and upon arrival we joined a larger group and a guide.

We started from the top of this magnificent waterfall which is the highest in Africa and also the second widest after Victoria falls. We hiked to the bottom and got a lot of fun facts and information from our guide. At the bottom a boat took us up close to the falls before hiking up again to the top. For lunch we had a traditional couscous with vegetables.

We were also fortunate enough to look inside one of the Berber houses where the locals live. The house was shared by four brothers and their families. After a lovely time we headed back towards Marrakech. We finished the day at the Henna cafe with some warming vegan soup.

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In the afternoon the sun finally came out as we were heading to the Bahia Palace. This place was filled with beautiful tile-work and and alleyway with lots of orange trees. The big courtyard was very impressive and was used as a ballroom in the olden days.

Next to the Bahia Palace you will find another impressive site, the El Badi Palace. This construction was completed in 1603 and the sultan wanted it to be the most important building in Marrakech.

After a lot of walking we stumbled across a cool place called Henna Cafe. It´s primarily a henna salon but also offers a full vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menu. This place also had two lovely rooftops and was the perfect place to sit down for an afternoon snack.

As you could see in the previous pictures Marrakech is filled with beautiful orange trees. We had to try them out for ourselves. Our snack consisted of fresh oranges with cinnamon and orange tea with moroccan spices. I also liked the very unique way the silverware was presented.

I finished off the day with some bargaining in the souks. Before coming to Morocco I had an ambition of buying a bowl with a traditional pattern, and I found the perfect one.

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I woke up filled with excitement for a full day of exploring Marrakesh. After a traditional breakfast we headed to the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square. It was a lot quieter at nine in the morning and most of the stalls had not opened yet. We headed further in the medina and through the small alleys of the souks. Our first stop should have been the Ben Youssef Madrasa but it was unfortunately closed for renovation. We instead went in to the museum of Marrakesh. It was a little hidden gem with beautiful courtyards and lovely tile-work.

We continued on to visit Riad Yasmine which I’ve heard so much about on Instagram. I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures but I can assure you that it was beautiful inside. However we also visited Riad BE, where we stayed for tea and got to wander around.

Every corner of this Riad was so beautiful and Instagramable. It´s a very popular place to stay and is most of the time fully booked. They have however just extended and opened up several new rooms, so that more guests can stay in this beautiful oasis.

When coming to Morocco I was hoping for a bit warmer weather but it was quite cold. I was planning on having lunch at one of the many rooftop restaurants but to stay warm we decided to eat inside. This time I had couscous with vegetables. We then walked passed the Koutoubia mosque which is one of the famous sights in Marrakech.

As we explored so much this day I decided to divide this post in two parts. The rest of the day you will find in the next post.

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