We spent almost four full days in the city which we are glad we did. Without the pressure of time we could do everything without having to rush. Obviously there’s never enough time to do everything but we got the chance to do a lot of what we planned.
Wander around the souk. It might seem a bit overwhelming with all the shopkeepers trying to get you to come in but I found smiling and saying no thank you will get them to leave you alone. We were advised not to buy anything in the beginning of the souk as it would be the most expensive. So wander in a bit further and you’ll be amazed at everything there is on offer.
And be prepared to haggle for the price. Offer 50% of their original price and eventually you’ll find yourself in the middle of both prices. Also if you’re not happy with their price and they’re not budging, say thank you and walk out. More often than not they’ll come after you and you can compromise on the price.
The Jewish quarter is also worth a visit, especially if you want to see where the locals go to buy their spices. You’ll recognise it by the balconies which the houses in the medina do not have.
A note on outfit choices: be respectful of the culture in the country you’re visiting. We always made sure we covered our shoulders and legs and didn’t wear revealing tops or dresses and were much more comfortable that way.
Medersa Ben Youssef.
Medersa Ben Youssef is an Islamic school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and has some of the most beautiful architecture I ever saw! The Madrasa is centred around a courtyard with a communal pool for ablutions and used to house up to 900 students.
Take your time walking around and check out the various dormitories.
We had a guide for that day which made everything more fascinating as we got to learn about the history of the place.
Bahia Palace.Image source: Burgstede Photography
This was another place we visited with our guide and we are very happy we did! So much history that we would’ve missed had we not had him with us. If you like being your own tour guide you can check out this site with information on the Bahia Palace.
Le Jardin Majorelle
Le Jardin Majorelle with it’s blues and yellows, red paths and green plants is just beautiful. It is the garden and life work of the french painter Jacques Majorelle who worked and lived here. It houses over 500 different plants from all five continents and invites you to relax from the hustle and bustle of the medina. It was bought by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner in 1980 and restored as it had been forgotten about after Majorelle’s death.
As tranquil as it looks, just remember it is very popular with tourists so you’ll never be all alone.
Cooking course at Riyad El Cadi.
This was one of the things we had planned and booked ahead of time. And I can only recommend it. It is such a great way to discover more of a country and it’s culture. We were lucky enough that it was just the three of us doing the course at Riyad El Cadi.
As we booked a vegetarian course we made three salads and a tajine.
I cannot wait to recreate the salads at home. I didn’t buy a tajine this time so it’ll be hard to make that but hey, it just means I need to go back again to get one!
Here was one of the times that we were happy that we had so much time because we could sit on the rooftop terrace, soak up the sun, have a glass of wine, enjoy the food and just relax.
Le Bains d’Orient.
If you’re in need of some pampering or if like with us it’s raining, the hamams are a great option. We went for the whole deal of scrubbing, face mask, massage and henna at Les Bains d’Orient and it was so worth it! I think I could get used to going to the hamam weekly…
A note on hennas: our guide agreed that it was a good idea we got it in the hamam and not on the main square as you’re never sure what they use in the paint. However, for some reason our hennas didn’t dry for hours and we woke up with it everywhere in the morning.
Marrakech I like you! And I know there is so much we didn’t see so I’ll be back.
Although we felt after three days we had seen a lot of Marrakech we were still grateful to have organised a private guide. Not only was he very knowledgeable about the history of Marrakech and Morocco but he brought us to places we wouldn’t have been able to go ourselves such as, the neighbourhood bakery and the “heater” of the local hamam. So I would recommend organising a guide and you can tell him if there is something in particular you’d like to see.
If you have any questions or you want the contact for our guide, I’ll be happy to help.