Hey Explorersaur! We’ve been bulking out the Morocco section of the blog with all our things to see, tips, and precautions to take in the country. If you’re planning a trip here or are curious to hear more do have a look at the other posts here! Whilst there are some things to look out for, overall we had a really lovely time experiencing Marrakech and exploring the vibrancy and culture! Today we’re going to talk about everything we did in Marrakech, let’s get into it!
We initially flew to Morocco on a mystery holiday for £99 each – you can check out our thoughts on mystery holidays on the travel tab of the blog. We did upgrade our flights to give ourselves an extra night here for about £30 each, so were set to spend a few days in Marrakech throughout January. The peak seasons for tourists in Marrakech are Spring and Autumn – as summer is just too hot and often over 35 degrees, and Winter can be a bit nippy. Thankfully for us, we had perfect temperatures for a Winter getaway – generally being low 20’s; a well needed escape from the UK Winter chills!
We had a midday flight from Gatwick airport and were able to check straight into hotel. After exploring the riads around Marrakech I wish we’d booked a night or two in one of those, but as a base to explore, our hotel was in a good location and was everything we needed. After checking in and settling for a little bit, we headed straight off to see something that was on the top of our list.
We visited Le Jardin Majorelle first – which was a 15-20 minute walk from our hotel and has easily made it onto our must see in Marrakech list! The gardens were designed by Jacques Majorelle – a french artist, and in the 80s were set to be built on for a hotel. At this time, they were bought out by Yves Saint Laurent and allowed to stay the beautiful little haven they are – open for tourists to visit at around £10 an adult.
The gardens are filled with Royal blues, fountains, cacti and palm trees. They are absolutely stunning and the perfect spot to take pictures and relax in. After exploring all around for an hour or so, (the later it got the less busy it was; to be expected I think!) we headed back off for a pit stop at the hotel before going out for food. On our walk back, a man tagged along for a little while and tried to get some money out of us. Whilst it was’t threatening in any way and all the streets were busy and safe, it was a very awkward experience. We ducked into our hotel and lost him, and had a chat about the weirdness!
We headed for some fast food to save money for skybars later in the evening. In McDonald’s we were again asked for food/money, which seems to be a regular occurrence where the doors are not manned. Later in our holiday when we ate at proper restaurants this wasn’t an issue at all, so it’s something to be aware of when grabbing quick food. I’m all for charity, but people asking for things when you’re eating – knowing scams happen here too – wasn’t ideal. We decided we would be better off eating at the hotel when looking to save some cashola. Again, nothing intimidating but just very awkward and not a recipe for a relaxing start!!
We decided to head off to the Armani Sky Bar – which was said to have live music year round and great drinks and snacks. When on the hunt for this, we managed to drop into the wrong Armani bar and ended up in a pretty dingy shisha bar. (Totally my fault – sorry Jack!) We stayed for a little while as we’d made it here, but then headed off to find the real deal! We were so happy when we arrived as it was such a gorgeous atmosphere. There wasn’t much of a view over the city as it’s surrounded in higher buildings, but it was still vibrant, soo comfy and had great service. We listened to a Moroccan band playing away and fell in love; they were really great! After plenty of drinks we headed back in for the night via a taxi. (Look at our Morocco tips post for a full run-down, but always always negotiate taxi prices before getting in!)
The next day we felt armed with some tips about staying vigilant and set off to enjoy the day. We were awoken at around 5AM by the call to prayer – which was such a strange experience! It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard, very unique, very loud and pretty cool. We booked the hop on hop off bus tour for around £5 each, which have routes across all the best areas of the city. We absolutely loved seeing the city from the bus and would recommend this as the best way to get around Marrakech! Our first stop was the Menara Garden, where we hopped off and walked around the gorgeous man made lake surrounded by palm and fruit orchards. There was a good amount of people here – not too much that it was bustling, but it had a good vibe. This is totally free to visit and well worth a stop when you’re away! The gardens in Marrakech really are something special.
We decided to spend the most part of this day exploring the markets (/souks.) After jumping back on the bus we hopped off near the Koutoubia Mosque and took some more photos – you’re not allowed to go in if you’re not Muslim but it’s really lovely to see from the outside. The areas surrounding are full of gardens, fountains, and are immersed in greens and blues. We grabbed a bite to eat near the markets and then headed on in. Whilst I covered my hair for the most part with a scarf (and was always in floaty clothes to be respectful,) we definitely did draw attention in the markets. Looks and comments seemed to be common and I don’t think I’d be totally comfortable without Jack with me or at least a large group. On the most part people seemed harmless, but it’s an odd atmosphere having things called out after you a lot. The colours and architecture of the markets are so unique and beautiful, with the stalls being full of spices, homewares, clothes and trinkets. I would have loved to properly browse everything but we mainly just had a walk through. (Again, take a look at our Morocco tips post to see everything to be aware of!)
As we were walking along we found the beauty of Le Jardin Secret – a beautiful riad garden nestled in between the markets. This cost about £4 each to enter and would be worth so much more! The grounds are absolutely gorgeous and you can stop at the cafe and look through lots of art here. There are so many nooks to relax in, and it should 100% be an addition to a day exploring the souks.
In the evening we headed to Entrepotes, where we had the loveliest meal of our whole holiday. The doors were manned and it felt quite exclusive to be honest, but it looked like they had a good demographic range inside. We sat between plants, outdoor fires and enjoyed a huge array of food – including the best guacamole I have ever eaten! Jack had probably the strongest cocktail in the whole world, and we headed off for the night. This little gem was only about an 8 minute walk from our hotel so we were very lucky! I’m sure there are many more gorgeous places to eat in Morocco – and if you do it right you can be surrounded by the yummiest food!
We decided to do a proper excursion the next day which we were most excited about and was probably the highlight of our whole trip – quad biking around the desert!! We had booked it for around 1PM, and so spent the morning seeing more of the city from our hop on hop off bus, before meeting the tour guide at our hotel. We were picked up in a pretty standard, slightly run down car, and the drive to the desert went through some much poorer outskirts of the city where we got a good few looks. As soon as we reached the desert every worry completely left! It was so stunning (the first desert we’d seen!) surrounded by snow topped mountains and hills as far as our eyes could see, whilst being beautifully warm at our base.
We happened to be on a pretty big tour with a bunch of German people – I think some sort of school trip. Whilst this probably made it all a little slower as they have more people to look out for, we kept hanging back on our quads to speed up fast to the rest of the group. Something about getting all that air over the most beautiful scenery was just perfect. So so special!! After driving around for a few hours seeing all the sights and stopping for some pictures, we were treated to a tea in the desert by the tour company. I’m not normally a tea lover, but this drink was gorgeously sweet and really tasty!!
We asked our tour driver who was set to drop us back off, to drop us at a mall nearby the Menara Gardens. It was closer for him than our hotel, and we’d spotted some really great looking restaurants here on our hop on hop off bus tour. We had a veggie tagine, some pasta and a burger between us, and then had a look through some of the shops in the mall. This area also had more western food and American bars if you’re missing a more familiar taste – although we do think you should add a taste of Morocco to your trip! They had a whole arcade level and some souk replica shops with fixed prices. If haggling or the markets aren’t quite your thing, this is a great place to browse some similar goodies in a different atmosphere. We picked up some gorgeous pastries from a bakery called PAUL; which we’ve also seen in France and the UK, and headed back to our hotel.
The next morning we had to leave super early for our flight, so grabbed a taxi outside our hotel and headed home. The first taxi that stopped to pick us up had two people in the front and just looked a little strange (maybe they taxi pool here?) but we waited for the next to be safe. Overall, there are some things to be aware of and prepared for in Morocco, but you can also have some serious adventures here!! I would love to come back and stay in a riad, camp in the desert, and go on a day trip to the Ouzoud Waterfalls a few hours away, where you see the most stunning nature, optional hiking and monkeys in the wild. Whilst we did run into some awkward encounters, we would come back with this in mind and tick off the last things on our list!! Take a look at our Morocco things to do, see, and to be aware of posts on the Morocco tab!