Let’s start with the name, shall we? Soooo you will find it spelled either Marrakesh or Marrakech. And both are correct, is that confusing only to me?! Anyway… Marrakesh, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center and home to mosques, palaces and gardens. It has been vastly popular among instagrammers lately as an instagrammable location. And I must admit there a lot of instagram worth places there.
WHAT TO SEE?
Jemma El-Fnaa. Large public square with small merchants, hawkers & entertainers. It’s a square and market place in Marrakesh’s medina quarter (old city). It remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists. If you have a bone for haggling you will love it! If you are a bit like us and don’t like to be bothered too much it will be a hard work. You can definitely find a bargain there, from local produce (things for your home, jewellery, clothes and more) to cheap souvenirs.
Le Jardin Secret is an elegant, ornate 19th-century palace complex with traditional Islamic gardens, plus a shop & cafe. Really beautiful place but if you want to get some shots with only you in it, you need to get there early, later in a day it’s buzzing with tourists.
The Museum of Marrakech is an art museum located in the old center of Marrakesh. The museum is housed in the Dar Menebhi Palace, constructed at the end of the 19th century by Mehdi Menebhi.
Koutoubia Mosque. This large 12th-century Almohad-style mosque features a plaza with gardens & a fountain. We didn’t go inside the mosque, but gardens are really nice to have a stroll.
Bahia Palace. The Bahia Palace is a palace and a set of gardens. It was built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means “brilliance”. Here is definetely a heaven for instagrammers.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Well, if you say you love fashion or call yourself a fashion blogger, you must visit YSL museum. But why in Marrakech, I hear you scream. Well, Yves Saint Laurent would travel to Marrakech for a fortnight in December and June of each year in order to design his haute couture collections. Morocco, a country he visited for the first time in 1966, was to have a major influence on his work – particularly his colours – as did his ‘imaginary travels’ to Japan, India, Russia, China and Spain. All provided sources of inspiration for his collections. This museum is run by the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent. And you will see YSL haute couture garments, accessories, sketches and other objects making up the collection. It’s also a place for art and fashion exhibitions.
The Majorelle Garden. It’s a two and half acre botanical garden and artist’s landscape garden. And it’s absolutely beautiful and sooo instagrammable, but it’s buzzing with tourists and photo takers so it’s hard to take a shot with only you in it. Be there early and be ready to queue up to get a shot you want.
WHERE TO EAT?
First night we headed over to Le Trou au Mur. We walked there through the Souk and it was a bit of the shock to the system straight of the plane. Loads of people, scooters, bikes all in the small alleyway and market stalls on both sides of it, selling anything from carpets to raw meat. Crazy! But as soon as we reached the restaurant, we have been nicely greeted and it was nice and pleasant place. Food was alright and they actually serve alcohol (note that not all places serve alcohol). Service was good, but I found it strange that when I asked our waiter something about the food, the waiter actually responded to my boyfriend as if he asked for it, so it was a bit unusual for us. This happened to us later on in the Souk as well, I wanted to buy moroccan babouche slipons and seller started showing what a great quality they are to my boyfriend. Very different culture and you have to keep that in mind. Sorry no photos from this restaurant…it was our first night and we just wanted some food and to chill.
Next day we headed over to NOMAD for dinner. It is spread over 4 floors, with intimate dining rooms and two levels of terraces that offer fantastic views of the surrounding Medina and Atlas mountain range (when visible between November and May). It serves modern Moroccan cuisine. I had vegetable couscous and it was lovely. We sat on a terrace and watched sunset so it was beautiful and romantic, would definitely recommend to visit.
Our next restaurant was Le Restaurant at La Maison Arabe. OMG… is this place amazing?! I’ve read a lot of good reviews on the Tripadvisor and a lot of people advised to get table by the swimming pool. We were lucky enough to get one and it was an amazing experience. Food was really nice and quite a few wines to choose from. I loved it and would definitely recommend to visit this place.
WHAT TO WEAR?
DO NOT wear short skirts, dresses, shorts or anything really to show your bare skin unless you like to be stared at. Local women mainly wear burkas. I wore midi dress one day and I felt underdressed… I mean you will be fine wearing whatever you like in the hotel and restaurants, but need to be careful on the streets and in souks or around Jemma-El-Fnaa square (old town). I honestly wished I’d have taken maxi skirts and more jeans. But oh well, lesson learned for the next time. You can see tourists in shorts and mini skirts, but I felt awkward wearing anything that showed even a bit of my legs. If you like attention and need an ego boost when go for it. Otherwise, I’d recommend maxi dresses, skirts and long trousers for Marrakesh.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE?
Animal abuse! At Jemma El-Fnaa square there are a lot of tourists’ entertainment from snake charmers, monkey handlers to horse carriages. And I’ve seen monkeys being badly mistreated, dragged over the concrete, put in too small cages, horses are on the sun all day…and they look skinny and shabby. It broke my heart. So you guessed right no carriage rides for us or photos with monkeys.
But overall, I really enjoyed our trip and I’d say Marrakesh is definitely worth a visit. But next time, I’d stay further from the old town.
You can shop what I wore below.