Anyone i know who’s been to Marrakech either loves it or hates it. No in betweens! I wanted my own opinion on the subject, so i booked a trip with lovely Caroline (www.instagram.com/caroline-cestmoi).
Since i’m back, i realise that every time someone asks me how it was, i answer: i can understand you would hate it…
So let me help you to love it!
(I’ve realised i’m not so much of a long blogpost writer, so i’ll sum up what we did and whether or not you should do it too and why. Quick and dirty!)
Musée Yves Saint Laurent & Jardin Majorelle.
If you plan on doing both: the queue to buy tickets is MUCH shorter at the museum, but you cannot get garden-only tickets there.
The Museum is really a pleaser: pretty architecture, nicely displayed YSL haute-couture, intriguing temporary exhibit and a lovely outdoor cafe.
Jardin Majorelle: incredible variety of cacti and luscious green plants. Unfortunately very popular and therefore crowded. But the blue wall is such a stunner. Mornings are probably less crowded.
Comptoir des Mines: jaw-dropping gorgeous art-deco appartement building in which a contemporary art gallery is hosted. The exhibited artwork is quite interesting, but even if you’re not into contemporary (Moroccan) art, go for the architecture! Really: GO!
Well, you have to deal with the stench, because even the mint twig they hand you won’t camouflage the noxious odour (think pig farm). We paid 1euro pp to a fake guide in order to get in. Produced some nice photos, so: worth it in my opinion.
Jamaa El Fna:
We think this is a way too loud marketplace – tourist trap – entertainment plaza: NOT EVER GOING BACK. (We didn’t even really go, just crossed the square in high speed.)
Place des Epices:
This is not the real name of the square, but it’s a much nicer place than Jamaa El Fna. It’s where Cafe des Epices is, around the corner from Nomad.
A particular mausoleum with zellige covered tombs in intricate patterns. Long line to see the main attraction, which we skipped… because we’re a bit rebellious.
There are A LOT of souks in Marrakech and it’s not easy to find your way around. We liked the more authentic feel of the metallic working souks and the carpet souks.
We played it safe. It just did not appeal to us at all and i’m really not sure the general street food hygiene would agree with my digestive system…
Click here for my google map links
Kahwa16: easy lunch across the street from Jardin Majorelle, very nicely presented and tasty food.
Atay cafe: nice rooftop dining, simple good food.
Bar Kechmara: we only had drinks and spring rolls, but the menu looked really good and the interior is lovely (and they serve alcohol which is really not the case everywhere and an apero with G&T really tastes good at the end of the day.) This is probably the least kid friendly place we visited, but still absolutely feasible.
Zwin Zwin cafe: lovely terrace and healthy food: the perfect lunch break! A bit slow on service, but we were not in a rush. Favourite lunch spot.
Le Jardin: nice casual dining, seating not very comfortable. Good for big groups too. (we made a reservation)
Nomad: one of those places to be which requires a reservation a few days ahead of time, although for lunch one day before was fine. Nice venue, good salads, sunny terrace with sunhat provided.
Terrasse des Epices: another hotspot that deserves the attention. Rooftop restaurant with very friendly and helpful staff, really nice tajine and wine. Large tables for bigger groups available too. We recommend it!
La Famille: only open for lunch and reservation needed, but really worth it: feast your vegetarian tastebuds and enjoy the friendly service.
AIRBNB Cactus Bedroom in Riad Dar Kleta: lovely hosts, nice breakfast, very pretty riad and bedroom. If you go: make sure to book a taxi through them to find the way the first day and ask Julien for a good explanation on how to get back there… We did get lost, which has a charming part, but a freaky part too…
We walked everything. The city is really not that big and if you don’t mind getting lost a bit, you’ll be fine. I’m a google maps kinda girl, but the thing is: the streets are so narrow that google maps has not registered A LOT of the city. So we used the position of the sun as a general direction… and the unwanted but appreciated help of local kids once.
My general conclusion:
Marrakech is a very colourful and photogenic place: love it!
Well chosen sunny terraces to enjoy local food and relax: love it!
The beautiful historical sites and authentic gardens: love it!
Walking around in the narrow streets and souks: ok up to a certain extend, because getting lost is only that much fun…
People asking you if you want to go to “la place” ALL the time: extremely aggravating. But we didn’t experience permanent hustle otherwise.
Marrakech really is Africa: more of an adventure than city tripping in Europe. So yes: GO!