It’s time for the write up on our Honeymoon part 2. We spent 3 days in Marrakech and I already wrote up about our wonderful stay in Dar Jaguar; I wanted to talk more about Marrakech as a whole. Morroco is such a wonderful place and somewhere I never expected to fall in love with quite as much as we did. Spending 3 nights and 3 days there was enough to see the minimum, but the trip felt almost longer. All your senses are heightened by the number of sounds, smells, tastes and sights to take in. In this post, I break down our trip into different sections, so I hope you like it.
The Souks are probably one of the biggest parts of exploring Marrakech. To truly understand what they are like you have to experience them but I will try my best to explain. The narrow alleyways and paths are filled with little shops all selling a huge array of goodies. Nearly everything is hand made either by the store owner themselves or locally. They sell things you never knew you wanted but somehow find yourself needing it by the end of the trip.
Everything from beautiful fabrics, rugs, home decor, leather shoes, wicker bags, spices, herbs, and ceramics. All the colours make the city look like such a vibrant place, it draws you in to explore and hunt for treasures. As to be expected the market traders are savvy. They know how to pull on your heart strings and they say things to you because they want you to shop. You have to prepare yourself to be alert and have a thick skin so you don’t stop at every single store. When we first arrived I had no idea what to pay for things but thanks to this blog post, it really helped me have a rough idea. Always haggle with the sellers, even if they get grumpy with you it’s worth getting a good price. The sellers will be super friendly until you mention money. Don’t let their sharpness deter you from getting a good price. Walk away if you are unsure and don’t part with money out of guilt (we did a few times)! By the last day we felt confident enough to haggle and to also walk away and goto another seller if they wouldn’t budge.
Food glorious food
The food in Marrakech was incredible; so much so Chris and I have already recreated dishes at home. If you’re eating out then expect most of the restaurants to have menus in French, as it is a french speaking country. As well as french there are lots of local Morroccon dishes to try.
Most places will have traditional tagines; like chicken, lamb, fish, and vegetables. As well as tagines you will find lots of lamb burgers and kebabs. It is a very meat-heavy place to eat but most places will have vegetarian options.
Our favorite dish had to be the one we helped make on our cooking course in our Riad. We made lamb tagine with apricots. It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. served with softened vegetables and potatoes also cooked in a tagine. Al the flavors and spices are so full and hearty. Most things have coriander, saffron, cinnamon, and cumin in. We loved the food it was delicious and definitely one of the best things about our trip.
Things to do
After our trip to Marrakech, we definitely felt we experienced the best parts. On the first day of your trip if you can book a tour guide to show you around the souks then I highly recommend that. This meant we knew what to expect and learned about how things work.
Most the museums and tourist spots charge to go in so we didn’t end up going into the Marrakech museum but we chose to do other things instead. We looked around local gardens and visiting the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition and gardens. See in my tips below how to get the best experience.
Ride buggies in the sand dunes! This was by far the best experience and part of the trip we loved so much. We went on an excursion from the city and did 2 hours of driving in a buggy, wearing helmets and getting super dirty, it was epic! We even stopped for mint tea near the end in a local village.
Book a traditional Morrocan massage, where they use oils. We had an hour massage each in our Riad and it was divine. As well as this we booked a cooking class in our Riad (check out Dar Jaguar, it’s a great place to stay). These experiences will stay with us for years to come.
- Cover up: although locals are used to having tourists and westerners wearing small pieces of clothing it is still respectful to cover up a little bit. I found wearing linen trousers that go below the knee, a cami top and a lightweight kimono over my shoulders to be the perfect outfit. Shorts are fine but if you have your legs out then covering your shoulders is recommended. Linen and lose fitting cotton will help keep cool in the summer heat.
- Comfy shoes! You find things look close on the map but everything takes ages to walk to because of all the narrow winding pathways and busy streets. Wear some comfy sandals preferably closed toe as your feet do get black by the end of the day!
- Try every tagine you can. We regret not having more days to eat more food! We didn’t get a chance to try a fish tagine so we definitely need to go back to eat more local food.
- Eat at Nomad for lunch. It’s a great spot just off of the main square and has a roof terrace to sit out and eat. It looks over rooftops which is pretty atmospheric and cool.
- If you are visiting the Yves Saint Laurent gardens go first thing at the opening because it gets very busy. Expect long queues if you turn up at lunchtime as we did. It is so busy you can barely take in the sights without people in the way and you can’t freely walk around.
- Tip locals! Tipping is part of the culture; we were unsure how much but we learned by the end of the trip how much was okay. Porters for taxis/luggage 5 Durham, taxi drivers 10 Durum and at lunch or dinner about 15% of the total bill.