Hey, friends! Here’s a post on my experience to Marrakech Morocco back in May. I also included a few tips just in case you plan on going sometime in the future. Hope this answers any questions you may have and get rid of any hesitations to explore the beautiful city.
What to pack
So I traveled to Morocco in the beginning of May which is around the end of spring. We beat the hottest months so we were comfortable wearing long conservative clothing. Because Morocco is an Islamic country and the culture is very conservative, you would want to respect the culture and accordingly. I mainly wore loose clothing that did not show off too much of my body or figure. I brought a couple pair of pants, a couple long skirts and dresses and conservative tops. Linen material is definitely your friend! You do see some tourist wearing shorts and tank tops but it was very few and I could prob count how many on one hand. As far as shoes if you are planning to stay in old city Medina (which is where we stayed) I would stick to flats and sneakers pretty much anything that doesn’t have a heel. The streets are very old and unpaved, wearing heels you can be one wrong step away from messing up your ankle. Also be sure to pack light Morocco has and amazing shopping area where you will want to buy everything!!!! You will want to be sure you have room in your suitcase.
Where to stay
My friend and I stayed in the cutest Riad when we traveled to Morocco. What’s a Riad you might ask? Well, a Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. They are typically cheaper than hotels but more expensive than a hostel. We stayed at Riad Cinnamon and they were amazing, the best decision we’ve made for sure!!! They had an awesome app that included a GPS map of the area so you wouldn’t get lost. We were located in old Medina next to the where it’s inevitable to get lost without a guide. Every morning we had a huge breakfast and my now favorite Moroccan tea. Upon request, you can have lunch or dinner on the rooftop for a small fee. We did that the first night and was introduced to the tastiest of lamb tangine. The staff was above and beyond friendly. We were two young women traveling alone and they always made it a strong point to have someone walk us to and from late at night. Staying in the old city of Medina was definitely worth is if you want to experience the traditional life of the Moroccan culture. Also didn’t hurt that we were steps away from beautiful museums and shoppings.
The majority of the Marrakech’s residents linked to the Berber tribes of North Africa. There is also a large presence of Moroccan’s the are of Arab decent. The Berber people are considered the natives of the land and tend to live outside of the major city.
Women in Morocco are very conservative and not as aggressive as the men. Where are the men had not hesitation to haggle you for a purchase or to callout a woman’s beauty? Speaking to our Riad host that may be the case because the majority of women worked in offices which left a lot of men without jobs and more time to haggle tourist.Overall everyone that we met on the trip was friendly and hospitable.
My advice is if you’re going to be in another country TRY THEIR FOOD! Don’t be that person who is too afraid to try something new and orders a burger. That being said tangine dishes are everywhere and a true staple to how traditional dishes are prepared. I personally think they were delicious and ate a tangine meal once if not twice a day.
I honestly lived for the Moroccan green tea. It was so fresh and delicious that I asked for it for breakfast and dinner every day.
The Night Life
So if you are staying in Marrakech the perfect nightlife area is in “New Town”. This area is the more modern part of the city where the expensive hotels are. It has a Vegas vibe excluding the casinos. The clubs close around 5-6am so they start getting lit around 1 am.
Jema el Finaa square is also a lively night spot if you want to stay in Medina. Here locals and the Moroccan people from out of town gather to play music, dance, snake charm you name it. It was definitely a great experience, but they can spot a tourist and you will be hassled for tips if you watch any of the entertainment.
Excursions and places to visit
Jemaa el finaa – large public square filled with merchants, entertainers, locals, and tourists.
Souks – A large marketplace right next to Jemaa el Finaa where you can buy almost anything from rugs to oils to traditional clothing. Be ready to put you bargaining skills to work as this is a place you should never accept the first offer price. Also, I would bring a map when entering the Souks it’s so easy to get lost in the narrow streets that barely have signs.
Hammam – Hammams are a steam room, similar to a Turkish bath where Moroccan go to cleanse themselves. This was an amazing first experience! We were literally stripped naked, drenched in water, then rubbed down in a black soap concoction as we laid on hot stones. Once we were done we went swimming in the hot tub pool area, and given delicious Moroccan team to drink. Side note Hammams are separated by sex. Also if you are traveling with a friend you will most likely bath together.
YSL Garden – a Beautiful botanical garden full of vibrant colors and plants. Price: 70 Dhs
The Atlas Mountains & Berber Neighborhood Tour: A day tour where you get to discover the traditional Berber villages and markets. On the way, you also stop at an Argon Oil Co-Op where you see how Argon oil is made. Then off to a trek through the Atlas mountains where you can see the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal. The tour also included a traditional lunch in a local Berber home that was delicious!! Then topped it off with a camel ride in the mountains.
Sahara Desert: One tour that I didn’t get a chance to do but it’s definitely on my bucket list. It’s best to spend at least 3 days on this tour because it is far from Marrakech. On these tours, you get to trek the Sahara Desert on a camel and sleep in tents in the desert. If you like to be pampered this may not be the excursion for you but if you’re adventurous like me add it to your bucket list.
Hope this help, and let me hear about your experience if you plan to go.
Shukran Thanks – Milah