My Guide To Marrakech: Where To Visit?
Part 2: Marrakech: Excursions & Activities (here)
Part 1: A Bloggers Guide To Marrakech: Where To Visit?
After spending 5 nights and 6 days in the heart of Medina of Marrakech as well as exploring around other parts of Morocco I thought i'd put together a 2 (maybe even 3) part post to share my favourite places to visit, tips, tricks and excursions (trips) we booked!
Where to visit in the heart of Marrakech?
The infamous Souks where the real culture of Marrakech comes alive, you’re 5 senses are overpowered and ‘non, merci’ is your most used phrase. The Soaks are pretty darn incredible and I’ve never experienced anything like it before. An intricate network of interconnecting pathways filled with individual markets spilling onto the streets and darting through indoor areas. A giant maze that’s impossible to guide yourself through without getting lost. Motor cyclists wizzing through the alleyways, stockpiles of spices, cats patiently waiting beneath the meat counters, locals enticing you into their shop, Moroccan lanterns strewed across the walls like oversized glitter particles… it’s definitely something else.
This place was absolutely stunning. Teeming with hand painted Moroccan mosaic tiles, intricate wood carvings and beautiful open spaces, it’s the type of place you want to sit for hours reading a book and admiring your surroundings. Although there were a handful of visitors the Palace was very quiet and the court yard was incredibly tranquil.
El Badi Palace
A huge historical palace with a peaceful atmosphere set in the heart of the hustle and bustle. Like a long lasting ancient ruin the Palace once consisted of 360 richly decorated rooms however after a period of rapid decline the Sultan removed its contents, building materials and decorations to construct a new palace elsewhere. Your imagination runs wild with the sparse clues of hand painted tiles, flourishing gardens, remaining mud walls and tall bolt doors, piecing together what once was. The scale of El Badi Palace is hard to believe until you step foot inside the walls, roam the open spaces and watch the dozens of stalks dance and nest upon the ruins.
Henna Art Café
We had planned to visit Henna Art Café on the last day but unfortunately ran out of time. Not only is it the best place to get safe henna art but you can have Moroccan lunch, play with their pet tortoises and relax with a coffee, all whilst getting henna! The proceeds from the café (food, art and drink) go towards charitable causes too, so what’s not to love?
I was in cacti heaven when we visited the Jardin Majorelle. Twelve acres of botanical gardens filled with an incredible collection of plants/ cacti, host to 15 species of bird and several water features designed by a French artist during the period that Morocco was a settlement of France. The contrast of Berber blue walls, neon shaded koi fish and rich green shrubs were a photographers dream. Yves Saint-Laurent was a shared owner of the gardens and when he died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in Jardin Majorelle hence it also being known as the YSL memorial garden.
After lunch in the main square we challenged ourselves to find the Marrakech Museum just by walking in the direction of the minaret of mosque located nearby. We wondered through The Souks, getting deeper and deeper into the markets, twisting and turning down alleyways trying to keep to the direction of the minaret until we finally stumbled upon the museum! The museum itself was small but impressive. Similar too Bahia Palace, tiles filled every inch of the room, floor to ceiling, and the biggest chandelier I’ve even seen hung impressively in the middle. History packed into glass boxes stood sternly around the edges of the room whilst tiny hidden passages where decorated with newly painted art available for purchase.
Jemaa el Fna (The main square)
Similar to The Souks the main square is bustling with locals selling goods, snake charmers, henna artists (although I wouldn’t recommend using these as the henna isn’t pure substance), working donkeys, pet monkeys, musicians, motorcyclists, horses, food stalls, dancers and of course the dozens of fresh orange stalls! I think we paid the equivalent of 27pence for a freshly squeezed cup of incredibly tasty orange juice. Around the outside sits a number of restaurants with great views, side streets leading off into The Souks and more beautifully decorated mosques. We had ‘in lunch at a restaurant called Taj’in Darna Café were we people watched for hours in a quiet space above the hustle of the markets.
We actually stumbled across Café Clock on the first day as we decided to explore the streets around were we was staying. A couple of the locals had mentioned an infamous restaurant tucked away down the side street which was very popular with English folk. Being me, I hate stereotypical tourist loving restaurants but on the 2nd day we thought we’d give it a go and tweeted to book a table. It was one of the best nights of the whole holiday. Great food, incredibly swift service, chilled atmosphere, quirky decorations and on that night amazing live reggae style music from Bobo Wane. We loved this place that much we went again on our last night to try the popular ‘camel burger’… it was amazing