You are sipping a mint tea at the terrace of a café on Djemaa El-Fna plaza. Bewitching rhythms from the snake charmers’ flutes are rising from the distance. Merchants are selling their carpets, babouches, spices in a maze of colorful lanes. You feel thousands of kilometers away from your everyday life: you have just arrived in Marrakech.
Marrakech is full of vivid colors. You will love walking around the little lanes of its medina and trying to bargain with the merchants. You will be enchanted by the hidden gardens of its palaces and will enjoy the cooling shades of the century old palm trees. You will love the savors of the delicious couscous, tagines and pastries.
I went to Marrakech in September and it was hot. Very hot. So hot that you have to wake up early to explore the city in the morning because all you want to do in the afternoon is rest in the shade. Don’t forget to bring a good hat and sun screen! I had the chance to stay in a hotel with a swimming pool, which was the only place I wanted to be in the afternoon to escape the desert-like heat of Morocco…
Here is the best I saw of Marrakech.
The Koutoubia Mosque
The Koutoubia mosque was right next to my hotel so I would wake up each morning to the call for prayer. This beautiful construction from the 12th century is rising out of the medina. Don’t miss its beautiful gardens.
Walk around the souk of the medina and you will have the feeling to have entered a tale from the One Thousand and One Nights. Try to find your way between the merchants, the motorbikes, the visitors. La medina is a beautiful chaos full of colors and it will make you disconect from your everyday life in a second
The Majorelle garden
The Majorelle garden is a little gem which should definitely be on your list when visiting Marrakech. In the shade of this beautiful garden, you will feel like you have entered a haven of peace.
French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé bought this electric-blue villa and preserved the vision of its original owner, landscape painter Jacques Majorelle.
Today you can wander about the alleys of the garden where you will admire 300 plant species from five continents. The art-deco studio has been converted into a Berber Art Museum.
The Menara Gardens are an oasis within the desert-like heat and the agitation of Marrakech. Take a break from the busy medina lanes and relax in this beautiful garden from the 12th century! You will be walking around orchards of palm trees, olive trees and fruit trees among other trees. On clear days, the pavilion which was built during the 19th century for the sultan and his family reflects in the water of the artificial pool. La Menara should definitely be on your list too!
The Bahia Palace
The Bahia Palace is another little gem in Marrakech. The palace was built at the end of 19th century by the grand vizier of the sultan for his personal use and was intended to be the greatest palace of its time to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style. You will be able to visit some of the 150 rooms and will admire stained-glass windows, intricate marquetry and ceilings.
El Badi Palace
El Badi is another palace in Marrakech. It was built in the 16th century by a sultan. About 500 hundred years later, most of the palace is in ruins and it is hard to picture the glories of the initial palace but do not miss the walk on the ramparts. From there you will have a beautiful view of the roofs of Marrakech. You might even get to see storks in their nests.
The old part of Marrakech is surrounded by beautiful old doors. Ask a taxi to show you around!
Djemaa el Fna by night
Djemaa El-Fna is the heart of old Marrakesh. The city’s main square is an open-air theatre! During the day, snake charmers are doing their show, playing the flute to calm hissing cobras; henna tattoo artists and merchants call upon passers-by. At night begins another show with about 100 chefs and musicians. The show is best admired from the upper terraces of the cafés of the plaza. Djemaa el-Fna was declared a ‘Masterpiece of World Heritage’ by the UNESCO.
Good addresses if you visit Marrakech
- Go and have a mint tea at any of the cafés located on Djemaa El Fna. They usually have roof top terraces from where you have any amazing view on the plaza, whether at day or at night.
- We stayed at the Club Med hotel located right on Djemaa El Fna. It was a very central place to stay at to explore Marrakech’s medina. This little hotel was like a haven of peace in the chaos of the medina.
That’s it for Marrakech… I hope you enjoyed the visit!