‘Welcome to a new continent!’ – this was my first thought when arriving with the midnight airplane in this brand-new city. How would I describe Marrakech? Well, if you ask me to give a definition to this city, it would be a beautiful climate of change. As you know, Marrakech is one of the most important Moroccan cities, impressive for its architecture & lifestyle and famous for its cheerful Medina (the old part of the city). Yes, guys, it is a totally different atmosphere from the European one: gone back to the roots of living, full of laughter and colorful utopic clothing.
This city impressed me a lot. A lot, a lot and a lot.
It was the first time for me to go in an African place and I was dazed by all the traditions, people and delicious food. I stayed a week in this marvelous city and I can’t wait to tell you the things that thrilled me the most!
Ochre. This color stands out nearly everywhere- all the buildings are mainly painted in its lovely shades, thing which gives you the feeling of belonging. The Marrakech people are really friendly (sometimes too friendly!) and always with a huge smile on their faces. Happily, they all know French- that’s why it’s very simple to communicate with them and sometimes get a huge bargain from the initial price they offer. Yeah, guys, you must try to negotiate with them, as they usually blow-up the actual price because, you know, we’re tourists! I managed to get huge ‘sales’ due to my fluency in French. Get yourself a serious customer face, expert in Moroccan items and you’ll have the best results! Promise.
Food. The Moroccan cuisine is simply-said delightful! My go-for advice? You must taste the tajines, some sort of slow-cooked stews, which will make you fall in love with the Moroccan meals! Another thing you must try is the mint tea. Ain’t joking, guys, this was the best tea I’ve ever ever ever drunk. No kidding. It is the kind of sweet tea, which goes straight to your soul and enchants your psyche!
Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. It is the main square, which is so different day to night! Why? During day it is full of snake charmers and monkey tamers, which allow you to take photos with all these creatures in change for a small amount of money (10 Dh if you speak nicely with them- the equivalent of 1 €). Why is it so special? At night everything changes. Its night-life is known all over the world, thanks to its animated atmosphere, bursting of storytellers, magicians and food-stalls. The smoke arising over the food tents, the Moroccan boys trying to convince you to eat at their ‘restaurant’, the heavenly orange juice, the traditional music, the Barbary macaques looking more humanly than ever- all these form in my soul the imagine of this iconic square.
Architecture. It took less than 1 min in the Bahia Palace for me to realize that I would love to live in one of the colorful Marrakech palaces! It encourages positive thinking thanks to the charming chromatic and it gives you that awesome feeling of freedom, due to its specific Arabic architecture that has fascinated me since I’ve learnt About Hassan Fathy at the Arhipera classes! Other places you must see, besides the Bahia, are the El Badi Palace, the Koutoubia Mosque (fun fact: it was built in the 1200’s), the Saadian Tombs which have a rare stone lacery and, of course, the Majorelle Gardens with their specific Majorelle blue (they were the home of Yves Saint Laurent- yes, that YSL!).
Camels. Yeah, real & really cute camels! I loved riding one dressed like a true maharajah, in the region La Palmeraille, where you can easily arrive by a taxi or a carriage. You must try out this camellicious experience!
Souq aka the commercial market, the main bazaar. Here you’ll find everything you’ve ever wished for – from the comfiest leather traditional shoes to the unusual Moroccan carpets. As I said before, if you ever want to buy something (and I assure you that you will), remember that Marrakech is the city of negotiation so you must at least improve your skills in this outstanding place!
Clothing. Moroccan people dress really… Moroccanly. As they’re a Muslim country, you, as a tourist, must respect their religion and dress adequate. My advice? If you’re a woman, wear long clothing items: long pants (not tights!)- even though I would better go for a long dress/skirt- a t-shirt with sleeves and a scarf. You know, Moroccan guys usually don’t have any problems in making loud comments about the (women) tourists walking by, that’s why I personally give you this precious advice in order to free yourself of these tiring situations and enjoy your vacay the most! Just dress modestly, appropriately and I assure you that you’ll have the time of your life!
Riads. Well, a riad is a traditional hotel and to be honest, the riad I stayed in was literally the best one on earth. Riad Kechmara was right in the middle of Marrakech’s Medina, and sincerely it was better than any 5* hotel thanks to its traditionality: I still remember the exotic smell of the rooms! If you come to Marrakech, promise me you’ll stay in a riad- it will delight your experience!
And last, but not least:
Atmosphere. Its unique atmosphere will forever stay in my heart- maybe that’s why I’d love to come back to Marrakech as soon as possible. This exotic city is like a magnet: once you leave it, you’ll desperately want to return. and return. and return and… return.
Hope you liked this African article! Spread your true love for new adventures by sharing this Marrakech travel diary!
Special thanks to Buni, the greatest grandma on Earth and my awesome uncle, who brought me to this stunning place. Love you guys.