Morocco is a fascinating country. It’s colorful, fast-paced but also the ultimate destination if you are looking to get a small culture shock close to home. London to Marrakech is only a 3-hour flight away, and lord do we recommend it.
Morocco’s magic is most commonly located in the “medinas” (the old town) of most cities but can likewise be seen in the towering Atlas mountains and in the stunning desert landscapes. There are many ways to discover the Moroccan culture such as by walking through the enchanting city of Fez or Tanger or in smaller and little-known villages of the Atlas Mountains. But our number one recommendation for your first trip to Morocco would have to be Marrakech.
Marrakech is a pleasant city surrounded by a rampart of 19 km of souks, with gorgeous snow-capped Atlas landscapes and outstanding (and may I say photogenic) pink walls. The city was founded almost 1000 years ago and has become one of the greatest cities of the Maghreb. Marrakech isn’t a city where you should travel alone however, or walk around in mini shorts. It’s important to respect the culture and pride of the Moroccans, but this shouldn’t stop you from having the time of your life. You’ll notice yourself joking around with artisans in the markets, dining in sumptuous restaurants, trying to avoid the crazy fast-paced scooters in the narrow streets and hanging out with all the locals in the hammam.
#1: Find the perfect place to stay
It’s important to find the best place to sleep for you to both enjoy your stay and feel safe. I would recommend sleeping in the heart of Marrakech which is in the Medina. You will, however, hear the iconic Koutoubia or the call to prayer at sunset, so get ready for a nice and early 5 am wake up call! The focal point of the city is behind the walls of the Medina, and a short walking distance from the Djemaa el-Fna which is a large public square filled with merchants and entertainers. So if you‘re happy to stay within the walls of the Medina, you will be a short distance from all the recommended restaurants and hotels below, and only a taxi ride away from the well known Yves Saint Laurent Museum.
In terms of hotels or riads, we recommend Les Jardins De La Koutoubia, found in the heart of the old town surrounded by market stalls and small passageways, or the Riad Dyor. But we could chat all day about all the beautiful riads in this city, so why not take your pick at all the gorgeous boutique riads and hotels via this link. Just remember that finding a peaceful and beautiful place to spend the night is crucial to relax after a long excursion to the mountains.
#2: Discover the Moroccan specialties
Traditional cuisine is extremely simple to find in Marrakech but you’ve got to be careful about what and where you eat. It’s a known fact that changing your food routine can disturb your digestive process so make sure you eat in the right places to decrease your chances of getting ill. Just remember that tap water is not an option, so buy plenty of water from either shops or your hotel.
Our first recommendation for lunch is at Nomad. The gorgeous terrace looks over the souks of the city and offers a stunning view of the Moroccan rooftops. From the same owner, we also highly recommend la Terraces des Epices for a late night dinner. Expect a beautiful menu with traditional meals as well as an international selection, and live music. The choices of dishes are extensive in Morocco but make sure you order a lamb tagine one night, as well as their specialty: Tangia, which is a gorgeous slowly cooked meat dish.
Looking to escape the busy city noises? Head to the Beldi Country Club for a relaxed, and may I say delicious lunch by the refreshing pool. Who said a trip to Marrakech could not include a bit of relaxation by the pool?
#3: Spend a day in the desert
But if a desert experience is what you’re really looking for when traveling to Africa, we highly recommend you hire a driver to head to La Pause, just 30 km away from Marrakech. This desert experience is one of the most unique things to do. Once you arrive on location, you’ll have the choice to have lunch under a barber tent, ride a camel through the desert or even take a quick dip in the pool to cool down from the burning heat.
The ride from Marrakech to the desert is just wonderful. Not only will you realize how lush the country actually is, but the experience of driving through the numerous landscapes of Morocco is also an experience worth having.
Shop our selection for your next desert experience below
Featured images via @auroregroult
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