The magical Marrakech has so much going on that it can be quite overwhelming to find the right places to eat and relax. The city is divided by the beautiful Old Medina area with souks and traditional Riads and the new town, which is more modern with luxurious hotels and boutiques. The traffic is free-flowing on the streets and in the alleyways busy with scooters, taxi’s, donkeys and people. If you’re ever in the city, here’s a few recommendations on things to do and places to see.
- La Perle Blanche de L’ocean serves the best fish and chips in Marrakech. This is a small seafood restaurant located in Bab Doukkala. You can take away or eat in. The owner is friendly and sociable, speaks good English and gives you large portions of meals at a very reasonable price. Highly recommend the calamari.
- The Souk Cafe is a big hit with young trendy tourists. It has a restaurant and bar on the roof terrace. The cafe serves generous portions of traditional, delicious Moroccan dishes and has free Wi-Fi, which is always a bonus! Highly recommend their lamb Tanjine (different to Tagine); slices of lamb marinated in herbs and spices with a portion of frites (French fries) on the side.
- The Souks (markets) are open everyday except Friday, which is a holiday. There are around 12000 shops in the Souks, where you can find anything you dream of in this world. The Souks sell lots of textiles, arts and crafts and have specific sections for leather and metal goods. Some sellers get right up in your face to sell you things yet others are very charming and fun to haggle with. Highly advise that you get some haggling skills.
- Theatro Marrakech is the only place to be on a Friday night! This nightclub will make you feel as if you are in a top joint in Miami. It has one large main room with a few tables for RSVPs and a stage for special acts and the DJ. The music is an eclectic mix of Moroccan beats, RnB, reggae, hip hop and afro-beats. This is where you’ll meet rich, beautifully groomed Moroccans who’ve come out to play. The party starts at midnight and doesn’t end until 5am so don’t make any plans for Saturday morning.
- The Henna Cafe is literally a cafe where you can eat and drink whilst getting henna painted on most parts of your body. Local Moroccan women, who specialise in henna, work in the cafe to teach henna art lessons as well as painting henna patterns on customers. There is a large selection of patterns you can choose from the booklets. The cafe also hosts a charity on the ground floor that is funded by their profits earned. The charity offers free classes such as CV writing, photography and language lessons to educate and empower locals. Highly recommend the cocktails.
- A hammam (body scrub) and massage is common practice in Morocco. This is a one hour process of getting rid of all the dead skin from your body and another one hour for a full body massage with argan oil. The hammam begins in a sauna where one’s body is rubbed with black soap, which is scrubbed off before a rinse. Lastly you are coated in natural clay and given a final rinse before your massage. Highly recommend you get pampered in a private hammam situated in your Riad or hotel.
- You’ll need to set off very early to visit the infamous Eureka falls (Oulrika Valley) in the Atlas Mountains, which is about a 90min drive from the city of Marrakech. There are seven beautiful, refreshing waterfalls to view. The area gets very busy especially on Sundays with tourists and local Moroccans on a family day out. As you drive towards the mountains, there are many bars, restaurants and shops selling drinks, food and souvenirs.
- If you are into architecture then the buildings are a must see in Marrakech. The Medersa Ben Youssef is a beautiful building that used to be a traditional university where Moroccans could study art, science and medicine. This boys only university accommodated 900 students in 132 rooms. The building was made with clay and marble that was brought from Europe in exchange for sugar canes. Each part of this colourful mosaic is handmade, one by one. Parts of the walls have Arabic words written (from right to left) on the bottom of a border with flowers above for decoration. The words written mean ‘There is one God. He hasn’t been born. He has no son. He is one’, which is repeated all around the walls.
Have any ideas to add to this list? Please put them in the comment box below.