Today I wanted to share some of my favorites from our trip to Marrakech, Morocco. What a city! We were there for 3 1/2 days and it was a feast for the senses every moment. Here is a breakdown of what we did and my recommendations of where to stay and what to eat, see and do.
We stayed at Riad Turquoise right around the corner from the Badi Palace. It was a beautiful escape from the very busy streets of Marrakech, but the best thing was the service. Everyone there was friendly and welcoming. You felt like you were staying with great friends. Plus there was a pool which is a welcome escape from the Moroccan sun.
This restaurant had moderate reviews on Trip Advisor, but it was near our hotel so we thought we would give it a shot. The food was delicious. Pictured about are what my husband called the "magic vegetables" - so good, they had to be grown from magical fields. In addition the view was right over a busy square and at the right time you get to hear the call to prayer in surround sound.
Street Food at Jemaa el-Fnaa
The main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa is a feast for the eyes and the stomach as the sun begins to set. Street restaurants pop up everywhere and everyone wants you to eat at their stall. We were convinced by a friendly guy at stall 26 to come and have dinner and never looked back. Another couple sitting at our long table said this was their third night coming to this stall, so we knew we were in good hands. We all got the couscous and it was full of flavor and very filling. The meal was also a bargain at about $25 for all of us to eat starters, mains, desserts and of course, the traditional mint tea.
Orange Juice Stalls
Again, all over Jemaa el-Fnaa, these orange juice stands can be a bit intimidating at first. Everyone calls out for you to come to them. I don't think one is particularly better than the other, but the juice is delicious. Freshly squeezed in front of you, it is refreshing and sweet.
The Souks are a must on every visitors list. I must admit they are a intimidating with everyone shouting to get your attention and be aware they do not like pictures being taken (this one above was one of my few stealth attempts). But everything in there is a feast for the senses. Spices, carpets, bags, shoes... anything your heart desires. It took everything in my power not to buy everything I saw.
The Badi Palace
The Badi Palace was a bit of a surprise for us. It was huge, like massive, but it isn't as instantly stunning as many of the other places in Marrakech. However, it was so much fun to explore. We spent quite a bit of time crawling through tunnels, climbing up walls and jumping over cracks to discover the more and more of this fascinating space.
These gardens are a bit out of the city, but totally worth the journey. The gardens were built up with artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and then restored by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980s. The most stunning part of the gardens was the radiant cobalt blue painted on practically every surface. I was ready to buy a can and paint the house after this visit. They also painted a lot of the pots vibrant colors that really made the blue sing.
Medersa Ben-Youssef was an Islamic College built in the 14th century and was one of the most stunning buildings we went into. The dormitories for the students were simple, but the courtyard and some of the smaller passages were breathtaking. Everything was incredibly intricate and it has some of the most beautiful tile work we saw during our whole trip.
Dar Si Said
Housing this Museum of Moroccan History and this beautiful courtyard, this small site was off the beaten path but was a great stop on our trip. The courtyard had stunning tiles and a beautiful painted gazebo. The inside also had beautiful tile work and painted ceilings to keep you mesmerized. We were practically the only people there which made it extra magical.
Get a Hammam and Massage at Les Bains de Marrakech
Do yourself a favor and get a massage at Les Bains de Marrakech. This place was incredible! And for about £40 you will get a 45 minute hammam and a 60 minute massage. You will also have access to their beautiful pool while you wait and be pampered along the way. I have had similar massages in London and paid well over £150 for something not half as luxurious.
These are just the highlights - there are so many other beautiful things in this city! Have you been before? What were your favorites?