Upon arrival to Marrakech, you’re somewhat assaulted by the mayhem that is the taxi cue. This is the first, but not last time dozens of men will be vying for your attention and money lol trick is either politely ignore or repeat thank you, no thank you until they finally back down. But they can be relentless.
Getting to your accommodation without being taken advantage of when you’re most vulnerable (after a long, grueling travel day) can be quite the task. But you shouldn’t be spending more than 150 dirham or $14 USD to get from the airport to most parts of Marrakech. Despite what they try to tell you (which usually starts at 250 dirhams). Definitely make sure you have some cash to covert to dirhams at the airport. OR if you really want to save a buck, there is a bus from the airport to city center for 30 dirhams ($3 USD) – it just takes a little longer with all the stops.
My first experience in Marrakech (Morocco in general) was 5 years ago (2017) and during that visit I didn’t find much enjoyment in the food. Besides m’semen (I love it so much), a street pancake that is perfectly flakey and chewy when eaten fresh (which is only 10 dirham or $1 USD). Aside from that – I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on food so…I guess you could say I got what I paid for!
This time around, however, it’s night and day! I wouldn’t even say we even splurged much, meals ranging from $8-15. What I noticed this time around was how incredible the fruit is and how tender the meat was. I really don’t eat a ton of fruit back home, but here I couldn’t get enough.
- Mandala Society: we went here so much they would laugh when we came through the door lol you’d think we were trying to live there. The breakfast offerings aren’t traditional moroccan – but the ingredients really were the shining star. Overnight chia, Icelandic pancakes, eggs on avocado toast, matcha lattes, fresh fruit smoothies, etc.
- Le Jardin: first night we had dinner here and it blew us away right from the start. They have 3 floors and the base level is a private garden vibe – immaculate. The food similarly checks all the boxes. A little bit more expensive but the food is superb!
- Nomad: I think you’ll find this on every bloggers list. It’s a more modern moroccan offering in the heart of all the spice shops.
- Chez Lamine: saw this one on “Somebody Feed Phil” and boy o boy am I glad! Here you will find yourself in a (almost) literal hole in the wall and your lamb cooked literally in the ground. We ordered the lamb shoulder – it was MASSIVE and accompanied by some bread and seasonings (not that you need it).
*In general, the best food is not going to be at the Jemaa el -Fna square, it’s touristy and overpriced. Instead, grab a beverage (most places don’t offer alcoholic, so heads up) and watch the sunset to soak in the chaos and then go grab dinner somewhere else!
- Budget Friendly: Rodamon Riad Marrakech. It is a hostel, but it’s the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. For about $25 a night you can stay in a 6 bed dorm – it’s clean and the staff are incredibly helpful!
- Kasbah Riad: a stunnnnner! Absolutely beautiful and the staff was so wonderful. Comes with a good Moroccan breakfast (still recommend going out to the streets for some m’semen though) and the pool and rooftop help you feel at peace in the middle of the busy streets of Marrakech.
- A Hammam or massage, or both! We went to Les Bains de Marrakech twice, we loved it so much. A Hammam is…an experience lol so I only needed to do that once but the facility was breathtaking (home inspo!)
- Take a trip to the Sahara (if you have time!). There are affordable 3 day, 2 night trips you can sign up for and you get to spend a night under the Sahara nights sky. Absolutely breathtaking and one of my favorite memories from the first time I was here in 2017. Full warning though – you do earn it lol the drive is rough and about 10-12 hours each way.
- Hot air balloon: this was the company we selected and it truly was a wonderful experience. I’ve never seen such a large balloon lol and the Moroccan breakfast was pretty dang good too!
- Shop in the Medina: if you enjoy shopping and want some souvenirs, you’re in for a real treat! Best experienced simply by wandering around – but be careful where you gaze for longer than 2 seconds – lol souk after souk after souk you will be called a number of names and thrown words at in order to get your attention and hopefully draw you in to look at items (that are identical from shop to shop). Simply put- negotiating is a game. They will throw out a price (which will be egregious) and you will reduce that price by at least half. Stick to your guns – they start high for a reason.
- Bahia Palace and Ibn (ben) Youssef: for a touch of history visit one or both of these sites. Entries are cheap and you can wanter about the beautiful architecture and tile work.
- Al kamar in the afgay desert: don’t have time to make it to the Sahara? No sweat! The afgay is less than an hour away and at Al Kamar you can enjoy a swim and lunch or dinner out in the middle of nowhere (or so it feels). Plus you can pet or ride camels out here too!
- midi length skirts, scarves to cover shoulders (as needed) and linen pants that are comfy and breathable!
*communication here is so easy because almost everyone speaks some English. I think that’s true of most places around the world that get a lot of foreign travelers.
From Marrakech you can take a 2.5hr speed train for about $30 to Casablanca. If I’m being honest, the main reason we made the trip was because there was a cheaper flight out of Casablanca so, I guess you could say it was just a stop over. Even so, there were a few highlights!
- Hassan II Mosque: stunning. Simply stunning. You can choose to go inside for a small fee or simply walk the exterior and enjoy the architecture from there.
- Dar dada: this restaurant is beautiful on the inside and each thing we ordered was even better! If you stay late enough, they also have live music and belly dancers!
- Boca Chica: cute more LA vibey restaurant (great brunch) with a SPECIAL view of the mosque from across the water. Highly recommend.
Outside of the above, we didn’t feel as comfortable walking around the city. In fact…lol someone on a moped tried to steal my phone! Luckily I have a loopy case and a strong hold or else it may have been a goner. Overall I’d say Casablanca is less walkable but still doable if you want to save on taxis.