Updated Jan/2022: Morocco is open for international travelers, but not all tourists are allowed to visit the country and there are safety protocols to follow before and during the trip. All details about who can and how to travel to Morocco are on their official website, click here to read.
A city to be explored. The secrets of Marrakech will blow your mind. We spent 10 days in this ancient city and learned the DOs and DON’Ts to enjoy this jewel!
After a shocking first impression followed by an incredible dinner, we decided to relax and enjoy the city. One more good night of sleep and we were ready to explore all the secrets of Marrakech. Morocco is a contradictory place: richness & poverty, West & East, old & modern, everything living together in an addicted frenzy.
In total, we spend 20 days in Morocco, time enough to get to know a bit of this country and to make our own list about the highlights and things to avoid. Our mission is to inspire and help people to travel more and better, so here are our secrets of Marrakech: DOs and DON’Ts!
For us, Marrakech is all about: Food – Architecture – Handmade goods and Spices.
Food is my favorite topic and deserves one entire post about it! Please wait till next Thursday and you will be tipsy with all the scents, colors and flavors.
Marrakech is one of the oldest cities in Morocco. More than 1.000 years of empires, conquerors, trades and history. A mix of Berbers, Arabs and Moors people. During the centuries Morocco developed its life around the Medina (a walled ancient city that exists in most of the Moroccan towns).
It’s inside the Medina that we found precious secrets of Marrakech. Definitely it’s not easy to walk around the alleys and souks. Maps, GPS and your sense of direction will let you down. You will get lost and by surprise, you will discover some jewels.
Before we list the unmissable experiences, here is quick and helpful advice:
- Do not accept help or guidance from a strange on the streets. They know you are a tourist and sometimes they will act as a friend, but in the end, you will be charged for an outrageous amount of money. Tourists have said to be harassed and threatened. If you need help to find your way ask for someone inside a shop, preferably the attendant.
- On your way, you will find lots of children, old ladies, and interesting characters. They can be awesome people and we do recommend to talk and get to know them. But be aware that unauthorized photographies can put you in a delicate situation. Always ask first!
- Girls, please, cover yourselves! It´s a matter of respect to their culture and religion. In the hotel, you can wear whatever you want. Although to explore the city, wear a long dress, skirt or trousers, people will treat you more respectfully. And don’t forget your scarf, it’s a good accessory to cover the shoulders and chest. 😉
Now the fun part!
Our big list of Marrakech DO’s:
- Drink lots of tea!! Mint tea and the Berber tea (a massive mix of herbs and spices. They say it’s aphrodisiac). Don’t forget that tea is not just about the drink, tea time is a way to socialize, make friends and talk!
- Orange juice! Morocco is super hot in summer, you’ll need to be hydrated. Nothing better than a fresh-squeezed juice! We paid just 4 Dirham per glass full of flavor. The sweetest oranges I have ever tried. If you are loyal to the same seller you get some free refill!
- Before start shopping do a henna tattoo on your hands and feet. Plenty of ladies will offer to draw and decorate your arm. Make sure to check the models first. I saw some ugly tattoos there.
- Get lost in the souks! There is no better way to discover all the Moroccan handicraft goods. Leather bags, shoes, antiques, chandeliers, pottery, copper and silver products. Don’t be shy, enter the shop, ask the price and NEVER buy a thing without bargaining. Negotiation is cultural in Morocco if you are going to buy something ask for half price and from there start the bargain talk.
In the beginning, we were shy about getting into the shops, asking for information e leaving without buying. The salesmen put big pressure on you. However, after a few days, we learned to say NO. Big smile on your face and: “No, no… Merci”
- Learn about the Berber heritage. Many shops sell the Berber stuff: herbs, teas, natural medicines. In the Jewish quarter, we stopped by a Berber shop and met Jacob, he explained to us about the products, we drank some tea and as a present, I got Berber hand moisturizing! Argan hand spa!!
- Visit the argan cooperatives. This golden gorgeous oil is made only in Morocco. You can see how the woman produces it, the smell, the quality. Ask for a free sample, try in your hands and hair. You will love it! A truly secret of Marrakech!
- Staying in a Riad is a must-do in Marrakech, there are small Riads offering budget accommodation to luxurious ones. Choose the Riad that fits your travel budget and enjoy the local hospitality.
- Carpets are also a big thing around there. I still think they can even fly!! Woollen, silk and palm trees fiber. They use everything to make and embroider the colorful and dazzling carpets. Some of them are fire-proof! Ohhhhhhhh!!!
- When you get tired of the Medina and the souks, scape to the new town. Just outside the walls, you can see the olive fields, new buildings, and a shopping center. More like the western world.
- Still, in the new Marrakech, a place that needs to be discovered is the Jardin de Majorelle. it’s an oasis in the middle of the dusty and rush. Created by Jacques Majorelle, the garden was bought by Yves Saint Laurent in 1980. Beautiful nature, history and sparkle of fashion in only one place.
- By the end of the day go to some restaurant rooftop just to drink one more tea and enjoy the stunning sunset. While the sun goes by, Jemaa el-Fnaa Square comes alive! A unique and enchanting view. During the 10 days, we explored Marrakech we never got tired of this spectacle.
Now that you already know what you should experience (and that’s how you enjoy the secrets of Marrakech) book your hotel here and let’s go to the list of other places to visit :
- Koutoubia Mosque: the main mosque of the city, you can’t get inside, but enjoy the design and the green square.
- Musee De Marrakesh: get the combined ticket to visit the museum and the madrassa. Money save tip. And they are really close to each other.
- Ali Ben Youssef Madrasa: stunning architecture.
- Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech: secrets of Marrakech and Morocco captured in frames.
- Palais de la Bahia: great architecture and a bunch of sweet cats.
- Palais El Badiî: stroll around the ruins and explore the underground area. Nice expositions in the museum too.
- Mellah neighborhood: the Jewish quarter, it’s a hidden place.
- Arsat Moulay Abdeslam Cyber Park: green area in the middle of the Ochre City.
- Ensemble Artisanal Marrakech: a center of handcrafted goods and works.