You’ve heard about our adventure to the Sahara but now it’s time to tell you about our stay in Marrakech. Although our primary reason for visiting Morocco was to go to the desert, we had a little time to explore Marrakech as well.
We stayed at Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge inside the Medina (old city). This was one of the coolest hostels we have stayed at, and it is in a great location. They also offer a lot of excursions and activities that you can book directly at the hostel. When we first arrived in Marrakech, they arranged for us to have a ride from the airport! This was the best decision we could have made, because finding the hostel on our own would have been impossible!! When we got to the hostel, we were shocked by the bright decorations and unique atmosphere.
The manager greeted us with Moroccan tea and cookies, gave us a map and explained everything about the city. Everyone was very welcoming and helpful. However, the only downside to this hostel would be the noise. Since the common area is open and all 3 floors can see down to it, voices and music travel up to the rooms. Although, if that is not a big problem for you, it is doable!
After our tea, we were ready for some lunch! We chose a restaurant overlooking Jemaa el-Fnaa (the main square inside the Medina). Although it was a little rainy, we still enjoyed our meal on the deck!
After our lunch it was time to venture into the Souks (or marketplace). Let me warn you right now that if you are planning a trip to Morocco, you need to be ready for everyone trying to sell you things! This is no exaggeration. There are little kids on the streets, selling bracelets and toys. People are pushing carts filled with cookies and sweets. There are little shops filled with Moroccan lamps, shoes, pants and any other trinkets you can think of!
The Souks are crazy, exciting and a little overwhelming. If you are interested in doing some shopping (which you should be, since they have a lot of unique things), be prepared to BARGAIN. This is no joke. If you are thinking about buying something, think of a reasonable price in your head about what you’re willing to pay for it before bargaining.
When you ask the shop keeper the price of an item, they are going to say some high price. Then you say, “no I’m sorry I can’t do that” and WALK AWAY. Trust me, start to turn around and walk away. The price will drop at least 20 Dirham (2 euros). When they give you a new price, be prepared to say something even lower. They will then meet you in the middle. This can happen for 2-3 rounds until you agree on a price. You might feel uncomfortable or awkward doing this at first, but it is expected and after a while it becomes fun!
If you stray off the beaten path, away from the craziness of the Souks, you can find some very beautiful areas inside the Medina. We were in search of a Palace, but the lack of street signs and tiny roads made it difficult for us to actually find it. Instead we visited the Saadian Tombs, which are a mausoleum for 60 members of the Saadi dynasty (who reined in Morocco from 1578-1603). The area is very beautiful and it only costs 10 dirham (1 euro) to go inside. However, if you are crunched for time, you can skip this attraction. It is very small, and besides the beautiful architecture, there is nothing incredibly special.
After spending most of our time in Marrakech completely lost, we made it back to our hostel to relax for a while. That night, we headed out to have dinner at another restaurant near the main square. The following morning we were up bright and early to head off on our excursion to the Sahara desert. Check out Mark’s post here to read more about our 2 day trip.
Upon returning from the Sahara, we had only one more night in Marrakech before our flight the next day. We decided to visit a food market in Jemaa el-Fnaa. There are lots of tents lined up, with everyone cooking food on an open grill and picnic tables for you to sit and eat at. It was incredibly overwhelming to walk through the area (with everyone trying to convince you to eat at their tent) so we decided to try the first tent. (Which we later discovered won an award for being the best, so I recommend sticking to the first tent as well!!!)
Moroccan food is definitely interesting and sometimes you don’t always know what you’re eating but it’s fun to try it! My favorite meal was the chicken tagine and couscous (seen in the lower left of the picture below). Mark and Mike also tried the lamb!
Be aware that Morocco is primarily an Arab country and it is respectful for women to wear clothes that cover their shoulders / legs. You are not allowed to enter Mosques unless you are Muslim, so enjoy the view from the outside if you are not. Also be weary of theft, and keep your personal items and purses close to you. (Do not keep your phone or wallet in your back pocket). Overall, Marrakech is a relatively safe city but like in every other place you travel to, you should always be aware of your surroundings!
Marrakech is definitely a unique experience. For all my adventurous travelers out there, Morocco is for you! We were lucky to experience all of this with Mark’s brother. We certainly have some interesting stories to share after our time in Morocco.
Check out our latest video blog about our time in Marrakech!!
Much love, Amanda