Trip Report: Marrakesh, Morocco

IMG_5019Marrakesh, Morocco is one of those cities that you MUST visit at some point during your lifetime. The culture is so rich in the old town of Marrakesh, which they call the Medina, There is so much to do and experience that I have a difficult time explaining it to people without choking up.

Three friends and I decided to go to Morocco for a total of four days. In these four days we went to Marrakesh and Casablanca. It was totally worth it, though you may want to skip Casablanca but I’ll cover that in a separate review tomorrow.

Parallel parked donkey...
Parallel parked donkey…

Where to stay:
We stayed at the Riad O2, which as a group we do not necessarily recommend. Riad O2 had very pleasant staff and a great breakfast but they try to nickle and dime you for every penny when it comes to tours and excursions, their fees for trips are ridiculous. The WiFi was very spotty and for the first day we were there the WiFi did not work at all. If you do decide to stay here, make sure you check your original reservation to see if it included taxes because they may try to add it on when you check out even though you may have already paid for it.

There are many different Riads around Marrakesh, hotels are not common here so Riads are the way to go. There are very luxurious and high-end Riads to choose from so do your research.

What to do:

  • Visit the Djemma el Fna (the square)
  • Shop at the Souks (local shops near the the Djemma el Fna)
  • Visit the Saadian Tombs
  • Visit the Old Palace
  • Visit Bahia Palace
  • Visit Le Jardin

Where to eat:

  • Le Grand Balcon du Café (Less than $5/person)
  • Kasbah Café (Less than $10/person)
  • Dine at the Djemma el Fna at night
    • Be careful at these restaurants. There are many different tents that try to persuade you to go to their restaurant stall and sit down for dinner. These stalls are setup at around 7pm, you won’t see them at any other time during the day. We personally ate at stall #117. These stalls will show you a fake menu and once you sit down they will have less food options. They will also charge you for things that they do not usually charge for throughout Morocco like bread and olives. The menu doesn’t include any sides so the price you see is just for the meat, sides are at an extra cost. In other words just keep in mind that whatever you eat you will have  to pay for and I mean everything! Even if they place food in front of you without you asking they will charge you at the very end.

If you know French you will be set. Most people speak French and a type of Arabic-French, English and Spanish are not common and you may struggle a bit. Do not ask the locals for directions because they will either charge you for it or take you to different shops owned by their friends so that they can make a commission if you do decide to buy. The best bet is to use Google maps (even if you do not have data outside your hotel) or get a good map from your riad, hostel or hotel.

Overall, you will love Marrakesh. I think three days is more than enough time in Marrakesh, anything over three days will turn into boredom and a waste of time. On the first day you will get lost, that is guaranteed. The maps the riads and hotels provide are useless and hard to read.

My trip report of Casablanca is forthcoming… I am currently in Egypt and will try to type that up as soon as possible.

Mosque in Marrakesh
Mosque in Marrakesh
Mosque in Marrakesh (night)
Mosque in Marrakesh (night)
Riad O2 entrance (before entrance door)
Riad O2 breakfast (included)
Le Grand Balcon du Café
Le Grand Balcon du Café (chicken meal, 40 dirham)
Le Grand Balcon du Café (Kafta – meat – meal, 40 dirhams)
Kasbah Café building (near the tombs)
Kasbah Café (Lamb kabob meal, 50 dirham)
Djemma el Fna (the square – people dancing, and having fun)
Djemma el Fna (Food tents at night)
Djemma el Fna (Food tents at night) – My friend Rachel is eating on the far left.
Djemma el Fna (Lamb kabob meal w/ rice, bread and water = 70 dirham).
Bahia Palace: Entrance
Bahia Palace: Entrance
Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace Ceiling
Bahia Palace Ceiling
Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace

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