I visited Marrakesh in January. It was quite a last minute trip for a week, and it is one of the most intense trips I have had. Marrakesh is a city of contrasts and beauty. I have never been to India, but this is how I imagine it to be.
You have probably read a decent amount of articles about Marrakesh, and while ones say that it is an extraordinary place, others disagree. There is also a question of security. And if this is the first post that you are reading about Marrakesh than Hello! Enjoy the good mix of both worlds.
Let me start by putting it this way. I would recommend you to visit Marrakesh.
When I came from the airport, we were welcomed by our driver from the riad which was really nice of them. The first impression was amazing. The airport is beautiful, and the people are friendly. We were then transferred to our riad which was in the center of Medina.
First of all, streets of Marrakesh are mindblowing by night; you will just hear how they look in day light. Our host Astrid was extremely kind and welcoming, and our rooms were just stunning. The whole Marrakesh vibe and decor is really unique and beautiful. It is like you have stepped into history in a role of a royal.
Then, we experienced Marrakesh by day. It is stressful! When you come out of your beautiful, luxurious riad, the first things that you see are five motorbikes trying to drive to millimeters from you, one donkey going between those motorbikes and a lot of poor people, while they all walk on a dirt road. I have never experienced something like that.
The reason why it is so surprising is that you have just come out of the clean and modern riad. I won’t ramble anymore. We spent the majority of our time in the center of Medina. We were exploring different souks and markets while taking it all in. I think this may have been a mistake since we didn’t feel very comfortable there. Marrakesh is so much more than only Medina.
The reason why we felt uncomfortable was the fact that many people warn you to be aware of all kind of scams and tiffs. I have to admit that we didn’t have any problems at all. Therefore I think that it may be exaggerated. My overall feeling is that Marrakesh is quite a safe place with a fantastic culture and diversity that you have to experience.
The main square is a whole other story. There is A LOT of people trying to beg for money, including little kids who don’t want to let go of you until you give them the money. Monkeys on the chains are famous as well which is hard to watch. Those animals look sad and undernourished. The best on end are cobras all around the square, which are clearly drugged since they are free to go. Also, be prepared for comments about your appearance, especially if you are women.
Here are some general tips:
Don’t spend to much time on the main square if you don’t like crowds and animal abuse. There are different souks that go next to the square; it is not the only path you can take.
Don’t take taxes with a lot lower price than the usual ones cause they are going to leave you in the middle of nowhere, in a shop that you are supposed to buy something in. That is a normal thing in Asia as well. The difference is that you shouldn’t walk around unknown allies in Marrakesh if you don’t want to have unpleasant experiences.
Do use navigation. Google maps is your best friend cause you can’t really trust the locals which happen to exactly know where is your riad when they either don’t know or just want the money.
Do visit Jardin Majorelle cause there is a good reason for the overall obsession with those gardens. It is a really unique and beautiful place.
Do haggle over everything! The reasonable price is at least 50% off the price they told you.
Do go to the Sahara desert. This is a totally separate story, and I can’t express enough how unique of an experience this is. Even if you don’t sleep in a luxurious camp. We slept directly on the sand with no toilet or water, and it was one of the best experiences we had.
Do stay at riad rather than in the Hotel if you want to feel the vibes of Morroco.
I hope you are going to visit this beautiful country. For more travel tips and experiences subscribe 🙂