Marrakech has always been on my list of cities I'd love to visit, but for one reason or another, I've never ventured to that part of the world. That was, until a couple of weeks ago when I was invited to explore Marrakech with the Moroccan Tourist Board along with Mat, Kit and Hannah.
I expected to love Marrakech but I wasn't quite prepared for quite how much I would fall head over heels in love with the city. The sights, sounds, smells and general atmosphere had me as soon as I stepped off the plane and as we explored further, I fell further.
We spent a full 48 hours snapping, exploring, eating and drinking our way through Marrakech so I thought I'd take you along for the adventure. If you get the chance to venture to Marrakech, you should hop on a plane as soon as you can! Take a look at my guide below to make the most of your trip...
What to Do
The Medina and Souks
It is incredibly easy to lose yourself in the winding markets in the Media area of Marrakech, there are so many things to see, shop, eat and smell, each twist and turn greets you with something new and exciting. From vibrant rugs and hand crafted leather satchels to fresh pomegranates and herbs, the souks are the perfect place to barter your way to a suitcase full of gifts to take home.
Jamaa el Fna
Just outside of the labyrinth of souks lies the main square, Jamaa el Fna, it is packed full of pop up markets, orange juice stalls, snake charmers and dancers. The atmosphere is alive and is a must visit, both day and night, just be wary of taking photos of dancers and snake charmers, it's more than likely they will demand a tip for the privilege so make sure to have some change at the ready!
You can also do what we did and hop on a horse and carriage instead of walking around the city, it's a great way of seeing it from a different perspective.
Before I left for Marrakech pretty much everyone I spoke said that the orange juice is the best they've ever had, so I couldn't visit without a glass now could I?
We stopped off at Cafe de la Poste and sat outside basking in the sun, the orange juice was out of this world, sweeter and more delicious than any I've ever had before, you have to try it if you visit!
We visited two gardens while we were in Marrakech, both equally beautiful but in a completely different way. Jardin Menara is open to the public to visit and enjoy picnics within the grounds surrounded by beautiful olive trees. It's a great place to relax after a long morning of bartering in the souks, there's no pressure to leave and you can stay there as long as you like taking in the atmosphere.
This was hands down my favourite place we visited in Marrakech, Jardin Majorelle is a stunning oasis located in the middle of the city created by French painter Jacques Majorelle, and was lovingly restored by Yves Saint Laurent. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé first discovered the garden in 1966 and fell in love with it, it was when the garden was under threat of being sold to a hotelier that the couple snapped it up to retain its beauty.
The garden is an absolute must visit, it's the perfect place to venture for peace, beauty and one of the best breakfasts in Marrakech. I'll be posting a more in-depth look at Jardin Majorelle later this week because I loved it so much, keep an eye out!
El Badi Palace
Despite there only being ruins and walls left of El Badi Palace, it is entirely stunning. The scale is amazing and there are still places, like the prison cells, intact for you to explore, even though it was first built in 1578. The beautiful red stone contrasts vividly against the pure blue sky, casting shadows that move throughout the day. The storks that next atop the palace were one of my favourite things about it, I was fascinated by them, you can see them perched below!
As dusk falls, retire to a rooftop bar for a pre dinner drink, there are a myriad to choose from in the city but we headed to The Pearl which had an amazing 360 degree view from the heart of Marrakech looking over to the Atlas mountains.
Where to Stay
We were lucky enough to stay at the Hotel Naoura Barriere for the duration of our trip, it was absolute luxury from the impeccably designed rooms to the divine pool that lay in the centre of the hotel. I cannot recommend staying here enough, it's right in the heart of the city and one of the most relaxing places I have ever stayed, you don't feel like you're in the middle of a city at all.
Es Saadi Gardens and Resort
We were treated to lunch at Es Saadi on our second day in Marrakech, it is an oasis of calm nestled in the hustle and bustle of the city. With an idyllic spa, beautiful hotel rooms, private villas, the largest swimming pool in Marrakech and stunning grounds, what more could you want from a resort? This is definitely on my wishlist of places to stay in the future!
This was one of my favourite places we visited, located just outside of the souks and hidden away behind high walls, La Sultana is a luxurious riad that you would never expect to find. Step behind the modest entrance into an utterly stunning boutique hotel, every detail has been considered and every luxury is made available, from the stunning pool in the centre to the spa hidden in the depths of the riad.
If I was looking for somewhere to get married, this would be the only place on my list, I don't think I've ever been anywhere quite so perfect.
Where to Eat
French fine dining in the centre of Marrakech? Why not! We landed late on Friday night after a long day of travelling, thankfully classic French restaurant Fouquets was based within our hotel. We started our Marrakech foodie experience in style as dinner was absolutely sublime, it started with avocado and crab so they pretty much had me at hello! The food was absolutely amazing, so if you fancy some of the best french food outside of France itself, give Fouquets a visit, you won't be disappointed. Make sure to have the mint tea once you've finished your meal, it's divine.
After our tour of the beautiful riad, we settled on the roof terrace for lunch, easily the best decision we made all day! Traditional Moroccan cuisine was on the menu with a plethora of small salads to start (think roasted peppers, curried cauliflower and sweet potato instead of your standard leaves, amazing) and chicken or lamb tagine for main. We were absolutely stuffed but entirely content by the end of the meal, I can't recommend it enough!
A huge thank you to Faical and the Moroccan Tourist Board for inviting us to explore the beautiful Marrakech! Keep an eye out for another Marrakech post coming soon.
*I was a guest of the Moroccan Tourist Board but all of my opinions are entirely my own.