Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow.
That’s pretty much an accurate description of my reaction across the five days we spent in Marrakech. If the city had to be described in one word, it would be overwhelming. From the city’s heat, to the scents of street food, to the constant hollering from the locals, our holiday was less of an escape and more of an adventure.
I’m going to be posting snapshots of my favourite finds and handy tips over the next few days, but for today I wanted to give you a brief overview of what our holiday entailed…
A Leap of Faith
At the start of September, after a 10 solid months of working for myself, I decided to book a holiday. I’ve absolutely loved the big career change, but it does take a lot of hard work, and after a few conversations with friends that all ended with “yeah, you do look like you need a holiday…” I decided to book a last-minute trip for my boyfriend and I.
Marrakech was actually an unexpected choice – I’d looked a few European city breaks, and realised we’d have to make it more of a long-weekend to fit our budget. That’s when the beautiful African city popped up, and I was sold!
On our budget, we could afford a week away, experience a completely different culture, and enjoy a heat that just doesn’t exist in mainland Europe in September…
Word of Mouth
Once we’d booked our trip, I spoke to my friend Ella of The Fashion Common Room. Having visited Marrakech a number of times, she was an absolute fountain of knowledge when it came to the best spots to visit!
Armed with her recommendations, and a little bit of background research, we made our way to the airport. Going from cold, dark London and arriving in hot, sunny Morocco was quite the change! (As I mentioned in my holiday bag post, this was our first and only trip by plane this year, making a small dent in the amount of carbon emissions we’re making this year…)
We took a pre-booked taxi from the airport to the Medina, the “old city”, and breached the high city walls. Inside, our driver took us as far as he could before the streets became too narrow, unloading our bags into a cart, which was then pushed through winding cobbled paths until we arrived at our hotel. Everything felt foreign – from the dry air to the crazy maze we were bound to get lost in, we had to put our trust in the people around us…
And that was the golden rule that turned our trip from holiday to heaven. While many people will warn you not to trust the shop owners and street dwellers, we made great friends with our hotel managers, Mournir and Othman. Local men themselves, they were incredibly welcoming and gave us hand-drawn maps, guides, and general tips to keep us safe.
Where We Went…
We went everywhere on foot, except for the day we visited the Jardin Majorelle, based in the New City, for which we took a taxi.
When staying in the Medina, the following places are a must:
- Atay Café
- Bahia Palace
- Café Arabe
- Café des Epices
- Jardin Secret
- Jardin Majorelle
- Jemaa el-Fnaa Square
- Place des Epices
We also wanted to visit a Mosque, but sadly couldn’t figure out which were open to the public – please let me know if you have the answer! And if we’re ever to go back, an excursion to Ourika Valley would be a real adventure!