Holidays to Marrakech, Morocco: Northern Africa’s Hidden Gem

Your guide: Holidays to Marrakech


A weekend in Marrakech was enough to know it was magical, amazing and a must see!

The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) akush, which means “Land of God.” It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow capped Atlas Mountains.
The city is divided into two distinct parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new European modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores. – WikiTravel

Costs: What to expect

Accommodation: 

Stay at a Riad. A riad is a grand house with several rooms, with true Moroccan charm. Accommodations can range from $10+

I love AirBnb, they have tons of Riads with real images and reviews from travelers just like you. It is the best way to travel when you want to experience the true culture of a city.

My Private Room 

Food: 

A quick meal at a restaurant will typically cost between $1 – $5 USD, it rarely will it cost more than $5 USD. A formal dining setting can cost anywhere from $10 – 25 depending on the restaurant.

The best meal of the trip was on Saturday at the Medina – The main square. Hundreds of food vendors with fresh fish, poultry, vegetables.. and more! The food was incredibly tasty and very cheap.

The chicken tangine will give you new life. I’d rather not ruin the surprise here, just ask.. you’ll thank me later.

Do you see this food?!!! Dinner in the square surrounded by 100’s of other eateries.. everything fresh!

All this food for less than $10. Dinner in the medina.


Transportation:

Our riad arranged the taxi for the group. We walked almost everywhere we went around marrakech, so bring your walking shoes.


The Tea


You cannot leave Morocco without experiencing the mint tea. It is everywhere, and is the most delicious tea I have ever tasted. It is literally the welcome gift of the country, so expect to have a cup everywhere you go. I bought about 5 bags homes from my trip, and it was just as amazing. The tea is a mixture of green and mint, with fresh mint leaves added for good measure. AMAZING!!!!!!!

Fresh Moraccan Mint 


Top Things to See and Do

The Medina Djemaa El-Fna — The Medina is the marketplace, in the middle of the city, to do all of your shopping. 

Shopping 

Be prepared to haggle. It is a normal practice, and must be done. If you aren’t prepared to go back and forth on price for at least 5 minutes walk away from the store. The initial price from the salesman is not the final price, and you are EXPECTED to haggle down to the real price. This is really exciting at first, but after the third purchase I was ready to get out of there!

Some vendors can be really pushy, one woman followed me for five minutes to purchase bracelets. Say a firm NO, however at times you may find this doesn’t always work.

My favorite purchases in the medina:

  • Jumper
  • Green Tea
  • Argan Oil

Hammams 

The best spa experience ever! Although a bit archaic in technique, it is truly the best spa experience I have ever had. Just imaging relaxing in a steam room, then literally being scrubbed from head to toe. The scrubbing consists of a woman using a sponge just for you, that rids all dead skin and dirt from your body. Hammams are a cultural norm that everyone participates in, as everyone does not have access to plumbing in the city.

Tips from Trip Advisor:

Do:

1. Buy orange juice from a seller in the main square. Make sure the glass is clean though and check that the straw is clean and not been previously used.
2. Bring tissues with you as toilets are often unequipped!
3. Use antibacterial hand gel as a good alternative to washing hands.
4. Agree the taxi fare before entering a petit taxi. You can normally get anywhere in Marrakech for under 50 dh or try just getting in and stating your destination with no discussion. You may get a surprise and he will use the meter. If he does give a couple of Dirhams as a reward!

Don’t:

1. Buy water from the main square. Supermarkets are are often cheaper. A five liter bottle of mineral water is 8 Dirhams as of 2012 at the Carrefour Market store, about 20 minutes walk from the square.
2. Take pictures of snakes/ monkeys/ dancers/watersellers, unless you are prepared to pay.
3. Nothing is free! Not even the man who unexpectedly turns up to say the … is there. You will meet him again and again all along the way.
4. Forget a map of the city it can be invaluable. Most streets are not named so one with landmarks of hotels is very useful.
5. Worry about access to money as there are plenty of cashpoints scattered around the city.

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