Wednesday, 27 February 2019

How To Spend A Day & A Half In Marrakesh



Marrakesh has been on my bucket list for so long, not only because of all the beautiful spots I've seen on Instagram but also because it's hard to believe a culture so different to our own lies only a short plane journey away. I was very excited to head there and experience it for myself. 

So here it is, my guide to spending a day and a half in Marrakesh. And believe me, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time! Obviously if you want to explore the deserts and other parts of Morocco then this wouldn't be enough time, but to see everything we wanted in the city it was perfect. As always I'll be sharing prices where possible to give you an idea of how much a trip like this might cost. For starters, our hotel and accommodation (including breakfast) came to £200 per person, which I think is pretty good! 


Playsuit gifted from Kissablebella

Flights

Our flights were pretty cheap and as always we booked through SkyScanner. We decided to get an early morning flight from Gatwick to Marrakesh on the first day, then a flight home at around 3pm on the third day. This gave us around a full day and a half to explore the city. 

Getting Around

To get from the airport to the riad we decided to opt for a private transfer as I know taxis at the airport can be a bit iffy when it comes to prices. Our transfer cost 150 dirhams each way (about £13) and we booked it through our riad, which was very helpful. He dropped us straight outside the doors so there was no worries about getting lost and the hotel also booked our transfer back.

Nearly everything in the old town of Marrakesh was within walking distance of our riad, so wherever we could we decided to walk. However we did hop in a taxi when we wanted to visit some of the more luxurious hotels, which would have been about a 40 minute walk. We were wearing some of our nicer clothes there so I didn't fancy the stroll too much. When getting a taxi, make sure you ask for the cost up front and if you're unsure of how much you should be charged always ask the people where you're staying. Our host was so helpful and made sure we didn't get ripped off, although a couple of drivers definitely still tried!

As a warning, when it comes to walking it can be quite overwhelming. There are no such things as set pavements or roads in the Medina and there are hoards of motorbikes, donkey carts and cars all around. Because of this it's also highly polluted and it meant I had a bit of trouble breathing at times. While I personally didn't feel unsafe walking around (despite the chaos), I was with Tom the entire time and wore a headscarf. I've heard that lone female travelers and groups of women will often be harassed so it is often a good idea to hire a male guide.

There is also no free roaming data here, so I'd recommend downloading an app called Maps.me which lets you download whole map areas for free so you won't get lost. You can also do this with Google Maps.


To Stay

Le Riad Yasmine


Our riad was actually one of the main reasons I have always wanted to visit Marrakesh. Ever since I saw the highly Instagrammable pool and courtyard on social media I have dreamed of visiting and staying there for myself. Luckily, two nights were available at the end of January in the very room I wanted! This place gets booked up very quickly and we were quite lucky to get ours when we did! 

Needless to say, it was just as beautiful as it was on Instagram. Le Riad Yasmine is a must stay in Marrakesh, it's almost like a little safe haven in the middle of the insanity of the city. You can't even hear the traffic from inside and I honestly could have spent our entire trip lounging around in there if there wasn't so much outside that I wanted to see.


Breakfast is also included in your room which you can have out by the pool (or in the pool, in my case) and it was seriously delicious. To the point where I've started recreating it at home. 

The service was fantastic, the room was clean and beautiful and it was just all round my favourite part of our trip. They even have cats, as if I needed anymore convincing! I couldn't recommend them enough. 


Dress gifted from Kissablebella

To Eat

Nomad


Rooftop restaurants kind of ended up being our go-to for our trip, but my favourite was definitely Nomad. Nestled in the middle of the souks, they did some seriously delicious food, including vegetarian options which was perfect. Everything tasted delicious and we had an excellent view. Our meal here came to around £15. 

Another rooftop eatery, we visited here on the first day of our trip just as the sun was setting. They specialised in traditional Morrocan dishes like tagine. I had a very hot veggie tagine which was delicious, as well as some Nutella crepes for dessert and it was lovely! Our meal here came to about £15. I did feel worried about Marrakesh's food options as I've heard of people getting sick but we didn't eat anything from the markets, just the food from these two restaurants and our hotel and we were fine. 

To Visit

Jardin Majorelle


I knew I couldn't resist a trip to the famous Jardin Majorelle during our trip. It was restored by Yves Saint Laurent and there's also a museum for him there now. We walked from our Riad which took about 40 minutes and the entrance fee was very cheap, the equivalent of about £5 each. Be warned, it gets extremely busy here and taking the above photo was a blooming nightmare. I'd recommend going very early or in the last hour before closing. Luckily, there's a little cafe on site that's quite reasonably priced where we had a coffee and a banana split before heading back out to shoot photos.

La Mamounia


Dress gifted from Kissablebella

You can actually visit some of the more luxurious hotels that are situated outside the Medina walls, as long as you are dressed nice and give them a reason why you're visiting, i.e. for dinner or drinks. The first hotel we visited was La Mamounia, with its famous pillars. Getting this shot was a little tricky though, because as it turns out this is a guest only area. However after shedding a couple of tears to the man he let us take some photos! The hotel itself is stunning so definitely worth the visit. 

Royal Mansour


Another beautiful hotel we visited was Royal Mansour, which is actually owned by the king of Morocco. And you can definitely tell - this place is dripping in luxury. If I had the money, this would be the hotel I'd stay in. It's truly stunning, especially the spa with its stunning white birdcage architecture.


The Souks



Dress gifted from ChicWish (affiliate link)

You can't go to Marrakesh without exploring the souks, can you!? These winding streets go on forever, selling everything from lamps to rugs to cushions. It's honestly neverending! I only ended up buying a tiny little bowl here because we only had hand luggage, but the souk cushions were so beautiful and I was definitely tempted. You can haggle with pretty much every shop, never pay the first price they give you! Also, if you want to take photos in the shops be prepared to buy something or bribe the owner, otherwise they're very much against it. 

As another warning, the souks have many beautiful spots but also some things which are quite hard to witness, such as animal cruelty. In the main square (which is renowned for tourist traps), there are snake charmers and people with monkeys on leashes. There is also a massive stray cat problem and at one point I broke down crying after witnessing a tiny kitten being hurt. If you're an animal lover like me, you may find it difficult to visit here. Like many cities, there are good things and there are bad things, but I definitely found this the hardest part, despite all of the pollution and traffic. 


I hope my guide helped you out a little bit and has given you some ideas of some places to visit if you ever find yourself in Marrakesh, even for a short period of time. You can definitely get a lot done! I'm really glad we visited as I can say I've done it but if I'm completely honest it's not somewhere I would return to for a city break. It's actually perfect as one of those holiday destinations where you spend all day in your hotel, as it's only 3 hours from London and the weather is gorgeous. 

Let me know if you've ever visited Marrakesh and if you have any other spots that you loved! x


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