WANDERLUST: MARRAKECH

19:35:00

Marrakech seems to have become an absolute trend destination in the last couple of years with pictures of the magical beauty of this city filling my Instagram feed and dominating the posts of my favourite bloggers. I have wanted to go for almost a year and I am so happy now that I finally got to go. Marrakech was one of those destinations that I had very high expectations for and it managed to surpass each and every single one of them. My week in Morocco was one of my absolute favourite vacations ever, a perfect combination of exploring, relaxing, luxury and the hustle and bustle of the streets... I honestly can´t recommend Morocco in general and Marrakech especially enough.



Getting there


We flew out from Düsseldorf-Weeze with Ryanair. Let´s just say I don´t understand how this airport is allowed to still be called Düsseldorf, when it is at the literal end of the world, but on the other hand our direct flights were 100 Euros back and forth so I really don´t have much right to complain. Ryanair is also starting direct flights from many other cities in Germany from October on including my hometown Bremen and Hamburg, however I found it quite difficult to find other direct flights. The airport in Marrakech (which is breathtakingly beautiful by the way) is a 10 to 15 minute drive from the old town, the Medina. Many hotels (including ours) offer a pick up service, which cost us 15 Euros, or 7,50 each. I liked this option, because it meant no haggling with taxi drivers, however if you are up for a challenge make sure you don´t pay too much more than 100 MAD or about 10 Euros.



Where to stay

I come from a family, that literally never stayed at hotels. We always had an apartment or house for our vacations, meaning we were cooking, shopping and organising almost everything ourselves. I loved and still love that type of holiday and never really felt the need to invest much in my accommodation on vacation, because of that. This trip was one of the first, where I did not have a rented apartment or stayed at a hostel and I loved it. We were so incredibly lucky with our hotel and I have never felt so at home and welcome during vacation.
I highly recommend staying in the old part of town in the Medina and picking a Riad, a beautiful traditional house built around a central courtyard.
We stayed at the Riad El Youssoufi, which cost about 25 Euros per nights per person including breakfast. All rooms are beautifully furnished, there is a gorgeous rooftop terrace and a small pool to dip into. But more than the interior it was the people, who made this hotel so incredibly special. The owners of the hotel Asma and Giorgio helped us with every single step of our trip, they organised day tours, our own driver, our bus ride to Essaouira and even talked to salesmen for us. Asma made sure we had our Moroccan favourites for breakfast, knowing after only two days what we liked best, we were invited to celebrate the end of Ramadan, one of her employees did Henna for us and she plucked our eyebrows...
We had an absolutely luxurious stay, which felt like staying with family at the same time. It honestly was beautiful and I absolutely cherish all the wonderful talks with them and the friendship we built and can´t wait to return.


Sightseeing & where to eat

There is loads to see and do in the Medina and the sorrounding areas and so I will just give you my highlights. Most tourist attractions are only 10 MAD (about 1 Euro) for entry so there is no excuse not to enjoy.
Make sure to visit the Saadian Tombs, the grave site of a dynasty of Sultans, which is just breathtakingly beautiful and the Palais de la Bahia an incredible spread out palace with gorgeous gardens. The Palais de la Bahia is located in the old Jewish quarter Mellah, which also has a really great spice market, where you can snag the perfect souvenir and the Synagogue of Marrakech tucked away in a tiny alley.
You also obviously have to visit the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, Yves Saint Laurent´s hideaway with his gorgeous blue house, loads of palm trees and serenity. The café has delicious Passion Fruit and Coconut sorbet, perfect on a hot day, which is basically every day in Marrakech.
The main square of the Medina, the Djemaa el Fna is a sight in itself, full of food stands, snake charmers, monkeys and just plain life. It is most busy around night and perfect to round up your day with a little stroll taking in the action and then dinner here at one of the food stands. They serve fresh barbecued goodies, Tajine and salads. The best one is supposedly cart 114, which was sadly unavailable when we went, but we also liked cart 100. Make sure that your cheque really contains what you ate and not more and be aware that just cause they give you bread does not mean this bread is free. The guys getting you to sit down can be quite a hastle, it´s best to just walk quickly and not look at them to much and move towards your chosen stand as quickly as possible.
The more modern quarters of Marrakech Guelíz and Hivernage are outside of the old city walls and have a very different vibe than the Medina, but can be very interesting to visit for shopping and to the fancier side of Marrakech. We had an amazing dinner and cocktails at Café de la Poste here. They only serve food from 20:30 onwards, but the restaurant is so beautiful it is also worth it to just go for a drink and soak up the scenery.


Shopping

I bought so much stuff in Morocco. General favourites to bring from here include leather goods, spices, bowls, jewelry, and Pashmina scarfs, which will all be way cheaper here. I have gotten so many great deals and especially the beautiful bowls I got make me happy every day.
Right next to Djemaa el Fna the universe of the Souks starts, where you can buy anything and everything you ever wanted from candy to shoes to bowls and lamps... Be prepared that prices here will start way higher for tourists and you will have to bargain quite a bit. But if you are persistent and make sure to get at least half of the price, which is given to you first you can snag great deals. When the salesmen call you "a true Berber" you basically made it. Be nice while bargaining, keep joking with them and don´t get mad, this is basically a game for them and you should play it instead at getting pissed at the rules.
If you can´t deal with bargaining head to the Ensemble Artesanal, where traditional pieces are sold with a clearly given price. This is state owned so you can be sure you are not ripped off and that the quality is good.
Bowls and jewelry are cheaper in Essaouira if you plan a trip here it may make sense to wait for this purchases.

Day Trips

Marrakech is a very touristy city so there are loads of day trips being organised: You can go to the seaside in Essaouira, to the desert (even though you will need more time for this one as it takes seven hours to go there) or as we did to the Ouzud falls. Our Riad was in contact with a company and called them for us, but they are loads of offices and offers both online and in the streets.
The company will pick you up at your hotel at the ungodly time at 8 am and entertain you all day for 250 MAD (25 Euros). Make sure to find out exactly what this includes. For us it was basically just the pick up and drive there, not the tour guide (an extra 35 MAD) or the boat ride (20 MAD) or lunch (100 MAD). It still was not overly pricey, but just consider this before going. Our day trip was wonderful even though it came at the price of living without a phone for the rest of the trip, as I dropped it into the water (thank god for insurance). Our day included a short, but exhausting hike to the falls, a boat ride and a dip and lunch with a great panorama view over the falls.
Make sure to pack loads of water, use comfy shoes and be more careful with your technical devices than me.
If you are up for a bit more of relaxation the beautiful hotel Jardin de la Koutoubia opens its doors to the general public for the generous price of 200 MAD (20 Euros) and you can relax at their gorgeous pool all day. They only let in 10 outsiders every day so you should go in the morning around 10. People will give you some looks if you act too much like the proletariat, but then again why would you care?

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9 Kommentare

  1. Lovely post! :)

    xx Dorothea
    http://justambitious.com/

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  2. Ach wie schön!!! Sieht nach einer tollen Reise aus! Ich muss auch unbedingt bald mal nach Marokko! :)
    GLG, Andrea
    Pebbles and Blooms

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    1. Ich fand es wirklich ganz wundervoll! :)

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  3. It sounds like you had an amazing time! Fabulous photos x

    LuxeStyle

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  4. Oh my god wow das klingt nach so einem tollen Trip. Ich will ja schon seit ewigkeiten nach Marrakesh aber hab leider keinen der mit mir fährt, dann werd ich das wohl alleine von meiner Bucketlist streichen müssen ;)

    Love, Kerstin
    http://www.missgetaway.com/

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    1. War bei mir ganz genau so bis meine beste Freundin endlich meinte sie kommt mit :D aber es ist wirklich ein reiner Traum.
      Küsschen!

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  5. Lovely post, Marrakesh sounds amazing! I totally agree with the airport, I wanted to book a flight once from Düsseldorf Weeze when I was flying to Milan with Ryanair but I had absolutely no idea how to even get there. Then I flew from Cologne instead, I'd love to go to Morocco though, the pictures are amazing, seems like you had a great time! :)

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    1. Haha same I was so lucky my best friend has a car, but I think public transport is impossible! I think a lot of new connections to Morocco are opening up now :)

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Thanks so much for your lovely comments, constructive criticism and suggestions. I will try to answer all of you!

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