There is so much to see and do in Morocco, even just Marrakech alone. Below are a few of my favs to get you started. This isn't even scratching the surface!
in a Riad, in the Medina.
Riad BE Marrakech is my ultimate reco, and not just because the guys are friends of mine now, but because the place, the service the food, the whole entire experience is just AMAZING. Not to mention every single corner is Instagrammable. Because of that though, it gets pretty booked up so secure your room early.
Mo and Nichole – the owners, and the staff (Mehdi, Amine, Youness) go out of their way to make you feel at home. The Boho Moroccan vibe is just everything! And the smell – I mean it’s so good I bought a bottle to bring back with me (tight for space and all but it was a sacrifice I had to make!)
Say hello to Nichole, Mo, Youness and Amine and tell them Jakiya sent you!
Riad Magi – if you want to be in the middle of the Medina and very close walking distance to Jemaa-el-Fna.
Say hello to Abdel and Hassen and tell them Jakiya sent you!
There are also hostels here if you want to meet other solo travelers. I didn’t have a chance to check them out but I was considering Earth Hostel.
Stay in the Rmila area. It is super local and so charming. It is a little (15-20min) walk from the main squares but I loved it.
All of the local foods!
All of the restaurants pretty much have the same food, so whatever looks cute, cheap and clean go for it.
Few of my favs:
MINT TEA! - Like every second I could.
Brochette (chicken, beef etc. on a stick)
The breakfast pancakes
Fruit – yes eating fruit is fine.
My restaurant recos:
Café Atay (more modern, wifi cute rooftop)
Dar Mama (cheap local)
La Cantine des Gazelle - the pink café
Henna Art Café (food, drinks and good henna!)
Stay away from Café de France and pretty much anything in the big square. It is super touristy and the food is meh. Go deeper into the medinas and find menus that are hand written or in Arabic, trust me the food will be delish.
Experience the desert.
As I was traveling solo I took a tour to the Sahara Desert to the town of Merzouga, where the dunes are strikingly high. It was a perfect way to meet new people (now also new friends of mine). I did a 3-day tour, but if you have time I recommend 4-5 as the drive is LONG to say the least (9 hours).
My desert tour group reco:
Discover Morocco tours. Rachid is super professional and helps you with the booking and planning process. Lazen is the best, not too pushy just a chill tour guide that tells you what you need to know and makes sure everyone is good. Adbul was our driver and he was a great one. He was super safe and fun. I also heard negative reviews about the desert tour, but mine like everything else was exceptional. Try to do one with less than 10 people – it’s more enjoyable. We drove across the country from Marrakech, made stops to see sights along the way, were properly fed and provided ample opportunities for hydration. We rode camels to the campsite and slept under the stars.
Again – don’t expect anything super lavish. You are literally going to a desert. Accommodations are just that – a place to sleep. However, I was super surprised with the transportation. Our van was really nice, had A/C and spacious. I slept so well along the way. If you get car sick easily invest in meds the ride is bumpy!
Wander around the Medina.
All of the souks are cool and unique. Spices, décor, clothing, pretty much everything you could imagine.
Don’t neglect the new town.
The Medina is the old town. It is worth seeing and checking out. It’s in walking distance from the Medina, just right beyond “the wall”.
If you go to the YSL garden you will walk near the new plaza and can see how modern and different it is from the Medina. I also went out in this area several times and had a blast. It is the only place you can actually drink. There are plenty of clubs and bars to have a great night in, but don’t expect your typical Moroccan prices, drinks and sheesha are pricey.
My nightlife recos:
So lounge Marrakech (Sofitel)
Teatro – Hotel/ Casino
I have a few more local ones, but you would have to contact me for those. I don’t want them to be ruined by tourists haha ;)
This is pretty much the big square. During the day it looks like a tourist trap but at night is when the magic happens. From snake charmers, monkey men, and music to fresh juice stands, Aladdin lamps and the prayer calls going off from the mosque speakers this area is just something to see. At night be safe, there are some weirdos around. One guy tried to follow me through the chaos. I walked up to him in a stern voice (you probably can imagine my face) and said “Is there a problem? Why are you following me? Get lost.” Accompanied with hand movements, I am sure he didn’t understand me but he for sure got the memo and walked away. Like I said in my 5 things you should know before going to Marrakech post being confident and aware will get you through most situations.
Jardin Majorelle – it was worth doing the Berber museum (Berber are the indigenous people of Morocco).
As referred to in my 5 things you should know before going to Marrakech post, be respectful of the culture. Cover up. Your chest can go into hiding for a few days ladies!
Looser fitting clothing
Carry a scarf around to cover shoulders
Breathable light weight – it is HOT!
From the airport to the Medina is super close. It should cost less than 10 Euro by cab. I would recommend arranging a car with your Riad or airline to your Riad. That way you get off, find your name and have a smooth transition to the liveliness waiting for you!
Within the Medina and the new town you can pretty much walk everywhere. There are also meter cabs. They have regional trains that can take you pretty much anywhere as well as buses. My grandparents ventured from Marrakech to Rabat, Casablanca and back. So I’m pretty sure you got this, just ask around.
When to go:
I would suggest visiting before the summer, otherwise it is unbearably hot and you just won't enjoy as much. Also try to go in low season to avoid so many tourist. Marrakech is popular especially among Europeans because it is so close so not sure how much you can really avoid it. Keep in mind Ramadan is sometime in May and it could be difficult to eat out since everyone is fasting (look into this).
Hope you give some of these a try and let me know how it goes!
xo - Jakiya