This was my second time in Marrakech but there was no lack of new sites to explore. The Palais el-Badiî, Palais el-Bahia, Bab Agnaou...the list goes on. It was also wonderful to revisit some of my favorite places, such as the Saadian Tombs, Jardin Majorelle, and Medersa Ben Youssef.
But what is it that keeps me coming back?
The beverages alone would suffice as a response (you haven't lived until you've drunk mint tea, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and avocado smoothies in Morocco), but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Unlike so many other travel destinations, the culture and traditions are still raw. It's just as normal to see donkeys carting food down the dirt roads as it is to find a good tajine. The main square, Jemaâ el-Fna', lights up at night with music, dancing, orange-juice stands, and crowds of locals. Let's be real--how often do you find locals hanging out in the main square?!
Plus, I got to stay at my favorite B&B on the planet--Douarskoll Guesthouse. I have zero affiliation with it yet can't gush enough about how much I love it there. Mohammad, the owner, is the most caring man on the planet, and he really makes you feel special when you're there. Organizing hammam visits, preparing traditional daily breakfasts, speaking with you while you practice your broken Arabic (ahem)...he does it all. And the view from the terrace is magnificent, both in daylight and in darkness.
Have I piqued your interest in Marrakech yet? Watch the video I made and get ready to fall in love with this city!
Tips for Marrakech:
- Generally, a tajine shouldn't cost more than 50-60 dh.
- Buy orange juice at Jemaâ el-Fna'. All of the stands sell identical products for the same price (4 dh), but I have a personal preference for stand #41.
- If you're hungry for lunch pre- or post-visit to the Palais el-Bahia, head to La Table de Marrakech (directly across the street from the palace entrance). Their lunchtime special costs only 60 dh and includes a salad, tajine, and dessert!
- Bargain HARD. And if you're a student, be vocal about it. Shopkeepers are often more willing to go down in price if you're a poor student.
- Be wary of the performers at Jemaâ el-Fna'. Take a single photo or show any interest and they harass you for money.
- Ladies, take a traditional hammam (bath) one evening. If you stay at Douarskoll, Mohammad will set you up with a woman who will accompany you to the neighborhood hammam. Farthest thing from touristy as possible!
- The leather tannery is interesting to visit, but be warned that the guided tour conveniently ends in a leather-goods shop with persistent shopkeepers.