It’s been a while since I’ve been wanting to visit Marrakesh, a city full of spices and intricate patterns! The first marriage anniversary was a good excuse to do a “weekend” away in this beautiful city. Since we live in Europe, this trip was quite low-budget as the Euro to Dirham ration was approximately 1:10.
Our objective was to get to know the city the max we could in these 2 and a half days and eat our way through the delicious Moroccan food, of course! We did a two days schedule, leaving the third day to chill and enjoy the last hours in the city.
I have to mention that we went during Ramadan, which meant that certain places and restaurants that we had on our list were either closed during the holy month or they had different opening hours. Nonetheless, we has a great time and full bellies.
After the long custom queue at the airport, we exchange some money (as we were told the airport has the best rates) and got on the transfer (15 euros) provided by the Riad El Walaa where we were staying at.
When our driver took us to the hotel I was a bit skeptical because from the outside you could really not tell that a hotel was there. The high walls and tight streets really hid this little gem super well located.
We were welcomed with fresh mint tea and small cakes (Not bad!). The tea was really refreshing and aromatic. We sipped our tea while enjoying the beauty of this Riad.
Since we arrived before the rooms were ready, we decide dot leave out bags at the front desk and off we went!
Our first stop was the musée Dar Si Saïd, which for only 10 Dirhams (toughly 1 Euro) we were able to visit this museum with beautiful crafted work. Once we got to one of the popular streets (Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid) it was easy to find the museum because we could see wall markings with big red arrows pointing the way.
Luckily there was not a lot of people, so we were able to admire the architecture and the wooden and tile work in peace which is definitely worth seeing!
From there, we went to Palais de la Bahia which is pretty close to the musée Dar Si Saïd. The entrance fee was also 10 Dirhams (1 Euro). Inside we there is a beautiful open space with tiled floors and sophisticated motifs. Some say it’s not a huge palace, but its openness definitely makes it feel big!
After Palais de la Bahia, we were pretty hungry and need a break as we were definitely starting to feel the heat. We decided to go back to the hotel to do out check in and eat. While eating we profited from the internet access to route our next stop, the Palais El Badii.
If we had been more attentive we would’ve found out that it was closed during the days we were there :(. But that didn’t take us down, as there were plenty of other sights we were eager to visit!
So we moved on and went to check out the Tombeaux Saadiens, on out way there we got a little lost (as every tourist in Marrakesh will once be, guaranteed) and a nice gentleman pointed out the way but of course he made sure we’d stop by his store to check out some spices, which we did on our way out.
We didn’t spend much time there as we want dot make sure we would find our way to Les Bains de Marrakech, where we had an appointment for a nice and relaxing 45 min hammam and scrub with black soap (a paste mixture go olive oil and Argan oil).
Turned out that we found the place with not much problem and ended up having a couple of hours to kill. So we walked to the Koutoubia mosque, which we could not enter as we are not muslims, but we could still appreciate it from outside. Then we sat and people watched while we eagerly waited for our Moroccan hamam.
Thinking back, it was probably not a wise idea to have chosen hamam. We were already so sweaty and tired from walking around the city and there we went, straight into a hot, humid room for 45 minutes!
After that we were super tired and since the lunch at the hotel had been so good (or maybe we were just too hungry) we decided to order some tapas—Moroccan style—and call it the night.
We got up early on day 02 and have a nice breakfast as the hotel. Our first stop was the Souks, where we found nice leather bags at a great price (well, after you have haggled a bit).
Then we went to the Medersa Ben Youssef, a Islamic college that also housed students. Some of the rooms have a great view to the inside of the building while other were quite isolated. Overall the rooms were quite small and some of them were quite dark even during day time.
On our way out and on direction to the Museum of Marrakesh, we accidentally found the Foundation Dar Bellarj and decided to go in since it was free. This foundation is very well kept and architecturally beautiful as all the other places we’ve been to.
After a few photos here are there, we head off to the museum of Marrakech (50 Dirham, roughly 5 euros). While the building itself was really nice, the contemporary art session was disappointing.
At this point we were in need of a break so we started heading to Le Jardin which was one of the restaurants that we really wanted to try but was only open at night because of Ramadan. So after walking a bit we found the Cafe Arabe which has an amazing terrace and great fresh orange juice.
After a great meal, we walked to the Jardin Majorelle (70 Dirham, roughly 7 euros), we really got lost but surely saw the tourist-free places which was great! Jardin Majorelle is just outside the Medina and once you walk inside you feel in a totally different place. There are all these different plants/trees from everywhere in the world making up this garden, and the bright deep blue on the walls is hypnotizing.
After a tour of the garden we checked out the small exhibition they had and got some refreshments at the cafe before heading out. From there we walked to the David Boch Gallery in Guéliz.
Our plan was to stay in Guéliz and try out Libzar, but we were just too tired to stick around in the heat. So we took a taxi back (we had to agree on a price before taking it because he didn’t have a meter and we didn’t want risk paying too high), he dropped us off near our hotel and then we walked a bit to reach it. During this short walk, we found a nice Riad/restaurant called Dar Anika Kitchen where we ate that night!
On our third and last day in Marrakesh, we visited the Ensemble Artisanal—a space with lots of artisans selling various products from carpet to leather goods. As we had to be at the airport at 14:30, we chilled at our Riad and enjoyed the last few moments in Marrakesh.