Marrakech is one of those destinations that ignites the senses, ups the culture shock and leaves you wanting more. So when I was studying abroad in Madrid, I knew that without a doubt, that I had to get to Marrakech. So after talking to two of roommates and our Kiwi friend, we decided to purchase last minute flights to the alluring Northern Africa city of Marrakech. The four of us girls were excited to go somewhere exotic, stuff our faces with amazing local dishes, and shop our way through the souks. And the best part? We felt like we covered a lot of ground in just a short weekend. While we didn’t necessarily plan or do any research beforehand, we somehow knocked it out of the ballpark.
So if you find yourself taking a last minute jaunt to Northern Morocco, this simple City Guide to Marrakech has you covered…
Simple City Guide to Marrakech
How to get to Marrakech
Getting to Marrakech from Europe is easy and super cheap, thanks to RyanAir. Our flight from Madrid to Marrakech was around an hour and less than $20 each way! The price was perfect for us college kids studying abroad and looking for a quick weekend getaway.
Plus, you get to fly into the Sex and the City 2 Airport!
Just don’t take a picture like I did on the tarmac because the police (with huge machine guns) will scare you off quickly…
Where to stay in Marrakech
We immediately knew that we wanted to stay at Equity Point once we saw the pictures on HostelWorld. And let me tell you, the pictures did not lie. It was just as incredible in person as it was online. The hostel is beautiful, immaculate, and was just perfect. There was a central pool to beat the Saharan heat and relax with other travelers. Additionally, there was a rooftop terrace where you can admire the city, listen to call of prayer, and enjoy a glass (or two) of wine. The hostel includes a delicious breakfast, consisting of delicious Moroccan tea, coffee, and pancakes.
The only downfall? It could be hard to find since your wandering down the many alleys of the Medina city center. Either arrange for transportation to pick you up from the airport or get detailed instructions from the hostel. We roamed around for about an hour until we found it. However, we were still glad that this is where we stayed because of the price, central location and it’s the most beautiful hostel. Beds start from 12 Euros.
What to do in Marrakech
Since a weekend goes by so quickly when traveling, we wanted to experience the Moroccan culture by exploring the Medina, shopping the souks and by eating our way through Marrakech.
Shop through the souks
The shopping is incredible in Marrakech! You can buy anything from shoes, scarfs, purses, spices, oils and beautiful pieces for your home. Be sure to barter and negotiate for a better price, especially if you (or your shopping buddy) are buying things from the same vendor.
Eat your way through Marrakech
One of the best things to do in Marrakech is to eat and drink your weight in fabulous Moroccan delicacies, mint tea and orange juice. Be sure to do research on the food stalls to see which one is best. Things to eat: Tanjines, kebabs, delicious breads with dipping sauces, fruits, and pastries. Things to drink: Fresh squeezed orange juice & mint tea.
Explore the Medina & the beautiful architecture
Marrakech is an architectural and designers dream. There are beautiful alleyways with doors compete with intricate details. Pink and peach colored buildings to awe and admire. To put it simply, Marrakech was unlike anything I had ever seen and absolutely fell in love with it’s desert beauty and character.
Things to know about Marrakech
- The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham. Be sure to request more than you expect to cover your shopping, transportation and dining. It’s not 1st world so many places don’t take card.
- Dress conservatively. Especially if you’re traveling with a group of girlfriends or solo, the more covered up you are, the better. Despite what you see on Instagram, it’s wise to cover up so you avoid unwarranted attention (you are also in an Islamic country after all!) We wore leggings (it was summer), long skirts and dresses, and long sleeve shirts to cover up shoulders and elbows. Also, I highly suggest bringing a scarf in case you don’t feel covered up enough or would like to cover your hair.
- Be wary of overly friendly locals. They may appear to want to help you but they expect payment for their “advice”. It’s annoying as they can be pushy and demanding. Stand your ground and stay confident in where you’re going.
- Marrakech is slightly more progressive than other Islamic countries. You can find alcohol at some restaurants and markets. We had wine at our hostel but kept it cool while we were out and about.
Conclusion to city guide to Marrakech
Marrakech is a vibrant, stimulating and polarizing city that everyone seems to have an opinion about. Some love it, some hate it. But it’s definitely one of those cities that should be seen and experienced first hand. Traveling in a pack of 4 women, I felt safe most the time (even though we exercised a lot of caution). I personally loved the food, the culture shock, the dusty sand and heat. Because at the end of the day, isn’t that what travel is all about? Taking you somewhere new to waken up the senses? If you’re looking for just the thing, look no further than Marrakech, Morocco!