Four Days Exploring Marrakech

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Marrakech is a destination that’s been on my bucket list for a very (very) long time. I nearly made it there once before, but finally 2024 was the year I got to set foot in the city that is like nowhere I’ve explored before.

There’s a lot to see in Marrakech so of course I didn’t quite manage it all during my four-day visit, but I have shared everything I got up to during my whirlwind February holiday that might help you when it comes to planning your own trip.

Day one

My flight landed into Marrakech Ménara Airport early afternoon and I headed straight to my first of two Riad stays — more on those later!

Once checked in, lunch was top of the list. I stopped at the nearby Salama Loft restaurant and feasted on the most unbelievable orange and almond chicken tagine (still not done raving about it) with a side of hummus and flatbread. This isn’t your cheapest spot for food, but the fourth-floor views spanning across the city are worth the extra Dirhams.

Immersing myself in the hustle and bustle below, I did a lap of Jemaa el-Fnaa square before spending the afternoon getting lost in the neverending maze of souks. 

By getting lost, I accidentally stumbled across somewhere I had bookmarked to visit another day: Ben Youssef Madrasa. Paying only a small fee to enter just before closing time, the last of the sunshine hours were spent admiring the stunning tiling and architecture with only a few other tourists for company.

The lunchtime tagine was a distant memory by then, so in search of more food I settled upon Bakchich Café back near the square, tucking into a lemon and olive chicken tagine with chicken couscous.

Day two

After feasting on a breakfast that included an unbelievable spread of delicious local delicacies, I headed south in search of Badi Palace and Bahia Palace. Both required a small entry fee, but they offered something quite different. I found Bahia Palace the more beautiful of the two, because of its serene surrounding gardens.

Noon quickly came around, so I explored the Jewish Mellah district and stopped by Kech Badi for a lunch of falafel pittas and kebabs. The day was still young, so I pulled up a chair at Pergola Restaurant & Bar for a cocktail made with the fresh oranges that I saw hanging from the trees that lined the streets.

After a quick stop at Parque Kutubia where the scent of blossoming Neroli literally stopped me in my tracks, I lazed the rest of the afternoon away on the rooftop of my Riad.

The sun soon set upon Morocco, and I ended my first full day trying a few local dishes at Zeit un Café. The service was pretty poor, but I wasn’t in any rush to leave and instead enjoyed the sights, sounds, and scents from the square below.

Day three 

Following one last dreamy breakfast, I reluctantly left my Riad ready to check into another for the remaining two nights of the trip.

I’d organised a tuk-tuk transfer through the previous Riad, but unfortunately a nearby shop owner caught wind of the complicated route and insisted on being the guide for what became an awkward luggage-loaded hike through the Medina. Long story short, someone who worked at the Riad joined for safety, but the local of course wanted paying off at the other end. It didn’t cost much in the end, but I was just glad to be rid of him.

Once comfortably checked into my second Riad, first on the agenda was the nearby sanctuary, Le Jardin Secret. This was slightly more expensive to enter but still very affordable, and a gorgeous place to relax in what felt like a true oasis of the Medina.

A place I’d been keen to see during our trip was Maison de la Photographie, which is only a 15-minute walk from the gardens and very close to Ben Youssef Madrasa. Again it’s only a small cost to enter, and after a look around the studios, you can grab a bite to eat at the rooftop restaurant. This has some of the best views of the city and mountains, and the spread of food I ordered was honestly excellent.

The rest of the day was spent watching another fiery sunset melt away, eating cous cous at Café Bazaar, and wandering back through the Souks as they were shutting up for the night.

Day four

This wasn’t supposed to be my final day, but sadly I had to swap the flights around and head home 24 hours early.

After a fireside breakfast in the Riad, before the sun had been able to warm the walls, I queued to enter the famous 1910 Bacha Coffee Shop & Café inside the Dar el Bacha Palace. It gets extremely busy here even before opening, but if you love coffee like I do then definitely add it to your itinerary. The menu offers an insane amount of blends that are poured for you in theatrical art, and the Wes Anderson-style surroundings were a bonus.

With just a few hours remaining, I finally plucked up the courage to do some Souk shopping, picking up little trinkets, woven baskets, mirrors, and a large tote bag to take home with me.

Sadly it was time to leave Marrakech, but had I been able to stay a day longer as planned I would have also visited Jardin Majorelle and considered visiting either the Atlas mountains or the Agafay Desert. Next time!

Where I stayed: Pure House Marrakech

Onto the Riads! The first of which was Pure House Marrakech, who kindly invited me to stay for two nights to experience their relatively new and extremely aesthetic Riad.

Located in the heart of the Medina, you’re perfectly central for almost everything you could want to see, and you’d never expect what’s hidden behind that beautiful ornate wooden door after tracing your way down the winding streets.

They kindly offered their largest suite, and it’s safe to say I got a lot of home decor inspo from this earthy-toned, minimalistic room.

I was welcomed with a cup of traditional Moroccan mint tea, and the breakfast on both mornings was absolutely outstanding. I lost count of the amount of items that were served each morning.

Finally, the rooftop terrace and pool proved a perfect spot to listen to the sounds of the distant snake charmers, live music and calls to prayer.

Everyone at Pure House Marrakech was so kind, so I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity to stay. Truthfully, I would revisit this Riad in a heartbeat.

Where I stayed: Riad Jaaneman

I was due to spend two nights here, but of course only managed the one with the change in travel plans.

Riad Jaaneman was gorgeous inside, with towering greenery and a rooftop terrace that I always had to myself. It was also situated in a more peaceful location just outside the Souks, making it easy enough to find your feet on arrival. 

Housing just five rooms, the entire experience at Riad Jaaneman was so peaceful you almost felt you were alone there. I’d booked their smallest and most affordable room called Hima, and whilst not quite as luxurious as the suite at Pure House Marrakech, it was very clean and spacious.

The breakfast admittedly was a little on the small side and only really offered a selection of sweet items, but it did the job.

Final thoughts on Marrakech

Marrakech is chaos to navigate and can overpower the senses at first, but it was everything I’d hoped it’d be and more. After just one day, you really feel that you acclimatise to the atmosphere and can begin embracing all that the city has to offer.

And most importantly, a Riad stay is simply a must to experience Marrakech fully. 

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