Advantages Stunning scenery!
Disadvantages food, a bit of a culture shock
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
Marrakech has always been high up on my list of places to visit, so earlier this year I packed my bags and set off with a friend to explore the city.We flew with easyjet from London Gatwick to Marrakech Menara airport, convinently located around 15 minutes taxi ride from central Marrakech.
A word of warning - Marrakech is a city where you have to haggle and haggle hard. Never accept the first price and be prepared to walk away! Prices quoted are usually 2-3 times as much as the actual price! This haggling starts at the airport - a typical taxi journey should cost around 80 dirhams although the drivers will try to convince you otherwise! Coming from the UK I found this a little awkward at first but soon got the hang of it. It is best to agree on a price before you get into the taxi.We decided to stay in a Riad - a traditional morrocan guest house (breakfast included) built around an interior garden, as opposed to a hotel, to get a more authentic feel for the place.
The city is divided into the new town and the medina (old town). Most of the sites of interest for me were in the old town and within walking distance of each other. I found the Medina quite charming with it's little alleyways and mopeds whizzing around on the road (and pavements)!The city is such a mish-mash of cultures, Arab, European, African and asian, that sometimes it's hard to place yourself!Djemaa el Fna
This is the main shopping area in Marrakech, selling a variety of wares including clothes, furnishings, dried fruit, spices and pastries. I found it quite overwhelming at first as shop keepers compete against each other for your attention, so you are not free to browse. The market is huge and it is very easy to lose track of where you are as there are many passage ways coming off each other!
Day Excursions not to be missed:There are several tour companies located just off the Djemaa el Fna who organise tours to the atlas mountains, the Cascade d'Ouzoud waterfalls and overnight stays in the Desert. We organised our tours when we got there with a company called Sahara Tours and chose to visit the waterfalls and spend a night with some Bedouin's in the desert, both of which were unforgettable experiences, with some stunning scenery along the way. We also made the mistake of booking a dinner show at a place called 'Chez Ali' - this was so awful and touristic and the show was a huge disappointment - avoid at all costs!!
The food was something I was looking forward to when visiting the city, however I was very disappointed. We had tagines at a couple of restaurants along the square and they were all fairly bland. We did find a couple of non-morrocan places - the Earth Cafe is a vegetarian restaurant off the main square and a pizza place. The morrocan pastries we had were very nice and I loved the mint tea!
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Flat-roofed and shaded by exactly one hundred palm trees, Sirayane Boutique Hotel & Spa is a distinctly Moroccan retreat. Fashionable Marrakech...
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