Morocco

Marrakech - Medina

One of the best holidays I have been on was my trip to Marrakech, Morocco. It was never somewhere I had considered going to before, being a much less known holiday destination compared to other places in Europe for example, but I wanted to explore a new culture and it seemed like the perfect place.

Travelling

We (my Mum and I) landed at Marrakech Menara Airport and had already booked a transfer to our hotel which helped a lot as getting there on our own accord would have been very difficult. The taxi took us into Medina and we were met with a busy, chaotic (in a good way) city. The change in landscape on the way in was something so unlike home in the best way, we suddenly entered the city through arches in the wall that surrounds Medina. The taxi had to squeeze through with motorbikes, donkeys and cars everywhere. There was no priority or right of way and more of a free for all on who gets to pass through. 

We got out of the taxi and it was just a short walk to the Riad Karmela. The side streets were very narrow and it almost seemed as though you are walking down a dark alley, a bit unnerving at first. When we arrived, the door to the Riad looked almost like a Hobbit house, very small and discreet. I would not have seen it without the help of the taxi driver as it was below my eye-line. This made it so intriguing from the start and I knew this would be a fun trip. 

Staying in the heart of Medina was definitely the best decision for someone who wants to soak up the culture and immerse themselves in the city. There are bigger resorts and hotels outside of Medina but for your first time visiting, a Riad is the best choice in my opinion. Medina is the old part of Marrakech and it is a short walk to the newer side, so staying here you really get the best of both worlds. The Riad was beautiful, a waterfall and trees inside the main courtyard led you through to the rooms. Our room was just off to the side of the restaurant, through tall wooden doors. You could also visit the roof which had seating and different levels to explore giving you the best view over the city. I would definitely recommend a Riad, the architecture alone is a must-see.

Navigating around the city was a real challenge. I did not have data on my phone to use, being outside of Europe, so I could not rely on a quick Google search (difficulties of a modern traveller). My best tip is to download maps before you go, I relied on satellite view to see where we were and to follow my phone. 

The locals will tend to offer to guide you to the ‘Big Square’ and if you take their direction it could lead yourself to an disagreement about their fees as a tour guide, even if you thought they were only trying to help. Obviously I am sure this is not the case all the time, but if you look like a vulnerable tourist, just be aware. The key is to look like you belong and know where you are going. The city is pretty much all on-foot which really added to the feeling of adventure and exploration. In Metropolitan cities for example, we often rely on Ubers or buses to get around, here you are exploring the beauty of such a unique city.

Food

One of the best things about Morocco was the food. I am normally a really fussy eater so was naturally a bit apprehensive before I went. However, as soon as we got to the Riad we were offered traditional Moroccan green tea and then lead to dinner after dropping our bags off. The staff were all helpful and friendly and made us feel incredibly welcome. We then had a range of delicious foods which was the best thing to do after travelling.

When it came to eating out we definitely found a favourite restaurant, Nomad. It is a rooftop restaurant where we feasted on courgette fritters, lamb chops and Moroccan deliciousness. While eating we heard the call to prayer and looked out over the beautiful city. Nomad was that good we returned later on in the trip.

When walking through an indoor market we stumbled upon a beautiful rooftop bar in the heart of Medina. The Terrasse Des Epices Restaurant Bar was a great pit-stop and spot for drinks. We enjoyed Mojitos and olives in the sun before heading back to our exploration. 

These were my favourites out of the restaurants we tried, but the city has such a range of eateries you should not struggle.

Exploring

Marrakech has so many amazing places to visit. The following are just some of my favourites.

A highlight of the trip was the Yves Saint Laurent museum and Le Jardin Majorelle. Located outside of Medina in the modern side of Marrakech, they offer a beautiful house and gardens for anyone to get lost in the world of Yves Sain Laurent. It was really simple to get tickets and visit both the museum and gardens, housing the work of the legendary fashion designer. After visiting the museum you can head through to the gardens. This was such a nice experience, to walk through the beautiful gardens and see the amazing architecture. To anyone who loves fashion and nature, or even for that perfect ‘Instagrammable’ photo-op, then I highly recommend. The cafe was a great place to stop for lunch, although I did have chocolate covered waffles, if that counts as lunch.

Another lovely place to visit is the Maison de la photographie de Marrakech. This photography museum is great if you love photography like me and want to appreciate some really inspiring images. It is very quaint but that adds to the uniqueness and why you should visit.

We also checked out the Dar Si Said museum, a historic late 19th-century palace, which has amazing architecture and loads to learn about Marrakech.

Even just walking around Medina, exploring the Souks and checking out the ‘Big Square’, are really fun ways to spend your days.

It is definitely a really beautiful and interesting place to visit, with loads to do all year round, we visited in February and had an amazing time. One of my favourite holidays and I can’t wait to return one day.

Eleanor Yates

Eleanor Yates

Hello! My name is Eleanor Yates and I am a journalist and visual creator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.