City Guide: Magical Marrakech

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

Do you consider to visit Marrakech? Where will you eat, where to sleep and what are fun things to do? This and more tips can be found in this blog about the amazing city of Marrakech!

Scooters drive around like crazy, passing right and left you are being pulled by shop owners who are trying to convince you to enter their store. In the meantime, a group of cheerful children rush past you and you hear the prayer call from the mosque in the background. Welcome to the hectic Medina, the centre of Marrakech.

Morocco Marrakech shops

After a week of road-tripping through the south of Morocco and the Atlas mountains, we now have four days to relax in Marrakech. A bit sceptical we enter the city, after so many beautiful things in the rest of the country, the touristy Marrakech can only be disappointing. Or not …? From the first moment, we feel at home here. The crowds, the pleasant temperature but especially all the beauty makes Marrakech magical. The city is beautiful, every corner is Instagram worthy with its pink buildings, colourful herb towers and amazing mosaics. We shoot over 500 photos in these four days, not bad.

Marrakech is touristy, you can’t ignore this. But I did not find this disturbing at all. People speak here, in contrast to the rest of Morocco, pretty good English. Be alert for the typical “tourist traps”, watch your things and negotiate about almost everything. And yes, be prepared for crowds, especially in the Medina. Furthermore, just enjoy all the nice shops, amazing food and colourful moments.

Morocco Marrakech streets

What to do in Marrakech?

Stroll through the Medina

There is happening something everywhere you look and there is so much to see. You will find beautiful leather, lots of jewellery, carpets and Moroccan tableware. But also herbs, meat, fish and fruit are things you can buy here. I bought argan oil, saffron, a hammam towel and cute leather sandals. Bargaining is a must, where walking away is sometimes part of the game. Tired of shopping? Then relax with a cup of mint tea on one of the many rooftop terraces in Marrakech. Go in the morning to do your shopping in peace, and in the evening to see a thousand-and-a-night scene.

Morocco Marrakech streets

Visit the YSL museum and the Jardin Majorelle

Just one and a half kilometres from the Medina you will find the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and the Jardin Majorelle. The YSL museum was unfortunately closed when we were in Marrakech but contains an exhibition about clothing and architecture. The adjacent Jardin Majorelle is really beautiful. Between the high cactuses and the bamboo forest, there are fountains made of mosaics and beautiful buildings in bright blue and yellow. The entree fee is 70 dirhams per person (+/- 6.5 euro).

Drink mint tea on a rooftop terrace with views over Jamaa el-Fna

This enormous square on the edge of the Medina comes to life, especially in the evening. It is not that great, neither is it fun, with all pickpockets, cheaters and sellers with monkeys on a chain. But it is a place that belongs to Marrakech. We viewed the spectacle from above, on one of the roof terraces on the square, and that is very nice!

Morocco Marrakech buildings

Visit the Maison de la photographie

This small private museum has a nice collection of photos taken in Morocco. It is absolutely worthwhile to visit this if only to drink mint tea on the roof terrace. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful rooftop terraces in Marrakech. The entrance fee is 40 dirhams per person (+/- 4 euros).

Stroll through the Palais Bahia

I can highly recommend this palace, because of the peace and beautiful mosaics that you see everywhere. Wander from room to room and sometimes sit down to view the beautiful colours in the courtyards. As long as you are already there, also visit the nearby Tombeaux Saadiens, a beautiful garden where the tombs of the Saadian dynasty. The entrance to both the palace and the tomb is 10 dirhams per person (+/- 1 euro).

Morocco Marrakech Mosaics

Where do you stay in Marrakech?

When we want to recover from the crowds, we return to our hotel, Riad la Parenthèse on the border of the Medina. It is an oasis of peace and we are pampered by Patricia, the Belgian owner who fell in love with Morocco more than 20 years ago. Seven years ago she decided to make her dream come true, and she bought this riad, where eleven families used to live. After almost a year of hard work, the house was transformed into a modern riad, with 6 spacious suites and a beautiful swimming pool in the courtyard. A riad is a typical small Moroccan hotel.

Most of the riads are old houses that provide coolness and shelter from the sun through their inner garden and way of construction. Almost all of them have a terrace on top. There are hundreds of different riads in Marrakech, in every price range. What makes Riad la Parenthèse different and special is the modern decor and large windows looking out over the inner garden that provides light in the rooms. The rooms contain the right balance between typical Moroccan elements and sleek designer furniture.

Morocco Marrakech Riad la parenthese pool

In addition to the beautiful appearance, the hospitality and bond that we build with Patricia, Pierre and the other people who work in the riad are special. They do everything possible to make your stay the best. Cups of tea with homemade cookies are brought without you asking for it, a delicious three-course dinner is prepared for you with lots of love. Patricia has great tips about the best hammams and other fine places in the area. Riad la Parenthèse is definitely recommended. Overnight stays from 55 euros per night, including breakfast. Booking can be done via the website, by e-mail or

Morocco Marrakech Riad la parenthese room

Where do you eat in Marrakech?

Hmm eating out in Marrakech, I have mixed feelings about this. Marrakech is bursting with beautiful, chic and trendy restaurants. If you eat in such a place, you will only hear English and Dutch around you. The food and setting are Instagram-worthy, with corresponding prices. But you won’t find Moroccans here, and actually, I find the food at local restaurants, at least as good.

You do want to eat at a beautiful and hip restaurant? Here are our favourites in the Medina:

Le Jardin. Everything is green in this beautiful restaurant, from the tables to the lamps and the menus. Surrounded by many plants you enjoy healthy Moroccan food. They use a little less oil and butter here than at most restaurants.

Nomad. This restaurant is owned by the same owner as Le Jardin. Spread over four floors you can enjoy the ‘Modern Moroccan cuisine’, as they call it themselves. The rooftop terrace gives a nice view.

Max and Jan is a fun concept store and restaurant in one. The organic and local soul food is served on the rooftop terrace.

Henna Cafe, is different from the three restaurants above. For example, you can also take a Henna tattoo, get a language course, or have an afternoon of cooking class with local women. It is a lot less commercial and very cosy.

Morocco Marrakech dried fruits

Ultimate tips for Marrakech

  • We were driven sometimes crazy because of the people who tried to sell our stuff. To say the least; they can be very persistent. What really helped me to get rid of them in a respectful way was by very enthusiastic, and exaggerated, to say that I really enjoy their beautiful merchandise, but that I wasn’t going to buy any. Often the sellers appreciated the fact that I saw the value of their stuff, and respected my decision to not buy it.
  • Don’t follow men who will show you the way … this always means that you have to pay in the end.
  • Negotiate about EVERYTHING! A taxi from the plane first costs 400 dirhams (+/- 38 euro) and eventually turns out to be possible for 80 dirhams (+/- 8 euro). The same applies to all merchandise in the medina.
  • Watch out for pickpockets, especially in the medina and on the Jamaa el-Fna square.
  • Book your accommodation on time. Marrakech is popular and the best riads are sold out quickly.
  • Drink mint tea among Moroccans and have lunch at a local eatery. A nice variation to all the hip places where you only meet tourists.

Click here for all my blogs on Morocco

Click here for all my blogs on Morocco

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Morocco Marrakech City Guide

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For this blog I collaborated with Riad la Parenthèse. However, everything above is truthful to me, as always I reflect my own opinion and experience.






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