Throughout Morocco a sense of mysticism pervades. It can be the Architecture, the centuries-old medinas, the majestic mountains views or the intoxicating perfume of jasmine and roses filling the air. The ancient land of the Berbers is a stone’s throw away from my beloved Spain and yet it feels a million miles away.
Long a favorite of mine, the grand dame of Marrakech never ceases to impress. Nestled between mountain and desert, Morocco’s most exotic imperial city is a destination full of wonderful surprises that rewards wandering and getting lost. From the delicious cuisine to my undying love for the textiles and Berber rugs, Marrakech stole my heart and never gave back.
When I first discovered the beautifully ancient city, I was so moved by the beauty of it that I have returned regularly.
A trip to Morocco’s famed Red City means sipping mint tea in fragrant gardens, indulging in wonderfully dark, candle-lit hammans, feasting at a night food market, and buying the most special spices you can ever imagine.
There´s a popular Moroccan saying that I specially love: “Everything is possible in Marrakech but nothing is certain”. Exotic, chaotic but invitingly overwhelming, that´s Marrakech for me. I hope the following guide with my favorite spots in this fabled, fortified city inspire your own trip!
Must- See Landmarks
Owned by Yves Saint Laurent, the subtropical Jardin Majorelle is the inspiration of every decor-lover. Along with the iconic 2.5-acre botanical garden, the exotic and evocative square of Jemaa el-Fna is definitely a must. As dusk falls, the vibrant, terracotta-hued square, turns into a living theatre filled with snake-charmers, henna artists, and storytellers mesmerizing onlookers under the glow of lamps.
What I absolutely love about the city is getting lost in the swirl of the souk. Imagine miles and miles of covered markets offering everything you can imagine!
Embodying a distinctively local sense of glamour, countless of sophisticated boutique shops outside the Medina spellbound everyone with their gorgeous vintage clothes, amazing embroidered bedspreads, ultra-chic kafkans and unique art works.
Dating back to the 14th century, the Medersa Ben Youssef has housed numerous generations of students in the pursuit of knowledge. The impressive Koranic school is the largest madrassa in Morocco and definitely one of the jewels of Marrakech architecture.
Nothing quite prepares for the chaos in Marrakech: trotting mules everywhere, vendors, taxis, scooters… However, I truly love embracing the hustle and bustle of the labyrinthine alleyways of the dusky, pink-walled Medina. Traveling to Marrakech is like entering a world of wonders.
My favorite restaurants
Feast like a sultan at I Limony on flavours of Italy. We visited the restaurant on many ocassions as it’s just around the corner of Riad Yasmine. We absolutely loved the decor, the impeccable service and the incredible atmosphere.
Located above the souks, this lovely cafe truly captivated us. The lanterns, the printed cushions and the unique bohemian feel make it utterly special.
Fearlessly modern, Nomad is the place in the Medina for both lunch and dinner, or simply to while away the hours with a delicious cocktail overlooking the spice market. Spread over 4 floors, Nomad offers “Modern Moroccan” cuisine with a strong emphasis on fresh local produce.
My favorite Riads
Marrakech is a treasure trove of romantic riads (traditional courtyard houses). You push the insignificant front old door and you find so much beauty. With a thousand Marrakech riads how do you choose just one? Well, why not staying in more than one? Here is my list of my favorite ones:
With a cozy living/dining room, a sunbathed roof-terrace, and the most seductive swimming pool you could ever imagine the tiny hideaway itself is a true oasis within the pink-hued medina walls. Click here to read our review.
Riad Palacio de las Especias
Expect days of pure tranquility at this adorable property. We loved the emerald pool, the balmy evenings at the amazing rooftop terrace and the bountiful homemade breakfast. Decorated in a colonial style, the intimate riad offer its guests an unforgettable escape back into time.
Riad El Fenn
Meaning “Fine Arts” in Arabics, the bohemian El Fenn is a Moroccan gem, a heavenly sanctuary of the most indulgent kind in North Africa’s most exotic city. Click here to read our review.
Riad Jardin Secret
Riad Jardin Secret will definitely seduce you with its exotic allure. Every corner of this utterly unique gypsy riad is an amazing place to sit, to read and relax. Click here to read our review.
Located just a 10-minute walk from Place Jamaâ El Fna Square, this familiar riad is perfect if you are on a tight budget. The service here is warmly authentic, low key and personal. A bountiful Moroccan breakfast of fruit and pancakes is served in the courtyard, or on the roof terrace.
Marrakech is the most touristic city in Morocco and desert is the second, don’t miss it