10 Things I wish I’d Known Before Going to Marrakech

was just what the doctor ordered for mum and I last month, so we packed our bags and darted off in search of the last of the summer sun. Even though I had researched and planned our trip as carefully as I always do, there are still some things that I wish I had known before we arrived, so I thought I’d let you in on them!

1. Visit the Souk At Least Twice

Although we thought we were prepared for the hustle, bustle and general chaos of the souk, turns out, we weren’t. Everything was a bit louder and a bit more hands on that we were expecting, and so we were a little shell shocked.
Second time round? We had it down – and it was a much better experience.

2. The Souk Doesn’t Open till 11am… So Don’t Visit Before!

Not being told this didn’t really help us when we took our shuttle bus into the Medina at 10am as it meant that when we were dropped off all the guides, sellers and shop owners literally crowded round us, which was more than a little off putting.

3. Check the Calendar!

The Islamic calendar only has two holidays per year – and we happened to book a holiday slap bang over Hajj Eid, meaning that all the shops were closed on the Thursday as well as the Friday. Also, as Hajj Eid is also a festival of sacrifice, we didn’t want to visit the Medina on the Thursday evening.

4. You’re Going to Eat the Best Olives. Ever.

Hands down. Not even a question, the best olives I’ve ever had were in Marrakech. And not just in a certain spot, but in every single restaurant you sit down in.

5.  Know The Dress Code

We were very surprised to see a lot of Western women walking around in shorts, tees and short skirts; in fact, we couldn’t have been dressed more differently than they were. I opted for maxi dresses, maxi skirts and always made sure my shoulders were covered and I wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

6. If You’re Travelling in a Female Only Group, Get a Guide

Travelling as two Western women, we generally didn’t feel uncomfortable, but when we were in the heart of the souk, we did feel a little less at ease. I know we said that we were a little hassled by guides when we arrived, but when we were in the heart of the souk, we were very glad that we had some assistance. The souk is a total maze, and having someone who knows it inside out was really helpful.

7. Know What You Want To Buy

Scarves? Spices? Shoes? Leather goods? It’s all there – and more! But the best way to make the most out of it is to know roughly what you’re going for.

8. The Restaurant Scene is Incredible and Opens Late

When you’re booking tables aim for 8/9pm as against the British 7.30pm, as restaurants generally don’t open until 7pm and entertainment won’t start until about 9pm. You can see why the souk doesn’t open early!
Top restaurants? La Sultana, Le Comptoir and Azar.

9. If You’re Staying Outside the Medina, Make Sure Your Hotel Provides Free Transfers

I have to say I loved staying outside the Medina, as it meant that we were able to come home to somewhere completely tranquil, but having a free shuttle right into the heart of the city was an absolute dream. It ran very frequently, apart from over lunch time, and was an absolute saviour.

10. You’ll Want to Go Back Again and Again

Marrakech is one of the most enchanting places I’ve ever been, and even though we were there for a week, I don’t even feel as though we scratched the surface of this amazing city, never mind Morocco.

 

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