I grew up in a house filled with “treasures” my parents bought at Moroccan markets in the 80s. While other families had nice IKEA living rooms, we had a sparkly golden lamp, fluffly carpets and golden plates they had brought home from Marrakesh.
All my life, I was questioning this design choice and was curious about the place, my parents had loved so much, that they brought actual carpets (plural!) on an airplane.
So this December, I decided it was time to see this magical place for myself.
I've prepared a quick itinerary for you guys, stating our favourite things in each place, plus some useful information of what's good to know before going to Morocco.
Where to go in Morocco
Day 1-3: Marrakesh
We started our trip in Marrakesh and were overwhelmed and in love at first sight.
It's the perfect place to get lost strolling over the markets (we didn't buy a single carpet though), to eat all the food and to take a break at the hammam.
Favourite Hotel in Marrakesh (part 1)
We started our trip at AnaYela and loved everything about it.
Favourite Hammam in Marrakesh
Les bains de l'alhambra: It's pretty fancy, but if you are travelling in a boy/girl combination, you'll have to go to a private hammam. Totally worth it though. Next time I'd love to try a more traditional hammam, but I'd have to go with a girlfriend or by myself.
Favourite restaurant in Marrakesh
Le jardin. It's a designer's dream come true, a Riad made of the most beautiful tiles, filled with candles.
Day 3-5 Casablanca
We then took a train to Casablanca, which is a lot nicer than it's reputation. While the architecture in Marrakesh was mainly built by the Berbers (look out for pisé, a mud brick used for all kinds of buildings), you can see the Andalusian influence at the coast. Everything feels a bit more modern, which also includes great new restaurants and bars.
Favourite neighbourhood in Casablanca
Habous. This quarter was built in the 1920's to make space for more workers, therefore it's called “the new Medina”. It's quieter than the old town and great for a stroll with many shops in small alleys.
Favourite Hotel in Casablanca
we stayed at Hotel Central, which is located right at the border of the old Medina. It's a great place, if you're on a budget and would still like to be in the old town. As it's at the border, you can even drive there (many streets in the Medinas are too small for cars).
Day 5-7 Fes
Fes feels like a compressed version of Marrakesh. The streets are even smaller and there are shops and market stalls everywhere. If you have a choice, you might want to start in Fes instead of Marrakesh, as it's less overwhelming.
Favourite hostel in Fes
Favourite Hammam in Fes
Yes, we went twice, because it's so good. The hammam is part of Riad Laaroussa, a beautiful hotel right in the Medina.
Day 7-8 Rabat
We only stayed here, because it was half way back to Marrakesh. And we loved it!
It has the same Andalusian style as Casablanca, but in a less stressful surrounding.
Favourite Neighbourhood in Rabat
Rabat has a blue Medina, which is a must see (if you're not going to Chefchouen). It's also located right at the beach, which is worth a look, too.
Day 8-10 back to Marrakesh
Since we flew out of Marrakesh, we decided to spend our last few days here.
This time we stayed outside of the Medina for some more peace and quiet.
Favourite Hotel in marrakesh (Part 2)
Les 5 Djellabas has a massive garden with only ten little lodges. For us, it was the perfect quiet ending to an exciting trip.
We met Mustapha looking for a cab at the train station and ended up calling him whenever we wanted to go anywhere in Marrakesh.
As haggling with the drivers can be confusing, especially if you don't know how much you should pay, I'd suggest you find someone you trust. Or you give Mustapha a call and say hi from me: 00212667359434 (he speaks perfect English)
Places we missed
Since we only had ten days and went in winter, we opted for these four cities. Next time, I really want to go to Chefchaouen to see the blue Medina, to the desert to ride camels and to Essaouria for some beach time.
Good to know
How much is travelling in Morocco?
Morocco is a great place if you're on a budget. You can get a sandwich and fries for 1€ everywhere and hostels for about 10€ a night. A nice dinner for two will be around 40€.
If you buy anything on the market, just make sure to haggle.
Getting around in Morocco
We took the train, as there is a direct connection between the places we wanted to see. Tickets are around 10€ (for a four hour drive) and the trains are just fine. We only booked second class
tickets and bought them right at the station. The only difference to first class is that there are 8 people in one compartment instead of 6. But the trains were empty and we had a compartment to
ourselves most of the time.
Check the oncf website for departure times.
Don't worry, most people speak English. If you know a little French, they will be super happy and it helps with haggling, but you'll get around without it. Nobody will expect you to speak Arabic.
An annoying scam, that's unfortunately very popular is to guide tourists in the wrong direction, so they end up being lost. Then someone will show up, offering you help (for money). Just don't
believe when someone (usually teenage boys) sends you one way without you asking for help and double check on your phone.
When we did ask for directions, everybody was super friendly and helped us out.
Travelling as a female in Morocco
I didn't end up in a situation I felt uncomfortable with a single time. We got lost a lot, so I was happy J was there, but would have felt just as safe with a female friend. Ending up in dark dead ends again and again is scary and annoying everywhere, so try to go with someone you can laugh about this with.
If you're worried about the dress code, have a look here.
I hope you guys found my collection of ideas what to do in Morocco helpful. Have you been? What were your highlights? Let us know in the comments!
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