It’s about time I finally shared our final day in Marrakech! The walking tour of Marrakech and what to see in this beautiful Moroccan city.
SO MANY TRAVEL POSTS, SO LITTLE TIME!
So I have to confess I am a billion years behind on my blog posts! I am sure, if you are also a blogger, you know the feeling. Not alone in this, am I? Right?! There are so many in my draft files, but I keep on prioritising posting the more of the moment stories. This sadly means that some of my favourite posts are yet to be shared! Instead of forgetting about them, I hope you all don’t mind if I slip back in time to share these occasionally. Though, if you are anything like me, the dream of travel never goes away. These travel blog posts are some of the best things to surprise you with.
This post continues our travel journal from Morocco. At the bottom of the post you can find all of the other journal entries and plan your own Moroccan adventure! On to Marrakech!
MARRAKECH – THE TRULY BEAUTIFUL CITY
I had been so excited to spend time walking through the souks and checking out the sights of Marrakech, it felt that our week in Morocco was only going to end all too soon. Finally we had our last full day to spend in this beautiful and charming city. Mario and I began our morning on the rooftop of the beautiful Riad Snan 13 (check the minimalists dream Riad out back here). Soaking up the early morning sun was the best way to start what I knew would be a great day. After a tasty breakfast, we met with our local guide for the day, Mohamed.
Before each visit, Mohamed discusses with clients what they are most interested in seeing and doing. Mohamed took into account where we wanted to go and also suggested some hidden places and local cafes. How handy is that?!
We began our tour in Jemaa el-Fnaa (Djema el-Fna or Djemaa el-Fnaa), the historic main square boasting orange juice vendors, food stalls and entertainers. Early in the morning, it was a little more on the quiet side, so we walked up to Koutoubia Mosque.
Towering 253 ft (77 meters) over the Jemma el-Fna is the daunting Koutoubia Mosque. Named after the local souk of booksellers (Arabic: koutoubiyyin), it was originally completed during the reign of Yacub al-Mansur of the Almovad Dynasty in the 12th century and is the oldest and most complete structure from this period. The Koutoubia Mosque was completed with the help of architects from Andalusia and is a prototypical monument of Moroccan-Andalusian architecture.
Though the mosque is closed to non-muslims, we wandered around as Mohamed explained its history and enjoyed the nearby rose gardens with its fountains, pools and palm trees. I could comfortably spend more time here, were we to revisit. Wandering through sunny gardens is equal to bliss. Are you with me on that?
Making our way back through the souks, Mohamed gave us insight into each section of the souks which were all themed around a specific product or service. Some of these were:
Souk Ableuh, noted for its endless stalls of olives, chiles, peppers, lemons, pickles, capers, herbs and spices.
Souk Cherratine, Primarily a leather workers souk.
Souk Haddadine, the blacksmith’s souk. Here you can find thousands of lanterns to choose from.
Souk Semmarine (Smarine), Originally a tailor souk and now one of the largest and most popular souks. You can find almost anything here from Berber carpets to leather handbags.
We were kind enough to be demonstrated techniques for wool and fabric dyeing, explained the medicinal uses for many popularly used herbs and spices and more. It was so interesting and fun to get among all these twists and turns, not knowing what was to come next. It is truly an enchanting place. Some day I would love to return and perhaps pick up a piece or two for our home. When we eventually settle!
If you have visited Marrakech before, did you buy anything? What did you get? Carpets? Rugs? Bags? There was so much to chose from! What was the experience like with the market sellers? They can be very charming and crafty was my impression. Did they charm you? I’d love for you to share your stories with us below. I look forward to reading them!
SIDE NOTE ABOUT SHOPPING
I will mention that at the airport we were waiting in the check in line for almost an hour behind people who had to show everything they had bought. Some probably didn’t consider that certain items would not be able to leave the country, or enter some others. After all the wait, our check in took less than five minutes as we had nothing to declare. So easy!
Again, if you bought anything, how did you get on when going through the airport? Any issues? Let us know!
MEDERSA BEN YOUSSEF
In a lot of travel images you will see of Marrakech you will note those coloured tiled buildings. A great deal of these images will have been taken at the Medersa Ben Youssef. Once the largest Quranic school in North Africa, it was originally built during the Almoravid period. Beside the tiles, you can also check out the beautiful woodcarvings and tour the old student dormitories. This is one spot that can be deceiving as the plain wooden doors on the outside really do not hint at the peaceful and beautiful interior.
I loved this peaceful and stunning spot. It is not to be missed!
One spot that I really insisted we visit was the beautiful Majorelle Gardens. My fashion interests in YSL aside, I am a huge lover of gardens! I had been dreaming of spending time in these gardens since I was a young girl. Honestly, I grew up watching (wait for it) Burke’s Backyard Gardens of the World (now all Australian’s reading this know I am a complete dork) and wanted to visit each epic garden. Though I have no garden to speak of myself, I just love them. My happy place is always a garden.
The Majorelle Gardens in the Ville Nouvelle (New City), are nothing short of spectacular. The beautifully curated garden boasts a variety of cacti. These are set off by the striking cobalt blue that provides the incredible backdrop.
It was originally constructed by the French artist Jaques Majorelle and later purchased by Yves Saint-Laurent, whose ashes were spread in the garden after his death. Head in to the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech in the gardens to see textiles, ceramics and jewellery from Saint-Laurent’s collection as well as preserved watercolours of Jaques Majorelle.
As with any major attraction, to avoid the crowds, be sure to head there early. You can take a taxi, but we had our driver, so I honestly didn’t get to experience them for myself. I will let the images do the rest of the convincing you this spot is worth the visit!
Perhaps I should have warned you, I took a LOT of photos in here!
MARRAKECH, I WILL BE BACK
All good things must of course come to an end. Our time in Morocco was just enough for the first visit. I was so ready to get back to Paris and see a doctor, after being unwell for the better part of a week. I learned a lot of lessons, which I will take on board before our next trip.
There are a lot of places in Morocco that I would still love to visit. We didn’t head out into the desert, nor to the coast, so that is on our next wish list. I would visit Marrakech again. There were so many places to explore, plus the Riads are like peaceful oasis’ themselves, so it is a good spot to unwind.
When I can, I will cut together our video from our week and share that with you here. In the meantime, thank you for following along! Journey Beyond Travel were an excellent company to work with, they looked after us so well, the price was just right and I highly recommend them if you are looking for a way to see the country with a safe and friendly guide.
PLANNING A MOROCCO TRIP?
If you are heading to Morocco and need me to answer any questions, please leave them in the comments for me below. It is a beautiful country and one that I highly recommend you adding to your bucket lists. The people are so welcoming and friendly. For our first trip, a week was just about right, but I would love to revisit. If you have been, I’d love to hear about your experiences and any places I missed that you would recommend. As always, please drop us a line in the comments below.
Missed any of the posts? Check them all out, listed below. The Atlas Mountains post shares where to eat in Marrakech as well as more on our Riad. Not sure how to plan your trip? Let me know what you are curious to visit!
READY TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CREATING YOUR OWN TOUR OF MOROCCO WITH JOURNEY BEYOND TRAVEL? SEND THROUGH YOUR QUESTIONS AND TICK THAT MOROCCAN ADVENTURE OFF OF YOUR BUCKET LIST! https://www.journeybeyondtravel.com/
KEEN TO TRY THE AUTHENTIC FOOD OF MOROCCO? BOOK INTO A MARRAKECH FOOD TOUR WITH AMANDA HERE : http://marrakechfoodtours.com/
If you missed any of our Morocco travel diaries, find them below:
Diary Entry Day One: Chefchaouen
Morocco Diary Day Two: Volubilis
Morocco Travel Diary Day Three: Fez
Morocco Travel Diary Day Four: Atlas Mountains Walking Trail