Visiting Morocco has been a dream of ours for as long as we can remember. We’ve always wanted to explore Chefchaouen, Casablanca and Marrakesh. Five days in Morocco went by so fast… if you haven’t seen our blog on Chefchaouen, you can click the link “The Blue Pearl of Africa“
We arrived in Casablanca via Marrakech for an 8 hour stopover. We thought we should visit the Hassan II Mosque first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds, so we went by taxi and thank heavens we did. We were absolutely blown away by the beautiful architecture. It’s the largest mosque in Morocco, the second largest in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. You simply can’t go to Morocco or Casablanca without visiting the Hassan II Mosque. If you want to see Casablanca on a short visit, we recommend having a stopover that will allow you to see the Hassan II Mosque as the interiors are absolutely heaven, but just remember that you will need to be dressed appropriately and respectfully, meaning shoulders and knees should be covered. You won’t regret the experience.
We were finally on the plane to Marrakech, which is a remarkable city, with its mixture of old and new and the charm of an exotic city, an experience you won’t be able to fully appreciate until you’ve been there for yourself.
We stayed at Riad WOW and it was gorgeous, a small hotel with lots of character which we loved, right in the middle of Medina. The room was beautiful and the Moroccan decoration was just stunning, it made us feel like we were Queen’s staying in a palace.
If you are looking for a truly authentic experience, rather than finding a modern hotel, you really must stay in a Riad, definitely something you must to do when travelling to Morocco.
Medina is the oldest part of the city and the true of heart of Marrakesh where you can experience the real Marrakech in all its glory, this includes the good and the bad. You will find yourself amidst chaotic streets just like a maze that sucks you in, especially with the motorbikes and bicycles passing by a little too close for comfort, so always keep an eye on what is happening around you!
You will be walking within a city full of amazing produce, from exotic fruits, spices, beautiful rugs, ceramics and accessories. The shops were everywhere. After all, the atmosphere was magical, but it’s as charming, as it’s chaotic and yes, you will be hassled a lot.
We loved getting a lost in Medina and getting lost is all part of the experience of visiting a new place. You have to be prepared for something very different from anything you’ve ever experienced before and it can be very intimidating asking for help. We were surprised that even asking for help with directions there was an expectation for money to be exchanged… so, just ignore them.
We also had a man who claimed to work for the hotel asking us to follow him to discover one of the best Argan oils in the market, even though our friends were a little more suspicious then we were, we bought it. We soon learnt that we should never have bought Argan oil in a plastic bottle because it’s not pure and plastic can cause contamination.
Don’t allow yourselves to be fooled, you really have to be very careful because some items are fake unfortunately. If you are looking to buy a real rug or Argan oil, please do some research beforehand.
If you need a bit of therapy, head to a hammam, sip on Moroccan mint tea and relax the night away.
This time, it’s all about the food that you cannot miss in Marrakech.
If you get tired of eating tagine and couscous non-stop then try out Limoni. This place serves up lovely Italian food and it was the first restaurant we went to once we arrived in Marrakech, with its beautiful courtyard garden with fresh scented lemon trees. A perfect little gem inside the city of Medina yet away from all the chaos. The food was heaven and “Pastilla” a traditional Moroccan dish was very tasty.
Cafe De Epices
Located at the small square “Rabha Qdima” is a perfect place to chill and have a hearty meal at the Cafe de Epices, after exploring the souks in the middle of Medina for hours. You can choose to have your breakfast, lunch or dinner either on the terrace, inside on the first floor or on the rooftop.
The view was amazing and the food was delicious too. We’d highly recommend Atay as it’s a lovely place to relax before you go back out and enjoy Marrakech again.
This restaurant was full of green, we felt like we were in a secret garden. The food was great with a mixture of traditional and European cuisine.
Stay tuned for Part Two.
Happy travelling x