- 1 Things you need to know about Marrakech.
- 1.1 Best time to visit Marrakech.
- 1.2 How to Get around Marrakech – 5 days in Marrakech
- 1.3 Where to stay in Marrakech?
- 1.4 5 days in Marrakech – Day 1.
- 1.5 5 days in Marrakech – Day 2.
- 1.6 5 days in Marrakech – Day 3.
- 1.7 5 days in Marrakech – Day 4.
- 1.9 5 days in Marrakech – Day 5.
- 1.10 My Top Tips on how to spend – 5 days in Marrakech –
A trip to Marrakech is a sensory overload of some of the most exotic sights, sounds, smells and tastes you will ever encounter. An intoxicating, colourful city that will “wow” you at every turn. From the bustling main square of Jemaa el-Fna, to the labyrinth streets of the Medina, a city that will memorise you and leave you with memories of a life time. Let’s find out how to spend 5 days in Marrakech.
Things you need to know about Marrakech.
Marrakech is Morocco’s third largest and most famous city. The main tourist hot-spot and if you are on a short trip like I was, or just looking for the classic Moroccon experience, then Marrakech it is. It gives you a reflection of the spirit, culture and history of Morocco.
Many trips combine Marrakesh with sights in the nearby Atlas region, and often a multi-day excursion to the Sahara desert. Which other cities can you visit from Marrakech? You can visit other famous cities such as Casablanca or Fesz from Marrakech as well.
How long is the fight from London to Marrakech? Flights from the U.K take just under four hours to reach Menara International airport. There are several budget airlines competing and some great deals on offer. Cheap, speedy and pretty straight forward to reach, it’s no surprise that Marrakech is such a popular destination from U.K and around the world. We opted for a direct flight which was a bit more expensive – but quick and easy with the flag bearer British Airways.
Best time to visit Marrakech.
The average temperature varies from summer to winter. The best time to visit Marrakech is from March to May with an average high of 25°C and the nights around the 10°C mark. This is a popular time with tourists from around the world.
How safe is Marrakesh ?
A lot of people have asked me whether Marrakesh is safe? I have travelled quite extensively and could not find any reason to class this wonderful city very safe. The old town yes, you have to be a bit careful but this is the same in any touristy city around the world. There are people trying to sell you things and make a quick $$ out of it. You always need to be watchful of your valuable when you are travel anywhere in the world and it is the same here. Check out some of my Top Travel Tips that might help you plan a safer holiday. Once you are out of the square and old town it is as good as any other city in the world and safe as ever. The people of Marrakech are very friendly and most welcoming.
How to Get around Marrakech – 5 days in Marrakech
Menara International Airport is a modern well connected airport and a 20 minutes taxi ride from the heart of the city. A clean modern airport opening it’s arms to the world.
Local taxis are cheap but make sure you agree on a price in advance to avoid overpaying. Check out the board next to the taxi rank that lists recommended prices to various city destinations. Taxi costs roughly £15 from Menara international airport to Marrakech City centre.
If you’re staying near Djemaa el-Fna, the number 19 bus picks up passengers from outside the airport arrival hall. There is a bus every half an hour between 06.15 and 21.45. It stops at the main square. There are buses you can use to ravel within the city as well. The best and fastest way to get around Marrakech is by taxi (specially as they are very reasonable).
Do people speak English in Marrakech? Language is not a problem as most people understand a bit of English. French is spoken more widely as the second language, so any knowledge of French will certainly be beneficial.
Where to stay in Marrakech?
The area that you stay in depends on what you prefer. If you want to be in the centre and taste all the action then the old town in Medina. If you prefer the more modern Marrakech and nightlife – then stay in a hotel in Hivernage or Gueliz. This is where you can escape the hustle and bustle of Medina.
Most of the larger resorts are a 15 minute taxi ride away in Agdal. You really just have to decide what is best for you. Most hotels in the Hivernage or Gueliz areas are 20-30minutes walk to main Jemaa El Fna Square. We decided to go with the larger resort and our host was the Kenzi Club Agdal. Kenzi Club Medina
The 5-star Kenzi Club Agdal Medina
The hotel has a traditional Moroccan vibe. Set within beautiful landscaped gardens, with olive trees and views of the Atlas Mountains that dominate the Marrakech horizon. With 4 impressive swimming pools including an indoor heated pool you can’t ask for more. A great place to enjoy with the family.
A solarium and a water slide, it is the perfect splash around for the whole family. It offers great spa facilities with massages and beauty salon services, a range of sporting activities including two full-sized tennis courts and an animation team hosting activities and evening entertainment shows.
The restaurant serve international buffet cuisine and a selection of Moroccan specialities to try. The hotel bar offers a wide range of delicious drinks to keep you refreshed and entertained. Only let down was local brands but apart from this its flawless with some of the most helpful staff. Stay at the Kenzi Club Agdal Medina Marrakech if you have kids – relax and refresh in this traditional yet luxury resort. We went with the all-inclusive and would recommend it. A free shuttle service to the city centre every hour is an extra bonus.
Where to shop in Marrakech ?
There is no comparison to what you can find in the old city and the souks but for shopaholic there are 2 new shopping Malls that have recently opened in Marrakech. Le Carre Eden in the heart of Gueliz, and the Menara Mall, on the Menara Avenue, with its many shops, restaurants, ice cream stores.
5 days in Marrakech – Day 1.
Jemaa el-Fnaa Square and Koutoubia Mosque.
We start our Moroccan journey with Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main pulse of Marrakesh. By day, the square buzzes with entertainers, snake charmers and henna-tattoo artists whilst at night there are countless food stalls offering Moroccan culinary delights such as sheeps head and snail soup. It makes you feel as if you have gone back in time.
Tourists flock here all year round to experience the true heart of the city and to discover the intriguing things the locals have to offer in this magical square. We strolled through the narrow street and sipped on the famous orange juice. There is some serious competition amongst the stall owners as each tries to get your attention.
Things to try in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square – Fresh orange juice.
The square changes from morning to evening so I would definitely recommend walking through at different times of the day. The day is a bit less busy and the square is filled with orange juice stalls, local goods vendors, snake charmers, henna artists, and men with chained Barbary apes. In the evening, you see more musicians and dancers, storytellers, acrobats, magicians, and boxers.
The food stalls also come to life as the evening approaches serving all kinds of hot food so make sure you sample both the day and night scenes of Jemaa el-Fnaa Square
Visit to the Koutoubia Mosque.
5 days in Marrakech – Day 2.
Bahia Palace and Jardin de Majorelle
If you are interested in visiting one of the many palaces, then I would definitely recommend the Bahia Palace. There are several museums in Marrakesh, focused on various things like art, history, handicrafts, Berber culture, Islamic art, and photography but this is by far the most beautiful palace in Marrakech. Surrounded by some of he most beautiful gardens and intricate artisan work this is in a much better state then the Badi Palace which has been more ravaged by time and neglect.
The Bahia Palace is situated near the Medina. If you are interested in art and design, you will love the unique details this Palace has to offer. As you go around the palace you come across various rooms, each full of colours and exquisite lavishness.
You will also find small gardens scattered around the palace. It was built in the 19th century with the hope of becoming the greatest Palace of all times and to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style.
The palace is still used by the royal family from time to time but is mainly for the tourists who wish to learn about the history of Marrakech . The Bahia Palace was built in the 19th century, for the Grand Vizier of Marrakesh, a former slave who rose to power. It served as a residence where he lived with his four wives, 24 concubines, and dozens of children.
Next stop – The Majorelle Garden.
The garden served as the home of the landscape painter Jacques Majorelle. It was later bought and restored by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. The garden is known for its large collection of cactus and exotic plants from around the world and is quite picturesque.
5 days in Marrakech – Day 3.
The souks thread north from Jemaa el Fna and continue in a winding labyrinth until they hit the Musée de Marrakesh. The Souks of Medina are open from around 9am to 9pm – the best time to visit is in the cool of the morning or in the evening. Plunge into the serpentine alleyways and you can see the artisans at work hammering metal in the Haddadine souk. Most stallholders will expect you to haggle.
The main artery of the souks is Souk Semmarine, a broad, covered alley that begins with pottery and patisserie and moves into high-quality fabric, clothing and expensive tourist emporiums full of antiques, carpets and jewellery.
Halfway along Souk Semmarine is the Spice Square and on the left is Souk el Attarine, bright with copper and brass lanterns and mirrors. Here you will also find spices and perfumes.
This is unmistakably the shoe souk, featuring brightly coloured, sequined babouches (Moroccan slippers). It goes on and on and you could easily spend a day here. Watch your purse or valuables while navigating the backstreets of the souks. After driving some hard bargains we headed for lunch in one of the famous rooftop terraces of the square.
Lunch at a Roof top Restaurant in Medina
This is a must when you are in Marrakech – There are many roof top restaurants where you can taste some of the most popular Moroccan delicacies along with spectacular views of the city. Things to try – Camel Tagine and barber bread. Rooftop terraces are plentiful all over Marrakech and a great way to spend some time and watch the action of Jemaa el-Fnaa.
Enjoy a drink if you can’t afford a room at La Mamounia, a famous Art Deco hotel. It has been the beloved of some famous celebrities including Sir Winston Churchill, who was a regular visitor.
5 days in Marrakech – Day 4.
Day trip to Ourika Valley from Marrakech.
After a relaxed and late breakfast we headed to the Ourika Valley. How to go to Ourika Valley from Marrakech? We hired a private taxi from the hotel which cost us 1,000dh for a round trip. This is the closest day trip destination from Marrakech and a popular attraction between the first foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
This beautiful lush green valley is definitely one of the best preserved valleys in Morocco. The Ourika valley is about 60 kms from Marrakech, the village lays at the end of the road making it a useful starting/finishing point for trekkers. Going around the valley takes a bit of effort. You need to prepare and don’t forget comfortable shoes and comfy clothes, there is a little bit of climbing rocks, here and there to reach all the seven waterfalls of Setti Fatma.
On the way to the valley we also crossed many berber villages. These are great spots for panoramic pictures and some local shops. You can’t great bargains vs the shops in Medina. The Ourika Valley is still inhabited by berber villagers living in a traditional lifestyle.
Camel ride in the Ourika valley –
On your way to the Ourika valley you will have the opportunity to enjoy a camel ride at one of the berber villages. A quick stop and some time to experience the valley in true Berber style. Later on we continued to Setti Fatma, a favourite weekend destination for many Moroccans. Highly appreciated for its beautiful streams and 7 waterfalls, beautiful cliffs, green valleys.
How much time do you need for a trip to the Ourika Valley from Marrakech? This can easily be done in half a day. We started after a late breakfast and were back at our hotel late afternoon. It was time to relax by the pool and charge up our batteries for the Nightlife of Marrakech.
The Nightlife of Modern Marrakech.
Gueliz, Hivernage Marrakesh’s new town.
The evening was spent in this more modern part Marrakech. Gueliz and Hivernage, offer a variety of nightlife which include bars, taverns, ice cream shops, nightclubs, lounges and restaurants. Depending on your taste and budget, you can find a wide selection of places to visit. You will find something that suits your pocket in this part of the city.
Where is the best nightlife in Marrakech? The best nightlife happens in Hivernage where clubs like Rasputin, Buddha Bar and Théatro are alive until the wee hours of the morning.
Our venue for the evening was the much talked about Jad Mahal Palace. If you don’t want to change your location I would recommend Jad Mahal, it’s a “one-stop-shop” for a night out. It houses a good restaurant, several bars and a live band as well. Spread over 2 floors, for a more relaxed evening enjoy the live band playing upstairs or if you really want to party, head to the night club downstairs. It is spacious, spontaneous and fun. T
The entertainment is absolutely stunning. Believe me, after spending over a decade in a city like London this place takes the cake. Book ahead and have a great night out.
Sky BarS in Marrakech –
If you fancy some rooftop bars then there a few sky bars dotted around the Hivernage area.We visited the Sky Bar @ The Pearl which was impressive well.
A late night and we headed back to our hotel past midnight after a long and fulfilled day. You can easily get a taxi late at night and there are a lot of people around this area so you feel completely safe.
5 days in Marrakech – Day 5.
Relax in the Spa / Swim and back home.
Our last day in this beautiful country. A relaxed breakfast followed by some quality time with the kids by the pool. I had just enough time to squeeze in a hammam experience at the Spa in our hotel. The O Spa @ the Kenzi is 1500 square meters, dedicated to relaxation, wellness and harmony. It is staffed by highly qualified professionals that give you the perfect hammer experience.
This last touch certainly made it an unforgettable experience.
Refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated it was time to say good bye to this colourful, mystical and fascinating country.
My Top Tips on how to spend – 5 days in Marrakech –
- Unwind in the cobalt-blue villa and enchanting gardens of the Jardin Majorelle.
- Get lost in the Souks of Medina.
- Have the best Orange Juice of your life.
- Stay in a Riad.
- Explore the ruins of the Bahia Palace & El Badi Palace.
- Sip on a glass of mint tea overlooking the Jemaa el-Fnaa square.
- Marvel at the Koutoubia Mosque minerets.
- Sample Moroccan delicacies like tagine, cous-cous and Harira soup at a rooftop restaurant.
- Take a cooking class at Souk cuisine.
- Barter for a bargain at the Medina souks.
- Experience the warmth of a hammam.
- Find peace at the Saadian tombs.
- Shake a leg @ 555 the biggest nightclub in Marrakesch.
- Enjoy an evening at the sky-bar in Hivernage.
- Get mesmerised by the colours and smells of the Souks.
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