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I spent a week and a half traveling around the diverse and vibrant country of Morocco. The trip kicked off in the ancient city of Marrakech which I describe as “hectic, crazy, and wild.” LOL. From narrow streets filled with kids running about playing soccer in flip flops to merchants aggressively inviting you to check out their latest wares to motorbikes whizzing by with impressive ease despite you losing your balance trying to jump out of the way. That’s Marrakech.
Here are the things I recommend checking out in Marrakech to get a true sense of the culture.
Riads are traditional house that has an interior courtyard. They’re non-descript from the outside, because the culture is not to expose wealth on the exterior. But once you step inside, you’re transported into a completely different world. Here’s a quick tour and review of my riad (which was an Airbnb) from Marrakech. This is a pic from the top floor of my Marrakech riad, which overlooks the medina
For shopping, the souks (markets) are your go to. In Marrakech and Fes, they’re located in the medina (ancient walled city), which is filled to the brim with merchants selling everything from food to collectibles and everything in between.
Even if you’re not interested in shopping, the souks are an experience you cannot miss. They embody so much of the ancient Moroccan culture in modern day.
If you’re planning to leave the city, where the Berbers are primarily located, I recommend waiting to shop until you get there because the Berbers are the true artisans so consist of narrow, windy walkaways. They’re not wide enough for cars, but they’re crowded enough with people, donkeys passing through (lol), and people on bikes. It’s a legit maze. Oh, and street signs? Basically nonexistent. Google Maps? Goodluck with that. It’s confusing, but neat to see people traversing the medina so effortlessly. Pro Tip: With your phone, take pictures of landmarks (and add notes) so that you can piece your way back out.
This is a huge public square and marketplace in the Medina, with swarms of locals and tourists strolling around. There are food vendors, street performers, merchants, Henna artists. What I found interesting here is that there were literally 20 fresh juice vendor carts all lined up next to each other selling the exact same menu at the same prices. Lol. We went to the one that had a line; is that some sort of psychological thing? Anyway, Rahkeem got fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and liked the taste alot and found it refreshing.
The botanical garden was a 20 minute walk (safe) outside of the medina, but worth the trek in 90 degree heat. It was a refreshing change of pace from the hectic medina. The coolest part is that the colorful gardens were the cacti from various places in the world. That and the Berber Museum was dope because it highlights the artifacts of the first peoples of the country. There’s a cafe on site too, btw.
Cost: 70 MAD (garden), plsu 30 MAD (museum) Estimated Time: 30 minutes
Hammams are not your ordinary steam baths. They are luxurious yet affordable full-service experiences. That’s if you go to the private ones, not to be confused with the public hammams that the locals visit. If you’re super adventurous, then public may be for you. I, however, am not overly adventurous when it comes to anything hygiene related. So, public was not a consideration :). More about that experience here.
Tangine is a popular meat and veggie stew that’s named after the ceramic pot that it’s made in. Let me tell you – DELICIOUS!! …and I’m an incredibly picky and finicky eater. Every restaurant offers it because it’s a staple. All offer it with meat, as well as a vegetarian option.