A week in Marrakech (with a night in Essaouira)

 I recently got back from a lovely, mad, sun-filled week of surfing, haggling and sightseeing in beautiful Marrakech for a bit of late summer sun and had the best time. I'd never been before but had some really handy recommendations from friends and colleagues on what to do and where to eat so I thought I'd share mine with you if you're thinking of going!?

TL;DR, Would I recommend it? 100000% (but only if you don't mind a bit of hustle and bustle, and the occasional sketchy looking alleyway). 

SIGHTSEEING:

Jardin Majorelle  - this is a MUST VISIT for me and I will recommend it to anyone that says they are going, the colours and the cacti are beautiful and it's a lovely tranquil place to escape the mad streets of the Medina for a morning, it was taken over and restored by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in the 80's and as such is neighbour to the YSL museum. There is a delicious little cafe/restaurant in the centre of the garden that does everything you could possibly want from smoothies, coffee, crepes, salads, sandwiches and ice cream. There is seating inside and out in the courtyard and feels very "fancy french".





Ouzoud Waterfalls - Up in the Atlas mountains these are the highest waterfalls in Africa. We did a day trip up here and although it was a long drive (around 3 hours with a stop) it was so worth it. We got dropped off at the top and walked all the way down to the bottom where we got a little raft to the other side and walked back up the other side of the falls to the top where lunch was awaiting us. Top tip: wear trainers and gym gear!!





Bahia Palace - Beautiful palace in the Medina, this place is an Instagram DREAM it's so colourful and covered in mosaic tiles with big outdoor courtyards and stained glass windows.





Souks: Of course, whilst in Marrakech you MUST explore the souks, they are mad and busy and people hassle you to buy their stuff and mopeds try to run you down as you shop but it's all part of the charm I think. After about 2 days we settled into it and started to feel more comfortable haggling and  got to know our way around (a bit, and only to certain places) although you will definitely get lost. I bought a lot in the way of wicker beach bags, leather rucksacks and sandals, but wanted to buy so much more (including Moroccan tiles for my bathroom and a nice brass tap)!! Go with room in your case!





Essaouira - We also stayed in Essaouira for one night at the end of our trip, this is a little fishing town on the beach 2 and a half hours drive from Marrakech city. We took a Supratour coach (which was so cheap and pretty luxury as far as coaches go) early one morning and came back the next evening. Essaouira is a stark contrast to Marrakech as it's so much quieter, cooler and windier but still just as beautiful and colourful with it's own Medina and the added option of a beach day. I would recommend it over the city if you aren't a big fan of crowds and noise. We surfed here with BleuKite Surf School which was amazing, I'd recommend going with them and the waves in Essaouira are perfect for beginners!








FOOD:

NOMAD - Restaurant with hipster vibes and a great roof terrace just off Spice square, we went for lunch and dinner, slightly more expensive than standard Marrakech prices but worth it! It does a mixture of modern Moroccan dishes and great smoothies. Tip: Book a table if you want to sit right at the top (these are 2 tiers of roof terrace)!

Cafe Des Epices - Right in the middle of spice square, this cafe also has a roof terrace with great views, especially for people watching in the square. It does great salads and sandwiches, best for lunch. Tip: I recommend the vegetarian sandwich (it's actually 4 open sandwiches with different veggie toppings)!


Cafe Arabe - Right in the middle of the Souks, it has a large roof terrace and courtyard in the centre. It was also one of the only places we found that serves alcohol, there's a bar too if you just want drinks. I had a cracking Tagine here!

La Sultana - If you fancy splurging a bit this is the place to do it, one of the most beautiful restaurant settings on the roof at the top of this boutique hotel with views of the mountains and the mosques in the background. There was a man playing music, the staff were lovely and so were the cocktails. We had the Moroccan tasting menu which was really tatsy and soooo filling  I couldn't even fit in a gin and tonic after!



La Table by Madada (Essaouira) - If you venture to Essaouira this restaurant does the best seafood, in an old warehouse in the Medina I had the grilled Calamari and it was just the best ever! They also had an extensive wine menu which I didn't go anywhere near.

Can't wait for my next trip now - Barcelona with my mum :) 
xox

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