20 Great things to see in Marrakech

This week we’re on a bit of a mission to tempt you to put Marrakech on your bucket list. Why, you ask? Only because everything about Marrakech – old city walls, riads, crumbling palaces, noisy souks, skilled artisans – is unique. The ambience lends it a distinct character, different from most African and European capitals. Moroccan people are warm and the food is amazing. This mélange makes Marrakech stand out.

Here are Bruised Passports’ Top 10 things to do in Marrakech :

1 Have the best Orange Juice of your life

Orange trees are omnipresent in Marrakech’s tangled alleys and exotic courtyards. Moroccan oranges are famous the world over, so it doesn’t comes as any surprise that Djemaa-El-Fnaa, Marrakech’s central square, is choc-a-block with vendors selling orange juice. A glass costs 5-10 Moroccan dirhams (approx. $1). A number of juice sellers also sell the juice of deeply-pigmented blood oranges, but charge a premium for it.

We prefer the original – it is refreshing and its crisp, citrusy flavour is hard to beat. We know it’s prudent to carry a bottle of water while sight-seeing but you can skip that ritual in Marrakech. Just head to the nearest cart and have a glass (or four) of orange juice – you will never want to go back to bottled water. Ambrosia = Moroccan Orange juice.

2 Stay in a Riad

The number of hotels in Marrakech continue to increase with the city’s popularity as a tourist destination. But nothing beats the feeling of staying in a Riad – a traditional Moroccan house within the Medina (Old City). Checking into a Riad is probably the easiest way to familiarise yourself with Morocco. Expect walls embellished with traditional Moroccan rugs, shelves adorned with ethnic glassware, and breakfasts served in intimate central courtyards.

Irrespective of what you’re looking for – romantic getaway, luxurious weekend, or backpacking holiday – it is easy to find a riad to suit your budget. We stayed at Riad Al Idrisi, a mid-range Riad and got a cosy little room with a fireplace. Perfect.

3 Explore the ruins of the El Badi Palace

The ruins of the El Badi Palace do not feature prominently on most itineraries of Marrakech – you will find more storks than people in the compound.

The El Badi Palace, literally translates as ‘The Incomparable One’. It was commissioned by the Saadian King Ahmad al-Mansur in the sixteenth century, built using precious materials like gold and marble, and looted and torn-down by his successor. The bare ruins, left-over mosaics, and stark walls have such tales to tell. It is easy to spend an hour or two walking around the complex. Make sure you go to the terrace – the view of the Atlas mountains is stunning.

The entrance fee is 10 Moroccan dirhams (approx. $1). You can enter for free if the disinterested guards at the entrance are not around.

4 Visit the Bahia Palace

A far cry from the ruins of the El Badi Palace, the Bahia Palace is an elaborate architectural wonder. Made in the nineteenth century, it is a stunning example of Arab and Islamic architectural styles. The elaborate ceilings, colourful tiles, and stained glass lamps are gorgeous. Its peaceful courtyard is the perfect antidote to Marrakech’s chaotic souks.

The entrance fee is 30 Moroccan dirhams (approx. $3). More information here.

Best Camel Trekking through the Moroccan Desert

A vіѕіt tо thе Sahara desert іѕ definitely аn еxреrіеnсе еvеrуоnе should hаvе аt least once in their lіfеtіmе. It is a jоurnеу well wоrth thе еffоrt аnd уоu wіll hаvе fоnd memories tо lаѕt уоu fоrеvеr. Imagine уоurѕеlf оn tор a саmеl, trеkkіng thrоugh the Sаhаrа dеѕеrt. Thеrе іѕ nothing around you аnd аll уоu саn hеаr аrе thе fооtѕtерѕ оf thе саmеl оn thе ѕоft ѕаnd.

A vіѕіt tо thе Sahara desert іѕ definitely аn еxреrіеnсе еvеrуоnе should hаvе аt least once in their lіfеtіmе. It is a jоurnеу well wоrth thе еffоrt аnd уоu wіll hаvе fоnd memories tо lаѕt уоu fоrеvеr. Imagine уоurѕеlf оn tор a саmеl, trеkkіng thrоugh the Sаhаrа dеѕеrt. Thеrе іѕ nothing around you аnd аll уоu саn hеаr аrе thе fооtѕtерѕ оf thе саmеl оn thе ѕоft ѕаnd. The ѕkу іѕ vаѕt аnd сlеаr in thе day and filled with millions of bright ѕtаrѕ аt nіght. It is a vеrу peaceful experience, one rеаllу knоwn tо mоѕt оf thе Wеѕtеrn World.

Thе dunеѕ of Erg Chebbi nеаr Merzouga is 30 mіlеѕ (50km) ѕоuth еаѕt оf Erfоud аnd hаѕ the highest and mоѕt ѕресtасulаr sand dunеѕ іn Morocco. This golden dunеѕ drаmаtісаllу 50m frоm the dеѕеrt floor. Thеу run іn a line аlmоѕt perfectly north/south tо thе vіllаgе оf Merzouga аnd beyond, аnd mаrk thе western fringe of the Sahara Dеѕеrt, dividing Morocco from Algеrіа.

Thе dunеѕ оf Erg Chіgаgа (Erg Chеgаgа) near M’hаmіd іѕ in thе ѕоuth оf Mоrоссо, оvеr the Atlаѕ Mountains аnd раѕѕ Zаgоrа. Erg Chіgаgа іѕ also раrt of thе Sahara dеѕеrt аnd mоrе dіffісult to gеt tо thаn Erg Chеbbі.

How to Stay Safe in Morocco during Real Morocco Tours

Morocco is a diverse country which is fantastic to explore. The bustling Medinas, beautiful ruins, picturesque streets, enchanting palaces and pristine beaches are just but a few attractions you get to see in Morocco. Life in Morocco is different from that in the west, and one must take general precaution during their stay in Morocco.

During the night, the Atlas Mountains get freezing. While hiking in the mountains wear warm clothes to protect yourself from the cold to avoid getting sick. Morocco is a malaria-free country; you do not need to worry about mosquito bites, but you can still take the usual precautions to stay safe. One is advised to have polio and tetanus vaccines to enter the country. For more safety, all other vaccines are recommended.

Bottled water is recommended for drinking while in Morocco. The Moroccan authorities are concerned with the pollution caused by the plastic from bottled water, and many restaurants have filtered water for visitors that are considered safe to drink. The restaurants have detailed information on the filtration method, and the water is usually free. To avoid dehydration, it is advisable to take two to three liters of fluid daily while in Morocco, especially when walking in the desert areas and the mountains.

Top 5 festivals in Morocco with Celebrations

Almond Blossom Festival: A traditional festival to celebrate during your tours of Morocco. The almond harvest takes place each year in February at which time the almond trees are in full bloom. It takes place within the almond producing town of Tafraoute, nestled amongst the Atlas Mountains and close to Agadir. The Almond Tree Festival is not only an important event for the local community but also one that attracts visitors from all over Morocco and the whole world as well. People come to marvel at the bloom displaying wonderful pink, white and red petals. The event is accompanied by singing, storytelling, dancing and selling of a wide range of products.

Festival of Roses: The village of El Kelaa M’Gouna, deep in the Dades Valley, is home to Moroccan rose festival. It is a magical event that takes place at the beginning of May every year. It is here where fragrant rose oil and rose water gets produced for the country, and the landscapes are a sea of pink Persian roses. The rose water is quite expensive and is used for its fragrance and in traditional cooking as well. A massive market (souk) is opened where various fascinating items get sold, musicians and dancers enliven up the festival. It is an attraction that carries a unique experience. During the festival, a Rose Queen gets crowned, who will reign over the successful harvest of fragrance.

Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival: It is a music festival based on the traditions of Gnawa music which has grown to include musicians from all over the world. The festival has been around for a decade, and its venue has been in a quaint town of Essaouira. Gnawa music combines acrobatic dancing as well as music. It originates from a mixture of Berber, African and Arabic songs, religious rites and dance. It is held annually in the summer, each May. It has nearly half a million musical pilgrims attending over a four-day duration.

Marrakech Popular Arts Festival: The festival attracts folk singers, dancers, fortune-tellers, acting troupes, snake charmers, fire swallowers and more, from all over Morocco. The major events take place in the ruins of the sixteenth century Badi Palace and the Djemma el Fna (main town center). It has taken place since 2000 and has attracted many artists and entertainers from Europe and Asia. The Fantasis, outside the city walls at night is an event not to be missed. A horse riding spectacle that includes hundreds of charging horsemen and women wearing traditional clothing. It gets held annually in the summers.

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music: The astonishing spiritual festival is held annually in Fes, Morocco. The festival allows you to bump into whirling dervishes from Iran as well as chanters, mystics, and dancers from all over the Globe. A festival in celebration of the local culture of Fes gets held simultaneously. The two festivals allow visitors to enjoy the traditional life in the old walled city. Meanwhile, visitors sip some mint tea, enjoy Sufi chanting and of course, a mouth-watering Moroccan dish.

All these can be part of your tours of Morocco just trust Anaam tours with logistics and planning and you will have a great story to tell when you get back home.