In this edition of There’s A Place In… Savi and Vid take us on a stroll of the beautiful streets of Marrakech. Savi and Vid have visited 37 countries together and run an offbeat travel and fashion blog at Bruised Passports. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
What drew you to Marrakech as a travel destination?
We visited Marrakech in February. Morocco’s warm weather and exotic souks drove us there. On getting there, we realised that Marrakech is an assault to the senses like no other place in the world.
There are tanneries on pavements, street artists in every corner, and vegetable vendors popping out of alleys. This makes it overwhelming for a lot of people, but we loved it. The place is full of energy- it’s all consuming, rich, and fruitful.
Describe your perfect day in this city.
We think a perfect day in the city would have to be spent at the Djema El Fnaa (the central square) – it is not a large area, but one needs time to absorb the energy that makes the city special.
We would spend the morning familiarising ourselves with gypsies, snake-charmers, wandering minstrels, magicians, folk-singers and ventriloquists that populate the square. We would have lunch at a street-side cafe facing the Djema El Fnaa and watch people go about their lives.
Next we would spend a leisurely afternoon strolling in the never-ending souks, chatting with the locals, visiting a tannery (not for the squeamish), and learning about exotic spices. The perfect evening would have to be spent in a terrace cafe at the Djema El Fnaa, sipping on Moroccan mint tea, or a local drink, inhaling the aroma wafting from the food market below.
What local foods can you recommend?
Food is definitely the highlight of a trip to Marrakech – it’s cheap, cheerful, and very tasty. On our first night there, we were offered snails, sheep’s head, and fried aubergines in the same breath.
We would recommend having a glass (or ten) of the orange juice from the carts lining Djema El Fnaa, a variety of tagine-based dishes at cafes dotting Marrakech, and tapas-style Moroccan food at the night market in Djema-El-Fnaa. If you’re craving something sweet, try Moroccan dates- they are scrumptious.
Tell us about the souks!
The labyrinthine souks of Marrakech were unlike anything we had ever seen before. They are the perfect amalgam of colour, energy, and vibrance. There’s nothing that isn’t sold here- perfumes, spices, bags, clothes, baskets, shawls, carpets, shoes, even safety pins.
It is easy to spent hours sauntering in the bamboo-covered souks- you are bound to get lost, but that is the fun of it. Shopkeepers occasionally pester tourists, but it is nothing a firm no can’t tackle. Our favourite was the potters’ souk- it is crammed full of brightly-coloured pots, pans, and tagines. If you’re a photographer this is the place for you.
Are there any side trips we can do?
If you visit Marrakech during summer months, then a day trip to the Atlas mountains provides a perfect reprieve from the heat. For the culturally inclined, the fortified city of Essaouira is 2.5 hours away by bus. It is also possible to do a desert safari in the Sahara if you have 2-3 days to spare. Don’t book your side trips in advance – get to Marrakech, find a travel agency, and bargain (it is the norm) to get the cheapest deal.
Lastly, what makes Marrakech stand out from other places you’ve travelled to?
Everything about Marrakech – old city walls, riads, crumbling palaces, noisy souks, skilled artisans – is unique. The ambience lends it a distinct character, which is different from both Asian and European capitals. Moroccan people are warm, and the food is amazing. This mélange makes Marrakech stand out from other places we’ve travelled to.
A big thank you to Savi and Vid for sharing their photos and experiences!
Happy to read a positive review of Marrakech. A lot of what I’ve read lately has been people overwhelmed/annoyed at the souks. Looks like a fabulous place!
Thanks Audrey for the post !
Jill: one does require a higher level of patience in Marrakech than in Europe, but that’s the charm of the place. We were apprehensive after reading mixed reviews too but wanted to test the waters ourselves. Glad we did. It was an exhilarating experience. Watching the sunset and the commotion down below in the square from a roof-top cafe in Djemaa El Fna was priceless. You should totally go! Let us know if you need more details 🙂
It’s almost like the heritage of things like the Silk Road still exist in certain places, especially in areas of heavy trade way back in old times, where those traditions of marketplaces that sell everything and have endless haggling have simply continued for thousands of years. There aren’t that many places in the world that exist quite like this on a regular basis without being just a weekend festival type of thing.
You are right OCDemon ! The only other place I can think of that matches this is India 🙂 (at least from our experience) – we have grown up to like haggling 😉
So interesting, so different! I would love to see Marrakech! I would have definitely tried all that food on offer 🙂
Rest assured, we had ALL the food on offer (including sheep head :)) and came back with a lot of holiday weight. You must go !
Sounds like a review from happy travelers 🙂 Thanks for the tips. Hope to get there soon. Beautiful photos.
Thanks memographer. We are the happiest when travelling – elated to see that it shines throw in our posts 🙂
I honestly can’t wait to go there. The fact that the food is cheap, cheerful, and very tasty makes me wanna go there right now! It’s been always such a different place, so colorful and vivid to me.
It is an assault to the senses, but a good one (at least for us:)). One thing that will always be a winner in Marrakech is the food – there is something for everyone. We’ll be penning a 4 part series on Marrakech on Bruised Passports soon, so watch out that space!
Wow, Marrakech was never on my list of future travel destinations, but it is now! The colors alone make me want to experience it all for myself- and the description of the vibrancy of the souks, seals the deal!
The photos are beautiful. Great post!
It is definitely one of the most vibrant places we have been to, Camille ! There is so much character to this crazy yet charming city – you have to be there to believe it 🙂 Glad you liked the post and the photos. Cheers
Thanks for the post! Reading it brings back good memories. Since I was traveling on a budget, I ate quite a few dinners at Djema El Fnaa. Highlights for me were eating bastilla, something I had never tried, and drinking cinnamon tea while snacking on some cake with locals.
Thanks Thomas. We loved the bastilla, but tagine was our favourite :). I completely agree with you about hanging out with the locals – they are so friendly and warm.
I’ve always wanted to go here!
It’s never too late. Pack your bags (and patience ;)) and head off to Marrakech 🙂
Pack your bags (and lots of patience) and head to Marrakech – you won’t be disappointed 🙂
Let us know if you’d like more info about Marrakech
Morocco was already high on our list. Thanks for making it higher. 🙂
It’s a totally different experience. You two will love it, what with the new job for Q at company C 😉
sheep’s head? no thank you
I’ll be honest – I didn’t mind it that much, but probably wouldn’t have it again 😉 Savi hated it! It did help that really sweet orange juice was easily accessible 😉
Great post. Marrakech has always been on the list to get to. After this post it might have bumped up a couple of spots!
One of the top five destinations still to visit for me, and the cheapest one to get to from Italy where I live. Morocco is so vivid in my mind, I know I would really like it there!
I loved reading about your experience in Morocco! “An assault to the senses” is Marrakech to a T. As crazy as some thought I was, I actually lived in Morocco for two years and loved every single day of it! Thanks for bringing me back to much-loved memories of my past.
I’m so glad you liked Marrakech. I wish you could come back here and visit even more fascinating cities like Chefchaouen, Imlil, and Merzouga…
Wow looks like I have to visit Morocco soon. Absolutely delighted by the lovely pictures of local food and market. You have guided very well in a comprehensive way. Although, the sheep’s head felt scary to me 😛
Thank you for this post. I have to say your pictures are fantastic! I love the colors. I’m glad you liked your trip. Marocco is truly a special place. Greetings 🙂