Marrakech (Morocco) is said to be a shrine to shopping, a sensory overload, a serene landscape of beauty, a foodies heaven…ahhh, the list goes on. With that much information to take in and an ever growing list of recommended things to see and do, I thought I should attempt to pull some of it into one list.
♥ Gastro MK
Gastro MK is a luxurious restaurant housed in Maison MK. The Head Chef, Andrew West, trained under Gordon Ramsay at Claridges for three years, so I expect nothing but top notch food. It’s described as Moroccan food meets French modern cuisine and the five course menu will set you back approximately 650dhr per person (which is about £48 each). However, for me the main pull to visit this restaurant is the setting. Dining under the stars on the rooftop patio sounds positively dreamy.
♥ Quad Biking
It was reading The Travel Hack’s experience of quad biking in Marrakech that first put the idea into my head. Upon Googling it seems that there are loads of operators out there, with prices around £50/60 per person for a half day. The bikes are said to get up to about 80km, perfect for me as a self confessed speed demon. The blue skied sand dunes don’t look too shabby as backdrops either.
So I have learnt that the Medina is a World Heritage Site (it was listed in 1985) and is basically a big area that is surrounded by ancient walls and various impressive buildings and gardens. Narrow alleys from the Medina lead to Souks, which are markets. Apparently it can be a bit of a maze, which although I guess might sound scary to some, it is quite appealing to me – I’m looking forward to getting lost and picking up some stunning homewares and spices along the way. If you feel like you might need a guide, Viator offer that option.
♥ The Atlas Mountains
It is said that clouds only appear on 60 days a year up here and that the landscape is a polar opposite to that of busy Marrakech, with massive areas devoid of life. Far west, stands the Valley of Roses, producing 4,000 tons of petals a year (if you’re visiting in May, look out for the Rose Festival). I quite fancy climbing the winding roads up and experiencing the best of nature. With around ten summits and countless opportunities for trekking, riding and skiing, it certainly sounds perfect for fitness lovers.
At least three people have proclaimed this area as a ‘must see’. It is described as an easy going seaside town, perfect for kite surfing (due to the ‘alizee’ – that’s wind to me and you) and a bit of a mooch. I could be quite easily tempted to stray from Marrakech for the day; it is only a 2hour 20minute drive. I like the idea of snapping the white-washed houses and tiny boats, I’m sure it would make a change to the bustle of Marrakech. You can read a great interview here; in particular his recommendation to Ginger Café seems worth a try. The beach resort of Mogador is located only three kilometres away from the town of Essaouira, and it looks stunning; four kilometres of untapped wild beach. Yes, please.
No, I didn’t know what this word meant either – I just knew it related to spa activities. I now know it is like a Turkish Bath and a cultural part of Morocco. You change into your swimwear and lay face down in a dark, humid room. The attendant then proceeds to cover you with water, minerals, scrubs and such like in various stages. I’m assured it is an indulgent, relaxing experience (provided you choose a decent hammam). You can also add on extras such as massages and facials. Le Bains De Marrakech is said to use natural products and looks hugely exotic. Heritage Spa also appears to be very popular. Bring on the pampering.
♥ Djemaa El-Fna
Apparently this is THE place to people watch. It is recommended that you grab a front row or balcony seat to get the best views. I’m talking snake charmers, astrologers, healers, henna tattooists, belly dancers, acrobats, Gnaoua drummers….I think you get the idea. This sounds like a great low-cost way to enjoy Marrakech.
I’m so excited for my trip in December and can’t wait to see as much as possible. My list has only just scratched the surface. Do you have anything to add? Any recommendations?