I’d frequently commented in the past about not understanding why people visit the same resort year after year, swearing I’d never be that person (and when you work in travel you are somewhat spoiled for choice!). However, this year I’m breaking all my rules and heading back on another trip to Marrakech.
My first trip there this year was with my mum, who since turning 50 has been on a mission to tick off her travel bucket list – I’m definitely reaping the benefits! Later this year I’ll be heading back with my other half and I can’t wait to be back. We needed to take our holiday in late September, so the lure of warm weather within a reasonable flight time and at an affordable price was too much to say no to!
Next time around I’ll be able to pretend I’m a pro to the boyfriend and show off all of the things I fell in love with when I was there last. My highlight was the Jardin Majorelle; I’ll be able to navigate my way through the foliage to the shrine to Yves Saint Laurent in no time.
I’ll admit that before visiting with my mum I was a bit nervous about making our way around the city, and had heard mixed views on the experience of the souks and the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. However, reading up before the trip definitely made me feel more at ease. So as a tried and tested Marrakech goer, here are my top tips for visiting the iconic Red City.
Top Tips for Marrakech breaks:
1. When shopping in the souks, if you spot something you think you like, try and only look at it out the corner of your eye unless you’re committed to buying. If the sellers think you’re interested in a product they will hound you until you’ve bought.
2. If you do spot something, haggling is expected so be prepared to barter! A good idea is to work out how much you’d be happy to pay for the item in an English shop, then convert it into Dirhams to work out how much to offer.
3. Don’t be persuaded by taxi drivers! If you’re travelling with a map and ask to be taken to somewhere specific, for example the New Town (Gueliz), don’t trust them when they tell you certain places aren’t open until a certain time. My mum and I were fleeced and ended up being taken to somewhere else completely different. I later googled and found out he was fibbing!
4. To navigate your way around the city look up; the Koutoubia Mosque is the tallest building in the city and located at the base of the main square.
5. If you’re being pestered by rogue sellers or children in the square, if they’re still bothering you after you’ve said ‘No thank you’, try declining in Arabic. Say ‘la shukran’ and they’ll know you mean business!
6. In the main square, look from a distance at the entertainers and animal trainers unless you want to pay. If you are determined to get a memorable snap, pay a small fee in advance then you can snap away hassle-free.
7. If you got lost in the souks, ask for directions from a shop keeper rather than a passer-by as they can’t leave their stall so won’t be able to charge you after offering to walk you to your destination.
I’m sure I’ll be back with more top tips after my next trip! What are your handy hints for a city break in Marrakech?