So some probably already know that I’ve just gotten back from Morocco (maybe because I haven’t stopped talking about it), and it was fab! Considering that it was so cheap, there was SO much to do. Initially we looked up on lowcostholidays to see what the deals were because we were DYING for a holiday! We went to Paris just in January and it was amazing but we needed some sun and we were both pasty as fuck and it was freezing in France.
We looked at a few places like Greece and Gran Canaria and then we stumbled upon Morocco and we said we’d have a look at the price of it for the laugh (we assumed it’d be v expensive) but surprisingly enough it actually wasn’t at all. In total we paid about €1,200 between us, including a 4 star Riad, direct flights, check on bags and airport transport.
Lets start with the Riad, holy shit. The Riad we stayed in was called Riad Flam, if you’re ever planning a trip to Marrakech I’d definitely recommend staying there. It was quite late when we arrived to our Riad and it was obviously dark so we were both a bit nervous driving up through the alleyways and streets of Marrakech. At night is when the city comes alive with stalls and market pop ups selling spices and leather and banging drums are literally everywhere, not a place for a headache lol. Anyway, when we arrived the taxi driver drove us up this rocky ruin of a building which was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced but don’t be intimidated by the streets because everywhere looks like you’re about to be dragged into a corner and kidnapped. The Riad was honestly like a fab little Moroccan oasis and we felt so safe when we arrived.
As I said, all the streets and alleyways are very intimidating so it’ll take a while to get used to the feeling of being stared at, called into shops and dodging motor bikes all day but whatever you do just enjoy it and soak in the culture – the locals are gas craic once they know you’re Irish but don’t let them fool you they’re mainly only being nice to you for your money.
I always say that if you’re a very claustrophobic person that you probably won’t enjoy the weather in August in Marrakech, the heat is very intense. We went from the 7th-14th and I don’t think I craved the fresh Dublin air more than I did in that week, it varied from about 34-47 degrees the week we were there during the day and it was clammy thick air. It was about 28 in the nighttime so beware if you’re travelling during that month.
The day after we arrived we took a walk down to the main market Jemaa El-Fnaa which was very quiet during the day, but as I said it comes to life during the night. BEWARE of some locals asking you do you want directions/if you are lost, say NO! We got roped into a lovely little sweet old Moroccan man chatting away to us for ages telling us that the mosque was closed (we wanted to go visit it) and he told us that he’d bring us to see the ”nicer side of the city”. It was all a fucking lie he just wanted to give us a tour of the city and charge us god knows what at the end.
After following him for about 20 minutes debating whether to bail or continue on we ended up getting out of the situation and sneaking away from him.
The markets are fab! It’s literally like 1,000 things going on at the one moment, so hectic. We didn’t bother going deep into the market because it was a bit too crazy for us so we gave that a miss. We walked around the border of it and I almost stood on a snake so I died with shock. Be very mindful of the men and women trying to throw monkeys at you and draw henna on your arms. Just tell them you’re allergic to the animals/henna or whatever they try to force upon you, it always works. For the whole week I was ”allergic” to everything lol
You’ll find yourself in so many random shops and being persuaded into buying the stupidest souvenirs just because they almost pressure you into buying them. Don’t be fooled! They’ll give you a ridiculous price to start off with and you must ALWAYS haggle down. At one stage we found ourselves haggling taxi’s down they’re that desperate for money. Always tell them a ridiculous price first and trick them into thinking they’re getting a good deal. For example, if you see a pair of runners that you’d pay €15 for but he wants €30, tell him you’ll give him €5, laugh at his price and go to walk away. He’ll eventually haggle you up to your willing paying price and then he’ll feel like he’s gotten a good deal out of you when really you wanted to pay €15 in the first place!
Be careful of the quality of the gifts you’re buying. I bought my Mam two candle holders and they turned out to be made of wax. Fucking WAX! CANDLE HOLDERS!
When you’re exploring through the streets you’ll be sure to come across plenty of tour planners. We found a small place ran by Anyas Travel, they seem to have little offices placed in dodgy lanes around the city but they were legit enough, and SO cheap! For a full day out to the Cascades D’Ouzoud (a faaab waterfall in the middle of Morocco) it was only €30 (€10 deposit up front) and they collect you straight from your hotel/riad. We also did a bit of camel riding up to the Atlas Mountains which was also v good! It was the same price as the waterfall trip.
Cascades D’Oouzoud was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, so breathtaking. It’s like a little getaway paradise, 1000% recommend doing it. Despite a 3 hour bus journey its so worth it, the bus had air conditioning and the views on the way are lovely plus you get to stop off in the middle of the desert to a little shop which reminded me of the Prada Marfa. You get to feed the monkeys when you’re there and to jump off a mini waterfall at the end of the stream, its great craic.
The food was quite hit and miss depending on where you go. We found a gorge little restaurant called Portofino right facing the mosque at Jemaa El-Fnaa. Although it STANK of olives (we hate olives) the food made up for it. The price was great also, you’d get a full meal for two including drinks for less than €20. The excursions usually include lunch which is generally skewers and fruit, not enough to fill a gap in your fingernail 😂 The only thing we got sick from was the ice, obviously me and Robert being the alcoholics that we are we love a bit of ice with our drinks so we got super sick from that 😔
Speaking of finding fab places to go, we found this little gem called Kozybar. It was about 10/15 minute walk from Jemaa El-Fnaa and it was the most relaxing thing about the whole trip for me. There was a rooftop terrace with huge sofas and cushions so we took our shoes off and kicked our feet up and enjoyed the surroundings. The drinks were no cheaper than they are at home (€6 a bottle) but the atmosphere and the view is just to die for. The sun usually sets at about 8:30pm so we were there for it both nights we went and it was breathtaking. Definitely recommend!
Overall, I had an absolute blast in Marrakech. It was such a beautiful and cultural place that you have to do at least once in a lifetime. If you’re planning a trip to Morocco don’t hesitate to ask some more questions by tweeting me @itsrycollins 🙂