Guest post by thadeus_d3
We visited Morocco in March 2018. During our trip, we stayed in Marrakesh and the oceanside city of Essaouira. Marrakesh is a beautiful city. New town is reminiscent of a smaller Dubai, complete with gorgeous malls, ornate buildings and casinos. The Medina (old town) is comprised of several tight alleys that are impossible to navigate. Even with GPS and internet, you will manage to get lost.
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Arrival in Marrakesh
We arrived at night, so we had to walk through Jemaa el-Fna on the way to our Riad. This was complete sensory overload. The square was packed with entertainers, snake charmers, monkeys and food stalls. I immediately knew that we’d have a great time in the medina.
Day 2: Marrakesh
- Musée de Marrakech
- Almoravid Koubba
- Ben Youssef Mosque
- Koutoubia Mosque
- Jemaa el-Fna
We started our morning at Musee de Marrakech. I asked the ticketing office about the combined ticket, which includes entrance to the Museum, Almoravid Koubba & Ben Yousef Medrassa. Unfortunately, Almoravid Koubba and Ben Yousef Medrassa were closed for 2 years for renovations. We decided to do a bit of shopping before grabbing lunch at Roti D’or. This was the first of many meals here. The food was delicious, portions were huge and the prices were low (<$4 per meal). After lunch, we went to Koutoubia Mosque, which is probably the most famous landmark in the city. We rested at the nearby park for a while before heading back to Jemaa el-Fna for dinner. I’d read that stall #98 had the best seafood in the square and it did not disappoint. The price was 100 Moroccan dirhams per KG of seafood (~$10USD for 2.2lbs).
Day 3: Marrakesh
- Palace of the Bahia
- Saadien’s Tombs
- Bab Agnaou
- Royal Palace
- Koutoubia Mosque
Palace of the Bahia was our first stop. Entrance was 10 dirhams (~$1) and I suggest arriving early before the tour groups. The palace was gorgeous. It’s covered in Moroccan tile and featured several courtyards with fountains. This is what you imagine when you picture Moroccan decor.
Afterwards, we walked to Tombeaux Saadiens. Again the entrance was 10 dirhams. The mausoleum contains the tombs of sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty, which ruled from 1549 to 1659. The decor was similar to the Palace of the Bahia, but the grounds were much smaller.
Afterwards, we headed towards Bab Agnaou, one of the 19 gates along the walls of Marrakesh, before walking to the Royal Palace of Marrakech. The Royal Palace was closed, so we decided to walk around Mellah, the Jewish District. We shopped around a bit and walked in the direction of Koutoubia Mosque. We arrived during the call to prayer. What an experience!
Day 4: Shopping at Souk des Teinturiers
Our last full day was all about shopping at their “flea market.” My mother and wife wanted to buy Moroccan plates, tajines and lanterns. The kids wanted shoes. My father and I wanted handmade leather bags, since Marrakesh is known for it’s tanneries and leather. We managed to find them all. Haggling is a must.
Day 5: Getting to Essaouira
We took a Supratours bus from Marrakesh to Essaouira. It’s advisable to purchase the tickets a few days in advance. Comfort plus seats were around $11 and regular seats were $8. We had comfort seats going there and regular seats on the return. There isn’t much difference between the two classes. Comfort has a 1×2 seating configuration and regular is a 2×2 seating configuration. The trip takes ~3 hours with a 15 minute break midway. Right when we arrived it started to rain hard. It rained all day, so we didn’t venture out.
Day 6: Essaouira
- City Walls
- Moulay Hassan Square
- Sqala du Port d’Essaouira
- Port d’Essaouira
- Essaouira Beach
We started the day walking along the old town walls. The walls offer great views of the Atlantic ocean and port D’Essaouira. We walked along the walls until we reached Essaouira square. There were shops and tons of restaurants in the square. It’s also the only place in the medina where you can find an ATM.
We continued to the Sqala du Port D’Essaouira, while my parents rested their legs in the square. In the port, you’ll find the picturesque blue boats of Essaouira. We paid 20 dirhams each to go inside the Sqala and it was well worth it. From there, you can see all of the walled city and the beaches of Essaouira. After taking a ton of pictures, we made the short walk to Essaouira beach. The picturesque beach stretches for miles. If you walk westward, you’ll find camels and horses. There’s also quite a few restaurants that serve delicious seafood along the beach.
Essaouira was very relaxed compared to Marrakesh. It was the highlight of the trip and I wish I would’ve booked an extra day there since it rained on our first day.