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Summer travels: Marrakech

Dutch rainstorms and gloomy days made us feel like we really had to get out of the country for a welcome warm break from ordinary life. We had two demands for our trip, first of all it obviously had to be sunny and second we wanted to go somewhere we had never been before. A nice extra would be if we didn’t have to travel too far. And so we literally landed in Marrakech. Prior to the trip we received some mixed messages from friends who had been there before. Both lovingly and some telling us the harassment by the street vendors was simply too much for them. But we decided not to let that hold us back and emerge ourselves in this magical Red City without any prejudices. And gosh we couldn’t have made a better decision. That’s why I want to share with you our tips and tricks of how to see Marrakech in the way we think it’s meant to be. There are some things to be considered. If you just want to go on a quick lively citytrip, where you can have great food and even better shopping, then staying at one of the beautiful Riads inside the Medina for 3-4 nights is perfect. We however, also wanted to relax a little and thus made the decision to first stay in the hustle and bustle of the Medina for 3 nights and then go outside of Marrakech into the Palmeraie for 4 nights. To be able to both get back to the city for the great restaurants but also lay on a sun bed with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Next my one and only tip is to stay away from the big square Djemaa El Fna in the evening. Every travel book and blog will probably tell you to go there to behold the belly dancers, gaze at the animals and shop at the street vendors. But I personally think it’s the most touristy experience you can get in Marrakech. Beside that they’ll be sitting there with snakes on the street and monkeys chained to their neck, which I find appalling and definitely not something I would want encourage. I can imagine that after reading the above you’re thinking, okay so do you have any reasons we actually should go? Well yes, I have! Seriously every city has its pros and cons and as you know how to deal with the cons you’ll be able to enjoy all the pros to the fullest. For me the city felt like something I’ve never felt before. The Marrakshi are so nice and friendly, the Riads are a little piece of heaven inside the busyness of the Medina. There are numerous beautiful green parks and even more delicious and modern looking restaurants that serve outstanding Moroccan cuisine. Inside the Medina we stayed at Bliss Riad which was beautiful, serves amazing breakfast and is located at what we think is one of the best spots of the city right next to the beautiful Le Jardin Secret (which also is worth a visit!).
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The souks offer you lots of handmade Moroccan crafts that will have you going home with an extra suitcase, we assure you! Make sure to ask someone at the Riad or hotel what is a fair price for a certain product, so you won’t be completely ripped off at the souks. Bargaining is always part of the process, so be ready for it and decide before hand what the maximum amount of money is that you would be okay with spending.
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As I mentioned before, Le Jardin Secret is definitely worth a visit. You wouldn’t expect this quiet and serene piece of nature behind the city walls as you walk along the souks. But once you’re inside you’ll believe it. Take place at one of the park benches or chairs and soak up the beauty of this Moroccan garden.
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Unfortunately some well known sights were under construction while we were in Marrakech, but Bahia Palace wasn’t, so we went there for some true Moroccan architecture and beautiful tiling. I didn’t grasp the size of this building when standing in front of it, but once inside you keep moving from one room to another.
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On our second to last day we decided to go on a trip to the Atlas Mountains which was absolutely astonishing. The climb up the rocks was equally fun as daring, but totally worth the view over the long waterfall. And don’t skip the trashy touristy restaurants along the river when you come back from the waterfall. The Moroccans also come here for holidays and the food is great!
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If you want to know more about all the delicious food and great restaurants, keep an eye out. We’ll be sharing our favourite restaurants and cafes in Marrakech on the blog soon!