So now that you’ve heard about my trip to Morocco, I hope you’d like to go and experience it for yourself! Here are my 10 recommendations of things to do in Morocco.
1. Shop in the Souks
The souks are the markets in Marrakech. They can be hectic and overwhelming but you will find great deals there. Prices are not set in stone in the souks – you have to bargain for everything. Never accept the first price you’re given. Shop owners will often give you mint tea while you browse their goods. There are shoe souks, spice souks, leather souks and more. I got a great deal on a hand stitched leather bag – the starting price was 800 dirhams and I got it for 200 dirhams.
Tip: If you’re easily overwhelmed, visit the souks early in the day or Friday mornings. The souks are less crowded and you can often get a “first customer of the day” discount.
2. Get a hammam
As I blogged about here, a hammam is a great experience, unique to Turkey and Morocco. Decide whether you want the local experience or the spa experience. Some spa places allow co-ed hammams if you are traveling with a significant other.
Tip: Check TripAdvisor for reviews of good hammams.
3. Go to the Sahara Desert
As I also blogged about here, the Sahara is a beautiful, majestic and breathtaking place. There are few places that you can travel to where you’ll be this close to the Sahara. Take advantage and go for it.
Tip: Find a reputable tour company to go with. There are several on TripAdvisor. A Sahara trip from Marrakech can only be done in at least 3 days and 2 nights, so plan accordingly.
Tip: If you go to the Sahara, bring gloves and a hat – it gets cold at night, even in the summer!
4. Ride a camel
Riding a camel is different from riding a horse – and there are tons of camels in Morocco. You don’t even have to go to the Sahara to ride one. In Marrakech there were several areas on the side of the road where camels were parked for tourists looking for a quick jaunt on a camel.
5. Visit Djemaa El Fna
The “Big Square” is where it’s at in Marrakech. There are snake charmers, henna ladies, fresh orange juice, food stalls, merchants and more. It’s another place that can be overwhelming, but it’s a must see.
Tip: If you want to see the action without being a part of the action, head to Cafe Glacier or Cafe de France in the square. You can see the action from the rooftops while enjoying lunch or dinner.
6. Visit the Atlas Mountains
High up in the Atlas Mountains you can see beautiful views of Morocco. You can see Berber villages, visit the Gorges and shop at many roadside markets. It’s nice break from the action of Marrakech.
Tip: Take motion sickness medicine if you’re sensitive to carsickness. There is one road in and out of the mountains and it’s very winding.
7. See the Marjorelle Gardens
I didn’t get the chance to visit the Marjorelle Gardens, but I’m sad I missed out. Spend 1-2 hours in the gardens exploring the fountains, ponds and flowers of the Garden, designed by French painter Jacques Marjorelle.
8. Take a cooking class
Another thing I didn’t get the chance to do. Although I was not wild about the food in Morocco, I hear that a cooking class can change the way you look Moroccan food. Take a cooking class while there and come back to the States and throw a great dinner party for your friends! There are tons of places that offer classes and your riad may even do one for you.
9. Learn about spices/herbal remedies
During my tour of the Medina, my sister and I had the chance to visit an herbal remedy shop. There are many Berber remedies that involve spices that may be in your own cabinet! For instance, did you know that black cumin seeds can be rubbed together in a pouch under your nose to help clear your sinuses? Learn even more by stepping into a shop and getting a presentation from the herbalist.
10. Visit a city other than Marrakech
Marrakech is a great and vibrant city in Morocco, but there are other cities I wish I had the chance to see. Casablanca, made popular by the movie Casablanca, is a popular city to visit and easy to get to by train. Fes is another popular city to visit in Morocco. Tangier is a coastal city of Morocco – if you long for beaches and to see the ocean, be sure to swing by there as well.
+ Stay in a riad in the Medina to get the full experience of life in Marrakech.
+ Bring earplugs if you think the early morning adhan will disrupt your sleep.
+ Wear shoes in the Medina that you won’t mind getting dirty – everything is poured into the streets and you have NO idea what you’re stepping in.
+ Carry hand sanitizer, wipes and a small roll of toilet paper. There’s not always soap and toilet paper available.
+ If you’re a woman and think you’ll be in a place with this type of toilet (or in the Sahara), buy one of these. Trust me.
+ Take oregano oil with you and put two drops under your tongue everyday that you’re there. Oregano oil helps to protect against intestinal issues, which you could have due to dirty glasses, eating lettuce washed in faucet water or just sensitive stomach issues.
+ Don’t go to a hammam with a fresh hairdo. I know I said it before, but it’s worth repeating!
+ Learn and use the phrase “la shukran” which means “no thank you” in Arabic. It comes in handy in the souks with aggressive merchants.
+ Only visit the tanneries if you have a strong stomach!
+ Have lots of small amounts of dirhams for tipping – everyone wants a tip!
+ Wear only loose-fitting clothes and stay pretty covered up in Morocco – some areas are more liberal than others, but you never want to attract unwanted attention.