Our 3 week trip to Morocco started in Marrakech. I didn’t know what to expect from Marrakech, at all. But it was certainly not what I expected. I’m pleased to say it was better.
It was dark when we arrived in the densely packed walled Medina, and it’s true when they say that Marrakech will awaken every sense in your body. A little hint of ‘culture shock’ mixed with a little bit of chaos and the new sights and the new smells that immediately woke my mind up to remind me exactly why I love to travel.
Marrakech is also a city catered to the tourist, with luxury hotels and expensive restaurants a plenty, but we managed on a budget of $35/£27 a day per person, comfortably.
As always with my budget guides, this post will cover what we did, where we slept and what we ate during our 3 day trip to Marrakech and importantly, how much everything cost.
Please note: The below prices are in Moroccan Dirham (DH). At the time of writing, 10 DH is equal to approx $1/ £0.80.
Here is my budget travel guide to Marrakech…
1. What to do in Marrakech
The place to spend your evenings in Marrakech. The Jemaa el-Fnaa is the main square of Marrakech and it comes alive once the sun goes down. Grab a glass of fresh orange juice for 5DH and let the show begin. The square is packed with street food and a variety of performers; from acrobatics and traditional Berber music to men with monkeys and even hissing cobras. Choose a show, clap along. Tip, and they will play some more (and if you’re lucky, get dragged into the circle to dance like I did).
Shop in the Medina
Leather, scarfs, slippers, pottery, soaps, oils, jewellery, sports kit. You can find it here. Just be prepared to barter. We found the prices here quite high, so the only thing I purchased was a nice quality Pashmina scarf (60 DH) as it got really cold in Marrakech at night! Another thing to bear in mind, walk on the right as you walk through the Medina and watch out for scooters and donkeys. It can get pretty packed in there! Don’t engage in conversation with the guys trying to show you the way, unless you are happy to pay them if they show you!
The Koutoubia Mosque
Although entrance to this mosque is not permitted by non-Muslims, it is an impressive building to see and we felt it was well worth walking simply around the exterior and through the gardens.
Ben Youssef Madrasa
Located in the Medina, the entrance to this Madrasa costs 20DH and the architecture inside is really detailed and beautiful. The Ben Youssef Madrasa was previously an Islamic College, the building closed down in 1960 and it is now a historical site open to the public.
Musee de Marrakech
Close by to the Ben Youssef Madrasa is The museum of Marrakech. It was constructed at the end of the 19th century and we found the architecture inside to be really impressive. This is definitely a place to bring along your camera! The entrance isn’t that cheap (50DH) but we felt that it was well worth it and good value for how amazing it is inside.
Jardin de Majorelle
Located in the new town of Marrakech, over here is where you really feel the contrast to the old Medina. Get in the queue of tourists for the Majorelle Garden and once inside enjoy the colourful, peaceful and beautiful setting of the 12 acre botanical garden. The entrance costs 70DH per person, and that’s just for the garden! We felt the price is a little steep, but the garden is really nice and so picturesque, it is certainly not a place to be missed.
2. Where to sleep in Marrakech
We stayed in the lovely, quiet and traditional ‘Riad Dar Othmane‘. Our room was £17/ 20 Euro’s a night for a huge double room with private bathroom and the price included a lovely and filling breakfast which also came with Moroccan tea, coffee and orange juice! Overal, amazing value for money. The Riad was located about a 15 minute walk from the Jemaa el-Fnaa square and the main sights. Despite being a 15 minute walk away we actually really loved the location, the area was exciting to walk through and you experience the ‘real’ feel of Marrakech.
3. Where to eat in Marrakech
Lastly, where to eat? This was something I had actually researched prior to coming to Marrakech, as I had heard that it is quite difficult to find really good food for cheap. Eating out is not a big part of the culture for locals in Marrakech, so this has lead to a lot of the restaurants being catered for tourists and therefore, it is not cheap. We tried a selection of the restaurants, these are the ones we recommend:
Located near to the Jemaa el-Fnaa, this felt like more of a lunch time place, we ordered a panini (25DH) and omelette (20DH). There were a handful of cafes on this road that all seemed to serve food around the same price, they all looked nice and we noticed they were cheaper than the rest of restaurants near the square.
Cafe chez Zaza
Located in the Medina, look out for the sign or you’ll miss it, and head up the stairs to the rooftop. We ate dinner here one evening and watched the sun set over the square. We ordered grilled meat skewers (60DH) which came with salad and of course, olives and bread. Not a bad price in Marrakech for the setting!
We ate here on the first night because it was fairly near to our Riad and we were hungry and it was late. The food is good, but the cost is slightly higher than our usual price range. But if you’re looking for something to eat with a really nice rooftop setting, and don’t mind paying a slightly higher price, we do recommend this restaurant. I ordered the really yummy lamb burger (110DH).
Kech Burger (top choice!)
Located in the new town, this was our favourite restaurant in all of Marrakech. We ate here after visiting the Jardin de Majorelle because I had read amazing reviews of the restaurant online. How good can a burger be? Honestly it served the best burger I have ever had. The burgers were huge and amazing and also came with fries. The whole meal including a drink came to just 50DH. Note the price difference to that of the old town, we found the food to be loads cheaper (and definitely seemed better) over in the new town. Also note – I know burgers may not be very typically Moroccan, but after Marrakech we would be eating Tajine every day in the mountains and the desert!
So that is my budget travel guide to Marrakech, where we spent just £27/ $35 per day per person. Are you a budget traveller that has been to Marrakech? Did you find other great value things to do there? Share your thoughts or ask away in the comments below!