Three Days Visiting Marrakech | The Start of Our Holiday in Morocco


When planning a trip to Morocco, most people start their trips in Marrakech. In fact, a lot of people end up just visiting Marrakech for three days. With multiple flights to and from the city with budget airlines from so many places across Europe and the U.K., it’s easy to get to, making it a go-to destination in Morocco. Unfortunately, this mass tourism hasn’t had the best impact on Marrakech, and though we had read about the city, we didn’t really know what we were signing up for when booking a flight to Marrakech.

 

Marrakech, three days in Marrakech, leather shoes, arboursabroad
 

Here’s the thing, most of the time if people write reviews or share stories about a place, they like to share only the negative things – warning other tourists of the horrible things that can happen, or they share only the good – leaving people to be blind sighted by the “bad’. And, Marrakech is a prime example of that.

Everything you read is either horrific or fabulous, there’s nothing in between, so we really had no idea what to expect. Though after spending three days in Marrakech, we’ve learned that mass tourism hasn’t really helped develop the city into what it could be, and if you get stuck in the tourism, you won’t have a good time. Though if you can escape it, the city may just be enjoyable.

 


 

GETTING FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CITY, AND WHERE WE STAYED IN MARRAKECH


When we landed in Marrakech, we immediately changed just a small amount of money at the airport to be able to pay for the local bus into town. While taxis are fairly cheap, and the tourist bus into town even cheaper, we had read about a local bus into town that was pennies on the dollar our type of travel!

{Traveler’s Tip… Walk out of the Marrakech airport all the way to the main street. Take a left on the main street, then cross the road at the first cross walk. From there, walk just a few minutes down the road, to where you see a sign with a bus. This is the bus stop. Take BUS 11 straight into town (4 Dirhams). You’ll known when to get off when you stop right near the huge mosque.} 





Finding the bus wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be, as we really didn’t know exactly where to look. But we were determined to save a few extra bucks per person. So, we waited it out. After about five cabs stopped in front of us asking if we wanted a ride, we nearly gave up, as we begun walking away we saw the bus coming in the distance, and couldn’t be more relieved when it stopped for us!

{Traveler’s Tip… The bus stop is easy to find if you know what you’re looking for. Be sure to wait in the middle of the road – like not on the far right, but in the middle curb section. This will make more sense when you see it!}

Twenty minutes on the bus and we made it to the city center, and went straight to our hotel. It was pretty late, and we still weren’t too confident on how safe the area was, so we wanted to get our accommodation sorted straight away. A few people offered to walk us to the hotel, though knowing this was one of the many scams in Marrakech, we sternly told them no and just kept walking – in all reality we really were lost! hah.

READ MORE: 15 Scams in Marrakech to Avoid 

 

 

We waited till we found a few military men, and asked them for help. They pointed us in the right direction, and before we knew it we were cozied up in our room.

{Traveler’s Tip… After walking around the city for three days, we realized our hotel was in the best location because it was actually away from all the tourist places. Try and find a riad in the Northwest area of Marrakech, you’ll find that people around that area aren’t as aggressive and the prices at restaurants and street food are much cheaper!}

 

 

WANDERING THE SOUKS OF MARRAKECH


Walking around the next few days, we realized what everyone was talking about when warning us of the scams of Marrakech. In the neighborhood we were staying in, we really didn’t feel scammed very much, but as soon as we got closer to the main attractions of the city, people started going crazy!

 

 

Every time we had our camera out, even if we weren’t actually taking photos of specific things, but instead the city as a whole, or the square as a whole.. you know, just typical photos any traveler would take.. someone would run up to us asking for money for the photo we just took. Even if it was simply a photo of the two of us! It was crazy! But we had to just laugh it off.. as annoying as it was, we knew if we let that affect us, our time would be ruined.

{Traveler’s Tip… People are going to ask you for money for everything in the touristy areas! Simply taking a photo, or even looking at something could cost you. Don’t give into their pressure. This is what’s ruining Marrakech. Just simply, but sternly, say no I’m not paying, and keep walking.}

 





And man.. there’s so many “guides” in Marrakech… everyone wanted to show us the way to the Medina, and we were always “going the wrong way”. A few people got aggressive and shoved passed us after we turned down their directions, and we got told to f*** off more times than we would have liked, but we tried to ignore it the best we could and enjoy the business of the souks anyways. It’s one of those things that people trying to make a buck in the city are doing, though when you sit and talk to the less aggressive locals about it, they’re actually quite sad that’s what their city has become.

 


 
We found that if we were away from the touristy areas, we could simply ask if we could take photos of people’s spices or shops, and they would smile and let us! We quickly found out that we didn’t want to be spending time in the main touristy areas, and if we did it needed to be short and with a purpose, or else we would leave Marrakech with a sour taste in our mouths.

 

 

YOU CAN’T ESCAPE ALL THE TOURISM OF MARRAKECH | THE SAADIAN TOMBS


Though we had no real intent of visiting the touristy places of Marrakech, we wanted to visit the Saadian Tombs. They’re tombs in the city that were discovered in 1917, and with the beautiful tile mosaics decorating the tombs alongside the history, we thought it would be a great place to spend a few hours.

{Traveler’s Tip… To get into the Saadian Tombs, walk along the road side of the mosque until you see a small alleyway right next to the mosque with the dinkiest little sign stating “Saadian Tombs”. You’ll walk right into the ticket booth (10 Dirhams) and can wander around without a guide.}




 

When we got to the tombs, we were surprised at how small they were. We hadn’t seen more than just one photo of the place, and thought there would be some sort of explanation about the tombs, but all the explanation we got was from overhearing other people’s guides!

 


 

We walked around the tombs for a bit and sat to try and take in this place we knew nothing about before waiting in line to see the most intricate tomb of them all (that sounds like a Disney line!). The details of the tombs were stunning. Aside from the beautiful tile work, the carvings of the rooves, doorways, and walls were absolutely breathtaking! Now, if only we knew what we were looking at!? ha.

 






 

EATING IN MARRAKECH AND THAT MOROCCAN MINT TEA


With three days visiting Marrakech, we were really able to test all sorts of food!! However, not going to lie here, we were super stoked to try the Moroccan cuisine after reading all about tagines and couscous, but we found out that wasn’t really the local’s food. Walking down the streets we found the tourist stalls with English menus serving up loads of tagines, couscous, and kebabs, but all the small local shops and street food vendors weren’t serving those dishes. They were serving sandwiches, fried bread, and even burgers too!

{Traveler’s Tip… Eat the street food, and eat at the small sandwich shops too! Just be smart about it – if they are flies all over the food, pick a different place, but if not, sit and enjoy eating with the locals for 1-2 USD per meal!}

 





 

While we enjoyed grabbing fresh fruit, freshly made fried bread, and the like on the streets, after being told to f*** off a few too many times in one day, we decided to eat at one of the “touristy” restaurants to escape the crowd a bit. And man, it was perfect! Heather got a traditional chicken tagine, while Jay ordered the mixed kebab plate, and both were great! Though, the best part of the whole experience was that we had the entire top terrace to ourselves with a couch and traditional riad seating, and a cat that kept coming in and out! We guess eating at the touristy places has its perks!

{Traveler’s Tip… Eating at the touristy restaurants every night will kill a budget. But if you do choose to eat at one, find one away from Jeema El Fna and the other touristy places to save a bit of money on your meal!}

 



 

And we’ve gotta say… the mint tea did not let us down. It deserves all the rave! At most places anyways!! We drank more mint tea than we can remember, but we’re not sure what was more addicting.. the tea itself, or the sugar that goes into every pot!

{Traveler’s Tip… Mint tea should cost you 8-10 dirham (<1 USD) per pot. Every single place near the medina will charge double if not triple that, so stick to the outskirts with your tea drinking! And.. you should always get a pot with your tea to refill your cup! Mint tea is not traditionally served just in a glass, so if you see people without teapots, choose a different place to get your mint tea fix!}

 

 

The tea is traditionally served in a pot with just a small glass cup on the tray too. And what we found out is it’s a Moroccan green tea, mixed with mint, and a lot of sugar… like three large sugar cubes per pot!  But it’s to die for.. so we just ignored the sugar intake, and enjoyed as much as possible!

 






 

After three full days in Marrakech, we had our taste of the city and were ready to visit somewhere a bit less touristy and more remote. So we booked the earliest bus out or Marrakech to the Todra Gorge, a stop on the way to Merzouga, and ended up spending three amazing nights in the Todra Gorge surrounded by beautiful scenery and history, and eating the best food we had in all of Morocco!

Read More : Escaping the Tourism in the Todra Gorge (coming soon)

{Traveler’s Tip… If you have the time, stop at the Todra Gorge on your way to the Sahara Desert! Though there is some tourism in the area, it’s a really nice nature escape in Morocco! Tickets with CTM were 135 dirhams (13 USD) for the 7-8 hour journey.}

{Traveler’s Tip… When leaving Marrakech via bus, you can book with CTM or SupraTours. Both are great companies to travel with, though we like CTM because you can book your journey ahead online, and you can use your credit card to rack up travel points! Look for CTM tickets here.}

 


 

RECOMMENDED GEAR FOR MARRAKECH

Travel Bag:

We always travel with this backpack. It doesn’t really look like a backpacker’s bag, has so many compartments to store and hide your belongings, and the zippers can connect to each other making it difficult for someone to just unzip the bag while you’re walking around.

Keep Your Belongings Safe:

When visiting big cities, we recommend carrying your money and phone in something you know will keep it safe. With so many scam artists lurking around, it’s a nice piece of mind knowing you’re taking the extra precautions with what you carry around. This fanny pack and this purse both have lockable compartments, RFID protection, and slash-proof straps, meaning someone can’t just come by and rip them off you! We also recommend carrying a small padlock to lock your belongings up that you leave at the hostel, riad, or hotel.

Camera Set Up:

All photos in this post were taken with this camera using mainly this lens, and occasionally this one. You can check out a full list of our camera gear here.

Water Bottle:

It’s actually safe to drink the water in Marrakech, though you can buy water for extremely cheap prices if you buy the big bottles, and it tastes a bit better. Buying a big bottle and then refilling this water bottle each time you leave your accommodation will save you some cash! And the best part is, this bottle keeps liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 6 hours – so your water will stay cold all day, or you could fill it with hot Moroccan tea to go!

 


 

INTERESTED IN MORE OF MOROCCO?!

GET INSPIRED | Morocco Travel Tips

This page has all our Morocco posts. You can scroll through them all and click on the ones the tickle your fancy for more travel tips and stories!

READ MORE | The Todra Gorge, A Nature Escape Outside of Marrakech (coming soon)

This Gorge is a stop for many tours going between Marrakech and Merzouga, but if you spend a few days here, this place may quickly become your favorite part of Morocco!

READ MORE | Riding Camels in the Sahara Desert

A bucket-list item for many, read about our time riding camels, and what we recommend you do while visiting the Sahara Desert.

WATCH MORE | Our Morocco Playlist

Want to see our real life footage of our time in Morocco. This YouTube playlist is all our Moroccan videos in one spot!

 


 

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