Last month, less than a week before President’s Day Weekend, I found a super cheap round trip flight on Ryanair using Google Flights from Seville to Marrakech. My husband was away for work and I had some free time on my hands, so I figured why not?? Let me tell you now, though. I love a great deal on a budget airline. But Ryanair? Horrible. I will never fly them again if I can help it.
I live in Rota, Spain, so Seville Airport was about an hour and a half drive away. I parked my car at Braco Parking, which is about 5 minutes outside of the airport. Parking rates are much cheaper than at the airport, and they will drive you to and from the terminal. For an additional fee, they will also wash and vacuum your car for you! Excellent service.
I stayed in the medina, at Riad Golfame. It was super cute, well decorated, and Khaled, keeper of the Riad, was super nice and helpful. He noticed that I was traveling alone and arriving really late at night, so he emailed me a few days prior to my arrival to offer to arrange my transportation to and from the airport, and to meet me at the drop off point. I didn’t really understand why they insisted on meeting me out, but it became really apparent once I got there. The streets in the heart of the medina are really narrow, so cars can’t go past a certain point. The streets are very mazelike, so if you don’t know where you’re going and you’re traveling alone, finding your Riad can be difficult, especially at night. Khaled or another member of the staff always seemed to be waiting to see if I needed anything; tea, food, recommendations, anything. Nothing I asked for was ever too much.
Whenever I left the Riad, Khaled would walk with me out to the main street, and if I went out into the medina at night, he would walk me to and from wherever I went to visit. As a solo female traveler, this was very much appreciated. For the most part, I found people in Marrakech to be very friendly and honest, with most even offering a cup of tea or two, if you spared a few minutes to chat. However, there were times, specifically once the sun started to set, when I noticed that the men were starting to leer, which I suppose is why the staff at my Riad insisted upon walking me to and from my Riad at night, especially since the walk involved several dark, alley-like streets once you got off the main roads. Some words of advice if traveling alone in the medina:
- Try to get a male member of the staff at your Riad to walk you until you get to well populated areas. At night, see if they can walk you all the way to your destination.
- Cover up! I’ve heard some women say they were just fine in their tank tops and shorts, but its been my experience that people are generally warmer and more respectful when you’re covered. Just try to have your knees and shoulders covered.
- Don’t ask random people on the street for directions, and don’t accept anyone’s offer to walk with you to your destination. They’ll often walk with you to your destination and then demand money from you.
- Don’t accept “gifts” from anyone, even if they claim they’re just letting you try it. Henna artists will grab your hand, just to show you something “real quick”, and then ask for money. Same with shop owners who may offer you a small trinket as a gift, and then demand money from you. Don’t take anything from anyone unless you have paid for it.
- Speaking of taking things you’ve paid for, you should haggle for almost everything. The staff at my Riad suggested that I start negotiations at about half of what the market owners offer you for anything. This seemed to work pretty well for me.
The souks of Marrakech are the largest in all of Morocco, and will have you occupied for hours. It is an endless maze of alleyways, filled with people, motorbikes, and stray cats. This is where you can go to buy everything from carpets, lanterns, spices, beauty products, clothes, and accessories. Like I mentioned earlier, you should haggle for everything you’re interested in, even if you have to threaten to walk out. Bargaining is a fine art in these souks. The Moroccan people are very hospitable though, and will often offer you a cup or two of tea before you go on your way.
Jemaa el-Fnaa Square
Once you make it through the souks, you’ll probably find yourself walking out into Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. It is the main square in Marrakech. There you will find snake charmers, story tellers, street performers, juice stalls and more random goods being sold. Enjoy the atmosphere, but keep an eye on your belongings. The square can get very crowded and busy, and pickpockets will be waiting for their chance!
La Jardin Majorelle
La Jardin Majorelle is a beautiful garden and one of the most visited sites in Marrakech. It was created by artist Jacques Majorelle over the course of 40 years, starting in 1923. He lived there with his wife until their divorce in 1950. 30 years, later, the property was purchased by designers Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who restored it. The villa now houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, the Berber Museum and has recently opened the Musee Yves Saint Laurent. It costs about 70 Moroccan Dirhams (around $7.61) to get into the garden, and you can also purchase tickets to the museum, if you’re interested in going. You should purchase both tickets at the same time if you already know you’ll be going to both, though. The lines can get quite long.
3 days wasn’t nearly enough to see everything Marrakech has to offer, but I enjoyed myself and can definitely see myself going back. Next time I will spend a little more time in “New Town”, which is more modern than the medina. Have any of you been to Marrakech? What are you recommendations? Let me know in the comments!