48 hours in Marrakech

48 hours in Marrakech

by Mary Del Rosario
Stripes Europe

Known as the fourth-largest city in Morocco, Marrakech is a colorful city rich in history and housed by the friendliest locals. After spending 14 days traipsing through this beautiful country, I spent the last two days exploring the “Red City” and taking in all it had to offer. Though I could have easily spent at least another three days here, 48 hours in Marrakech was the perfect way to end my trip. Below are a few recommendations to tackle this city in just two days.

The Top Sights

Since Morocco is known for their Hamman spas—a type of spa treatment that uses steam to cleanse—an appointment to pamper yourself is a must-do. There are many spas sprinkled across the city, but one of my favorites was the Mythic Oriental Spa. I felt like a new person once I was done with my massage.

If you’re a fan of greenery (something that is hard to come by in the desert), an experience that shouldn’t be overlooked is taking a trip to the Majorelle Gardens. This large botanical garden was brought to life by French Orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s. In the 1980s, this oasis was purchased my Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge, who helped restore it to the beautiful garden we know today.

Since Marrakech differs from the European cities we are accustomed to, the best way to appreciate your trip is to appreciate the culture. From the locals offering Berber tea to the buzzing markets, it’s important to be open-minded and see what the culture has to offer. To do so, be sure to look up at the Koutoubia Mosque—unfortunately, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the mosque. This beautiful mosque was built in the 12th century by the Almohad dynasty. Standing at about 253 feet high, this place of worship is a sight to see.

With only two days to explore the best of Marrakech, walking around Jemaa el-Fnaa is the ultimate experience you won’t find in any European city. Hailed as the largest market in the city medina quarter, this square will not disappoint. With colorful spice baskets filled to the brim, snake charmers luring in tourists and a plethora of food, this market truly speaks to what Morocco is all about—colors, food, spices, noises and a community full of life.

Your Food Bucket List

If you’re like me and are apprehensive about the different spices in Moroccan food, try these specialties that will get even the picky eaters wanting seconds.

  • Mint tea — This refreshing and sweet tea is easily available throughout the city.
  • Tagine — Any meat dish that is prepared in a special clay pot shaped in a dome and slow-cooked with herbs and spices.
  • Msemen — A flatbread dough that is reminiscent of a pancake. Great for breakfast!
  • Couscous — This light pasta-like dish is popular to eat on Fridays. Couscous can be prepared savory or sweet.
  • Harira — A type of lentil soup that’s best served with crusty bread.
  • Bastilla — The flavors in this dish will explode in your mouth. Bastilla is a flaky pie filled with chicken or pigeon.

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