4 Days in Marrakesh, Morocco

By Federico F · Jan 10, 2017

Rome, Italy
Marrakesh, Morocco
Main mode of transport
Aeroplane (Ryan Air)
Cost per person
Budget to Mid range
Riad Les Jardin D’Henia

Best Bits

  • Getting massages, scrubs and spa treatments
  • The experience of being in one of the biggest souks (open air markets) in the world
  • Moroccan and fusion food
  • I really like the sites – the architecture and interior design, the beautiful tiles, ceramics and crafts which you see all over the city and can also buy at the souk. Many foreigners make buying trips to Marrakesh to buy amazing furniture and décor to take back to build their dream homes.
  • It’s a place that constantly reminds you not to judge a book by its cover! Many places don’t look like much from the outside but then the inside is incredible.
  • You don’t have to worry about jet lag when arriving from Europe and it’s very easy and practical to get there.
  • It’s the perfect trip for a couple
  • It can be an extremely relaxing and luxurious holiday for very little money - for around $100 per day you can have a high end vacation with your partner, including, meals, spa and riad.
  • While Marrakesh can give the impression of being a fairly sophisticated and easy city to get around, I have experienced some travellers, particularly anglophones, getting frustrated because they aren’t able to communicate clearly. I like the challenge but others might not. Marrakesh is not a place to be spoon-fed - you need to make an effort to work some things out for yourself. Everyone speaks French and an increasing number of people speak English.

Federico in Marrakech

Worst Bits

  • The heat if you go at the wrong time of the year.
  • Although I’ve never had a problem or felt unsafe in Morocco, you do have to be careful and thoughtful about your safety while traveling here, especially women.

Trip Dates and Comments on Timing

I’ve been to Morocco 5 times in the past 3 years and Marrakesh is always my base. Usually I just stay there, but sometimes I also visit the Atlas Mountains or the desert or Essaouira on the Atlantic coast (7-9 hour drive) from Marrakesh. Most recently I went this past September. You can visit Marrakesh any time of year, but summer gets extremely hot. My preferred time of year to go is September through May, which also works out perfectly as a destination to escape the winter in Italy.

Arrival Logistics

I fly from Rome to Marrakesh with Ryan Air because it’s the only airline operating a direct flight for this route. Given options I would never choose to fly with Ryan Air.

Main Activities

Historic sites, culture, dining, shopping, spas

Federico’s Experience

A very authentic accommodation which also generally represents really good value for money is staying in a riad. Riads are traditional Moroccan houses or palaces usually with a very similar configuration - they have an interior courtyard, usually with a pool, and often have an accessible rooftop area. Some rooftops have a pool. My budget for a riad is generally 50 to 60 Euros / night, which is enough for an incredible room.

Federico in Marrakech

Riads are like boutique hotels but even more intimate, with anywhere from 5-12 rooms, all with private bathrooms. Most offer massage services and include complimentary breakfast. The breakfasts are fine, but you can eat much better outside! They have receptionists and concierge services as you might expect, so there are people who can organise tours for you, make recommendations and bookings. They’re really cozy and a great place to stay. You have to pick the right one, but I’ve only had good and great experiences.

The best riads are in Kasbah, in the Medina – they are the most authentic. Some people might feel like it’s not really safe, because it’s an old part of the city with very narrow streets and no cars, but in fact it is very safe.

Riad Les Jardin D’Henia on booking.com has many riads all for the same price and same look. This is usually where I make my reservation.

Federico in Marrakech

If you prefer a more catered or luxury experience, two standout hotels incude:

  • La Sultana Hotel – an incredible hotel with one of the best spas and a phenomenal restaurant

  • La Mamounia Hotel – the hotel has the most amazing botanical garden, swimming pool, spa and range of bars. The design and fell take you back in time to the colonial days. A room costs around 1000 euros per night. This is great place to hang out even if you’re not staying there.

Once your accommodation is sorted, you’ll want things to do. If you’re just staying in Marrakesh and don’t have time for a longer holiday, 4 days is enough time to explore the city and see the sights. The best way to see the city is on foot (everything feels like it’s a 15 minute walk), walking into any open door that appeals and even the ones that don’t! The contrast between the dusty streets and the stunning interior design is amazing.

Activities I recommend:

  • Archaeological site seeing such as a visit to the Royal Palace which is absolutely incredible and the El Badi palace
  • A visit to the Saadian tombs for their beauty and historical significance
  • Shopping at the souk – you could spend days and days shopping here! Typically you can find good leather, ceramics, organ oil, clothing, silver and home decor items. When bargaining, never agree on a final price more than 60% of what their original offer was. So if their asking price is 100, never pay more than 60. Accessing the souk is like entering a maze: there are many different entrances and exits and it’s very easy to get lost, but that is one of the best ways to experience it! It will touch your senses even more. The souk also has a massive square with food stalls, trained monkeys, dancing cobras and any number of new attractions each time you go. Watch for pick pockets.

Federico in Marrakech

  • A visit to Jardins Majorelle – a design garden and retreat where Yves Saint Laurent stayed.
  • Bahia Palace
  • Get inspired by the architecture and the DOORS. You won’t stop taking photos of doors!

Federico in Marrakech

Federico in Marrakech

  • Sit at a café having a mint tea, then a bite to eat on a rooftop restaurant overlooking the souk and with the Atlas Mountains in the background. There are many, but one of my favourites is Café de France - I like to go to their highest terrace (they have multiple), order a fresh mint tea at sunset and wait for the souk to light up, it’s amazing. Don’t eat there because it’s touristy, but a tea at sunset is great

Federico in Marrakech

  • Indulge in massages and spa treatments - scrubs, hammams, giant soaking tubs for 2 and massages are the most common.
  • If seeing and being seen is on your agenda, spend a half day at Nikki beach: a Miami-style, ostentatious pool club with a very stylish swimming pool and pool deck with DJs playing house music and people flaunting their wealth. The restaurant there is also excellent with a great chef from Corsica.

Federico in Marrakech

Federico in Marrakech

  • If you’re staying longer, take a 2 day / 1 night trip to the Atlas Mountains or to the desert. I prefer the Atlas mountains. Take a private driver arranged by your hotel in Marrakesh (or by your accommodation in the Atlas mountains). It’s about a 2 hour drive and quite scenic, passing through old towns along the route. Again, stay in a riad and just relax in the gorgeous swimming pool. Don’t feel rushed or that you have to do everything. Take your time, stroll around, get pampered.

Federico in Marrakech

Federico in Marrakech

Federico in Marrakech

  • If you wish to explore the desert, ask your concierge to arrange zip lining and quad driving on your excursion.


  • The best value for money spa is Les Bains de L’ Alhambra. They have a hammam, double bathtubs, lovely private rooms, amazing scrubs and massages. It’s cheap, very clean and quaint. I always go there.
  • Les Bains de Marrakesh is very famous. Maybe too famous. In my view it’s exactly like Les Bains de L’Alhambra but a bit more expensive and less relaxing because there are more people.
  • La Sultana – much more expensive and impressive than the previous 2. I still pick Les Bain de L’Alhambra for value for money, but La Sultana is a great choice for a special occasion.
  • La Mamounia (spa at the hotel)– Impeccable service, design that takes you away to a different place and time and treatments that are to die for. This is the most expensive spa.

Food and Drink Highlights

  • I’m not really into street food, so I tend to stick to restaurants. Dining experiences where you eat local Moroccan food and enjoy performances from belly dancing to live music can be quite touristy in Marrakesh, but it can also be quite charming. If that’s the type of evening you’re looking for, I recommend Jad Mahal. They have belly dancing until 10pm with live music. Afterward they play disco music and dance upstairs! The menu is a mix of burgers (which are delicious!) and tajine and other local food.

Federico in Marrakech

  • Comptoir offers a similar experience with music by Berber musicians (an ethnic group scattered throughout Northern Africa), but I prefer the food and ambiance at Jad Mahal.

  • La Sultana – beautiful view, much more expensive but the experience is worth it.

  • Bo-zin: A long trip by car, but the restaurant offers free pickup from your accommodation. It’s in a very stylish villa with a beautiful garden. The food is excellent and as the night continues, the scene becomes more of a party atmosphere with people dancing on tables and loud music. It’s the type of place I would want to check if it’s still trendy before going back.

  • La Maison Arabe – Also a hotel, I really enjoy the food here.

  • Café Epices – A busy little cafe in the souk that has beautiful views of the entire market as well as the Atlas Mountains - you can even see their snow caps! The menu is western salads and sandwiches. Don’t eat inside, wait for a spot on the terrace.

  • Petit Dejeuner de Marrakesh – A small, quaint restaurant with a terrace overlooking the city. Good food.

For cocktails you must go to La Mamounia. They have several bars - go to The Churchill. It is opulently but tastefully decorated in red velvet and has multiple room choices, one of which is the terrace. They also play live jazz. The cocktails are delicious and the entire experience is definitely worth spending the 20 euros for a single drink.

Federico in Marrakech

Essential Packing for this Trip

The lighter you pack the more you can buy! But having said that, you’ll definitely want to bring versatile options. During the day, easy walking shoes and shorts and a t-shirt are your best option. It’s hot and very dusty so things will get dirty. At night time you definitely want to dress up and stand out in a stylish way. There isn’t really a dress code anywhere, but people like to dress fashionably. Women typically wear heels (platforms and raised sandals) but not stilettos.

It didn’t rain on our trip and I never felt cold, but it’s nice to have an extra layer, especially if you decide to do an excursion. For the evening when it cools down slightly, I wear a light dress jacket. Many French and Spanish fashion designers used to vacation and own homes in Marrakesh, which is partly why the city became so fashionable.

It might be a good idea to bring an empty suitcase depending on what you plan to buy when you go shopping.

Pack your camera - I use a G7 Lumix which is very light and shoots 4K videos.

Federico in Marrakech

About The Traveller

Gender & Age Range
Male, 36 - 40

I’m from
Rome, Italy

Film Producer

My favourite trip as of late

Travelling Style
Plan everything in advance.

It’s a dealbreaker when
Having too many tourists around or traveling abroad just to arrive to my destination and find it full of people from my own country.

Continent I know the best
Europe and North America

First Last Name

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I’m from Perth, Western Australia

My favourite trip as of late is New Zealand, solo travel in lots of nature for a soul-refresher.

My travelling style is to Book the first night, then wing it from there!

It’s a dealbreaker when I’m stuck around large groups of package tourists.

Continent I know best is Asia.

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