Updated: May 29
I had a work trip to Europe and decided to extend it to visit Morocco. Flights from London to Marrakech round trip were only $121 if I stayed 6 days. I booked a 2-bedroom AirBNB right in the heart of the Medina and just two steps away from Jemaa el-Fnaa. My friend ended up joining me at the last minute. We had no itinerary and no goals other than to have a great time. Our search lead us to a tour around a waterfall in the Atlas mountains.
It was supposed to be a light walk directly to the waterfall but 90 minutes into our drive, we realized we were picked up on the wrong tour. We ended up on a HIKE hike up the Atlas mountains and I was poignantly unprepared. I was wearing Jesus slides and forgot to pack water because I thought this would be a quick trip. It felt dangerous, my feet kept sliding out of my shoes as I ascended the mountain and I was not prepared for a several-hour workout. But I accepted that I had to finish. As we trudged along, I came across the most beautiful waterfalls and views I had ever experienced. I complained all the way up but when I made it to the top, it hit me ... you have to go all in for the views. It wasn't just the hike - it was a metaphor for every difficult circumstance I had experienced that year. It forever changed my perspective ... something amazing is always coming after a hard time. To conclude the trip, my friend and I watched the sun rise from a hot air balloon over the same mountains we struggled to climb just days before. Perfect.
Best of the City
Where to eat: Try a traditional tagine and mint tea anywhere. Comptoir Darna & Arkech and two places you must go at night. They are walking distance of each other so you can definitely do Comptoir for dinner and strut over to Arkech for hookah and drinks. The best food we had was at a place in the labryinth of the Medina called Cafe Kessabine. Moroccan food is fairly simply and vegan means vegetables. Don't expect any impossible burgers or vegan chicken.
What to do and where to go: I highly recommend hiking through the Atlas mountains, a hot air balloon ride over the Atlas mountains, a hammam at a spa, Marjorelle Jardin, Musee Yves Saint Laurent, a carriage ride from the Medina to Gueliz, the Sofitel for drinks by the pool, and browsing all day in the Medina (do not do this midday - the heat is overwhelming). You can skip the casino and personally, I'm fine riding by things like the old palace and the various mosques.
Carlyn D. Crawley rates Marrakech a 4 out of 5 for solo trips, a 3 out of 5 for girls trips, a 3 out of 5 for family trips and a solid 5 out of 5 for baecations.