Marrakech has become a top holiday destination after budget airlines started flying there a few years ago. With a fascinating culture, warm weather and beautiful architecture it’s no surprise that holidaymakers are visiting in their thousands.
A recent study even rated Marrakech as the third cheapest holiday destination for travel essentials from a bus ticket to a meal out for two, so, if you’re on a budget or just want to save a few pounds on your next holiday, there’s no better time to visit!
As most direct flights to Marrakech are served by budget airlines, saving money starts before you get on the plane. As long as you book far enough in advance, you could save a small fortune, perfect for topping up your spending money.
Marrakech is a city of two tales, with the Medina, or old town, to the east of the city and the new town to the west. To get the authentic Moroccan experience, stay in a riad. These are a cross between a bed and breakfast and a small, boutique hotel, often situated deep in the winding alleys of the Medina, all with traditional décor to match.
Most are family run and the Moroccan hosts are incredibly attentive, tending to your every need. The traditional Moroccan breakfast of msemen (crispy pancakes), yogurt, eggs, orange juice and mint tea is the best way to start your day.
A great way to save is to get a package deal, with three nights for as little as £105 per person, depending on the season. As a North African country, the weather here is good all year round and can reach up to 38 degrees celcius in July and a warm 19 degrees celcius in January, perfect for some winter sun.
When imagining food in Morocco, tagine is the first thing that pops to mind, but there is so much more than the traditional stew. Pastille is a national delicacy of pigeon wrapped in sweet filo pastry, spiced shish kebab, plump olives and of course all served with fluffy couscous.
The main square in the Medina, the Jeema El-Fenna, plays host to a street food market most evenings. There are over a hundred different stalls with bench seating, laying out all their fresh food for you to go up and choose. This is by far the cheapest place to eat with a meal for two coming up at under £15. With the huge variety of food you could easily eat at a different stall every night and get the best of Moroccan tastes for a bargain price!
The famous square in the centre of the Medina is a must see. Marrakech has had an incredibly varied history, which is highly influenced by the French, only becoming independent in 1956 after 44 years of French rule. The French influenced cafes line the edges on one side, with the entrance to the Souks on the other. Snake charmers and women offering to decorate your hands with intricate henna are dotted across the square, as are stalls selling Moroccan delights from dates and dried fruits, to orange juice which is squeezed in front of you.
Marrakech has long been a hotspot for hippies and artists, in the 1970s everyone from the Rolling Stones to Yves Saint Laurent visited the city and made it their short-term home. The Jardin de Marjorelle is Saint Laurent’s legacy; beautiful gardens, filled with tropical plants and water features, set in the blue walls of his former home. This shady garden is within walking distance of the Medina and is cool and shady so perfect to visit on a hot, sunny day.
Another incredible spot, these gardens are a short bus ride out of the city but are worth it. Stroll through the orchard to the square pond and marvel at the incredible view to the Atlas Mountains. These tower over the city wherever you are, but the Menara Gardens are by far the best place to see them in the full glory for free!
Morocco is famed for its leather bags and a visit to the tanneries is a must. On the edge of the old town, you can smell the leather before you see it! The cow skins stretch out across the open-air floors of each tannery, where for a small fee you can watch the tanners at work, treating the leather bags that you’ll see on stalls in the souks.
A visit to Marrakech is not complete without a day shopping. The Souks are packed full of traditional Moroccan goods from leather bags to rugs and silver jewellery to goats’ skin lamps. And it is all so cheap you won’t believe the price! Don’t forget to haggle, even if the item seems like a bargain already! The stall holders expect it and enjoy the chatting and banter that getting the price down involves.
Have you visited Marrakech on a budget before? Tell us what tips you have in the comments below!