No, we don’t travel halfway across the world just to snap a few cool pictures but we’d all be lying if we said that pictures haven’t become part of the travel experience. Morocco is photogenic at any angle, but here is a list of our favorite locations.
#1 La Mamounia
La Mamounia is a palace hotel located on the outskirts of the Medina, about a 10-15 minute walk out of the Big Square. It has housed a variety of both political and cultural figures, like Winston Churchill and Paul McCartney. The hotel requires an “elegant dress code” and as soon as you step onto the grounds you will see why, as every detail of the property exudes elegance. While at the hotel check out the hallway leading to the Grand Salon, then to the indoor pool at the spa.
#2 Sunset at Zeitoun or Café de France
Zeitoun Cafe sits in the center of the Jemma El fna square. It was our personal favorite to watch the sunset while enjoying a traditional Moroccan dinner. The menu encompasses a variety of local dishes. I recommend trying the fresh fruit juice along with your meal. As is the case with most restaurants in Marrakech, the staff will seat you at the best available table if you let them know you will be having dinner.
Café de France also looks over the big square and is more popular for sunset as it is western facing. If you want an unobstructed view (so no random heads in your photo) you will need to arrive well before sunset. You will have to buy at least a drink to sit on the deck for sunset, and we only recommend going that far because the food is not as good.
#3 The colorful souks
A maze of 1000’s of stalls surround the courtyard of the Big Square. Mineral and plant dyed wools and vegetable silk light up the narrow alleys. Berber jewelry and lamps seem to be offered at every other stand. Negotiating is expected at these shops, never take the first price given. Take deep breaths because it can be overwhelming.
#4 Ben Youssef Medersa Quranic School
Founded in the 14th Century, the school is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in North Africa. Fun fact! The mihrab, which is the niche in the wall of a mosque that is supposed to point towards Mecca, is off by just a few degrees. That few degrees still leaves the mihrab facing in somewhere in like…Vietnam. The stonework is stunning with carved Arabic phrases looping around the entire courtyard. The detail is so fine, you have to see it to believe it.
#5 Jardin Majorelle
Yves Saint-Laurent’s personal garden, opened to the public in 1947, is a 12-acre oasis in the middle of this bustling city. The bold colors and bountiful gardens offer amazing backdrops for any photo. Best advice: get there early! We arrived at 10:30-ish and there was already a line down the street and the garden was packed. If you want to enjoy the true serenity the garden offers, beat the crowds.
Honorable mention: The Sahara Desert
The Sahara is a trek out from Marrakech but the journey is worth it. However to enjoy the trip you need to book with the right tour company. Hannah booked one with Discover Morocco Sahara but we got bullied into a different tour group that came recommended to us by the staff at our riad. We never were able to pinpoint even the name of the horrible tour we got suckered into, so our best advice is do your research! We both wished we had stuck to our guns and went with Discover Morocco, but that is just one of those lessons you learn the hard way.