Marrakech’s ebullient souks and medina are full of charm and character. The local gastronomic scene is the same way. Like other travelers say, there’s no better way to truly understand a culture than through its food. Satisfy your hunger pangs with our 3-day suggested foodie itinerary of Marrakech, while learning about Morocco’s traditional cuisine as well as its foreign influences. If this is your first time in the city, you may fine tune this itinerary to include some tourist attractions in between the suggested foodie destinations.
Things to consider before traveling to Marrakech, Morocco:
Language – Moroccan Arabic and Berber are the most widely spoken languages in Morocco. Their second language is French and in cities like Tangier and Chefchaouen they are fluent in Spanish due to their proximity to Spain. English is emerging, especially in major cities, so you can get by without learning the language. However, speaking at least some Moroccan Arabic or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by locals.
Currency exchange – The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan dirham. Currency can be changed at banks, Bureau de Change at the airport, authorized money changers and some hotels. Credits cards are commonly accepted in most mid-range to high-end restaurants and hotels in major cities. You may also use debit cards, but watch out for ATM fees and foreign transaction fees, which can be very high per transaction.
Clothing – Unlike any other Muslim countries, Morocco has no practical rules and regulation when it comes to clothing due to their close proximity to Europe. However, it is advisable not to show too much skin. Modest dress is best for men and women. For women, avoid revealing clothes so you won’t get unwanted attention. Jeans and shorts not higher than mid-calf, knee-length skirts partnered with T-shirts or blouse are acceptable. For men, loose cotton shirts, T-shirts and pants are okay. Lastly, while visiting places of worship, you should be fully clothed.
Getting there – It is relatively easy to travel from Casablanca to Marrakech; you can either choose to take a bus, ride a train or take a quick flight if you are coming directly from Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport (Royal Air Moroc serves five flights a day between Casablanca and Marrakech and one-way fare is 89 USD) . Travel time by bus is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes (bus fare is 85 Moroccan dirhams – 8.50 USD). By train, it would take 3 hours (train fare is 90 Moroccan dirhams – 9 USD).
Where to stay in Marrakech – There are many types of holiday accommodation in Marrakech, from luxury hotels and picturesque B&Bs (riads) to cheaper accommodation like hostels. Riads are the most common type of accommodation because of its unique architecture and decoration promising a one of a kind Moroccan experience. Most riads in Marrakech are centrally located near Medina so they give you better access to tourist attraction and food choices.
Detailed day by day itinerary: 3 days to munch your way through Marrakech, Morocco
Our first matter of business is breakfast. Obviously, breakfast of every trip should be solid. If breakfast is not yet included in the price of your accommodation, then start early and eat at one of the sidewalk restaurants in the Hivernage area. There’s no better way to start the day than enjoying a traditional Moroccan breakfast, which normally includes some baked goods (pain au chocolat, pastries and croissants), round Moroccan pancake (called Rghaif) with jam and butter, yogurt, fried eggs with olive oil and cream cheese.
Explore the heart of the Medina and stop for lunch at Restaurant Dar Rhizlane (Avenue Jnane El Harti – Quartier de l’Hivernage). This restaurant is part of a boutique hotel and is considered as an institution in Marrakech. A must try is their Moroccan Lamb Tagine, which is a class Moroccan dish made from slow-cooked lamb with a blend of many aromatic spices.
Looking for an afternoon snack? Try La Creperie de Marrakech. Located in the Guéliz district,, this off the beaten path restaurant offers a wide choice of pancakes, fresh salads, and natural juices. There are plenty of restaurants offering crepes in Marrakech, but most of them serve sweet crepes. If you want something savory, then you’ll never go wrong with La Creperie de Marrakech.
On your second day, eat at one of the food stalls in the medina. There’s no better way to start the day than slurping down a bowl of steaming hot snail soup. It is one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Morocco made from processed snail with the delightful addition of various herbs and spices. How to eat this dish? Use a toothpick to pluck the snails then slurp the soup. Where to eat this dish? Unless you are invited to a local’s home, your best bet is to go down the streets of the food souks and look for a place that you see a large number of local people gathering.
If you happen to find a local food stall serving various Moroccan dishes, don’t forget to try Zaalouk (caviar d’aubergines or eggplant puree). This eggplant salad with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and other spices make a great side dish for breakfast.
For lunch, make your way to the Grand Cafe de la Poste (Avenue Imam Malik) after visiting the art galleries along the Guéliz district or the Majorelle Garden. This posh restaurant serves French fare and other international dishes. Make sure to try their fresh oysters with chilled wine as accompaniment.
If you want some sweet snacks in the afternoon, then look no further than Moroccan Chebakia. This pastry is a flower shaped cookie deep fried with sesame seeds and coated with honey. It’s not the healthiest snack in Morocco, but it remains a favorite of people especially during the month of Ramadan. Make sure to accompany this pastry with mint tea, which is also another Moroccan favorite.
For dinner, enjoy some Moroccan-spiced Chicken Brochettes, which is seasoned with garlic sauce, parsley, paprika, cumin and red pepper. This dish is best eaten with additional garlic sauce, grilled tomatoes and pita bread.
If you want to learn more about Moroccan Cuisine, then join a food tour which lasts for about 3 hours. Marrakech Food Tours and Marrakech Tours Guide are some of the top-rated tour companies in Marrakech offering excellent food tours. These food tours have excellent reviews in TripAdvisor, so you might want to check out what travelers say.
If you want a more in-depth food experience, then you may consider joining a traditional cooking class, wherein you will learn how to cook the most popular Moroccan dishes and know its history and origin. You will also be introduced to traditional Marrakech flavors and learn the simplest way to cook them. There are plenty of tours offered online, so make sure to read reviews first before you make your reservation. Faim d’Epices, Cooking Workshops at La Maison Arabe, and Marrakech Cooking Classes by Atelier Chef Tarik offer some of the best cooking classes in Marrakech based on TripAdvisor reviews.
Have you been to Marrakech or anywhere else in Morocco? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Moroccan spice stall in Marrakech , Morocco (takepicsforfun / Shutterstock.com)