Its gardens, palaces, mosques, the historic souks of the Medina to get lost in: Marrakech is a magical place to visit at least once in your life. It will immediately conquer you with its colors, smells, its culture and incredible history. I will tell you about my 5 days spent in the magical red city of Morocco: what to see, where to eat gluten-free and some useful info for the trip.
WHERE TO STAY
During my stay in Marrakech I stayed at the Riad Romance . The owners Sam and Yousef are super very kind: the reviews spoke very well of their incredible welcome and I can only confirm.
Before my arrival I had warned about my being celiac and they not only tried to make home made gluten-free bread, but also bought fresh bread to make me enjoy their super abundant breakfasts. The rooms, spacious and equipped with every comfort, are cleaned every day, the same as changing the towels.
And if you get tired after a busy day spent in the colorful streets of the Medina, you can dine in the delightful garden with typical Moroccan dishes and try one of the most delicious tajin I’ve tasted in the city, because home cooking is the best in the world!
WHAT TO SEE
Things to see in Marrakech are so many and, map in hand, I recommend you to mark the places that will be a must-go-to during your stay in Marrakech. Personal opinion: the gardens are the flagship of this city and are a must see. Here is a small rundown of the must-go-to places in my opinion (in addition to the obvious Souk and Piazza Jemaa El-Fna):
MUSEE DE MARRAKECH
EATING GLUTENFREE IN MARRAKECH
The Moroccan cuisine is definitely glutenfree friendly. Based on vegetables, meat and spices, it rarely contains glutinous ingredients exept for the bread, one of the basic foods of this cuisine. Handmade and protagonist of the little streets of the Medina, the bread of Marrakech is a must to try. Also because I found the glutenfree bakery of the city so pay attention because I’m going to tell you where to eat gluten-free in Marrakech!
LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN
It is one of the most famous bakery in the city. With three locations, you will find gluten-free bread, cakes and pancakes in the largest store located in Unité 5 Boulevard Allal Al Fassi. The staff is very kind and the bread, of different sizes and types, is really good. Stock up on the first day and take it with you on the following days (it has an excellent shelf-life). Restaurateurs, even if all prepared about glutenfree, never have gluten-free bread.
In the heart of the Ville Nouvelle (New Town) this restaurant with outdoor garden will delight you with an excellent tajin and typical Moroccan dishes, including desserts. It is a center in support of disadvantaged women who are offered training in the restaurant and, while they learn, you can enjoy their skill that will end up directly in your dishes. Recommended!
Spots like this are clear evidence that Marrakech is not just noisy. Tucked away in the narrow streets of the Medina La Famille will give you a relaxing break for a brunch, a lunch or a tea break. The menu is not very long but the location is perfect for a well-deserved moment of relax.
PIAZZA JEMAA EL-FNA
The undisputed star of the city, a key stop for a juice, for dinner and for the sunset, the main square Jemaa El-Fna offers a variety of spots equipped with embers for a dinner of meat or fish and therefore gluten-free. Opt for the more crowded one and order personally choosing from the menu avoiding to leave carte blanche if you do not want a salty bill at the end of dinner (they always try)!
CAFE DE EPICES
Perfect for a short break or a quick lunch, this bar has a terrace overlooking the famous Place des Epices. The menu is rich with naturally gluten-free alternatives. Beware of the sun: at the entrance they will give you hats to use if it’s too hot!
As italian, I never choose Italian restaurants abroad but in Marrakech you will feel the need to take a break from tajin and spicy cuisine. Pepe Nero, in addition to being inside a beautiful riad, is one of the most cited restaurants when it comes to gluten-free. I ate really well, including dessert and the location deserves. The bill will be a bit higher than the average (25 euros per person).
Do not be fooled by the street where this restaurant is. Limoni will leave you open-mouthed for its beauty (and with a chewing mouth for its goodness). The owner, an Italian architect who has put his skill in every single detail of this place, is very kind and pays great attention to gluten-free. Appetizers, first courses, main courses and desserts here you can eat a complete dinner and you will go away with the desire to live in a riad like the one in which this delightful restaurant was built. Highly recommended!
The entrance to this restaurant is hidden by a large “B” and the room is located in a basement. A really special location and a creative and modern menu for a different dinner in the heart of the new city. The chef will satisfy your eyes, but also your taste. With a great attention to details, kind service and prices very high for the standards of Marrakech (about 40 euros per person) I still did not understand why it was not included in the guides! Recommended!
Only an hour and a half drive from Marrakech, Ourika valley is an ideal break to get away from hot of the city and go to the mountains for a nice (and challenging) walk with a breathtaking landscape. During the journey, just before reaching the river, it is obligatory to stop in a Berber village, open to the public, and to an Argan Oil factory.
Continuing the journey, then walking between rocks and water, accompanied by a guide, you can reach the famous waterfalls that make the area famous. Nothing impossible but I highly recommend suitable trekking shoes considered the slippery path. After the long hike to the falls we had lunch at the Setti-Fatma restaurant, which is located on the banks of the river. I tried a tajin of meat accompanied by gluten-free bread that I had brought from home. Lunch was with a view: on the other side a lovely family of monkeys giving a show. Very beautifull!
USEFUL INFO FOR THE TRIP
Currency and language
One hour less than Italy and the currency is the dirham. One euro corresponds to about 10 dirhams. The coins that you will advance on the return need to be changed before departure, since it is not possible to bring the dirhams back.
Arabic and French are spoken in Marrakech. Widely understood also English, Spanish, Italian.
Arrival at the Airport
Once you have landed, you will have to go through three steps of control that, if you are lucky, will take you only a quarter of an hour away. I went to the airport and lined up more than an hour and same thing on the way back. It will depend only on how much attendance there will be at that time.
Temperatures: what do I put in my suitcase?
I have been in this beautiful city at the end of March with a completely wrong suitcase that could not have anything against 9 ° C in the morning, 34 ° C in the afternoon and 20 ° C in the evening. Passionate advice: wear several layers of clothing. In the order: tank top, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt and light jacket. All layers that you can safely remove when you find yourself under the sun in one of the beautiful gardens of Marrakech with a cold and burned face.
The oxymorons of life.
It is written everywhere and everyone says it: if you have to buy something, ANY thing, remember to bargain. It’s part of the local culture and they almost get offended if there is no dialectical confrontation on how many dirhams you are willing to spend. And do not be afraid to go down with the prices: the discount will be as good as good you will be good in bargaining considering that prices are raised a lot: I bought a spice rack for 20 dirhams (about 2 euros) priced at 160 (about 16 EUR).
How to move
Definitely by taxi. The rides start at about 20 dirham and before getting on, always negotiate the fare for the route.
WANT TO KNOW MORE OR DO YOU HAVE SOME QUESTIONS?
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