I had already visited once Morocco in 2018 when we took a trip in south of Spain and we crossed for a day in Tangier. I wanted to see many more places from Morocco such as Marrakech or the Sahara Desert. So this year on my birthday in March we decided to visit Morocco in Marrakech and further from there into the Sahara Desert! I wanted very much on my birthday to wake up in the Sahara Desert.
Morocco was a French colony and became independent from on the 2nd of March 1956. Now Morocco is a kingdom and the present king is His Majesty Mohammed VI, from the Alawi dynasty. Morocco is located in North Africa, near Spain and Europe (separated by the Strait of Gibraltar) and has got borders with Algeria, Mauritania, Spain. It is also bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediteranean Sea. It is a large country and has a surface of almost three times bigger than Romania, with many tourist attractions. We chose to go to Marrakech only and from there to take a trip to Sahara Desert, because we only had five days available for this trip.
On 22nd of March we left in the morning from Bucharest to Bergamo (near Milan) in Italy, because there are not direct flights from Romania to Morocco. The flight to Bergamo took two hours. We flew with Ryanair. I was very happy when we landed in Bergamo because I could use e-gates for the second time in my life ( first time was last year in Paris in France). In Italy you can use e-gates from the age of 14 years old.
Because the layover lasted five hours we didn’t have enough time to visit Milan. We decided to spend the time in Oreo Shopping Center in front of the airport. There we had lunch. I ate a very good pizza. At Bergamo you may let your luggages at a deposit in the parking in front of the airport. We did so and then we went on with out any luggage. We noticed that the prices (at least for food and drinks) were reasonable in Oreo Shopping Center.
We went back to the airport and used again the e-gates. I plan to come back to Bergamo with another occasion to visit Bergamo and the city of Milan. We took off and our Ryanair flight to Marrakech took three hours. When we landed in Marrakech, I was very happy because I was visiting Morocco again and it was for the first time in Marrakech, a place that I had been wanting to see for a long time!
The Airport from Marrakech is very modern and it is one of the most beautiful airports that I ever transited. After the passport control we bought local SIM cards as we do in every country out of European Union. We chose SIM cards from the company Morrocco Telecom.
We were picked up by a car who took us to Riad al Nour, the Riad we chose to stay in Marrakech. I enjoyed very much staying at Riad al Nour. Since the riad is located on a tiny street from Medina, the car left us on a bigger street and then we walked to the riad.
After we checked in, we went to see Jemaa el-Efnna. There was a very beautiful vibe and a lot of people in the square, because Wednesday evening when we arrived on the 22nd of March, it was announced the beginning of Ramadan. I also saw the Kutoubia Mosque (sometimes the name is written Kutubiyya), which is very interesting during the night. Later we went to have the dinner at a restaurant near the riad, where we ate of course, a delicious tajine!
Bonbon, a very photogenic cat welcomed us at Riad al Nour.
On the 23rd of March we woke up early because we were about to go in the trip in the Sahara Desert. The guide was waiting for us at the exit of the Medina at seven in the morning. At this hour, the streets from medina were empty and we saw them so different as the evening before. The guide took us to Jemaa el-Fnaa, where we met the rest of the group for the trip to Sahara Desert.
The first place where we stopped after we left Marrakech was on the road in the Atlas Mountains. We stopped to enjoy the mountains, some of them had red colour, specific of this area. The second stop was high at 1200 metres altitude, at a panorama place on the road, called Tizin Ticka. The Atlas Mountains are fabulos, I plan to come back and to spend more time trekking.
We stopped after one hour and half at the Ksar Ait Benhaddou where we had lunch. Ksar means citadel or fortificate village. In some writings you will find named Ighrem Ait Benhaddou, in Berber language. First we had lunch and then we went to visit Ait Benhaddou. We climbed the streets up to the top from where we admired the very beautiful surroundings. In Ait Benhaddou used to live both Arabs and Jews (The Sephardic Jews came from Portugal and Spain in the XV century and almost all of Jewish population left after the establishment of the State of Israel).
A lot of filming was done in the citadel area and on the river valley Asif Ounila for famous movies, taking advantage of the scenery special landscape. I liked very much Ait Benhaddou, it is a special place, where you can find historical vestiges of more civilisations.
From there we left to Tinghir, where we were about to spend the night. From the bus I was able to see the Atlas Studious and the Noor Solar Power Plant which has mirrors and a concentrator and a massive power of 160 megawatts. On the way to Tinghir we had a stopover and I saw a cat. In that moment I was thinking of Chopper, who is not friendly with cats. What would he do in Morrocco, where there are a lot of cats?
After three hours we arrived in Tinghir where we checked in at Bougafer Hotel, our stopover on the way to Sahara Desert. The apartment that we checked in had three rooms and two bathrooms. The hotel was clean and to the joy of my father, they served beer at the bar. We stayed on the terace until it got cold and then we went to bed.
The next day after we had breakfast we went to visit the Todgha Canyon (Gorges du Todgha). On the way we stopped to see the very beautiful valley of the Todra river. After we got to the canyon, we walked all the canyon and enjoyed the landscape.
Later we went to see a Berber village. To get there, we crossed an area with farmlands owned by the people from the village. In the village we went to an workshop where they were making carpets. I admired the Moroccan and Berber carpets. The local guide told us some stories about the life of the berbers.
We left to Sahara Desert and stopped to a shop of traditional clothes. From there I bought a traditional scarf to wear it on head in the desert. After two hours we arrived in Merzouga, at the edge of the Sahara desert. From there we continued our road by camels – to the camping where we stayed over night.
The camel ride to the camping took one hour and was the longest ride I ever took. I was very happy because I was back in the desert. This was the third time I was seeing the Sahara Desert. Until then I had been two times in Sahara: in Tunisia and in Egypt. After one hour riding on the camel we arrived to the camping in the desert where we stayed for a night. I climbed up a dune from where I saw the very beautiful sunset! In the evening I climbed it again with my father to get phone signal and connect to the internet to post photos on Facebook and Instagram. the sky was incredible, with thousands of stars!
On the 25th of March in the morning I woke up at five to watch the sunrise from the desert. I was very happy because it was my birthday (I turned 17 years old). We had breakfast and left the camping to Merzouga by camel. I watched the sunrise from the camel and took more photos. After an hour we arrived back in Merzouga. From there and got the bus back to Marrakesh. The ride took 9 hours.
On the way we stopped to eat at Ouarzazate. After 9 hours we arrived in Marrakech and went to the same riad where we stayed the first night in Marrakech. I liked very much the trip in the Sahara Desert!
After we rest, we went to celebrate my birthday at Le Bistro Arabe in Medina. There I ate tajine and I was very happy because the people from the restaurant sang to me Happy Birthday in English and also in Arabic language! We listened to jazz and spent a cool evening with my mother and father. The food was very good, including the dessert I had as a birthday cake. We went back to the riad, crossing again through Jemma el-Ffnaa.
On 26th of March, we had breakfast and we went to visit the Bahia Palace. On the way to the palace we went through Jemaa el-Ffnaa Square and walked on many beautiful streets from Medina. The Jemaa el-Fnaa Square was almost empty compared with the evening before. There were only the snake charmers and the people dressed with traditional red costumes. When we arrived at the Bahia Palace, we visited the interior gardens, which are very beautiful.
Later we went to visit the El badi Palace which was near Bahia Palace. There were many rooms where there were movies screened about the history of the palace. The ruins from El Badi Palace are very interesting. We had lunch very close to the palace. I ate a very good shawarma.
After the lunch we went to see the Saadian Tombs which are fascinating. This was the only queue we waited in Marrakech. Otherwise, almost all the tourists attractions we visited were not crowded. From the Saadian Tombs we went to walk through Mellah – the Jewish neighbourhood from Marrakech. Mellah are called all the Jewish neighbourhoods from Morrocco. There were a lot of people on the streets, usual crowds – specific of these places, a lot of shops and street merchants.
We went back to the riad and rested for a few hours. In the evening we went to Jemaa el-Fnaa square where we ate at the stall 19 recomended by our friend Radu Tudoroiu, who visited Morrocco before us. He published on his Youtube channel more episodes from their journey through Morrocco and Mauritania and I recommend you to follow him. There we ate a mix of fish and sea fruits which were very good! Later we went up on a terrace of a restaurant to watch the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. The view was breathtaking, we stayed to drink a juice.
I want to tell you some things about the Jemaa el-Ffnaa Square which divides the city of Marrakech in the modern part (Gueliz) and the old part (Medina). Originally the square was named Place des Trepasses (the square of departed spirits), because of the plague epidemics that lasted 9 years, between 1598 and 1607, when a lot of people from Marrakesh died.
The square is an incredible place, full of merchants, jugglers, musicians, acrobats, and tattoos artists. It is famous among the tourists and in 1985 was included along the whole Medina in the Unesco World Heritage. In 2001 the Jemaa el-Ffnaa Square was proclaimed Cultural and Intangible Heritage.
On 27 of March in the morning we went to visit Majorelle Gardens. They were build within 40 years by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. In the 80s they were bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. The tickets may be bought online only, on the Majorelle Gardens Website . I loved very much some words of Yves Saint Laurent that I found on the website: „Many years, the Majorelle Gardens offered a source of inexhaustible inspiration and I dreamed often of their unique colours„.
The gardens are located in the modern part of Marrakech and as I said before, you need to buy the tickets online before you go. We walked almost an hour through the gardens and visited the house of Yves Saint Laurent. The Majorelle Gardens are one of the best attractions from Marrakech and you must not miss it.
We went back to the riad where we had breakfast. Later we walked through medina to visit the Photography Museum from Marrakech. There we saw a lot of photos taken by famous photographers but also anonymous. There were also some photos from 1800 from the beginnings of the photography. I saw scenes from medina, from the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square but also a lot of incredible portaits.
We walked on many beautiful streets from the medina and the souq. We got back in the Jemaa el-Ffnaa Square which was less crowded than in the evening. We saw again the snake charmers and took a photo to one of the person dressed in red which usually asked you for money if you want to take photos. From there we went to take photos of the Kutoubia Mosque, which is very beautiful!
We went to have lunch at a restaurant which was up on a terrace near the riad. There we ate a very good tajine! We went back to the riad, we took our luggage and went to the airport from Marrakech. We flew to Madrid, where we had a stop over on the way back to Bucharest.
From Marrakech to Madrid we flew with Iberia, the national company of Spain. After two hours we landed on the airport of Madrid which is very big and very beautiful. We got through passport control and we took a train to another terminal from where we picked up the luggage. We took a taxi to the Villa De Barajas Hotel where we stayed for a night. It is located in Barajas very close to the airport. After we checked in, we went to have dinner at the La Latina where I ate a tapas and a very good burger! The vibe was typically Spanish, and remembered about our last trip at Sitges.
On 28 of March in the morning we went back to Madrid airport from where we flew to Bucharest. The flight took three hours and we flew with Ryannair. Unfortunately we didn’t had time to visit Madrid because we only had one night stop, and I want to come again to visit the capital of Spain.
I really enjoyed very much Marrakech, which is one of the most beautiful cities I ever visited! I want to come back to Morocco to visit Chefchouen, Fes, Meknes, Rabat, Casablanca and Essaouira.
I recommend you to visit Morrocco, for me it was one my best trips ever, I wish I had more time there.
Useful links for Marrakesh trip:
- Blog of Cezar Dumitru (RO): https://www.imperatortravel.ro/categoria/destinatii/africa/maroc
- Radu Tudoroiu’s channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@RaduTudoroiu
- Interesting articles about Morocco
- Trip from Marrakesh – Merzouga Sahara – Marrakesh (3 days / 2 nights)
- Majorelle Gardens: Https://www.jardinmajorelle.com
- Riad Al Nour
- Le Bistro Arabe
- Photography Museum of Marrakesh
- Palace Bahia
- Palace El Badi