After 6 hours of train we arrived in Marrakesh with the kids sleeping. It was about midnight, and we the only option was to take a taxi to reach our Riad. The initial price the drivers asked was 150 DH. It was quite a price, despite being night, considering that the distance was only 10 minutes by Taxi. After some discussion we managed to get down to 70 DH. The driver left us in the square near to the Riad, from there we manage to reach the Riad followed by a number of noisy boys. We gave them a little tip, and entered the Riad.
Riad Sidi Ayoub: A perfect Riad to stay in Marrakesh with the kids (Day 1)
We are quite sure that there are plenty of nice riads in Marrakesh. So we cannot say that Riad Sidi Ayoub is the best ever riad you can stay at. We can say we were just very happy of stay there for many reasons.
- We had an amazing room, we lot of space for us and the kids.
- The personnel was extremely sweet with our little ones, despite their constant running and making noise.
- Breakfast was super.
- It had an hammam and, most important, of all, they organised a baby sitter to allow us to enjoy it 🙂
- The riad was well positioned and allowed us to reach easily the most interesting parts of the city.
Getting to know Marrakesh
After a nice sleep, we were all ready to get out! Exploring Marrakesh with the kids, turned out to be amazing! Though, compared to Fez and Chefchaouen, you have to be more careful, because there are lot of motorbikes crossing the medina, even in the narrow alleys.
Meeting Jemaa El-Fnaa
We took our time to reach Jemaa El-Fnaa, exploring the market, buy fresh fruit and enjoying the colours and the perfumes of the city. We entered in the square from Derb Dabachi. Entering from there, you cannot realise how much big is the square due to its irregular shape. After looking at the ceramics shops, the hennah painters, musicians, and snake charmers, we realised it was already time for lunch. Not easy to convince Tommy to move away from the different attractions in the square!
We ended up at Cherif, a decent and cheap restaurant on one of the roads entering Jemaa El-Fnaa (the one at the corner with Cafè de France). The food was not worth any special comment, but the kids enjoyed the building a lot. There were plenty of nice doors, and on the roof there was a painter working on a portrait of a berber woman.
After lunch, we started again exploring Marrakesh with the kids. Starting from Jemaa El-Fnaa we headed in the direction of the Mouassine Fountain. We crossed the Souk Foundouk and its nice door, we stepped by different coloured shops, a literary café. At each step there was something attracting for the kids!
After paying our visit to the Mouassine Fountain, we reached Le Jardin Secret. We thought it was a sort of park where we could relax with the Tommy and Giò (one of them was sleeping). Wrong assumption 🙂 It is more like a museum, so we changed our plan and we moved toward the Cyber Park. The Cyber Park Arsat Moulay Abdeslam is a large park with different trees from Africa just outside the medina’s wall. The kids loved it! There is plenty of space to run, and fountains to jump into (which may not be the most funny things for parents, but that’s another topic). We also enjoyed some of the educational panels in the park that explained how Moroccans dug for water outside the walls of the city till few years ago.
After the Cyber Park visit, we visited the Ensemble Artisinal Marrakech, a place where you can find different souvenirs. We actually went there just to buy the ice cream to the kids, but of course, while there we explored also the shops. Tommy became friend with a Moroccan kid, and his grandma (that was attending the public bathrooms in the building) took lot of picture of them.
After that, we crossed again the medina. The plan was to visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa and the Almoravid Koubba. Be aware that they are under restoration, so at least in 2019, you will not be able to visit them.
So we picked a restaurant on trip advisor and walked across the medina to reach it. On the way to dinner, we explored different artisan shops. We particularly enjoyed a carpenter doing great toys with his hands (and feet, literally).
Superb dinner a La Cantine Des Gazelles
We had our first dinner in Marrakesh a La Cantine Des Gazelles. One of the best meal we had in Morocco, and surely the best in Marrakesh. While the kids shared a pizza, we had a salad and a tagine “Gazelles” with chicken and plums. Including drinks and tips we spent only 230 DH.
Day 2 in Marrakesh with the kids
The day started with a great breakfast in our riad! During the breakfast we tried to make a plan for the day (which of course didn’t work out :P). The plan was to visit Le Jardin Secret, followed by the Madrasa of Ben Youssef. After buying some fruits for the day (mostly banana and tangerines for the joy of Banana Giò), we crossed the Jemaa El-Fnaa and reached Le Jardin Secret.
Le Jardin Secret: a new entry (if you have been in Marrakesh after 2016)
Le Jardin Secret is a new attraction in Marrakesh (entrance fee: 50 DH adults, 6-18 years 30 DH, 0-6 years free). Opened in 2016, Le Jardin Secret is a restored of building complex dating back to the sixteenth century. Today you can visit different rooms and two gardens (as a matter of fact the building were two different riad originally and have been combined in some point in time in the past). The first garden is an exotic garden, while the second is a perfect example of Islamic garden. The Islamic garden offers a great example of water engineering adopted to create gardens in the Islamic culture (the greatest examples are probably at the Alhambra in Spain). From the terrace where the coffee is located, you can get a great view of the Islamic garden. At the basement there was a nice exhibition of a Moroccan painter. We didn’t enter the tower (which has a separate ticket). No need to say that the kids highly enjoyed it! Of course Giò tried to swim in each pool of water in the garden.
Following the visit we explore the neighbourhood looking for a place for lunch. We ended up in Chez Sarghini, a small café mostly used by locals that served us one of the best tagines with had in Morocco! We highly recommend the place, despite the fact that the tables are in the middle of a small road in the souk, make the location a bit noisy.
Museum de Marrakesh
The initial idea was to visit the Madrasa of Ben Youssef and the Almoravid Koubba. Unfortunately as of February 2018, both of them are under restoration. So, after looking at the shops nearby, we fall back on the Museum of Marrakesh: a nice surprise!
This well preserved Mnebhi Palace (where the museum is located) hosts several collections of historical objects and artefacts. Surely the most beautiful part of the palace is the internal courtyard, with its fine decorations and fountains. Keeping Giò away from the water was a tough work!
Following the visit to the Museum of Marrakesh our intention was to visit El Badii Palace. Crossing Marrakesh with the kids to reach it, we passed by Ben Salah Mosque. If the name does not ring a bell, I am quite sure you have seen a picture of its minaret: it’s one of the most used ones! After passing by Jemaa El-Fnaa, we took Riad Zitoun Lakdim. There we met Omar, a Gnawa musician.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_P0c-eyA0YYou can meet him almost every day in Riad Zitoun Lakdim. He will smile, play great music and rotate his head for the fun of his little friends (which of course now include Tommy and Giò). In Place des Ferblantiers all the roof where populated by storks! Finally, we reached El Badii, but too late for a visit (it closes at 5 pm). Thus we started walking around in the Mellah where we bought 300 DH in spices (the seller was extremely good and nice with the kids). Let’s hope his menthol will keep Fede’s nose open in the next winter!
For the dinner, we stopped by Marrakesh Henna Art Café. This café is an art gallery where all art works are down with Henna (of course you can get also some nice Henna decorations on your hands!). After a nice dinner on the café terrace, we crossed the square back to our Riad for a nice sleep.
Last Day in Marrakesh before the desert
For our last day in Marrakesh with the kids before heading toward the Atlas and the desert, …