Highlights From my Recent Trip to Marrakech and Essaouira

Another travel post!!! At the end of June my boyfriend and I took our annual anniversary trip away; this year heading to Morocco to escape the drizzly grey weather and brexit (don't get me started)!

We started our trip in Marrakech. This famous city has always been on my "must visit" list and there was a lot more to the city than I had thought their would be. We decided to try out traditional moroccan riads for our trip - these guest houses are all rated better than the big hotels and they were just too beautiful to pass up. In Marrakech we stayed at Riad Blue Du Sud. They sent a car to collect us from the airport, but as the cars can't enter the main city, they escorted us the rest of the way on foot. It was a bit daunting being taken down a winding maze of streets but when we went through the door into the riad we were met by the most colourful place I could imagine and the most friendly staff! The riad had 5 rooms, over 2 floors, all of which opened out into a little court yard. Our room had a four poster bed, and I'll be honest I felt like an Arabian princess when laying in it.

Once we'd settled into our room we headed out to explore the medina, armed with our maps from the riad so we could find our way back. The medina was a little overwhelming I'll be honest. The heat was intense and the small streets busied with people. I loved how alive this city felt. We wandered for hours and hours until we were too hot and tired to wander anymore.
On Saturday we decided to check out one of the larger hotels in the city and enjoy the heat by a pool. I knew Morocco would be hot but I never appreciated just how hot it would feel walking through the walled streets of the city. We chose the Sofitel as they offer pool lounge day passes. The hotel lobby was absolutely stunning, as was the large pool area. There were a couple of pools in the lounge, but we decided to set up camp by the main one. We quickly decided this was the best possible way we could have spent the day as the heat was intense and the pool was super refreshing.

My favourite thing about the Sofitel pool lounge was the super large day beds that they had rather than having little individual loungers. This gave the pool a really modern funky feeling, and I ran round collecting all the cushions I could to add to our day bed. We opted for one set a little further back from the pool which had little walls around three sides, this gave us a little privacy and it felt like we were at a private pool just for us.
The staff here couldn't have been more welcoming, which was lovely as I was a little worried that as we weren't guests of the hotel we wouldn't be made to feel as welcome. As it was way too hot for cocktails, we were kept hydrated with a constant stream of ice cold bottled water.
Spending our second day at the Sofitel really was the best idea, as the day before spent walking around the medina was just a bit much in the heat.

Did I love my time in Marrakech? Absolutely! Would I return? Probably not. I think I hold Marrakech in the same regard as I do Hong Kong: I loved having the cultural experience, and the trip was really wonderful. But its just not going to be my go to place! I think Marrakech is a marmite sort of place - some people adore it and come time and time again. And I can't blame them. It's a truly beautiful place and so many parts of it have this whimsical romantic edge to them. But the busy city is very intense, and we found it a little overwhelming.  

On Sunday we boarded the bus to Essaouira. This little town sits on the Atlantic coast a little further south of Agadir and is around 3 hours from Marrakech. What we arrived to was a charming seaside port town, with the same vibe that you find in Cornwall. Like Marrakech, Essaouira is a walled city but it's teeny tiny by comparison.
We stayed at Riad Baladin, and again going through the heavy wood door from a tiny side street was like entering Narnia. We were greeted by the owner, Nadine, who couldn't have been more welcoming if she tried! That was my favourite thing about staying in Riad's rather than big hotels; they were small and quiet, and the owners took a genuine interest in their guests. 

Riad Baladin was a total contrast to the Riad in Marrakech. It was all white walls and terracotta mosaic floors. Our room had a beautiful four poster bed made of drift wood, and a big corner bath. It was so dreamy and relaxing. We definitely chose the right riads for the different cities!

We set off to explore Essaouira after a quick freshen up, and all the things I disliked about Marrakech didn't exist here. The people we're aggressively trying to get you in their shops, they were chatty for the sake of being chatty. The heat was tamed by the cool coastal breeze and there weren't winding mazes of streets to get lost in. One of my favourite favourite things was all the cats that lived in Essaouira. I'm a cat person and there were just LOADS of them. Whilst they were probably all strays, the locals did their bit to look after them.

We went for a wander along the sandy beach and dipped our toes in the sea before heading for a late lunch at a beach cafe. It was so nice to be somewhere a bit cooler after the heat of Marrakech, and whilst it was still hot in Essaouira, there was a lovely breeze coming in off the ocean.

When we returned in the evening we were pleased to find out our Riad has a hot tub! Winner! 
On Monday we had a traditional moroccan breakfast on the roof terrace spent the morning enjoying up there enjoying the sunshine. I can think of nothing I enjoy more on a Monday morning than lazing in the sun with fantastic views!

In the afternoon we headed out on a quad biking trip. We booked through Palma Quad as they had fantastic reviews on trip advisor. We were taken out by our guide on our private tour across the beautiful sand dunes and rugged coast line. The trip was absolutely incredible and I loved every minute of it.

Morocco made an ideal destination for a long weekend. I would perhaps recommend visiting a bit earlier or later in the year to avoid the heat, but even in the heat it was a fantastic place. Marrakech has so much to offer and Essaouira completely stole my heart! I'm also very lucky to have the best person in the world to travel with. This was a really fantastic trip and I can't wait for our next adventure.

Where should we go next? What's your ideal anniversary/couples destination?


  1. I really want to go after seeing all you lovely photos :)


    1. Aw thanks! It was so beautiful, I'd definitely recommend it as somewhere to visit!