Top things to do in Marrakech

Marrakech is a place that you either love or hate but it’s also a place like no other and before you go you need to prepare so that you don’t get dissapointed. The first thing that everyone asked me was is Marrakech safe?

Before I went I heard lots of bad experiences mainly from women, how they were hassled or scammed by random people. Personally, I didn’t have any bad experience but you need to be alert and keep in mind that people will try to scam you, starting from the taxi drivers. Any drive within Marrakech by taxi shouldn’t be cost more than 50 dirhams (€5). You need to be prapered to bargain. If they don’t want to lower the fare, you should leave or pretend to leave because they will probably accept your offer or in the worse case you will find another taxi driver.

Also, don’t accept help from random people on the street who want to give you directions, or people who come up to you to sell you something. Always make sure you look like you know where you are going, even if you don’t.

I would advise getting a Moroccan SIM card at the airport so that you can use it for Google Maps. Before you leave the terminal building at Marrakech airport you will see many different vendors selling SIM cards with data plans included, we got a plan with Orange which cost €10 and included 4GB of data. We also found that Google Maps in Marrakech was pretty accurate unlike Venice or Seattle where it didn’t work for us, and we ended up walking in circles.

Stay

We stayed at a new boutique riad called Ksar Kasbah & Spa, it’s located in the old town just a short walk from the main attractions like Sadian Tombs and Bahia Palace or if you prefer, a 20 minute walk to the souks. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the most friendly staff. They offered us mint tea and some Moroccan pastries to enjoy by the pool. The turquoise pool is in the heart of the riad, covered in pretty mosaic tiles, luscious green plants and ornate furniture, it’s like your personal Eden! Ksar Kasbah is so peaceful and calm that you will wish you could stay here all day. This riad has a total of eleven rooms all built around the pool and furnished in a pure bohemian style (price range: from €100 to €150 per night).

I really loved the rooftop, with its sun loungers, and cacti it was especially magical during the sunset.

The breakfast, which was included in the price was a delight: tasty Moroccan crepes, fluffy lemon/poppy seeds, fresh fruits, eggs and dairy products. You can choose to eat on the rooftop or by the pool. We also opted for dinner one night, which we had under the stars. Their chicken and lemon tajine was devine and the couscous Royal was amazing!

Another feature of Ksar Kasbah is its spa, located on the rooftop. With a traditional hammam and 2 cabins for treatments and massage, the spa is open every day from 8 am to 9 pm. All the treatments are performed with natural local products.

Hotel Mamounia

Whether you’re staying there or not, you’ll probably want to make a trip to the breathtaking Mamounia, a luxury 5-star hotel set in a former royal palace. I can’t comment on the experience of staying there because, sadly, it was outside of my budget, but we did manage to go for a drink and stroll around the grounds and I have to say it felt like a glimpse of a different world. Plus if you’re looking for gram-worthy spots, you’ll find plenty of #InstaGold. Those Insta -famous monochrome pillars are now closed to the general public and only for guests so I didn’t get the snap there but the rest of the hotel is just as beautiful.

Eat

Le Jardin

Le Jardin is located in the middle of the souks and the athmosphere lives up to its name- it’s a beautiful, calm green oasis. When you walk in you will forget that you are just few steps away from the hustle and bustle of the souks. Le Jardin is owned by the same group as Nomad so you can expect delicious food, amazing interiors and even a few turtles wandering around.

Nomad

Probably the most famous food place in Marrakech, this lively restaurant serves simple “Modern Moroccan” cuisine: traditional local cuisine and international dishes with a Moroccan twist. It is spread over four floors with two levels of terraces that offer amazing views of the surrounding Medina and the Atlas mountain range. Nomad is perfect for both lunch and dinner or drinks at the bar to rest from the craziness of the souks. We went for dinner and even though I’m not a big lamb fan, I had one of the best ever (lamb)burgers.

Il Limoni

Another serene restaurant right in the middle of the chaos of Medina. It might be hard to spot at first because all that separates the alley from the restaurant is a set of tiny wooden doors. But when you pass through them you will step into an unexpected world – tiled courtyard shaded with lemon trees, calm music and the scent of delicious Italian and Moroccan food. We spent two hours there, just relaxing, people watching and listening to the birds.

No matter where you are going for food, make sure to try famous Moroccan dish tajine. Moroccan tajine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, typically made with sliced meat, poultry or fish together with vegetables or fruit. Spices, nuts, and dried fruits are also used.

More Food: Café Des Épices,Le Salama, Atay Cafe

See

Le Jardin Majorelle & Yves Saint Laurent Museum

One of the few sights in the New Town is the Jardin Majorelle, a beautiful botanical garden previously owned by Yves Saint Laurent and housing the Museum of the late French fashion designer. It’s pretty small, but well worth visiting for the striking design, colours and beautiful range of foliage where you can wander around and hide from the heat. I don’t have any pictures from inside the musuem because it is not permitted to take photos, but believe me, you will be amazed with the garments exibited inside.

Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace is a striking example of Moroccan architecture consisting of several grand rooms and courtyards. The gardens are particulary beautiful with their orange trees and fountains. This palace was never a home of the royal family but it was a home of Si Moussa, the man who managed sultan’s household. After his son died, the servents ransacked the palace so today the palace stands completely empty and without any furniture, so when you visit you can only admire the woodwork and the tiles and try to imagine how it once looked.

Souks

You can’t really miss the souks, the main markets of Marrakech. There’s a central covered area made up of a maze of alleyways twisting through stalls selling traditional crafts, Moroccan lamps, designer fakes, and lots of beautiful crockery and it’s really hard to resist. You can easily spend hours browsing the stalls, but make sure to haggle. We found out that before going to the main market the best thing to do is to visit the smaller, local market where the prices are fixed and there is no negotiation. That will give you an insight into what is an acceptable price for the items you want to buy. Also keep in mind shopkeepers can be quite agressive if you try taking pictures, there were a few times we were told we couldn’t take photos unless we bought something so I ended up buying a tea pot, two plates and a wooden camel.

On your wander around markets, you will probably end up at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and market place. Personally, I didn’t like it. It was too chaotic, there were live snakes (which are my biggest phobia) I also found the people there very pushy.

Le Jardin Secret

The garden is located in the middle of Medina and from the outside is advertised as an open air museum. You enter the complex into a tiled courtyard with running water, and foliage. It’s almost unbelievable peaceful, especially because there is not many tourists inside. Originally built in 16th century these gardens were previously ruined and left decay for years until 2008 when they started renovation and finally opened it for the public in 2016. There is not much you can do inside except enjoy the serenity and Islamic architecture so if you want you can sit in one of the two cafes.Entrance fee is 50 dirhams.

Koutoubia Mosque

Other places: Marrakech Museum, Saadian Tombs, Koutoubia Mosque, El Badi Palace, Ben Youseff Madrasa(currently closed for renovation-2019)

Do

There are so many things you can do while staying in Marrakech from day trip to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate, to a night at luxury desert camps in Agafay desert or 3 day tour to Merzouga (proper sand) desert. Because we were only there for 3 days, we needed to choose the most convenient one. We booked a private camel ride in Agafay desert through the Dunes & Desert tour agency. We had a private driver and a guide who picked us up at 9am from near our Riad and took us to the Berber village in Agafay desert. For those who don’t know, Berbers are people ethnicly indigenous to North Africa. Their rich cultural history dates back to prehistoric times, over 4000 years ago. Although, the Berber people today don’t live exclusively in rural areas, these communities offer an interesting insight into the Berber tradition and history. All the camels there are owned by a local family and they appeared to be very well looked after. After our camel ride, (which was overwhelming experience for me because I simply adore camels) we were served freshly made Moroccan pancakes with condiments and mint tea.

I have to say, this was one of the best experiences that I ever had. We had a chance to see communities that live in the middle of nowhere, leading a life that was so different from ours.

If you want to ride a camel, you can also do that in Marrakech, at the Palm Grove, but I would recommend a more unique and authentic experience.

London’s Best Brunch Spots

Brunch is definiately my favourite meal of the day, everything about it is amazing from the fresh coffee, avocado’s and eggs to the surroundings at some of the best places you can go for brunch.

When you live in London finding a great place for brunch can be a very daunting task, but here I’ve done all of the hard work for you and written about five of my favourite brunch places so you don’t have to guess where to go!

Eggbreak

There aren’t many places where I really want to go back for breakfast because eggs are eggs, no matter where you go, right?

Well Eggbreak is in a different league. Settled in a quiet street just 2 minutes from Notting Hill Gate station, this small but absolutly charming place will make you come back for more. They serve meals all day, from breakfast to dinner so you can also order granola and a burger toghether. But when it comes to brunch forget about ordering avocado with eggs on toast and expect something totally different like Shashuka, Turkish or Levantine eggs or their cornflake french toast which will blow your mind. My favourite combination is definitely the sweet potato rosti with goat’s cheese, honey, kale, pinenuts and dill yoghurt.

The only downside of this place is that they don’t accept bookings so the queue can be pretty big. However to get around this they recently introduced a text service with queue numbers. You register your name and give your phone number to them and they will then text you when your table is available. Waiting won’t be too hard as you are close to the colourful and instagramable streets of Notting Hill that you can explore while you wait.

30 Uxbridge St, Kensington, London W8 7TA

Avobar

London’s first all-avo dining concept started as a pop-up but now has a permanent site in Covent Garden.  Avobar does pretty much what it says – it’s a restaurant where everything on the menu has avocado in it, on it or blended into it. Aside from all the food, you’ll also be able to ‘gram the lush interiors – imagine a California cool vibe plus a load of avocado-based skincare products from the cutesy little in-house shop. There are plants and green tiles everywhere and the wooden seats are lined with colourful and tropical-looking cushions to create a cosy atmosphere.

If that is not enough to get you there ASAP, Avobar sources their avocados ethically and sustainably working with growers and farmers all over the world.

Avobar, 23-24 Henrietta Street, London, WC2

Dayrooms Cafe

Dayrooms Cafe is a tiny venue on Kensington Park Road. Aussie inspired, it’s a stylish and relaxed cafe, offering fresh and healthy brunch dishes that are interesting and full of flavour. Every dish is beautifully presented, making this one of the most instagrammable brunches in London. The interior is well-lit with plants, a turquoise tiled floor and wicker light shades. On a sunny day, the two tables outside are the perfect spot for people watching.  No matter what you choose from the menu you won’t be dissapointed but I would recommend their sticky sesame chicken roll for brunch after 12pm and for something lighter – smoked salmon royal croissaint.

Dayrooms Cafe,212 Kensington Park Road, London, W111NR

Granger & CO

Granger & Co is a global Australia cafe from Bill Granger with branches in places like Honolulu, Sydney and Tokyo. In London, we are lucky enough to have four located in Clarkenwell, Chelsea,Kings Cross and Notting Hill. I had heard great things about Granger & Co, with their fluffy ricotta pancakes and scrambled eggs making people swoon but I put off visiting this place for so long mainly because the long queues are start from the early morning.  One weekend we got up really early and got there at (what we thought is early), 9:30. There was no queue but also no tables. I can say we were lucky enough to get a bar seat because as soon as we sat down there was 10+ people already waiting. We opted for the famous pancakes (of course) and simple scrambled eggs on sourdough toast.

I now understand why people queue.

The pancakes were definitely the best pancakes I’ve ever tried and eggs were so rich and buttery. Delicious! I can’t recommend Granger & Co. enough. Get there early if you don’t want to queue but know that it’s worth the wait.

Granger & Co, 175 Westbourne Grove,Notting Hill London W11 

Ivy Chelsea Garden

As you might know, Ivy is a chain of restaurants around London. I could easily write about any other location but I chose the one in Chelsea because of its interior. Colourfully decorated with a beautiful garden terrace area, it’s a lovely spot to fuel up with their extensive breakfast menu till 11:30, or weekend brunch. I would recommend pancakes (surprise) but no matter what you choose you won’t be disapointed.

However, the real highlight is the exterior that displays a different seasonal floral instalation reguraly seen on many London influencer’s snaps.

195 -197 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5EQ

 Skinny Kitchen

Ibiza-originated restaurant group, owned by former personal trainer Joel Belchemand his wife Louise, is bringing its brand of hip clean eating and Ibiza mantra of “Eat Clean, Rave Dirty” to London with its first opened location in Islington.

With an all-day dining menu of fresh juices and organic coffee in the morning to superfood cocktails in the evening, the restaurant’s food menu caters to everyone no matter their dietary needs – from gluten-free, vegans, vegetarians, bodybuilders or just people that love eating healthy.

It was really hard to choose from an extensive menu but we opted for pancakes – eggs and bacon and peanut butter, banana and strawberries which were to die for.

When it comes to Insta-worthy spots, Skinny Kitchen won’t disappoint you. A big heated outdoor terrace brings island vibes, while the interior boosts sleek pink tiles, vibrant teal velvet booth seating with vibrant plants and green foliage dangling from the ceiling.

 52 Upper St, London N1 0QH

 

24 Hours in Bath

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Only 90 minutes from London, Bath is the perfect place for a weekend gateway. With its famous Georgian terraces, thermal spa waters, cream teas and Jane Austen – it’s so easy to fall in love with it. English charm pulls in visitors from all around the world and because it has so many historic buildings, the entire city has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Last weekend we decided to explore this beautiful place and as I had never been before we wanted to fill our day with as much as possible.

 

 Eating:

Hunter & Sons

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This place is famous for their balance of craft beers, light bites, coffee and cakes but they also have an amazing brunch menu which is available until 4pm.  Another advantage is that it’s secluded and therefore not touristy which is great for a relaxing lunch.  The staff are also very friendly which creates an atmosphere that is super chilled and welcoming.

14/15 Milsom Place, Bath BA1 1BZ

Society Cafe

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Coffee shop culture is big in Bath so it was very hard to choose a place for an afternoon rest. We happened to walk past ‘The Corridor’, opposite the Guildhall and couldn’t resist popping in after seeing the lovely frontage and eye-catching bar. The cafe is very light, has a very relaxing feel and the coffee is as great as the cake menu.

http://www.society-cafe.com

Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB

 

Shopping

Magellaria

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This place is a magazine-lovers dream! Here you’ll find those hard-to-track-down titles and discover many new magazines. From art and design to fashion, travel, music and film – the choice is overwhelming.

http://www.magalleria.co.uk

22A Broad St, Bath BA1 5LN

 

The Foodie Bugle

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This shop is absolutely the cutest in Bath. They stock absolutely beautiful items for the home, as well as food and drink.  You can relax here with a cup of tea and piece of cake, but also attend a variety of different workshops in their space upstairs, featuring photography, embroidery, houseplant workshops and more.

http://www.thefoodiebugleshop.com

2 Abbey St, Bath BA1 1NN

 

Sight Seeing 

If you are one of those people who like to avoid tourist traps, it will be hard to avoid them in Bath.  You will probably stumble upon some of the sites during the day and they are completely free, but then there are those that are a little bit costly.

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The Roman Baths is one of those. The first baths were built here in 70AD and over a million liters of 46°C water still flow into them every day. You can take a tour around the ruins of the Great Bath and the temple of Sulis Minerva. Don’t try the water from the bath itself though as the water is not processed but you will have an opportunity to try the warm spring water at the end of the tour (Although the experience is not the greatest because water has a strong iron taste). It costs £17 (adult) or £15(senior/students) to gain entry to the baths but they are worth seeing.

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One of my favorite spots was the Royal Crescent, one of the most famous Bath landmarks. These Georgian houses laid out in a crescent were built in the 1700s and haven’t changed a lot. Most are private residences when they’re not being used by film crews for period dramas, but Number 1 Royal Crescent has been turned into as a museum. You can go back in time to the 18th century inside and see how the Georgians lived.

Just a stones throw away is a similar row of houses called Circus where the houses are positioned in a circle but with the same Charles Dickens novel feeling.

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We also took a walk along Pulteney Bridge. It’s one of the few bridges which has shops built into the sides and the facade is still very well preserved.

If the weather is good you can take a boat trip along the River Avon or have a picnic in the Parade Gardens which are just next to the river.

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Other Places: Fashion Museum|Jane Austen CenterBath Abbey| Sally Lunn’s Bath|Prior Park Landscape Garden|

 

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Dubrovnik – King’s Landing

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Dubrovnik is called the “Pearl of the Adriatic” and in my opinion, there are very few places in Europe that can match this place when it comes to beauty and it should be on top of everyone’s travel list.

Know as King’s Landing from HBO’s Game of Thrones now got even more hype because it will be featured in new Star Wars VIII movie.

After visiting Dubrovnik this summer and experiencing all the beauty I’ll share some of my favourite things to see and do.

 

Have Breakfast at Dubravka 1836

We discovered this place on our first day and we loved it. Dubravka is a restaurant and a cafe that serves everything from breakfast to dinner but we liked breakfast so much that we kept coming back. It’s located near Pile Gate and you get stunning views of the fortresses Lovrijenac, Bokar and Minčeta. You can choose from few different types of breakfast and every single one is massive, delicious and great value for money. We were also lucky to get the table close to the edge

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Walk The Walls

Probably the first thing every tourist does in Dubrovnik is walking the giant Walls of Dubrovnik. 1,940 metres long and 25 meters high, with 3 forts- Minceta Tower, Fort Bokar and St John fortress, Walls will keep you occupied for at least one hour.

There are 3 gates where you can enter- Pile, Ploce and Buza and for entrance, you’ll pay approximately £13 per person.

My advice is to avoid to climb the Walls between 11 and 5 because  heat and tourists can turn this amazing experience into torture. Bring water and camera and take advantage of many photo opportunities along the way.

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Dress: New Look(sold out), Bag: Accessorize

Explore the Old Town

Old Town Dubrovnik at night is as beautiful as it is during the day. From  white cobblestone streets to the maze of stairs filled alleyways that make up Old Town, there are endless routes to explore.

Stradun or Placa is the main street of Dubrovnik. The pedestrian street runs some 300 metres through the Old Town. Many shops, restaurants and cafes are located there but because it’s main tourist promenade prices are much higher than in the rest of the town.

It can get overcrowded so the best time to go it’s early morning.

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Visit Lokrum

Lokrum is a small, inhabited island just a short 15 min boat ride. This island can provide you with few hours of fun in the sun or hiking to the highest point(96m) Fort Royal Castle. The climb is steep but once when you get there the view of Dubrovnik and coastline is spectacular.

Lokrum is also home to an old monastery, botanical gardens and a small lake called Mrtvo More or the (Dead Sea). And Game of Thrones fans will be amazed because there is a real Iron Throne in which you can sit and take the picture.

Be aware, island is inhabited by gangs of cute peacocks and rabbits that seem to be around every corner on this island!

Cost: Round boat trip is around £10

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Have a Drink at Buza Bar

In the old Dubrovnik dialect, buža means ‘hole’ and indeed,to get to the unique cafe bar you need to go through the hole in the wall. Buza is one of the most beautiful bars in Dubrovnik located on the cliffs  where you are able to enjoy magnificent views of open Adriatic sea, island Lokrum and beautiful sunsets  while drinking cocktails.

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Catch Some Rays on the Beach

Dubrovnik’s main public beach is Banje Beach, located near Ploce gate, offers great view of the Old Town. Although many people rent lounge chairs and umbrellas, there’s no problem with just flinging a towel on the beach. There is a beach and lounge bar and restaurant which also turns into a night club in the evening.

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Problem is this beach get overcrowded so you might want to find alternative.

Little bit further away is St Jacob Beach. This beautiful sandy-pebble beach is located in the elite part of Dubrovnik, in the cove below cliffs and the namesake church St. Jacob. The beach offers a spectacular view of the old town, city walls and on the island Lokrum.

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 Ride The Cable Car

The best view of Dubrovnik is certainly from the top of the Srd Hill. In a short ride, the cable car takes you from downtown Dubrovnik 778 m up where the amazing view will simply take your breath away.

While you are there, after you done your Instagram pictures, you can have a meal or a drink at the cafe and restaurant Panorama, visit Museum Dubrovnik in Homeland War or go on an adventurous ride with the Buggy Safari tour.

My recommendation is to get there just before the sunset for the most epic experience.

Price of return trip is around £13.

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Have a Dinner at Taj Mahal

No,it’s not Indian restaurant as you might think. It’s bosnian! If you want sea food it’s very easy to find good sea food reastaurant but this bosnian place is something different. You have to be aware that queuqeing might take hours so it’s recommended that you book in advance.

Bosnian cuisine is mainly influenced by Turkish, Middle East and Meditteranean cuisine, consisted from both, meat and vegetables.

Try local specialties like cevapcici(grilled minced meat), burek, sarma, potato pie or ajvar.

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