This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

MID YEAR SALE Further 20% off all rugs - Ends June 30

Cart 0

No more products available for purchase

Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $100.00 AUD away from free shipping.

MID YEAR SALE 20% off site-wide finishes June 30

Subtotal Free
View cart
Shipping, taxes, and discount codes are calculated at checkout
Add order notes

Experience The Old Marrakech

Experience The Old Marrakech - Nouvelle Nomad
Marrakech medina a mosque and an arched door way in pink streets

Arriving back into Marrakech this year has been a magical and soul filling experience after 2 years away. I've spent the first few weeks beating the jetlag with early morning laps around the old medina, getting my daily step count up in tourist mode visiting all the heritage sights, in between rooftop catch ups with suppliers and old friends.

Not much happens before 10am, so waking up early still on Australian-time I've loved wandering the quiet and calm streets of the medina with no crowds. The stall holders and street cleaners setting up at Jmaa El Fna, the shop keepers mindfully sweeping their steps and stacking their wares, before the organised chaos begins.

Once the crowds kick in it's back to orange juice sellers yelling for your attention from their stalls, snake and monkey handlers chasing tourists for photos, Berber music troops playing their drums, t-shirt sellers, acrobats and henna artists - the energy is a full blown assault on all 5 senses at once. And I love it.

Jmaa El Fna the big square at sunset Marrakech, Morocco

A protected UNESCO heritage site, Marrakech's medina has had a huge amount of funds funnelled into it over the last few years for restoring significant buildings, re-paving the streets, and upgrading the ramshackle and mis-matched doorways.

The old thatched awnings throughout the neighbourhoods that let the dappled sunlight in and give the streets those magical shadows have mostly been replaced by uniformed lattice panels and shade cloths. While it's great to see so many local workers keeping busy with the restorations, I can't help but feel a bit of nostalgia for the 'old Marrakech'.

Renovations in Marrakech old medina

Like many so places that have become increasingly social media famous over the last few years, Marrakech is rapidly modernising. It's seeing a huge spike in tourism numbers this year as holiday starved travelers, fashion brands and film crews flock back to the city in search of the iconic photos in it's dusty pink streets, it's romantic roof tops, and luxurious riads with their sparkling tiled swimming pools.

The Instagram version of Marrakech often heavily focuses on the latest hotel openings, new rooftop bars, luxury desert camps and concept stores. This influencer style of tourism often totally misses the heart and soul of the people and the culture, and the back streets where local life is lived.

A tiled arch in Marrakech old Medina

If you're visiting Marrakech and want to find a balance between capturing the dreamy instagram version, and experiencing a piece of the old Marrakech, you can't go past the absolutely breath taking palaces, gardens and galleries that tell tales of old worlds.

Here's some of them to put on your itinerary:

The Central pool and Tiled Courtyard of Ben Youssef Mardrasa Marrakech Morocco

Ben Youssef Madrasa.

The old islamic college and mosque. Recently re-opened after the last 3 years being closed for restorations. Incredibly I was lucky enough to wander in with no crowds on this particular day, and got the most magnificent view of the empty courtyard.

Bridget in a door way at Ben Youssef Mardrasa Marrakech


Palais El Badi

The 16th Century 'incomparable palace' that has generations of both wealth poured into it, and decline - with it's riches and resources pillaged for other monuments.

Get there early to catch the morning shadows and empty courtyards before the school groups and tour crowds arrive.

Bridget at the Palais El Badi Marrakech Morocco
The tiles at the Palais El Badi in Marrakech
Palais El Badi in Marrakech
The ruins at 16th Century Palais El Badi in Marrakech

Dar El Bacha

Dating back to the early 1900s it's the newer of the palaces built during French colonial times. Built as a home for powerful politician and governor of Marrakech at the time. Is now a museum with it's beautifully maintained traditional gardens and courtyard.

Dar El Bacha palace and tiled courtyard Marrakech, Morocco
Dar El Bacha palace and tiled courtyard Marrakech, Morocco
Dar El Bacha palace and tiled courtyard Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech Photography Museum

I love a walk around this historic old riad reading the stories of the waves of migrants, caravan trails and communities. The photography is an incredible time capsule into the Marrakech of the past and it's people. The rooftop has a nice view and set menu for lunch too.

Marrakech Photography museum
Marrakech Photography Museum
Marrakech Photography Museum

The Bahia Palace

An expansive and opulent palace built in the late 19th century. Usually the busiest of the historical monuments, with waves of crowds flowing through the huge courtyards, traditional gardens and labyrinth of zellige tiled rooms with huge fireplaces, handpainted doors and impossibly high ceilings.

Old zellige tiles at the Bahia Palace Marrakech Morocco
Old zellige tiles at the Bahia Palace Marrakech Morocco
The courtyard at the Bahia Palace Marrakech Morocco
The courtyards at the Bahia Palace Marrakech Morocco

Now I'm not suggesting to get all of these sights ticked off the list in a day or two - quite the opposite actually. It's taken me years to get to all of these palaces and see them properly.

Stomping from one end of the medina to the other on foot is both tiring and can be a bit overwhelming. So if you've only got a couple of days to spend in the red city, pick one or two you'd like to see and get there early to avoid the crowds.

Then head back into the souks to enjoy a refreshing drink or mint tea above the rooftops to rest your weary legs. The mint and lemon mojito at Shtatto is the perfect spot.

A drink above the rooftops in Marrakech medina

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published