Sitting in the edge of the Sahara Desert, lies an inspirational oasis that will motivate creatives, entrepreneurs, and wanders for another thousand years. Winston Churchill declared Marrakech to be “The last paradise on Earth” and “the loveliest spot in the world.” There is a reason its the most visited imperial city in Morocco. An exotic town with twisted alleyways, colorful buildings, bustling bazaars, and unique energy that you have to see for yourself.

Since its beginnings, Marrakech has been a trading hub. The early days of the town attracted leather tanners, merchants, and artisans. From then on, it has been an inspirational place where ideas flourish and entrepreneurism sparkles. Visit the Medina (old city), which is full of souks and flea markets, and you will see artisans work hard on their traditional craft. Or stop by the MAX&JAN shop; a brand ran by young entrepreneurs, Maximilian Scharl and Jan Pauwels, who are the new breed of design-forward brands. Whether it’s the old or the new, Marrakech can undoubtedly spark creativity and inspire you to hustle harder.

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Photo by @szindy

What makes Marrakech so special is that it blends culture like no other place, combining African, Middle Eastern, and European influencers, yet crafting its own unique style. There is a reason why it draws famous designers and artist. Yves Saint Laurent, considered one of the best fashion designers of the twentieth century, was so inspired by the red city for decades that he decided to live and be laid to rest here. It was Morocco that he worked on some of his most brilliant collections. It’s clear that Marrakech has a spell on the shakers and movers that visit the red city. Here are a few ideas that will help make the most of your inspiration trip to Marrakesh.

VISIT EL BADI PALACE

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Photo by @wanderlusterprincess

The El Badi Palace is a must stop for anyone visiting Marrakesh. Marvelous by day and breathtaking at night (candlelit), this ancient royal palace in Arabic means “Incomparable Palace.” When it was built in 1593, the finest materials and craftsmanship were used. Gold, ivory, onyx, and even marble from Italy were used in its construction. It was considered as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by the guests who had the pleasure to walks its dazzling halls.

Unfortunately, a civil war in Morocco, lead to its decline and devastation. A new ruler destroyed the grand buildings, taking the riches to constructs his own palaces, leaving El Badi in ruins. What is left is just a sandstone shell. Nevertheless, it allows you to use your creativity and imagination to recreate the complex’s former glory in your mind. Even though the El Badi Palace stands merely in its bare structure, its beauty can’t be dismissed. Like the Arabic proverb says, أقسى من الحجر, which means “Tougher than a Stone.”.

A NIGHT IN THE DESERT

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Photo by @oos_photography

Staying in the desert overnight can direct the imagination in an extraordinary place. Not sure if its the solitude, silence, or the spiritual landscape of the sand, but the desert can remarkably expand one’s consciousness. The stillness of the Sahara is something everyone should experience once in their life. It’s ideal for writers, artist, or anyone just looking to getaway. Most travelers choose to stay overnight in the stunning Zagora Desert, which is an 8-10 hour drive. However, Agagay desert is only 30 min outside of Marrakech and has some wonderful luxury camping options.

Glamping in Agagay Desert

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Photo by @amandadukobza

SHOP WHERE THEY THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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Photo by @maxandjan

If you are in eCommerce, marketing, or the design industry, there is a thing or two you can learn from Morocco’s boutiques and the young entrepreneurs that run them. The old city is not the only place to going shopping. In Gueliz and Sidi Ghanem, known as the new city, you can find some cool concept stores that are carefully curated and designed. Some are set up as part gallery and part showroom. Some even host events and get-togethers. Some even only accept appointments, offering you a more personalized experience. Shopping in Marrakech is a fantastic activity, especially when have to walk down tiny alleys and hidden streets to discover unique boutiques.

One great example of a local designer thinking outside the box is Artsi Ifrach, of Maison ARTC. He creates pieces with total freedom from the state of mind he has at the moment. He quotes Napolean, “there is a fine line between the ridiculous and the sublime. I search this line every time in every piece. I am thinking what we would like to have, that we do not have yet. The strongest part we all have is our individuality. That is what I am doing with one-of-a-kind pieces, as we all are.”

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Photo courtesy of Maisonartc.com

PRACTICE YOUR BARGAINING SKILLS

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Photo by @style_tonic

Shopping in the souks could be a fantasy or nightmare for some. Not everyone is good at negotiating, but everyone should be able to bargain. It’s a skill that most of us should possess for self-development or just to not end up with the short end of the stick. The medina is a great place to practice your bargaining skills. Why not also learn a few words in Darija (Moroccan Arabic) to make the experience more fun. Even if it’s just salam alikum (hello), hafak (please), and shukran bezaf (thank you very much). 

Most importantly remember, this should be fun and never stressful. Enjoy the practice of haggling, it’s part of the experience.

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Photo by @aimeesong

MEET ABDERRAZZAK BENCHAABANE

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Photo by @abderrazzakbenchaabane

Abderrazzak Benchaâbane is Moroccan ethnobotanist, world traveler, entrepreneur, and the country’s leading garden designer. His private estates feature expansive gardens and a contemporary museum which is open to the public. If you are lucky enough to meet this Marrakech legend, you are sure to be inspired by creativity and teaching. The Musee De la Palmeraie is full of his collection of sculptures, paintings, photography, and beautifully landscaped gardens that surrounds the property.

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Photo by @elsazuejos

ENJOY THE BOOMING RESTAURANT SCENE

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Photo by @barometremarrakech

There is no doubt that food awakens the senses. It’s more powerful than we think. The meals we have abroad shape our journey and could even define our memories. Morocco is an excellent place for mouthwatering food with exotic spices that is sure to leave a lasting impression. The combination of old North African traditions and contemporary food innovation strives in the city. The concept of bending, breaking, and blending the customs is the foundation of creativity. If appreciating the food scene here doesn’t inspire your own creativity, at least it will leave your tastebuds very happy.

RECHARGE AT THE MANY RAIDS

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Photo by @me_and_mango

When you are on holiday or vacation, you deserve an oasis of lush beauty and tranquillity to recharge your battery. The heart of Marrakech is home to over 800 raids, which are traditional Moroccan houses with central courtyards. Each Raid has its own story, unique architecture, and individual design. Whether its the ceramic tiles, Berber rugs, hand-woven textiles, or spa and swimming pool features, most raids you choose won’t disappoint. Pick one that you can relax and live and get treated like royalty. You deserve it.

APPRECIATE THE HUSTLE

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Photo by @manuelitulli

Jemaa el-Fna is the heart of the city’s Medina and is the most iconic image of the center. To really immerse your self in its spirit, you have to appreciate all its wonders. The colorful food stands, snake-charmers, henna artists, monkey-handlers, or the belly dancing drags. They are all working hard to preserve their traditions and share them with wanderlusters. The city is vibrant and bustling. You have to thank all the resilient performers, artisans, farmers, apothecaries, leather-makers, iron-workers, and all the other vendors that make the medina so lively. It’s the energy of the hustle that is the true treasure you get from Jemma el-Fna.

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Photo by @jhienesphoto
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Photo by @armbrusterphoto

One of the best things about traveling to Marrakech is you will appreciate every single day and realize how fast life goes by. Whether you are a creative or a business leader, you will gain inspiration in a place like this. Marrakech can open you to new ideas by exposing you to see the world through a different lens. Much of being a globetrotter is the mindset: be flexible, humble, and thirsty for new experience, similar to being an entrepreneur or creative. Whether it’s Marrakech or a different city, take time off, pack your bag, and go exploring for inspiration.

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Photo by @onewayticketrip

Looking for more guides on Morocco? Look no further. Read about the highspeed train that makes traveling in Morocco much easier. Planning on visiting the North of Morocco? Here is a guide to help plan your trip.

For more inspiration from other entrepreneurs across the world, check out our exclusive interview with Cuba’s most popular tech start-up, AlaMesa.