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Marrakech offers a sense of adventure and a vibrant atmosphere where you will experience an eclectic mix of art and architecture. In a city steeped in history and culture, here is our Top Ten Things To Do In Marrakech:
We can’t think of a better way to enjoy Marrakech than wandering around the souks spending your dirham. The labyrinth of lanes sells a variety of traditional Moroccan products including clothing, lanterns, leather and pottery. Haggling is expected when purchasing at souks, so remember to start your bid at a quarter of the price you have been quoted.
Djemma El Fna Square
Djemma El Fna Square is a spectacle at any time of day, however it is at night when the square really comes to life. There are street food stalls to enjoy, monkeys ,snake charmers, henna ladies street musicians and lots more. The seemingly endless maze of alleyways that lead off the square is home to tiny retail cubicles and is a great place to experience the vibrancy of Marrakech.
Formerly owned by Yves Saint Laurent, this twelve-acre botanical and artist’s landscape garden is one of the most visited sites in Morocco. Rare flora from five continents thrive in the shadow of a cobalt-blue art deco villa, built in 1931 by painter Jacques Majorelle.
Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech located near Djemma El Fna Square. The stunning mosque is known for its magnificent 70 metre minaret, the oldest of the three great Almohad minarets remaining in the world. Built in 1150, this beautiful piece of historical architecture offers spectacular views over the city.
Visit A Hammam
A true Moroccan hammam is more roughhousing than relaxation. Public bathhouses such as the Hammam el-Bacha offer traditional gommage, a full-body scrub performed by a tabbeya (bath attendant), who restores skin with a rough glove. However, if you are prone to shyness or sensitive skin, you might prefer the more modern hammams of Marrakech, with private steam rooms and soothing argan-oil massages.
North Africa’s greatest mountain range, the Atlas Mountains contains some of the most intriguing and beautiful regions of Morocco. There are routes around the mountains suitable for trekkers, casual day-hikers and serious mountaineers, from staggering peaks adventures to well-trodden passes. Muleteers and their mules are available for hire, and mountain guides are an invaluable resource recommended if you are heading off the main routes. Other mountain activities include rock climbing, ski mountaineering and mountain biking.
La Mamounia Hotel
The spectacular La Mamounia Hotel is set in royal gardens, styled in sheer opulence and has housed legendary guests including Sir Winston Churchill. The award winning hotel is almost 100 years old and is regarded as one of the most beautiful hotel’s in the world. Unless you are lucky enough to stay here, La Mamounia Hotel is definitely worth a visit for dinner and drinks. The breathtaking gardens are open to the public and the Bar Italien is an amazing place to have a drink and watch the sun set.
Nineteen miles outside Marrakesh, the Agafay offers desert scenery and a turfless golf course at La Pause. For less than the green fee at most courses, La Pause offers organic lunches laced with estate-grown olive oil, followed by nine holes or a nap in a hammock by the chlorine-free pool. You can stay overnight in a candlelit Berber tent or mud-brick bungalow, which includes a sunset ride on horseback or on a camel. For the more adventurous visitors, explore the desert on a camel, quad bike or an unforgettable hot air balloon ride.
The Saadian Tombs
Thanks to aerial photography, the Saadian Tombs were discovered in 1917 and flank the south side of the Kasbah Mosque. The site of what is possibly Marrakech’s most visited monument is an ancient walled garden. Saadian Sultan, Ahmed al-Mansour ed-Dahbi, spared no expense on his tomb, importing Italian Carrara marble and gilding honeycomb plasterwork with pure gold to make the Chamber of the 12 Pillars a suitably glorious mausoleum.
Marrakech has a host of fabulous culinary delights to indulge in. Comptoir Darna in the Medina Quarter has a lively atmosphere and belly dancing show while diners feast on Moroccan and international cuisine. For great views over the souks these cool rooftop hangouts are a great way to escape the hustle and bustle, Nomad serves hip Moroccan dishes whilst Cafe Des Epices provides a selection of tasty light meals. For those looking for something a little different, Pepe Nero is a delicious Italian restaurant just a 5 minute walk from Djemma El Fna Square.
Images by Sue Fisher