What to do in Marrakech

One of the most fascinating cities in the world, Marrakech is a place that feels like the centre of the universe.

Bathed in colour and rich in culture, it is an exciting introduction to Morocco. Famous for its bustling markets where you can try out your bartering skills to the grand mosques and traditional hammams, it is a place you simply have to explore. Thanks to the abundance of luxury hotels close to the city centre, it has never been easier to visit the Red City.

We’ve picked out some of the must-see and do activities in this inspirational city.

Jemaa el-Fnaa

Jemaa el-Fnaa is the heartbeat of Marrakech. This famous square is where everything happens, it’s where locals gather to buy goods from the markets, it’s where you can find some delicious local food and, once the sunsets, and it’s where you can marvel at the nightly carnival.

The square has gained worldwide notoriety and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. It’s an experience unlike anywhere else you’ve been before and if you only do one thing in Marrakech it has to be this.

Koutoubia Mosque

Another of Marrakech’s most iconic landmarks is Koutoubia Mosque. Built by the Almohad dynasty in the 12th century, it is not only the largest building in the city but there is a local law which no other structure is allowed to be taller.

For locals, it is a regular meeting point and inside features an elegant prayer hall where worshippers have been coming to for centuries. You can see the opulence of this beautiful mosque for yourself by touring its quiet halls.

Visit the souks

Become an honorary Moroccan by trying out your bartering skills at the numerous souks across the Red City. These open air markets have been a part of Marrakech life for generations and were seen as a vital source of income for travelling vendors.

You can find pretty much anything you can think of here. From an array of exotic spices to intricately designed rugs you can source a memento of your Moroccan adventure here. There are souks at every turn in Marrakech so try not to get lost.

Embrace the coffee culture

You don’t have to spend long in Marrakech to realise that everyone here loves coffee. Wherever you look there is a cafe filled with people enjoying aromatic blends as well as Morocco’s famous mint tea.

The city has an abundance of places where you can take a break and enjoy a stimulating coffee paired with a slice of delicious, crumbly homemade cake. It is the perfect way to start a day of exploring.

Stop by a traditional Moroccan restaurant

Among the many highlights of Marrakech, the food is right up there. The city is a maze of restaurants, street food stands and cafes serving an array of delicious Moroccan cuisine. Taste a Marrakech speciality known as tangia, a chicken or lamb dish infused with garlic, lemon and garlic and cooked in a clay, domed pot and served with flatbread.

Alternatively, you can snack on zaalouk, a smoked aubergine dip with hints of garlic, paprika, cumin and chilli powder, and mopped up with pretty much any vegetable you can think of. For those with a sweet tooth, give a traditional meskouta, a delicate lemon cake, a try.

Bahia Palace

Another of Marrakech’s stunning buildings is the Bahia Palace. Translated as ‘brilliance’ in Arabic, this 19th century palace lives up to its name after being built by grand vizier of the sultan Si Moussa Ba Ahmed, a former slave, in 1867.

Set among the Marrakech medina, it is a sprawling, elegant complex of 150 rooms, a courtyard and luscious gardens. Today, you can wander around the mosaic tiled floors and discover the brilliance of Bahia.

Jardin Majorelle

Marrakech can feel like a city going at 100mph at times so take a break from the craziness in the tranquility of Jardin Majorelle. Created by French Orientalist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s, this beautiful botanical garden is an oasis of calm with over 300 species plants creating a unique setting.

The gardens took on an extra sense of importance after famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent bought it in 1980 as a thank you to the city he once called home. You can wander around the perfectly preserved blue villa and see the range of artefacts which honour Morocco’s indigenous people.

Be pampered in a hammam

After a long day of sightseeing, there is no better way to unwind than in a hammam. These traditional Moroccan bathhouses is where you can be pampered the way people have been in this part of the world for centuries.

Marrakech has an abundance of hammams including some of the Morocco’s most luxurious. Check-in and let trained masseuses unlock your knots, rehydrate your skins with traditional argan oil and then take a dip in the blissful indoor swimming pools. Afterwards, you’ll be ready to take on Marrakech once again.

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