48 Hours In Marrakech

Above: The Jemaa el Fna Square at sunset in Marrakesh, Morocco (Photo: posztos/Shutterstock)

Marrakech was once possibly the most important and influential imperial Berber city in the world. Nicknamed the ‘Red City’ because of its red clay city walls and numerous red mud buildings; and advocated by King Mohammed VI as a tourist city, the city is a hive of activity both day and night. Let the spells of spices from the street markets, and the abundance of low priced shopping in the Souks lure you in as you forget about the outside world from the very first moment that you land at the city’s Marrakech-Menara Airport.

What to see

Apart from the famous street markets enticing weary tourists in to haggle over numerous unusual souvenirs, the many snake charmers, and the legendary red mud-brick fortifications surrounding Marrakech, the city’s major highlight has to be the Jardin Majorelle, a large botanical garden housing fountains, rare flowers and plants, and cacti and bird species only found in North Africa. The gardens were designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s, but were purchased by the famous fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent in 1980 and opened to the public; Saint-Laurent’s ashes were scattered around the gardens. The Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech can be found tucked away within the expansive gardens, portraying Islamic art throughout the ages. The gardens really are an oasis of calm right at the heart of this bustling city.

What to eat

You simply cannot visit Marrakech without sampling some of the world famous street foods from Djemma El Fna. The street market has been awarded a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ thanks to its abundance of freshly cooked food stalls. Don’t forget to haggle for your food when ordering Moroccan couscous, chicken and lamb tagines, or lamb kebabs all washed down with a glass of fresh orange juice. Prices are relatively cheap, with full dishes costing from approximately 25 Moroccan Dirhams (CA$ 3). Food is important in Marrakech and is part of Moroccan daily life.

What to do

Taking a ‘ship of the desert’ is a fun way to explore the quieter parts of the city. Half-day camel rides take tourists around the Palmeraie (Palm Groves of Marrakech) and there is always time for a spot of locally sourced mint tea. If you would prefer to see more of the city, and you are an adrenaline junkie, then a flight on a hot air balloon should be considered. Ciel d’Afrique Hot Air Ballooning offers 50 minute balloon flights for a reasonable price, with breakfast included. There is simply no better way to see Marrakech than from the air.

Where to shop

The Souks at the Medina of Marrakech offer an abundance of shopping opportunities for both young and old tourists. Within the seemingly endless labyrinth of the Medina it is possible to haggle for almost anything, ranging from jewellery to tea pots, and clothes to fez hats. It is important that you haggle for your purchases as the vendors will always quote around 3 times higher than the items are worth.

To find out more about why you should visit Marrakech, visit www.visitmorocco.com now!

Tags: Marrakech, Travel Guide

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