Bustling, noisy and energetic, Morocco's capital Marrakech is a city break getaway that's sure to entertain visitors with its endless craft shopping opportunities, brilliant historical sites and wonderfully welcoming locals.
Holidays in Marrakech
If you're the type of person who loves to experience new cultures, meet fun and friendly locals and, most importantly, indulge your inner explorer, Marrakech is the destination made for you. With historical sites aplenty, amazing and one-of-a-kind shopping, delicious food and loads of places to relax when your feet get tired from wandering.
The thing that sets Marrakech apart from other destinations, especially those in Morocco, is its busy and cosmopolitan nature. A truly 24-7 city, you'll enjoy evenings spent enjoying spicy treats and reclining in busy side streets enjoying a touch of shisha; go to sleep in a beautiful, family-owned guesthouse; then wake up and explore art galleries, curio shops and more.
The city – in particular its ancient, walled medina that's home to all sorts of sights and experiences – ensures its guests won't get bored.
A year-round destination, Marrakech's climate is warm and balmy any month of the year. Between May and October, the city is very hot and dry, with temperatures rising above 30°C during July and August, while the temperature drops below 20°C starting in October, leading to the coldest month, December.
However, the December through April period is still warm by British standards – during winter and spring the mercury can be between 5°C and the low 20's, so consider booking your holiday during this period if you don't enjoy scorching heat.
The wettest months are November, February, March and April, although even during these months, visitors will experience lots of clear, blue skies.
Things to do on holiday in Marrakech
There's one thing you can be sure of when visiting Marrakech – there's something for everyone! Here are some of the best experiences you can get up to when you visit.
Visit a souk
Arabic cities are well known for their markets – also known as souks. In these bustling marketplaces and winding, covered lanes, traders from far and wide come together to sell their wares, making them brilliant places to pick up souvenirs or presents for friends and family back home. In the souks you'll find traditional craft goods, silks, spices, carpets, clothing, supposedly magical items and more!
Be sure to head down Rue Semarine and Rue Mouassine – the busier and more boutique souk streets, respectively – and take your time to browse and enjoy the amazing experience. Also, be sure that you don't forget to haggle. We might not be very used to it back home, but in Morocco you're expected to try and cut a deal, and if you accept the given price you could end up spending more than you should have!
Tour beautiful gardens
While Marrakech is very urban, lacking wide streets and regular public parks, there are some fantastic places to get away from the noise and crowds. Take the Arset El-Mamoun gardens, for instance. In the lush flowerbeds and olive groves, you can trace the footsteps of Sultans, before heading to the Agdal or Menara Gardens for a taste of 12th-century landscaping.
If you want to relax in a truly stylish way though, nothing beats the Majorelle Garden. Once owned by the French artist Jacques Majorelle and now owned by Yves Saint-Laurent, the complex is spread over 12 acres and features exotic plants, idyllic streams and a sweet fragrance throughout. It’s also impossible to ignore the fine architecture with a vibrant blue Moorish building functioning as the private Museum of Islamic Art.
Visit Djemaa El-Fna by night
For those looking to sample quintessential Moroccan nightlife, head to Marrakech’s main square, Djemaa El-Fna which is a hive of activity come sundown. Typically teeming with orange juice vendors, leather tradesmen and snake charmers in the daytime, decibel levels are raised in the evenings. A strong mix of storytellers, henna tattoo merchants, magicians and dancers converge to create a marvellous miscellany of entertainment. We haven’t even mentioned the delicious range of street food either!
Expect to be sold numerous items when ambling through Djemaa El-Fna and feel free to purchase a few holiday souvenirs or if you simply aren’t interested, alternatively walk on by. The main square is one of those places whereby an equal level of pleasure can be sought by literally people watching in this space. A fantastic vantage point is Café du Grand Balcon. Overlooking Djemaa El-Fna from a southeast perspective, the café’s rooftop terrace is a great place to temporarily flee the hustle and bustle below.
Take a trip out to the Atlantic coast
Given the sweltering heat of Marrakech, you could forgive holidaymakers for wanting to cool off somewhat. Based only a two-hour car journey out of the Moroccan capital lies the pretty coastal city of Essaouira. A day trip here will treat visitors to a wide stretch of sandy beach that is sheltered by a natural bay. Windy days are commonplace here, serving as welcome relief from the warmer conditions inland. Essaouira is unsurprisingly a honeypot for water sports enthusiasts with windsurfing and kiteboarding opportunities aplenty.
For those that wander into the medina which boasts UNESCO World Heritage status, you’ll soon realise the unmistakable Portuguese influence found in Essaouira. Amble narrow alleyways past whitewashed buildings as you appreciate just how many craft businesses thrive here. In particular cabinet making and wood carving that have stood the test of time in this region of Morocco.
Visit a wide variety of museums and galleries
Marrakech is home to many fascinating museum day trips. Marrakech Museum is housed inside the Andalusian designed Mnebhi Palace which is stunning in its own right. While this particular museum doesn’t boast many permanent exhibits, visitors will still gaze in wonder at the beautiful rooms that contain items around contemporary art or cultural heritage.
There are more individual artefacts featured at Dar Si Said Museum, otherwise known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts. Containing everything from carpets of the Al Haouz region to jewellery hailing from the High Atlas Mountains, this museum only lay a few streets away from the Bahia Palace so visit both in a single day. Elsewhere, the Museum of Moroccan Photography is a collection conceived by Hamid Mergani and Patrick Manac’h, featuring around 10,000 documents that give visitors a holistic oversight into the history and diversity of the Moroccan nation.
Book your trip to marvellous Marrakech today
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