The best of Marrakech

By Amy Rosoman

Title photography by Pavliha / Getty Images

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Soak up everything that will get your senses soaring in Marrakech. The diversity, culture and beauty of the Red City will fascinate you. Discover the mysteries of this exotic place.

Souk spending

Stroll through the souks of the Medina and smell the fragrant spices and perfumes, gaze at the handmade rugs and glorious glassware, then haggle for a Moroccan teapot at the best price. Be sure to try on the elegantly intricate Babouche shoes like a fashionista. Enjoy the cooler and calmer moments of the souks first thing in the morning, or embrace the chaos later in the day in this mesmerising place. Don’t fret about getting lost, it’s easy to manoeuvre about, with signs back to the main square. Or if you prefer European-style shops, head over to Gueliz and its boutiques selling high-fashion kaftans and tunics. Don’t miss a visit to the tannery, where you’ll be able to smell the leather before you see it.

Where to stay: Jardins de la Koutoubia – for the perfect spot near to the entrances of the souks. Relax at the sensational rooftop pool after a busy day of bartering.

Take a tour of the Souks and Medina

Make a move to Palais Jad Mahal for the fire-eaters, acrobats and belly dancers

Monuments to mountains

Explore the epic cultural highlights of this Moroccan city, from the deluxe Bahia Palace to the decorative Almoravid Koubba – Marrakech’s oldest building. Absorb the sacred architecture of the Koutoubia Mosque and hear the enchanting call to prayer. Visit the beautiful Yves Saint Laurent Jardins Majorelle, or the mysteriously quiet ruins of El Badi Palace. Leave the charms of the city and venture to the awe-inspiring Atlas Mountains and learn about the Berber nomads. Sleep under the stars, drive across the desert and eat Moroccan food by campfire. Explore the Ourika Valley, go to the Berber villages of Tahannaout and Imlil, or surf the coast of Essaouira.

Where to stay: For amazing views of the Atlas Mountains, the Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech is hard to beat. This oasis of luxury also offers five superb restaurants and bars, a vast swimming pool and spa complex and a golf course.

Find our cheapest flights to Marrakech

Book a 4x4 excursion to the Atlas Mountains and Berber villages

  • The souk in the Medina of Marrakech. ©Mark Williamson.

    Soak up the Moroccan atmosphere

    Take in the aromas, the vibrant culture and entrancing colours.

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Moroccan dishes

The cuisine in Marrakech will surprise and seduce you. From delicious traditional tagines, barbecued meats and fish, to the more outlandish delicacies like sheep’s head. Wander through Djemaa el-Fnaa square and take in the aromas. Try a Moroccan chicken pastilla, a savoury pie sprinkled with almonds, cinnamon and sugar, followed by a mint tea. Explore this vibrant main square in the evening and see it light up with an assortment of colours, as well as hundreds of stalls to browse around. For a traditional and stylish Moroccan feast, dine at the superb Dar Essalam restaurant. With a selection of four dining rooms, witness striking furnishings and beautiful decor. Indulge in remarkable food, enjoy couscous, tantalising tagine, a selection of pastillas and a variety of traditional desserts.

Where to stay: Sofitel Marrakech Lounge and Spa - for the brilliant location within Hivernage, close to plenty of restaurants, food stands and bars, as well as its stunning views from balconies and the outside pool area.

Enjoy Marrakech dining and a Fantasia show

  • Admire the Ben Youssef Madrasa in the Medina of Marrakech. ©Guenter Guni.

    A mesmerising Medina

    Everywhere you look, your eyes will glow with the wonders here.

  • See the House of the Artist at Jardin Majorelle. ©Anuska Sampedro.

    Visit the Majorelle Gardens

    Explore the beauty of this botanical garden and discover the history which lies here.

  • Traditional Moroccan kefta - tagine with meatballs and baked egg in tomato sauce. ©encrier.

    Relish the delicious dishes

    Order and eat as much tagine as you can, the flavours and spices of the food is boast-worthy.

Glamorous nights

There is an enigma surrounding the nightlife vibe of Marrakech, understandably so as alcohol is prohibited around most places in the Medina, yet a few places do sell cocktails and wine. Within Hivernage, experience the incredible Comptoir Darna. Although this is a restaurant, there is a separate club-cum-cocktail bar and cool patio area for drinks and shisha. With its sensational interior design, glitzy belly dancers and electrifying atmosphere, Comptoir is the place to be. Or make a move to Palais Jad Mahal for the fire-eaters, acrobats and belly dancers as you sip on drinks all night long. With a variety of shows and live music, you can immerse yourself in the spice of life at this dazzling venue.

Where to stay: The Nobu Hotel Marrakech is a dazzlingly chic hotel in trendy Hivernage offering three sparkling pools, a buzzing rooftop lounge, a subterranean spa and even an art gallery.

  • A farmer ploughing with his donkey in the Morocco Atlas. ©Albert Engeln.

    A traditional way of life

    With such breath-taking scenery, open your eyes to the way of things here.

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Have a hammam

On your trip to Marrakech, trying a hammam is an absolute must. This authentic Moroccan spa experience is a bathing and cleansing ritual. Enjoy the heat of a steam room to open all your pores, then have a full body scrub with a traditional kessa glove to remove dead skin. Then bathe in cold water to finish and feel a new lease of life. Choose from the communal spas and do as the locals do and strip down to your birthday suit. For a more secluded experience, choose from the smaller spas or choose to enjoy one at a hotel, followed by a massage.

Where to stay: Les Jardins de la Medina – for the ravishing spa treatments, from traditional hammams to relaxing massages and the luxurious feeling of exclusivity at this boutique hotel.

Looking for adventure? Go on a Kasbahs 4x4 tour