The imperial city of Marrakech, considered by many to be the cultural centre of Morocco, is full of history and color, but also has a foot firmly in the modern world.
Marrakech’s old fortified city, or Medina quarter, is the center of local activity and the place where you’ll find a traditional Moroccan experience. Walk through the Djemaa El-Fna, the main square at the entrance to the Medina, and enjoy a fresh orange juice while taking in the daily bustle. You’ll see anything from dentists to snake charmers and henna tattooists. To the west, the Koutoubia Mosque is one of the tallest buildings in the old city and a spectacular sight during the day.
Head north from the Djemaa El-Fna, and you’ll find yourself in the city’s famous souks, or marketplaces. Marrakech has some of the biggest traditional souks in Morocco.
There is also plenty to do in other parts of the city. Visit the Bahia Palace, with its beautiful courtyard gardens, and Ali Ben Youssef Medersa, an old Islamic school famous for its interiors and intricate wall decorations. The Musée de Marrakech next door is also worth a visit, with art collections focusing on Moroccan and Islamic art.
If you’re looking for a more European experience, Marrakech also has a lot to offer. Head to the newer parts of the city for boutiques and restaurants.
At night, the Djemaa El-Fna adopts a different side, with local eateries and stalls set up across the entire square. Spices and smoke fill the square as thousands of locals and tourists come out for dinner. The stalls are government regulated, but it is still a good idea to watch what you are eating. At night, the streets are always lively and the nightlife in Marrakech is arguably the best in the region.
Marrakech lies at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The best time to go is winter, which brings milder temperatures during the day and cool temperatures at night.