The city of Marrakech has a buzz like no other and is filled with fascinating cultural artefacts, exotic food and exciting personalities.
One of the best things about Marrakech is exploring the city, winding in and out of the souqs, bartering for purchases and experiencing the sights, sounds and smells that make this city unique.
However, it is always worth planning a few activities and points of reference to make sure that your break has structure and you experience all the things you want to see.
Touring the souqs
The souqs are arguably Marrakech’s finest attraction. For some, they provide an entire weekend of entertainment.
Large Aladdin’s Cave-like stores hold masses of jewellery, antiques and bejewelled ornaments. Moroccan leather is of incredibly high quality, mostly made from camel leather.
So, this is a great place to pick up leather bags, shoes and other items of clothing or ornaments. However, be wary; although Moroccan leather is of particularly high quality, the handy work that goes into making leather products is often not up to standard.
Be prepared to pay more for long lasting leather products.
Eat a tagine cooked on hot coals
Marrakech has thousands of exotic culinary delights.
However, there is no dish more atypical than a tagine.
Cooked for several hours on hot coals, this meat and vegetable based hot pot is a hearty and warming evening meal and there are hundreds of small restaurants selling tagines.
Enjoy the square at Jemaa El Fna
The main square at Jemaa El Fna is the central hub of Marrakech and it is one of the few places that seems easy to find for tourists in the vast and winding city.
The square has an undeniable buzz and a terrific atmosphere.
Merchants offering henna tattoos and various trinkets fill the streets.
It is also abundant with snake charmers and other animals for the entertainment of both locals and tourists.
A mint tea in one of the cafes looking over the square will provide hours of people-watching entertainment.
However, Jemaa El Fna really comes alive at night-time. The mass of vendors selling hot food means the square is filled with a haze of smoke and steam.
This is where the locals come for their entertainment as they gather in large circles to listen to storytellers and watch live boxing matches.
Don’t miss a chance to see the square at night.
Visit ancient ruins and castles
There are many ruins dotted around Marrakech with beautiful gardens that are perfect for a day of ambling in the sun.
Ancient graveyards dating from before the Saadian era are also a must see for tourists. Many mosaic graves and ancient tombs and temples are found here.
Take a tour of the tanneries
To experience the heart of old Marrakech and the leather industry that has been so important for this city for centuries, take a tour of the tanneries.
Their work remains a pre-industrial process, using huge vats of curing liquid and dyes to treat the animal hides.
Head towards the tanning district of town in the north east and you will be sure to find a young teenager offering to be your guide.
He will most likely give you a sprig of mint to deter the pungent smell experienced when walking round the tanneries.Categories: Guides
Localities: Africa, Marrakech, Morocco