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The Red City hits you with intoxicating sights, smells and sounds
The incantations of the “muezzin”, the balmy aromas of spices, the mind-boggling mosaics… Marrakech has all your senses working overtime. From the non-stop hullabaloo of Djemaa El Fna to the technicolour haven of Majorelle Gardens, this is a city that impels you to scratch beneath the surface.
Kowtow in Koutoubia! This mosque’s handsome minaret has dominated the Marrakech skyline for over nine hundred years. From this soaring vantage point, the “adhan” (call to prayer) echoes across Djemaa El Fna Square and calls believers in to kneel and reflect. Due to entrance rules, non-Muslims will have to be content with gawping at Marrakech’s iconic spire from the outside.Accommodations near Koutoubia
The colours, the colours! These gardens are a stunningly vivid palette of resplendent rainbow shades. This place is a photographer’s dream ticket – the walls, doors and plant pots are all painted in electric colours, playing off nature’s greenery in kaleidoscope harmony. The maze of bamboo and trickling streams is a real oasis of peace amid the chaos.Accommodations near Majorelle Gardens
The eye of the Marrakech storm. From dawn to dusk and beyond, this historic square is a swirling whirlpool of humanity. Snake charmers and fortune tellers, wise men, mad men, magicians, musicians and mystics – all members of the fast-flowing dramatis personae of Djemaa el Fna. Take a deep breath, dive in and see which characters you encounter. One thing it won’t be is boring.Accommodations near Djemaa El Fna
Now this is one cool school. Medersa Ben Youssef is an architectural diamond hidden in the rough of mazy Medina. It’s an Islamic college where pious clever clogs once came to study the Koran. These lucky scholars were able to look up from their manuscripts and see a physical glorification of God, with spellbinding patterns wrought in tiny mosaic tiles and carved cedar wood.Accommodations near Medersa Ben Youssef
Sometimes the vase trumps the flower. This museum is a window into Moroccan history through its collection of coins, pottery, jewellery, weapons and artwork. However, the jewel in the crown is the building itself. It’s a beautifully restored 19th-century palace that dazzles with detail, from its impeccable mosaics to the stupendous and humongous filigree chandelier.Accommodations near Marrakech Museum
In death, we are all equal. But some are more equal than others. Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour built this magnificent mausoleum for his entourage. Children and grand-children are buried in mosaicked tombs in the garden, now prowled by stray cats. The sultan himself ghas the choicest spot – his marble tombs rises out of psychedelic tiled flooring, overlooked by stunning stucco cupolas.Accommodations near Saadian Tombs
From sultans to storks. When this palace was built in the 16th century, it was the envy of rulers worldwide. Bursting with carved marble and gold leaf, it lived up to its name of “The Incomparable”. But the ravages of time have left a shell, albeit an eerily magnificent one. The thick, scarlet walls are riddled with crumbling pockmarks, with storks the only modern-day watchmen.Accommodations near El Badi Palace
The White House, 10 Downing Street… and Bahia Palace. This presidential residence was commissioned by Grand Vizier Si Moussa in the 19th century, bringing together Morocco’s top artisans and interior designers. The result is a palace that brims with detail – intricate geometric mosaics underfoot, sultry stucco overhead. Not a bad place to live with your twenty-eight-strong harem.Accommodations near Bahia Palace
In this most photogenic of cities, Menara Gardens are supremely postcard-worthy. The snowy crags of the Atlas Mountains loom in the background, sweeping across the hazy horizon. Nestled among olive groves, a placid expanse of lake reflects the simple pavilion. It’s a centuries-old panorama that’s loved by locals – Menara’s the go-to strolling spot for families and lovebirds alike.Accommodations near Menara Gardens
Groovy groves. Agdal Gardens is a vast horde of fruit trees boxed into square plots, irrigated by melt-water that flows straight from the Atlas Mountains. Oranges and pomegranates, lemons, figs and apricots – Agdal’s one fruity garden. In the middle of it all sits Dar El-Hana, a colonnaded pavilion beside a once-pristine pool that exudes a tumble-down charm.Accommodations near Agdal Gardens
The full-on Marrakech experience. The old town is an unfathomable maze that launches a total assault on the senses. Sharpen your bartering skills in a “souk” (market) and gaze at masterful carvings in Medersa Ben Youssef. As dusk nears, take your seat at Café du Grand Balcon and watch the timeless variety show that is Djemaa El Fna Square.Accommodations in Medina
Rock the Mechouar-Kasbah! El Badi Palace certainly did back in the day. It hosted all manner of mediaeval knees-ups before being left to crumble. Seek out more ruins among these impossibly narrow streets. Twist and turn through the labyrinth to track down the exquisite Saadian tombs – a beautiful reminder that you can’t take it with you.Accommodations in Mechouar-Kasbah
Had your fill of haggling? Head to Guéliz for a more orthodox and stress-free shopping experience. Moor and Studio Lalla sell Moroccan chic that’ll be the envy of friends back home. For scented candles and assorted trinkets, make a bee-line for L’Orientaliste. Then stop off to soak up colonial grandeur at Grand Café de la Poste.Accommodations in Gueliz
Thoroughly modern Marrakech. Hivernage’s avenues are lined with shiny apartment blocks, offices and shops. Splash your dirhams at La Mamounia Casino, or scratch that retail itch in outlets like Zara and Louis Vuitton. Then make for Le Comptoir, where candlelit dinners can easily morph into an extravaganza of live music and “joie de vivre”.Accommodations in Hivernage
Palm trees, palm trees, everywhere! Stretching out towards the Atlas Mountains, Palmeraie is known for its luxurious buildings in the shade of its numerous date palms. It’s dotted with lavish film-star villas, tip-top hotels and immaculate golf courses. Work on that swing at Palm Golf before a pamper-fest at Le Palmeraie Spa. This is the life!Accommodations in Palmeraie
To the country! Alongside this road out of the city, the endless olive groves of Oliveraie and Agdal Gardens evoke a lost rural idyll from times past. Join city-dwellers for a stroll around the placid lake of Sahrij Al-Menzeh. Then cut a rug at Pacha Marrakech Nightclub, where Ibiza beats blend with Moroccan opulence to create a heady cocktail.Accommodations in Agdal
Hail King Mohamed! Once known as Avenue de France, this long avenue was recently renamed after the country’s head honcho. The links to old Morocco don’t end there – its modern office blocks are resplendent in ochre hues, a nod to the city’s architectural heritage. In December, film royalty descends on Conference Palace for Marrakech Film Festival.Accommodations in Avenue Mohamed VI
Splash! Chrifia’s known for its swimming pools, a welcome watery tonic amid the dusty African heat. Plage Rouge is a waterside lounge where cool cats sip cocktails and bask on red loungers. Oasiria Water Park offers thrills and spills aplenty for families and adrenaline junkies. If you’d rather be roaming the fairway, Atlas Golf is the place to go.Accommodations in Chrifia
Safe and sleepy. This upscale district is the definition of a residential neighbourhood. It’s peppered with plush villas and pristine apartment blocks, where privileged schoolchildren hop in and out of SUVs or splash about in private pools. A smattering of supermarkets and hospitals complete the picture of Targa’s modern suburban idyll.Accommodations in Targa
Zineb moved to Marrakech 10 months ago and loves hanging out in its cultural heart, the Medina.
I love to wander through the Medina’s winding streets and stop off at Café des Epices, which treats you to a great view of the mountains and some delicious cinnamon tea. The Medina is a great place to be around during evening prayer time, when its many mosques come to life.Accommodations near Mountain Views
Bouchra’s new to Marrakech but already loves the lifestyle and its mix of modern and traditional.
Café Clock is a great place to hang out and soak up some of the city’s arts, music and creativity, along with some good food. Other events include yoga, cooking, dancing and calligraphy classes, as well as traditional story-telling, known as Hikayat.Accommodations near Traditional Story telling
Saad moved from Casablanca to Marrakech last year and loves its climate and welcoming people.
There’s nothing like going to watch a football match in the Grande Stade de Marrakech Stadium. It’s painted in red, which is very much the colour of the city and it’s packed with atmosphere on game days.Accommodations near Grande Stade de Marrakech Stadium
Mariem is proud to have lived in Marrakech all her life.
I love to venture out the city into the Ourika Valley, about an hour’s drive away. You can take a picnic and laze by streams and waterfalls, all in the shadow of the beautiful Atlas Mountains.Accommodations near Ourika Valley
Yasmina was born in the north of Morocco but is a regular visitor to fascinating Marrakech.
Maison de la Photographie is home to over 8000 photographs taken between 1870 and 1950. The terrace offers picture-perfect views and is a great spot to grab some lunch.Accommodations near Maison de la Photographie
Ismail has spent his life living in Rabat and Casablanca and is a regular visitor to Marrakech.
Gaze over the Red City from The Pearl Marrakech’s Namazake Restaurant Bar & Sky Lounge. You can savour some delicious Japanese food, or simply relax in the sumptuous surroundings of the terrace, which looks onto the Medina, Agdal Gardens, Imperial Ramparts and the Atlas Mountains.Accommodations near City View
Abir hails from Marrakech and loves to party, travel and discover new cultures and cuisine.
Palm Grove is an exclusive, enclosed area set in Palmeraie, packed with resorts, restaurants and bars. You can explore its desert landscape by camel or quad-bike, and there are also activities including golfing, horse riding and swimming.Accommodations near Palm Grove
Nebia has lived in the city for a year and keeps on discovering new parts to it!
Start exploring the Medina at Dar el Bach House — the only part of the quarter accessible by car — and wander past charming antique shops. Admire the foundouks (traditional Moroccan inns set around courtyards) and cross Rue Mouassine into the colourful, centuries-old Dyer’s Street.Accommodations near Dyer’s Street
Houriya fell in love with Marrakech’s charm 9 years ago when she moved here.
Bab Agnaoui is beautiful gate located in the Medina’s atmospheric Kasbah area. I love to walk through the surrounding souks (bazaars), along to Djemaa el-Fnaa Square. It’s a great spot to check out some restaurants, or to treat yourself to a session at a hammam.Accommodations near Bab Agnaoui
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Marrakesh.
The bizarre ritual/game of manoeuvering around crowded souks (covered markets), avoiding the motorbikes, donkey-carts & stray cats, while trying to admire the billion fascinating, colourful items without being dragged into a protracted haggling/argument with every single stallholder! If you have a beard, expect to be called "Ali-Baba" by everyone! Best to just smile in polite incomprehension and pretend you speak nothing but Sumerian to avoid talking to everyone. Be incredibly discrete when taking photos to avoid being 'charged' for the privilege. Enticing smells and curious sights around every corner.See all 34 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What aspect of the culture in Marrakesh was so different than back home?
Living in a riad in the medina was very surprising as what is behind each door is so unexpected. It is very beautifulSee all 30 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you get the most authentic cultural experience in Marrakesh?
communicationSee all 27 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's your best bargaining strategy for the market in Marrakesh?
Did not go to market only vegetable and fish. Best not to speak any language.See all 24 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Marrakesh while avoiding the crowds?
The open top buses are an excellent and cheap way to see the sights without the hassle of constant haggling over prices.See all 17 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the secret to sampling all the diverse food Marrakesh has to offer?
Food tour, cooking classesSee all 15 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's your best advice for browsing without feeling hassled by vendors?
Never look lost! Try not to look too much like a tourist. Say 'non merci' (no thank you) and smile sweetly if approached by a young man with an offer to help you find somewhere or sell you something you don't want!See all 15 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Marrakesh so friendly? Tell us your story.
they are very helpful. polite, respectable and jollySee all 12 answers
Menara Airport is located 5 km outside the city and a taxi from here to the city centre will cost you about EUR 20 but it’s best to agree on a price beforehand. The public bus no. 19’s express service runs every 20 to 30 minutes and stops at the city’s main square, Djemaa El-Fna, in the old town. Buses cost around EUR 8 for a single trip, or EUR 13 return.
The city’s 30 bus routes pass through Djemaa El-Fna Square and you can buy tickets on board, costing around EUR 1 for a single trip within the centre. The main bus station is Gare Routiere Voyageurs Marrakech and inter-city connections run by CTM leave from here. Buses run till around 23.00 and after this time, it’s best to jump in a taxi.
Locals tend to travel around by scooter rather than by car and there are lots of places where you can hire a scooter or a motorbike. It gets very hectic around the centre, so bear this in mind if you aren’t used to travelling by these means. It's good to know that you can only enter the Medina by bike or scooter. A scooter will cost around EUR 2 per hour to hire, while motorcycles will cost about EUR 30 for a day’s rental.
Trains are not used to travel within the city itself and there is only one train station in Marrakech, Gare de Marrakech. ONCF runs regular services to Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat and Fez. First class carriages have air conditioning and you can book tickets online in advance.
Taxis are a bit tricky if you’re not local, so it’s best to consult your accommodation’s staff for some advice if you have any doubts. It’s also advisable to ask for a metered fare and not to negotiate a price. Petit Taxis are small yellow cars that can be found all over the city and can take a maximum of 3 passengers. Grand Taxis can take up to 6 passengers and are a little cheaper, if less comfortable!
Calèches are carriages which run in the city centre and are a popular way for tourists to get around. They stop at Square de Foucauld and can take 4 to 5 passengers. A typical tour around the Medina will cost between EUR 10 and 20, and would take in sights including Menara Gardens and Koutoubia Mosque.
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