Marrakech is the gateway to Morocco. It is the perfect introduction to the country’s infinite charm and its intoxicating chaos. From the moment you arrive at one of the city’s riads, greeted in true Marrakshi style with a steaming cup of mint tea and a platter of honey nut biscuits, you will be enveloped by the sounds, smells and sights of Morocco. From the roof terrace of your riad, gaze out across a horizon punctuated by towering minarets and soak up the tranquillity of your surroundings as you overlook the hubbub of daily life below.
Marrakech’s famed souks are at the heart of the city. Navigate the labyrinth like alleyways, wander through the tangle of cubbyholes fit to bursting with hand cut tiles, brass lanterns and woven textiles before mastering the art of haggling as you root around in the alcoves of a craftsman’s atelier. All roads lead to Djemma el-Fna; a bustling square alive with the murmurs of storytelling, the calls to prayer of the Koutoubia, and the hullabaloo of astrologers, snake charmers and Gnawa acrobats all jostling to play their part in the spectacle of the Medina.
A trip to Marrakech is incomplete without parting with a few dirhams in return for a Berber rug, ornately carved pottery or a handful of fresh mint. However, beyond the souks, discovering the hidden gems of the city makes for an equally enchanting experience. Visit the famed Jardin Majorelle gifted to the city by Yves Saint Laurent, Bahia Palace with its intricate marquetry or hydrate desert scorched skin in a Hamman to round off a stay in the city.
Only a short drive away from Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains showcase Morocco’s incredible diversity. Within a matter of hours, you will leave the pastel pinks of the bustling Medina in the dust and arrive in the country's heartland, a mosaic of snow capped massifs, famed for its kasbahs and world class trekking routes. Encounter the renowned hospitality of the Berber people, stay in a Kasbah, soar over the foothills in a hot air balloon or soak up local life with a cookery class - arguably the only place to master the perfect tagine.
In total contrast to Morocco’s larger imperial cities, Essaouira is a bohemian haunt on the Atlantic coast oozing laid back vibes. There, hip surfers dine at restaurants de rigeur, discerning travellers catch up at cosmopolitan cafes, and salty air meets smart boutiques, independent galleries and the scent of bergamot. Meaning ‘little picture’ in Arabic, Essaouira is Morocco’s chill out hot spot, and the perfect place to relax after an adrenaline fuelled adventure inland.
To the southwest of Marrakech, the Agafay Desert is a sun baked, moon like expanse, easily accessible from the city, ideal to add on to a whistle stop tour of the country. The luscious oasis of Skoura is a true sight to behold thanks to the spectacular desert scenery that encompasses it.
Further afield, the Sahara is made of the stuff of Moroccan legend, it is the home of camels, Arabian horses and Bedouin camps. Venture as far as the last outposts of Morocco before the Sahara’s endless rolling dunes tumble into Algeria for a truly authentic experience, unequivocally off the beaten track.
Summer 2015, Days Like This
Immerse yourself in this fascinating culture
A guide for families, couples & romance
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