Six of the best things to do in Marrakech

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    Whether you love the bustling souks or the tranquillity of the riads, there are things to do in Marrakech that everyone will enjoy.

    From Dubai, to Bail to Tel Aviv, recent years have seen beautiful and varied Eastern destinations jump to the top of everyone’s dream destinations lists.

    And Marrakech is no different. It has recently become one of the holiday hotspots that seems to be on everyone’s radar.

    A city of contrasts – modern, yet rich in medieval history, fast-paced but with plenty of opportunities for calm and relaxation, opulent but humble – Marrakech has two different faces that complement each other to create a truly unforgettable experience.

    So if you’re heading off to Morrocco’s vibrant capital for your holiday, whether it’s for a weekend trip or a longer break, these are the best things to do in Marrakech for a dreamy stay.

    Things to do in Marrakech

    1. Medina Marrakech

    The Medina of Marrakech (pictured above)  is the medieval walled old town of the capital city. It is a labyrinth of small alleys full of stalls, markets and performers. Head here for some traditional street food or to pick up fragrant spices or authentic trinkets.

    Just be aware that it is does get very busy and rowdy, so it’s not one for those who prefer to avoid the crowds.

    2. Moroccan souks

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    Exploring the alleys of the souks – the markets – is a must.

    With smells of exotic spices, fruit, apothecary stalls, freshly dyed wool, leather goods and much more, the souks offer a shopping experience like no other.

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    Don’t be surprised if stallholders tempt you in and show you their wares – even if you don’t seem interested!

    Though if that does happen, a polite ‘non merci’ is sufficient to leave the stall and move on.

    But if you do want to get your hands on some authentic buys, this is the place to get your haggling hat on!

    3. Explore the museums

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    If shopping isn’t your thing, then there are plenty of museums and cultural experiences to be had.

    There’s the Photography Museum, in the heart of the Medina, while the Ben Youssef Museum is well worth a look for the architecture.

    Entry to the Museum of Marrakesh is also included in the price for this.

    4. Marrakech palace

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    Built by Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour at the end of the 16th century to celebrate the victory of the Three Kings over the Portuguese, Marrakech’s El Badi Palace was designed to impress.

    Don’t miss the Koutoubia’s original minbar (prayer pulpit), which is widely considered to be a masterpiece of Islamic art.

    5. Marrakech gardens

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    Venturing outside the Medina to the modern part of the city, you can visit the Majorelle Gardens.

    Once owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, they are meticulously tended botanical gardens with a real feeling of tranquility.

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    A visit to the adjoining Berber Museum gives a sense of the traditional crafts and people of the area.

    6. Alternative things to do in Marrakech

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    If you’re looking for more unique things to do in Marrakech, consider taking a visit to the city’s tanneries – but beware of the smell!

    Here you will be able to watch local tradesmen while they go through the leather production process.

    But beware of ‘faux guides’ who will offer to guide you around the tanneries for a price. All guides in Morocco are identifiable by their official badge, so be sure to stick to those.

    If you have more time, it’s well worth considering a day trip, or even spending the night, in the desert.

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    There are a number of different excursions you can book that will take you for an overnight camp and some that even include tours of other cities.

    There are also guided tours to Casablanca and you can also head to the coast for some fantastic beaches.

    Where to stay in Marrakech

    Riads in Marrakech

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    When it comes to Marrakech accommodation you have some options.

    You could go for a traditional Morrocan riad, which is a type of house or palace that features an interior garden or courtyard.

    If you’re looking for riads in Marrakech, Airbnb have a good variety of options.

    Marrakech hotels

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    There are also a number of Marrakech hotels that you can choose from, including high-end options like the Royal Mansour or the Mandarin Oriental.

    Or if you’re on a budget there are more affordable hotels to choose from in the city, or hostels if you’re just passing.

    A good mid-range option is The Riad Star, a boutique hotel sitting in Medina.

    It was a one-time residence of singer, actress and heroine of the French resistance, Josephine Baker, and has been restored to reflect the star’s glamour and style – with lots of Josephine memorabilia.

    There’s even a ‘dressing-up box’, ideal for a 1920s-themed dinner party.

    Facilities include a dipping pool and roof terrace with views across the Medina to the snow-topped Atlas Mountains.

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    You can also enjoy a beautiful tagine of lamb with local bread and side dishes of vegetables. Or even take part in a Moroccan cookery class, for a more hands-on experience.

    Can’t get enough of the food? Here are some of our favourite Moroccan recipes for you to try at home.

    What to know before you visit Marrakech

    Marrakech weather

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    With its desert location, Marrakech has a hot and dry climate that last throughout most of the year.

    Average temperatures vary throughout the year, but July and August see the hottest temperatures with highs of around 40 degrees Celsius.

    The best time of year to visit is probably between March and May when it cools down to around 25 degrees Celsius.

    But beware, during the night the city can see lows of around 6 degrees Celsius, so make sure to take something warm to cover up with.

    Marrakech currency

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    Morocco’s currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).

    However, the Moroccan dirham is non-convertible, meaning that it is illegal to take it in or out of the country. So you will have to take British pounds to Marrakech with you and then change your currency when you get there.

    Of course there is always the option of withdrawing cash from an ATM when you get there and credit and debit cards are widely accepted in shops and restaurants.

    This article was originally published in Woman’s Own

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