Exotic and hypnotic, the magical city of Marrakech mixes Islamic art work with souks stacked high with spices, leather and lanterns. There are plenty of things to do in Marrakech, but it’s the whirl of orange blossom, and sticky dates, donkey and carpet seller, mint tea and snake charmer enmeshed in the tight labyrinthine streets that have lured visitors to the Red City for years.
Outside the 12th-century city ramparts are the French-founded New City (Ville Nouvelle) with its stylish boutiques, art galleries, alfresco cafés and restaurants, and hip spots for barflies. As the city gains ever more stylish riads and gorgeous out-of-town hotels, and the Marrakech Biennale stimulates the arts scene, visitors flock for a taste of Marrakech cool.
New museums in Marrakech include the Douiria Mouassine and the temporary home of the Marrakech Museum of Photography & Visual Arts (MMPVA) in the Badii Palace. New restaurants and cafés in Marrakech include game changer Café Clock, the reborn Café Argana on the Place Jemaa el Fna and chic Nomad overlooking Rahba Kedima.
Marrakech sights and attractions
Crammed within the rose-red walls of this African entrepôt, anchored between the snow-capped High Atlas mountains and the rippling golden dunes of the Sahara, are highly stylised Islamic monuments, eye-popping souk finds, as well as boutique shops, international and Moroccan restaurants, and cafés.
For first-time visitors, city highlights include the grand square of entertainment Jemaa el Fna, the serene Ben Youssef Medersa, the nearby Maison de la Photographie, the Rahba Kedima magic and spice market with its new Nomad restaurant, the exquisite interiors of the Bahia Palace and the colourful oasis and museum inside the Majorelle Gardens.
Sights and attractions details
Douiria Mouassine 5 Derb El-Hammam. +212 524 38 57 21. Admission 30dh.
Marrakech Museum of Photography & Visual Arts (MMPVA) and Badii Palace Place des Ferblantiers.
Maison de la Photographie 46 rue Ahl Fès, off rue Bin Lafnadek. +212 524 38 57 21. Admission 40dh.
Rahba Kedima spice market and Nomad Place Rahba Kedima, Medina. +212 524 38 16 09.
Majorelle Gardens Rue Yves Saint Laurent. +212 524 31 30 47. Admission 50dh. (Admission to Berber Museum 25dh.)