With its winding streets, vibrant colours and warm North African sun, a trip to Marrakech is perfect for a mini-break or the holiday of a lifetime. Marrakech, the Red City, is a former imperial capital, and considered to be the most important in Morocco’s history. From souks to Mosques, and everything in between, Marrakech is a whirlwind of colours, scents and cultures that assault your senses while promising to delight and inspire you.
Set in Northern Africa, within easy reach of Europe, Marrakech is a delightful combination of traditional Arabic culture and trendy, 21st Century chic. The original city was founded in 1070-72, and became a political and cultural centre. Today, Marrakech continues to evolve: modern art galleries sit alongside traditional souks; luxury spas and rooftop cocktail bars add a new allure to the gateway to the Atlas Mountains. On your trip to Marrakech, you can while away the days people watching and sipping mint tea, shopping, or taking in the incredible heritage of this ancient city. Whichever way you discover the frenetic, friendly and fabulous city of Marrakech, your experience will be utterly unique and truly unforgettable.
Direct flights to Marrakech (RAK) will bring you to Menara Airport, a newly refurbished airport just four miles from the city.
Whether you are planning a trip to Marrakech in the winter to get some much-needed winter sun, or as your main summer holiday, you are unlikely to be disappointed with the weather. Marrakech is warm all year around, with temperatures reaching their lowest, about 18°C, in January. The summer months can be blisteringly hot, reaching the mid-to-high-thirties. If you are looking for cheap flights to Marrakech, plan your trip outside of the school holidays; mid-January to March and October – November are pleasantly warm, with fewer tourists and better deals on flights and accommodation.
The ancient city of Marrakech is packed with architectural delights; whether you take the time to visit them or merely admire them from afar is up to you. The old town of Marrakech, Medina, is a cultural icon of Morocco. It feels as though Medina is frozen in time, giving a delightful insight into the country’s past. Thanks to a law that says no structure in Medina can be higher than a palm tree, its skyline remains unmarred by the fast-moving tourist industry, and bares an unspoilt charm that transports you to bygone eras. The 77-metre-high minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque presides serenely over the city. As the Mosque is still a place of worship, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter but it is worth taking the time to walk the perimeter and admire the 12th Century architecture. Outside the Kasbah Mosque in Medina, you will find an ancient walled garden, the home of the Saadian Tombs, one of the primary monuments of the Saadian era. Here, you will discover centuries-old mosaic graves, as well as a trio of pavilions constructed during sultan Ahmed El-Mansour’s reign. The gardens possess a tranquillity that allow you to behold the unassuming beauty and intricate detail of graves and architecture through the centuries. The other main monument of the Saadian era is the Badii Palace, built by sultan Ahmed El-Mansour between 1578 and 1607. Although the palace is in ruins, it bears testimony to the opulent architecture of the era; in its heyday, it boasted gold-encrusted walls and ceilings, magnificent sunken gardens, and four imposing pavilions.
Shopping in Marrakech is much more than a mere transaction; it is a cultural experience. As you amble through the souks of Medina, you can take in the kaleidoscope of foods, crafts and clothes on offer. Try your hand at bartering, invest in delightful local crafts or delicious herbs and spices. There are two main routes into the maze of souks: Rue Mouassine, and Rue Semarine. Rue Mouassine offers a gentle introduction to the souk, with its relatively peaceful, meandering path which passes the more exclusive boutiques, whereas Rue Semarine will hurl you straight into the bustling, hectic vibe more typically associated with traditional souks. Every area of the souk offers different specialisms – a system that allows you to easily compare prices in order to get the best deal possible. Once you have had your fill of markets, why not head to Ensemble Artisanal, where you can find every kind of souvenir of your trip to Marrakech? Prices are a little higher than the souk so be prepared to haggle, but if you are looking for broad choice and ease of shopping, it’s a great place to pick up mementoes. If you are looking for a little respite from the winding streets and hordes of people, take a trip to one of Marrakech’s gardens, a haven of peace and lush green in the busy city. Visit the Majorelle Gardens, created in the 1920s by the artist Jacques Majorelle, and currently maintained by Yves Saint-Laurent – a classic example of French Colonial gardens. Or you can escape from the heat at Arset El-Mamoun Gardens, which were created in the 1700s by Crown Prince Moulay Mamoun. Designed in the traditional style, the gardens boast elegant walkways featuring exotic flowers, 700-year-old olive trees and orange groves. The gardens form the grounds of La Mamounia, a sumptuous hotel built in 1923 and refurbished in 2009. Non-residents can pay a small fee to spend the day enjoying the gardens and the hotel’s other facilities.
With its increasingly chic vibe, Marrakech offers an ever-growing variety of food and drink, from traditional fair to up-market gastronomy. However, on your trip to Marrakech, you have a unique opportunity to explore traditional Moroccan cuisine: a chance that shouldn’t be overlooked. So, indulge in a cocktail at sunset, but don’t forget to explore the culinary delights available to you. Delicately spiced meats and fruits are complemented by fresh vegetables and couscous washed down, of course, with a cup of fresh mint tea. Don’t forget to try a traditional tagine – a Moroccan stew of meat, vegetables, dried fruit and pulses, baked in an earthenware pot designed to let steam out, but trap in the delicious flavour of spices. If you fall in love with the simple, delectable and oh-so-healthy fare of Morocco, consider booking a cookery course, where you can learn the ancient traditions and, of course, show off your new-found skills on your return home. Whether you plan your trip to Morocco to absorb culture, visit stunning architecture, sample gourmet delights, or simply soak up the sun, you will not be disappointed. Your trip promises to be a whirlwind of colours, warmth and experience, which will captivate you and leave you truly, utterly in love with this glorious city. Are you planning your next trip? Let Travangelo help you with our broad choice of cheap flights to Morocco.