What to see in Marrakech
Marrakech is not even a city, but a kind of metaphysical space: holidays in Marrakech are different from everything that is so familiar to the European eye. In the mid-20th century, the capital of Morocco became home to a number of underground writers and artists from the United States and Europe, and as soon as you first set foot on its streets, you’ll understand why. Lost between the orange sands of the desert and the blue skies, open to all winds, it is now one of the most mysterious, atmospheric and colorful places on earth. What to see and what to do here, we tell you right now.
What to do in Marrakech
Oriental souks, ancient history and culture, European heritage (Morocco is a former French colony) and Islamic traditions are all mixed up in the streets of Marrakech. It has no access to the ocean, but you will not notice it – museums, palaces, tourist streets and full of mystery desert will give you a lot of experience.
If you are planning to stay in Marrakech for more than 7 days, we strongly recommend not only to see all the more or less important sights, but also to go to the ocean. Each hotel offers special transfers that take 3-3,5 hours (the distance to the coast is about 250 km).
What is the first thing to visit?
The crowded and a bit crazy Jamaa El Fna is the main square of Marrakech. It is open almost around the clock: colorful trade, souvenirs – in general, exotic in its purest form. Women are advised to be accompanied by men in the rows: it’s the Arab world, after all.
The Majorelle Garden, a French heritage, is one of the most beautiful sights in Marrakech: the vivid contrast with the streets and the constant orange and gray color of the houses is guaranteed. It is worth a visit – you won’t regret it: it is located on Yves Saint Laurent Street and the entrance fee is $7. The free alternative (but more modest) is the Menard Gardens on the avenue of the same name.
The real palace of the Arabian Sheikh is Bahia at Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, 5. The cost of the ticket is symbolic, and the guide’s story will help you learn a lot of interesting things about the palace itself, as well as about the history of the city.
Be sure to walk to Al-Qutubia, the mosque with its nearly 70-meter minaret, which is Marrakech’s most recognizable site and is located on Mohammed V Avenue and is open to all comers.
What else to see and do in the city
In addition to strolling through the slightly archaic and certainly atmospheric streets, don’t forget that Marrakech is one of the most enlightened and civilized cities in North Africa as a whole. If you have time, check out the following places.
The city’s main museum on Ben Yusuf Square. Admission is free, and there are a lot of interesting things to see. First, it is a classic Moroccan palace with original architecture and delightful interior decoration – here you will not only familiarize yourself with the exposition, but also take great pictures. The entrance fee is $3.
The tomb of the Saadite dynasty (on the Rue de la Kasbah). The sultans who ruled Morocco for several hundred years found their rest here, in a small but impressive mausoleum. Here are the columns, the marble and the long history of the country. And to make sure that the descendants honor the dynasty, the entrance here is absolutely free!
Berber Museum. The nomads of the desert are the progenitors of modern Morocco as a state: by the way, in the desert and to this day there are a lot of their settlements. You can get acquainted with the culture, life and customs of the indigenous population for $7: the cost is not insignificant, but the exposition and the experience are worth it.
If you still have energy left after visiting the museums and architectural monuments, take a stroll through the tourist quarter, a few streets in the Medina and Kenaria districts that are home to the lion’s share of all the souvenir stores and stalls. What’s especially noteworthy is that almost half of the city’s attractions are within walking distance, so you won’t have any trouble getting between them.
Here, we recommend refueling at the cozy cafes or restaurants with national cuisine – at least a couple of places deserve the status of local attractions.
Le Restaurant at La Maison Arabe. Expensive, but really excellent in all respects: holds the bar since 1947, and today is well deserved as a cult among European and American tourists. Checks start at $25 and the address is Derb Assehbi, 1.
More budget and “homey” Naima – due to the latter is considered one of the coziest restaurants in the “tourist area”. Many national dishes of the highest quality and craftsmanship. Check starting at $5, address: Rue Azbezt, Medina.