Rising out of the Moroccan desert you’ll find Marrakech, a historic city at the foot of the snowcapped Atlas mountain range. This ‘Jewel of the South’ is a mixture of Arabic, African and Berber traditions and has many trumps to enchant the western tourist. Here are a few of the things you can do while visiting Marrakech.
1. Wander in the medina
Orange-red ramparts encircle a labyrinth of narrow lanes and a cacophony of scents and colours. We’re talking about Marrakech’s medina here. This ancient heart is a place where getting lost is what you’re looking for. Wander down the tiny cobbled lanes among an endless run of bazaars selling sticky sweets or spices. The medina is a place to take in at an easy pace like a mint leaf in a teapot.
2. Have a camel trek
They are dirty, smelly and mostly uncomfortable but not having a ride on a camel would be a pity. Certainly with the Sahara desert this close. Go on a day tour – heck, why not more? – and experience how traders traveled the ancient caravan routes by camel. You can book a trekking to Ait Benhaddou, Todra Gorge or even the Dades Valley where you will witness the true beauty of the desert.
3. Circle the Koutoubia Mosque
The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque is Marrakech’s most famous symbol. Even though it’s not really that high, it can be seen from near and far. The prohibition of building anything higher than a palm tree in the medina makes the minaret towering over its surroundings. This still active place of worship is built in a traditional style and is topped with four copper globes. Encircling is the only thing you’ll be able to do since entering is forbidden for non-Muslims.
4. Relax at a hammam
Traveling is a way for us to relax. And what way is better than to immerse yourself in an authentic Morrocan spa experience? You will find many decent hammams in Marrakech at bargain prices. Have a nice massage or a good gommage in these sanctuaries of peace and tranquility. Enjoy the experience of being suffused with the gentle heat of warm water poured over your body. Or allow them to scrub away your stress during your hammam session.
5. Taste the exotic food
Feast your senses and indulge in Morrocan foods while wandering the chaotic main square, Djemaa El Fna. Taste Morocco’s vibrant spices and learn the art of haggling at a local market. You can start your Morrocan food odyssey by tasting the ghoulal, a snail soup that counts as a gastronomic adventure, while witnessing snake charmers and henna artists demonstrating their skill. Discover food shops other tourists don’t even know about and try the variety of nuts and olives. Bargain about the price since this is a way of life here in Marrakech and observing this tradition will give you deeper insight in the local culture.