If you’re looking for an exotic city break not too far from home, then Marrakech certainly deserves a visit. In a city so unique you will never find yourself short of the things to do. From snake charmers to belly dancers, to street food and lively souks, you’ll be sure to get a true taste of Morocco. This city will definitely leave a striking impression.
What to expect
It’s difficult to know what to expect when travelling to a destination you’ve never visited before but it’s always a good idea to research so you are aware of any rules, safety tips and general information.
Currency – Moroccan Dirham.
The most important thing to know is that the Dirham is non-convertible which means you will not be able to sort out your money before you leave. Instead, you’ll need to take British pounds along with you and exchange them when you arrive.
Climate – Warm all year round
Average temperatures in the summer months hit highs of 37 °C whilst the cooler temperature in the winter still averages at 18 °C.
Language – Officially Arabic but commonly French
It’s probably handy to know a few French phrases although you’ll hear various languages including Spanish, Berber and English.
Dress code – Play it safe!
In general, the rules for dressing in Marrakech, particularly for women are to cover your shoulders and knees so it would be sensible to pack tops with sleeves and light trousers.
Where to stay
Riad Vs. Hotel
Marrakech is famous for its traditional riads and you’ll find many beautiful riads clustered around the Medina. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard. All are decorated with intricate Moroccan architecture and depending on your budget you may get plunge pools, rooftop gardens or spas. Food may be included or can be requested and is made by a Moroccan cook. Live like a local and get the authentic Moroccan experience by staying in the heart of the city, saving you costs on taxis. And if you fancy checking out any of the hotels then many offer day passes, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds. If you want a traditional unique experience where you can truly dive into the culture then staying in a riad is for you.
Or if you prefer a more relaxing stay away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city then Marrakech also offers many beautiful hotels to accommodate you. The main square can be quite nosy and prayer also takes place 5 times a day including early hours of the morning. So if you’re looking for a quieter stay then a hotel is the best option for you. Many of the hotels offer various recreational and leisure activities including swimming pools, spas, beautiful terraces and children’s facilities. On top of that be sure to enjoy fine dining and luxurious comfort. Many hotels are conveniently located making it easy for you to go in and out of the main square when you like.
What to eat/drink
Discover interesting flavours and subtle spices. From Moroccan soups to street kebabs, let your taste buds indulge in the exotic dishes. The food of Morocco is ranked high on lists of the world’s best cuisines with the delicious diversity, unusual combinations and mouth-watering seasoning. Don’t leave without trying:
These traditional stews can be found bubbling away in restaurants, cafes or markets. Served in a clay cooking pot with a conical lid, a tagine is a stew of spiced meat and vegetables prepared by slow cooking.
You will probably also find couscous is served in the traditional clay pots. This dish is similar to tagines except the meat and vegetables lay on a bed of couscous and the sauce is served seperately.
Moroccan Tea (Maghrebi Mint Tea)
Served any time of the day, with sweet or savoury meals, Moroccan mint tea is refreshing, delicious and iconic. It symbolises Moroccan hospitality and is a cultural tradition. Made up from gunpowder green tea, fresh mint leaves, sugar and boiling water – you will not be disappointed.
Be aware of alot of bread and big portions!
What to do
There are many memorable things to do in Marrakech which will set your vacation apart from any others. From camel riding to quad biking, to sight-seeing and Moroccan spas you will never be short of things to see or do. Don’t leave Marrakech without:
Visiting Jemaa El-Fnaa
You’ll be dodging motorbikes, entertained by snake charmers, amazed by acrobats and memorised by the monkeys wearing dresses. Jemaa El-Fnna is Marrakech’s main square and market place. Open 7 days a week, this bustling hub of activity is a place which never sleeps. By evening, the square hosts many open-air food stalls allowing you to taste traditional Moroccan dishes whilst listening to the pungi played by the snake charmers. There’s no where that could compare to this busy square.
Be aware when taking photos – it may cost you if you snap pictures of the attractions or locals.
Doing a guided walking tour
If you’ve spoken to anyone that’s visited Marrakech they may have told you stories of getting lost in the Souks. Its easy to lose your direction down the winding streets that all look so similar. However, there are many guided walking tours you can do, private or in a group, where you can follow an expert all round the city and learn things you never knew before. Visit the famous Koutoubia Mosque, be amazed at Bahia Palace and prepare to hold you nose at the Tanneries where you can watch how leather is made.
Visiting Ouzoud Waterfalls
Take a day trip to Ouzoud Falls and admire one of Morocco’s natural wonders. Discover majestic falls which plunge 360 feet to the ground, stumble across the local monkeys and have lunch at waterfall restaurants. Spread in the Atlas mountains, expect a day enjoying the hikes surrounded by beautiful views.
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