Marrakech Guide- Things To See And Do

If you like chaos Marrakech is the place to visit

When you arrive in Marrakech your senses will be bombarded with sights, sounds and smells which may be slightly unnerving at first. It certainly takes some time to get used to the lack of predictability and sense of direction.

Marrakech has far too much going on to follow a normal sense of logic. Locals seem to wander around the main Djemaa el-Fna open square with no sense of direction or purpose. The place is buzzing and once you meander off the main square their are labyrinth style passageways which seem to more signts, sounnds and smells. Sometimes you need a guide whether you're in the city for a day, or a week.

WARNING: This Marrakech City Guide contains lots of colourful photos of Marrakech and more than 5 suggestions on things to do while you're there.

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech as viewed from Djemaa el-Fna. Use it as your city guide to keep your bearings as you're never far way.
Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech as viewed from Djemaa el-Fna. Use it as your city guide to keep your bearings as you're never far way. | Source

Rising high above it all is the Koutoubia Mosque

Despite the labyrinth passageways and chaos you're never too far from a view of the Koutoubia Mosque which towers above the low rise buildings of Marrakech and allows you to gather your bearings and direct yourself back towards somewhere of familiarity.

The 70 meter high tower of the Koutoubia Mosque is imposing and a perfect point for the adhan, the call to prayer by the muezzin five times a day. It's name is taken from the booksellers who surrounded the building when it was first built. These were the kutubiyyn .

Sadly entrance to the Koutoubia Mosque is off limits for non-Muslims. However after a few days of listening to the call to prayer you'll likely be impressed by it's magnificence and magnitude.

Watch the sun go down overlooking Djemaa el-Fna

The chaos of Djemaa el-Fna is best watched from one of the many rooftop bars and restaurants which overlook the square. You will not get bored of the view as so much seems to be going on. Look down at snake charmers, street performers and smoke coming up from the open air food stalls while drinking a Moroccan mint tea.

The view is amazing and worth a trip to Marrakesh for- the photo below does not do it justice!

Djemaa el-Fna by night from a roof top bar

Looking down on Djemaa el-Fna at dusk with smoke coming up from the evening food stalls
Looking down on Djemaa el-Fna at dusk with smoke coming up from the evening food stalls | Source

Morocco for the adventurous- Head into the Atlas Mountains

From Marrakech on a clear day you can actually see the top of Jebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa at 4167m above sea level.

At the adventurous Jebel Toubkal represents a real challenge and can offer a real taste of Morocco away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech as you climb up the Azaden Valley which offers a look at Berber culture.

Atlas and Sahara Tours offer a great selection of trips into the Atlas Mountains. Whether you're looking for a day trip to experience another side to Morocco. Or looking at challenging yourself with a full ascent of Jebel Toubkal over 2 or more days. They will arrange for a local guide to provide unique insights on your trip into the High Atlas as well as accomodation and food along the trail. A great trip for the adventurous.

http://www.atlasandsaharatours.com

Phone: (+212)668.85.10.01

Climb Jebel Toubkal while in Marrakesh

You can see Jebel Toubkal from Marrakech and climb it in 2 or more days as part of your holiday.
You can see Jebel Toubkal from Marrakech and climb it in 2 or more days as part of your holiday. | Source

Spices in the Marrakech Souks

The amazing spice stalls in the souks of marrakech. They smell divine and the colours bombard the senses
The amazing spice stalls in the souks of marrakech. They smell divine and the colours bombard the senses | Source

Bargaining in the Souks of Marrakech

Everyone likes a bargain. Marrakech is a bargainers paradise

To the East of the Djemaa el-Fna the square flows into the souks. Small yet well stocked stores full of everything you could ever want to get your hands on.

Shop (and bargain) for Spices

Spices such as Rass Al Hanout. (The 'head of the meat'), Cinnamon, Cardamon, Cumin, Ginger as well as special Tagine Blends to bring home and try your hands at Moroccan dishes.

More Spices in the Souks of Marrakech

More colourful spices (epices) in the Souks of Marrakech
More colourful spices (epices) in the Souks of Marrakech | Source

Buy a scarf in the souks

Scarves in the Souks of Marrakech
Scarves in the Souks of Marrakech | Source

Fancy a new scarf

If you bargain well you can pick up a cashmere scarf for a very low price and the scarf stores have pretty much every design you could wish for to look like a dandy around town.

The Marakech souks are also full of leather goods, household items and stores for everything imaginable. Each shop more extravagent to the eyes.

One of the best shops to view in the Souks of Marrakech are those wall to wall with babouches (Shoes) as pictured below.

Babouches (shoes) in the Souks

Fancy some new shoes? Babouches for sale in the souks of marrakech
Fancy some new shoes? Babouches for sale in the souks of marrakech | Source

A typical riad bedroom- waiting for you

A typical riad bedroom
A typical riad bedroom | Source

Stay in a Riad while in Marrakesh

Riads are traditional Moroccan houses although their name comes from the arabic Ryad - meaning 'garden'. Their focus on what's inside is a showcase for inner wealth and privacy. From the outside some riads are nothing more than a brick building however step through the heavy iron door and you'll be transported to an oasis in the chaos of Marrakech's streets.

In Marrakech over the a short period of time many older and crumbling riads have been restored back to their former glory to show an internal environment more palatial than it's surroundings would ever suggest.

Many riads have now been converted into hotels, guest houses and restaurants which shows how the popularity and money has flowed into Marrakech as it has embraced tourism.

The blueprint for a riad is a central courtyard or atrium from which many rooms sprout off. This central garden area might contain lemon or orange trees or even a fountain. An oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the Djemaa el Fna and the Medina.

Riads in Marrakech

Inside Dar Kiki Riad Marrakech
Inside Dar Kiki Riad Marrakech | Source
The internal Atrium of the Dar Atta Riad, Marrakech
The internal Atrium of the Dar Atta Riad, Marrakech | Source

Djemaa el-Fna at Night- Dine al fresco

Dine in the centre of Djemaa el-Fna.
Dine in the centre of Djemaa el-Fna. | Source

Eat under the stars in the Djemaa el-Fna

From the centre of the Djemaa el-Fna you'll see steam and smoke slowly rising. This is from the many food stalls which are set up of an evening selling true local delicacies for your culinary delight.

There's a real hustle and bustle to these stalls which are mainly frequented by locals however everyone is friendly while trying to entice you to their stall to sample the delights.

More Culinary delights in the open air- Marrakech

More culinary delights al fresco in Marrakech
More culinary delights al fresco in Marrakech | Source

Tea in Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech

Morrocan Tea served the traditional way from height on the Djemaa el Fna.
Morrocan Tea served the traditional way from height on the Djemaa el Fna. | Source

What to sample on the Marrakech food stalls

On the edge of Djemaa el Fna are food stalls which serve snails in a garlic sauce. Very simple and very french- l'escargot.(Pictured below). Great for less than a euro per bowl.

Also worth a consideration is a tasty sheeps head. (Not for the feint hearted) or Pastilla- Pigeon Pie. Made with pigeon meat and spices wrapped in filo pastry and covered in icing sugar- a real local delicacy.

Try the spice cake deserts and wash they down with either a mint tea (local speciality) or the authors personal favourite- Cinammon and Ginseng Tea which has been described on a number of occassions as 'liquid viagra'!

The traditional way for mint tea to be served is from a great height as shown.

During the daytime try a glass of freshly squeezed orange, lemon or grapefruit juice.

Fancy some snails on the Djemaa el-Fna

Stalls lining the edge of Djemaa el Fnaa serving Snails in garlic sauce.
Stalls lining the edge of Djemaa el Fnaa serving Snails in garlic sauce. | Source

Do you have any tips for Marrakech visitors?

Please feel free to share in the comments below

More by this Author


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working