How to enjoy the ultimate Moroccan holiday in Marrakech

A holiday in Marrakech isn't complete with a visit to the Medina, where a massive market awaits the inquisitive!

Marrakech is a vibrant and amazing city to visit, with this Moroccan destination providing an excellent introduction to what this beautiful and fascinating country has to offer. There are certain sights and experiences you shouldn’t miss – we’ve put together a list of a few of the essentials for a true Moroccan holiday.

Visit the medina

One of the things that is characteristic not just of Moroccan cities, but those in North Africa generally, is the bustling medinas. These are the beating heart of the city and are a fantastic place to really get lost in the country’s culture. In Marrakech, the medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s located alongside its famous Djemma el Fna Square and you really won’t find anywhere better for a taste of quintessential Moroccan culture.

The maze of alleys and streets is lined with all manner of colourful stalls and shops selling everything from leather goods to fragrant mint tea. Delight in getting lost among the hubbub, soaking in the sights and sounds that you stumble across. Aimlessly wandering the streets is a real must on a holiday in Marrakech.

Stay in a Riad

Riads are traditional Moroccan guest houses and spending at least a couple of nights in one of these establishments is the best way to really throw yourself into local life. These buildings often hide beautiful and tranquil courtyards and are home to rooms decorated in the colourful local style.

You should be able to find a Riad that’s within walking distance of the main sights, such as the Koutoubia Mosque and Djemma el Fna Square, ensuring you’re in the thick of the action from the outset. For some ideas about where you could stay, visit this website.

See the Saadian Tombs

There are many examples of outstanding architecture in Marrakech, but perhaps one of the best is the Saadian Tombs. These mausoleums near the El-Mansour Mosque date from the 16th century and have been lovingly restored in recent times to return them to their former glory.

The tombs are characterised by intricate stone carving and plasterwork, colourful tiles and beautiful arches. As well as the main mausoleums, there are dozens of graves from the Saadi Dynasty in the gardens that surround the buildings. This is a tranquil and stunning spot that’s perfect for quiet contemplation and that offers a glimpse of outstanding Moroccan craftsmanship.

Drink mint tea

When you travel, you should try to sample some of the local food and drink and there’s nothing that quite says Morocco like a cup of fresh mint tea. There are numerous pavement cafes around the medina in Marrakech and these are the perfect places to sit back and enjoy this refreshing beverage.

The best thing about having a break here is that you can watch the eclectic mix of street performers while you sip on your tea and soak up the atmosphere in the bustling square.

Discover modern Morocco in Gueliz

The Gueliz district of Marrakech presents quite a contrast to the medina and the older parts of the city. This area of the city was constructed by the French and has a very European feel to it. Wandering past the high-end boutiques, expensive restaurants and along the tree-lined boulevards is a very different experience to exploring the narrow alleys of the souks.

One place that really sums up what Gueliz is all about is the Majorelle Gardens, which were designed and created by the French painter after whom they are named. There are tranquil pools lined by colourful mosaic tiles, as well as a variety of stunning plants spilling out of pots and over borders.