An Exotic Jaunt
A short plane journey from any major European airport transports you to the exotic city of Marrakech. There, you will find yourself surrounded by snake charmers, tribal dancers and the waft of delicious Moroccan cuisine. The evocative sound of the mosque’s call to prayer fills the air and exploring the mysterious lanes and alleyways of the old city and the hustle and bustle of the souks is fascinating and fun. A visit to Marrakech is a dazzling assault on the senses and an experience you will never forget. Here’s how to spend two days in Marrakech!
Getting There and Getting Around
As well as direct flights from Madrid, London and Paris, there are several airlines which fly from the USA, including American Airlines, Delta and United. The contemporary Moroccan Menara Airport is approximately four miles from Marrakech. It is easily accessible by taxi or shuttle buses. Buses leave every thirty minutes to the old city.
Walking is the best way to get around the old city of Marrakech. Although you will undoubtedly get lost, it really is the only way to explore the labyrinth of alleyways! There are plenty of signs dotted around directing you back to Jemaa el Fnaa, the main square – so you will find your way back eventually!
It would be a mistake to visit Marrakech and not stay at a riad, a traditional Moroccan house. Built around a courtyard, a riad is a perfect cocoon in which to escape the frenzy of the city streets. Decorated in striking tones, intricate hand painted tiles and subtly lit by Moroccan lamps, riads are wonderfully atmospheric. A stay in a riad will truly make you feel as though you have woken up in a distant, exotic land. Although they tend to be much smaller than hotels, there are plenty to choose from with price ranges to suit all budgets.
Ali Ben Youssef Merdersa
After breakfast at your riad, head to Ali Ben Youssef Merdersa. This impressive building was one of the largest Islamic schools in North Africa. Built in the 14th century, the artwork is exquisite and a fine example of Islamic architecture. If you wish to learn more about the merdersa, it is worth hiring a local tour guide.
Spend the afternoon exploring the labyrinth of narrow alleyways in and around the souk. You will inevitably get lost, but losing your bearings is part of the Marrakech experience and it’s often when you come across the most delightful surprises.
Shopping in Marrakech is unique – leather slippers, vibrant pottery, carpets and silver lanterns just for starters. Haggling is the way to go and once you get into it, your skills will improve and you will discover it is rather fun! There is much to titillate the senses. The fragrance of mint and lemon permeates the air. Stalls sell figs, apricots, olives and nuts and colorful spices are piled perfectly into cones.
Mint Tea with a View
At sundown, enjoy a sweet mint tea at one of the many rooftop cafes overlooking Jemaa El Fnaa Square, which is incredibly atmospheric at this time of the day. The sight of the Koutoubia Mosque overlooking the medina is a magical sight. Food stalls set up and the enticing aroma of cooking fills the air.
Dinner in Jemaa El Fnaa Square
Pull up a chair at one of the stalls and try a tasty shish kebab, seafood, tagine and couscous. The stalls vary greatly in quality, so check out this website or Trip Advisor to find out which of the many stalls get the best reviews.
After you have had your fill, take a wander through the medina and soak up the ambience. Snake charmers, acrobats, musicians and storytellers all vie for attention. It’s an extraordinary display and one of Marrakech’s most iconic experiences.
An Oasis in the Heart of the City
Make tracks to the stunning El Jardin Marjorelle, located just outside the walls of the old city. It took Jacques Marjorelle forty years to create this magical garden. In the eighties it was purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Burge, who restored it to its former glory. With its exotic plants, fish ponds, colorful oversized pots and hidden pathways, it’s a tranquil spot to spend a few hours.
Pamper Yourself in a Hamman
No visit to Marrakech is complete without a hamman experience. Lay back, relax and enjoy being pummelled, exfoliated and oiled in sumptuous surroundings. It is common to complete your visit to a hamman by having your body covered in argon oil. You are guaranteed to leave feeling revived and refreshed.
A Night Out at Kosy Bar
Wind up your 48 hours in Marrakech with a dinner at the Kosy Bar. The restaurant/bar serve both traditional Moroccan and international dishes and offer an extensive wine and cocktail list. From the rooftop terrace, you can enjoy dinner and drinks whilst watching nesting storks on the wall of the royal palace. A perfect end to two fabulous days in Marrakech.