To start your Moroccan experience, you must first find a place to stay. There is a huge variety of accommodation in Marrakech and with such a large choice from large luxury hotels down to four to eight roomed riads and modern apartments, finding the right place can be hit and miss.
Our suggestion would be to go for the best of both worlds, i.e. the last word in modern comforts but with plenty of authentic local character added. Les Borjs de la Kasbah is one such, a 5 star luxury boutique hotel in Marrakech, well placed within comfortable walking distance of the centre yet far enough away from its hurly burly to be remarkably peaceful by comparison.
Having found your place to stay you’ll need some suggestions for things to see and do so here’s a short beginner’s guide to visiting Marrakech.
Visit the ancient medina and admire the 13th century walls that surround it. The souk, one of the largest in Morocco, is a tourist’s dream, such is the variety of artefacts and souvenirs you’ll find there. Take an official guide to show you round, with visits to a couple of palaces and museums included.
Mix with the crowd at Djemaa el Fna – this is the renowned main square that lies at heart of the old city. Teeming with life and street entertainers of various kinds, it resounds to the cries of fruit sellers (day) and food vendors (night), the clatter of horse drawn carriages and the exotic sounds of Berber music, snake charmers’ pipes and, above all, an inferno of drumming. From bargain shopping to snake charming, there’s never a dull moment!
A spiritual experience: the Medersa Ben Youssef is a former koranic school better known today as one of the finest examples (along with the dynastic Tombeaux Saadiens in the Kasbah) of Islamic architecture in Morocco. One can visit the student cells and admire the fine examples of painted cedarwood ceilings, hand-carved stucco, mosaic floors and other decorative features.
Admire Morocco’s cultural heritage: Marrakech is one of the best places to find locally-produced ceramics, paintings, mosaic tiling, jewellery and fabrics. Its museums, such as the Maison Tiskiwin and the Marrakech Museum, house a wealth of artifacts from Moroccan culture dating back over a thousand years including traditional clothing, illustrated manuscripts, musical instruments and ceramics, as well as modern works of art.
See Marrakech by bus: one of the best ways to see the city and get your bearings is to take a city tour in an open topped, London style, double decker bus. This takes you through the modern commercial area, Guéliz, where many of the best restaurants are located, the smart Hivernage residential area and many of the most impressive palm tree and hotel lined avenues.