Walking around Marrakech is one of the best means of exploring the city’s many delights (horse-drawn carriage rides being another). And easy as it is to get lost in the Medina, temporary loss of one’s bearings actually adds to the excitement of the sensory overload that characterises the bustling souks.
Take time to look at the quirky details of many building facades; notice how no two windows or doors are exactly the same; note how the low, covered walkways and door frames seem to have been designed for a shorter generation. These are just some of the features that make walking through Marrakech a fascinating experience.
Top City Walks
Here are five of the most popular walks, each taking in different aspects of the city in both the ancient medina and its modern counterpart.
• Rue Semmarine – one of the Medina’s main arteries, this one embodies the essence of the souks’ frenetic energy. Here, bazaar booths packed with every imaginable (and some unimaginable) objects strike you from every angle.
• Rue Dar el Bacha – teeming with character and history, Rue Dar el Bacha offers everything from chic antique, fashion and jewellery shops to charming windows into the city’s past. After passing Dar el Bacha Palace, you will also have the opportunity to peer into old style inns (caravanserais) and their delightful courtyards.
• Avenue Mohammed V – stretching all the way from the ancient Koutoubia mosque into the modern commercial quarter of the city, Avenue Mohammed V is a wide boulevard housing many of the best shops and restaurants as well as banks and offices. Cyber Park, an 18th century garden embracing 21st century technology (and with free WiFi) is also located along this wonderful avenue.
• Rue de la Kasbah – running from the Saadian Tombs to the Royal Palace, this busy thoroughfare, in the extreme south of the city, runs right through the bustling Kasbah with its street food vendors, souvenir emporia and corner shops.
• Avenue Bab Jdid – starting at the Menara Gardens and passing extensive olive and orange groves, the Avenue Bab Jdid allows one to take a stroll on the ‘greener side’ of Marrakech en route to the celebrated Mamounia, one of the world’s great hotels, a favourite of Winston Churchill.
A Word of Advice
When walking around Marrakech, listen out for cries of ‘Balak!’ (Watch Out) from donkey cart and caleche drivers’. Don’t disregard them, as they will invariably make no attempt to manoeuvre around you, although, travelling at a slow and steady pace, they will usually give pedestrians time to move safely out of the way!