Purple Hearts: Marrakech Travel Guide

Make the most of your holiday with our Marrakech Travel Guide. Everything you should see, do, experience and stay in one handy place! Enjoy the Purple Travel Marrakech Travel Guide.

It might seem like an exotic, bustling place to go and, well, it is! But Marrakech is a lot more than that. The Moroccan city makes an amazing autumn holiday and here’s why: it’s got fantastic weather, great atmosphere and lots of budget friendly options and it’s just over three hours away. You’ll feel like you’re worlds apart after just a couple of hours.

The iconic city of Marrakech dates back to the 11th century. It probably looks a bit familiar since it’s been used as a backdrop for tonnes of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and even an episode of the Apprentice, while it’s become intertwined with The Rolling Stones who fell in love with the ‘anything goes’ atmosphere in the 60s.

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Marrakech is a city of exotic markets, traditional maze like streets, wonderful food, a vibrant atmosphere and friendly people. From the historic medina to the modern city of Gueliz, it’s a city to explore and discover. It’s a great place to travel in winter, because the intense heat of the summer is over, but it’s still warm enough to have a dip in your hotel pool. You’ll find at least seven hours of sunshine, there aren’t so many tourists and (as always) lots to see and do. However do remember, that although the days are hot, a cardigan might be in order for chilly nights. Add your own in comments below to our Marrakech Travel Guide.

What to see

The Majorelle Gardens filled with vibrant colours and exotic flowers, the park was bought by fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent in the 80s and is home to the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech. The museum features a huge collection including some of YSL’s personal jewellery and ceramics.

Djemaa El Fna Square the bustling market place in the medina quarter is the place to go at sunset to soak up the magical atmosphere. It’s usually packed and you couldn’t ask for a better place to sample some street food from the many stalls, sway to the sound of the drums or try to catch up with the story-tellers and snake charmers.

The Souks the fairytale market is the place to pick up that bit of something you never knew you needed… There are hundreds of stalls along tiny alleyways selling all kinds of ceramics, leathers and jewellery. Try out the delicious pastries or sticky dates or grab a herbal remedy for whatever ailment you can think of.

Ourika Valley About an hour from Marrakech you’ll find yourself in the foothills of the famous Atlas Mountains, the starting point for a day hiking or exploring Berber Villages. The rich red mountains and lush greenery is a breath of fresh air from the bustling city atmosphere.

A night in the desert  A little further away you can venture into the Sahara for a few days and sleep under the stars. A camel is a spectacular (and bumpy) way to discover the dunes and natural beauty where you’ll begin to feel a bit like Laurence of Arabia which was actually filmed in the area.

Have a hammam A hammam might sound a bit of a scary prospect, you basically get pummelled by a scantily clad assistant, but trust us it’s seriously worth it. The heat opens your pores, the soap scrubs and moisturises your skin and the massage will leave you without a care in the world. Les Bains Marrakech is a nice place to get acquainted with the tradition.

Nightlife The days out in Marrakech are lively, but are nothing compared to its nights. Music plays from morning to night, cocktails are shared, friends chat for hours and it’s like a party every day. In the Medina, it’s more about meals and drinks together, while there are a couple of piano bars, with stylish cocktails menus dotted nearby.

Beyond the medina in Geuliz, you’ll find chic bars, while Comptoir Darna is one of the most popular places to be seen. Theatro in Marrakech Casino and Pacha Marrakech are two of the biggest clubs in town, bringing in big name DJs from all over the world and perfect for clubbing fans. Le Bar Churchill is a sophisticated choice, while the Montecristo is where to go if you really want to splash out.

Where to stay

Aqua Fun Club Travelling with the kids and want to mix fun in the sun with a day trip or two? The Aqua Fun Club, with views of the Atlas Mountains has its own free shuttle to Marrakech centre and tonnes on offer to impress little ones. There’s a kid’s club, outdoor heated pool (in fact there are ten to choose from!) delicious food and friendly staff.

Imperial Plaza Marrakech slap, bang in the middle of Marrakech, the Imperial Plaza is perfect for tipping off those shoes after a day exploring this amazing city. Just 15 minutes walk to Djemaa El Fna Square and with a roof top pool, it is ideal for couples or groups of friends on a city break.

Kenzi Club Agdal Surrounded by olive groves the Kenzi Club Agdal is actually made up of nine Riads, or guesthouses, offering gorgeous views of the Atlas Mountains, and a little bit of luxury with hot tub and massages available after long nights of clubbing at Le Pacha.

Riu Tikida Garden Just a couple of minutes by car to the old town of Marrakech, this 4 star is all about rest and relaxation. There’s an onsite spa, buffet restaurant with delicious Moroccan cuisine and lots of sporting activities nearby if you’re feeling up for it.

What to eat

The food in Marrakech could be called eclectic: there are Arab, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and African influences. Basically, you can’t go to Marrakech, or anywhere in Morocco without feasting on the delicious flavours on offer.

The tagine is probably the most famous. Meat is cooked ridiculously slowly in a clay pot giving some of the best flavour you’ll ever taste. Harira is a delicious soup of lamb or beet and lentils with fried aubergine. A speciality from some of the souk stalls is lamb head – hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it! Pasitlla or diced and cooked pigeon served with pistachios and almonds is a great stop on a foodie adventure while finishing a meal with one of the many (many!) tea houses. Tea in Morocco is a bit of an art form and is a daily tradition amongst locals. Green tea with mint is a favourite and you’ll find it served almost everywhere in Marrakech.

As we’ve already mentioned the medina is a great place to sample lots of different flavours, with a number of stalls to choose from. No. 6 has bowls of escargot, while no. 10 has slow cooked lamb that melts in the mouth. The Al Fassia restaurant, run by an all female staff, specialises in meats and sweets that characterise the best Moroccan food. The quite fancy Kasbah Agafay is an old school restaurant which offers cookery classes under chef supervision, so you can find out how to bring the flavour of Morocco home with you.

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