Luxtripper Travel Editor
Bartering is very much part of the culture of Marrakech and not trying to haggle even a little is seen as an insult. Please don't think of souks along the same lines as a Turkish market for instance, you won't find amazing antique doors with price tags of £100,000 on them down Icmeler way, or incredible handmade Berber blankets. The spice shops should also be on your must visit list as they are an experience in themselves.
Learn About 1000 Years of Architecture and History
The entire Medina is positively bursting with stories and history from the rich and colourful past of the city. From the 12th century Loutobia Mosque at Djemaa el Fna to the stunning Ben Youssef Medrassa Islamic College, Marrakech's architecture is simply superb. Other highlights that are well worth taking time to visit are the Marrakech Museum, Menara Gardens and El Badi Palace which are close to the city.
Stroll in the Jardin Majorelle
As wonderful as Marrakech is there may come a time when you want a respite from the heat, dust and general chaos. This comes in the shape of the Jardin Majorelle which is famous for its combination of cobalt blue paint and picturesque ponds which offer utter tranquillity to its visitors. Created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle it was a work in progress for four decades before opening to the public in 1947. In 1980 the area was due to be turned into a holiday complex until it was bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. They were determined the gentle walkways between the ponds would remain exactly as the are and it still remains a sanctuary from the madness of the city surrounding it.
Visit Djemaa el Fna by Day and by Night
Africa's largest square is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the dynamic atmosphere changes as does the colour of the sky making both a must see. A more subdued, laid back ambience exists through the day due to the intense heat but it still worth seeing to appreciate the architecture of the square before the evening descends and it comes to life. The best way of describing it is as an impromptu carnival with entertainment, shops and food stands appearing from nowhere. There are several luxurious restaurants in the area for those who have soaked up the atmosphere but don't want to risk buying something to eat which they don't recognise.
Take a Day Trip To the Atlas Mountain
3 hours away from the madness and mayhem of Marrakech lie the magnificent Atlas Mountains inhabited by nomadic Berber tribes and offering the most spectacular and dramatic landscape. There are luxury trips also available if you fancy venturing further in the Sahara Desert and sleeping under the stars in a traditional Berber tent. The expression “experience of a lifetime” is oft overused in travel reviews but once you have lain in the Sahara staring at the stars in a pitch black sky its one you will also start using.
Experience Traditional Moroccan Art and Music
Marrakech is a veritable hot bed for attracting both up and coming and established artists and musicians to put on exhibitions and concerts. Everywhere you go in the city you will hear music but if you prefer a more organised event some of the annual highlights are the The Marrakech Folk Music Festival and Marrakech National Festival of the Popular Arts. Movie buffs will enjoy the excitement when the the Marrakech International Film Festival takes place and if you are an opera fan there is even an opportunity to take in some operatic brilliance in the New Town.
Day Trip to Essaouir
The first difference you notice between Essaouira and Marrakech is the temperature due to this town being on the Atlantic Coast and then they just keep coming. The Portuguese influence is evident at every turn with the whitewashed building, the bright blue of the boats bobbing in the harbour and the ancient fortifications along the seafront. Wonderfully picturesque and with an incredibly laidback atmosphere a trip to Essaouira really is a breath of fresh air. Whilst the town's population is naturally increasing it still manages to retain its charm and is a relaxed, bohemian style sea side town which is rich in both history and culture. Another plus is that is doesn't feel very touristy either.
Take a Trip to a Hammam
A traditional Hammam is where locals meet to relax, socialise and get scrubbed half to death! It sounds harsh but is well worth it as you will leave feeling cleaner and fresher than you ever have in your life. There are several steam rooms offering various heat and once you have trooped around them all you scrub yourself as hard as you possible can using an exfoliating glove and thick, gooey soap known as Savon Noir which is made from pure olive oil. Once rinsed you and covered in a liberal coating of argon oil to keep the skin super soft you will feel fantastic and despite the heat have a definite spring in your step.
Stay in a luxury Riad
Marrakech has some truly spectacular resorts including the magnificent La Sultana, an outstanding 5 star hotel set within a traditional riad. Its beautiful Moroccan architecture and panoramic views add to the experience of this special hotel. La Sultana is within walking distance of the main square and royal palaces, making it the perfect spot for visitors.
If you are planning your first trip to Marrakech hopefully this guide will help you to make those difficult decisions as to what to pack into your itinerary. There isn't another city in the world quite like Marrakech and the volume of return visitors speaks volumes for all it has to offer its visitors.