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Unpredictable, exciting and a favourite among backpackers since the 1960s, Marrakech is Morocco’s fourth largest city and cultural epicentre of the country. It is filled with little oases of calm in among the clamour, giving travellers time to relax and contemplate the true beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
Travel to Marrakech and experience the vibrancy of this exotic city, with its labyrinthine souqs and rich culinary scene. You will also find that upmarket hotels and shopping malls are starting to flourish in Marrakech.
Book a flight to Marrakech with Qatar Airways to discover an innovative city that has one eye firmly on the future, with a growing base of high-tech companies and entrepreneurial start-ups. This makes Marrakech an interesting destination for business travellers as well as those in search of a magical adventure.
The most obvious attraction during any trip to Marrakech has to be the souq experience. Avoid the usual tourist traps and head to the smaller, more authentic souqs, where you’ll find good quality leather goods, jewellery and locally made crafts. You’d be surprised how remarkably friendly sellers are in these traditional markets. They are far less aggressive than elsewhere, but be prepared to haggle.
For a change of pace and a little peace and quiet, head to the ‘green lung’ of the city, La Palmeraie. Situated on the outskirts of Marrakech, this is an area that covers more than 13,000 hectares and is planted with a staggering 150,000 palm trees. Take a camel ride along the shaded paths for a truly relaxing and authentic Moroccan experience.
The evening’s entertainment is usually focused around Djemaa El-Fna the city’s main square. Here you can watch dancers and entertainers put on a show, and listen to storytellers weave ancient tales. During the day, the square is also a hive of activity, hosting snake charmers and street vendors.
Visit Dar Si Saïd Museum, on Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid, to get a better understanding of the culture and history of Morocco. The museum is set in an old palace and its collections include fabulous examples of Moroccan wood carving and leatherwork.
Shopping is big in Marrakech, and a visit to the old medina with its winding alleyways and interlinked souqs is a must. You can also explore the spiritual side of Morocco with a trip to The Ben Youssef Medersa, a Quranic school dedicated to the teaching of Islamic scripture and law. This fascinating school was founded in the 14th century and is still an important centre of learning today.
If you travel to Marrakech, then forgo the usual tourist coach tours and take a Calèche ride - a great way to explore the city from the back of a horse-drawn carriage. Make sure you settle a price with the driver before you start your ride.
There are plenty of opportunities for adventure tours beyond the city’s ancient walls, and you can choose from air-conditioned 4x4 dune drives, to a more authentic camel trek through the desert. If you’re feeling beach-bound, head for Agadir, which is a two-hour ride from the city centre, but well worth the trip. The beach offers plenty of water sports and some cool relief from the urban heat.
The iconic Moroccan dish has to be tajine, a colourful and flavourful combination of meat and vegetables slow cooked with a characteristic blend of herbs and spices. It is usually served with couscous, and forms the basis of most main meals.
While most of the main meat dishes consist of lamb or chicken, vegetarians will also find a wealth of options in Moroccan cooking. Meals are washed down with the one drink that Morocco is famous for – orange juice.
Moroccan oranges are some of the sweetest and juiciest in the world, and across the city you’ll find plenty of cart vendors selling freshly squeezed juice. The other main beverage is mint tea, which is delightfully refreshi /content/dam/images/renditions/horizontal-3/destinations/morocco/marrakesh/h3-marrakesh-shopping-primary.jpg ng on a hot day.
Every trip to Marrakech should include several visits to the various souqs. Head to the old medina for the best experience, and look out for wooden carvings and particularly fine leatherwork in some of the more reputable souqs.
Jewellery is also plentiful, with elaborately worked gold fetching the highest prices. For more contemporary shopping, head to souq Cherifa, which is home to a more eclectic mix of local and international designers.
Essential facts about Marrakech
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip