City Break

Short City Breaks: Marrakech

Enveloped in an aura of mysteriousness and drama, exotic Marrakech provides travelers with a true taste of Moroccan life. Set to the backdrop of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains rising majestically out of the Sahara, it is the gateway to Morocco’s red desert and the base for the High Atlas region. Here, African, Berber and Arab Morocco come together in the clanging and banging of everyday life.

Founded in 1062 and one of Morocco’s four imperial cities, Marrakech is rife with magnificent landscapes, historical landmarks and beautiful ancient building – evidence to the city’s fascinating history.

Start out in the maze of narrow streets and alleys leading to the city’s souks, located near Djemaa el Fna, the city’s central square. Here, local vendors tout every imaginable ware – from spices and local produce to pottery, metalworks, jewelry and rugs.  

Friendly merchants will gladly offer you a glass of mint tea, a traditional custom while you’re expected to haggle for their goods. When the cacophony becomes too much, take refuge in a rooftop café, from where you can observe the unfolding drama below.

The heart of traditional Marrakech, the Dejmaa el Fna, comes to life at sunset when story tellers, musicians, snake charmers, witch doctors, fire-eaters and acrobats ply their trades as locals clamor around.

In sharp contrast to the Dejmaa el Fan, to the south lies a tranquil district of the Medina, with its many splendid monuments depictingthe city’s fascinating history

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Marrakech is also famous for its lush and beautiful gardens. The Agdal and Menara gardens are set amidst a fantasy landscape of orchids and olive groves. The Jardins Majorelle, originally created by a French painter and now owned by Yves Saint Laurent, are smaller in size but spectacular with their lily and cactus ponds and the stunning pavilion housing the Islamic Art Museum.

Marrakech is also a great base for adventure travel throughout southern Morocco. On the west, mystical Essaouira sits on the Atlantic coast and offers a lovely seaside resort. To the east, Ourzazate with its dramatic desert scenery opens the gateway to the Sahara.

While maintaining a strong bond to its history, Marrakech, with its spectacular location and bustling ambiance is rooted in the present. This lovely, mysterious city makes a great short city break from the many adventure destinations Morocco has to offer. It is a city imbued with the sights, sounds and flavors of Morocco; it is quite simply, a feast for the senses!

 

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