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Holidays to Marrakech
Take the Express Route
The former imperial city of Morocco is its second largest city and home to the best food hall you'll ever find! Bring your taste buds to this place because Marrakech loves its food - and loves sharing it with appreciative visitors.
Marrakech is in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and if you've the time, a little adventuring in the desert is a wonderful way to soak up a slice of calm after the frenetic pace of Marrakech. That said, Marrakech is ideal if it's time in your life to take a break; it's a completely different life in these parts and you'll head home with a different take on what you think 'stress' is.
In Marrakech itself your time is best spent just wandering; explore the souks, get lost in the marketplaces, enjoy a barbecue after dark in the square. You can make money last here so if need several weekend breaks, Marrakech could work for you.
Marrakech is a city of sights, smells, people and life lived large. This is not a wander through dry museums; it's an open-armed invitation to live in the right here, right now! Enjoy the interaction with the locals. Sure they want a few dirham's but it's an experience best greeted with a smile and an embrace.
All around you acrobats, jugglers, story-tellers and mystics will ply their trade. It's perfect for New Year breaks! The smoke of a thousand barbecue pits will assail you, the noise of a hundred little scooters tooting their way through impossibly narrow streets will assault you... but let it in, welcome it, and Marrakech will reward you with memories you'll carry forever.
Eating out in Marrakech
Cheap, expensive and everything in between.
The food in Marrakech is an explosion of the flavours of Africa, the middle east and the Mediterranean. Tagine and meat are the staples and you'll find couscous everywhere. Food stalls are ubiquitous and you'll find refreshing apple tea almost everywhere. Don't be afraid of stall eating; they're government regulated and quite safe.
The budget options - your first stop is the Djemaa El-Fna. The stalls here are an evening institution dating back hundreds of years (it's not just a kitschy tourist hangout!). Just wander until you find something. The insistent cries of the greeters imploring you to step into this establishment or that are easily met with an 'I've already eaten' hand on the stomach. Once you choose your stall for the evening's meal, you'll be spoilt for choice. Delicious, freshly barbecued sausages on a roll, lamb or beef harira (soup) with plenty of vegetables, fresh salads and mint or ginseng tea to wash it all down!
Mid price options - the mid price options are generally found outside the Medina. Check out Ville Nouvelle for different cuisine options. Close to the Medina you can try Cafe Alhamra which serves up salads, pizza, and pasta as well as a tagine of the day. Choose the rooftop area so you can people-watch, particularly late at night. Le Marrakchi is opposite the market and is one of the few restaurants to serve alcohol, plus a good line in local cuisine.
Splurge - there are plenty of good restaurants to choose from, many in the international hotels. For a wonderful splurge try Gastro MK at Maison MK, 14 Derb Lafkih Sbaai in the Quartier Ksour. The rooftop area is a brilliant spot for sharing delightful canapés, the Camel Room is a glorious experience and the food is quite exceptional. Expect to pay around €40 and up per head for a 5 course set menu.
What to wear, when to go
Marrakech is on the tip of Africa and enjoys mild, wet winters with hot summers. Your best travel bet is either side of the main seasons. The average temps in winter are around 12C and about 30C in summer, although July and August can see temps closer to 40C. Spring and autumn are just beautiful at around 20-25C on average. There's not much rain so leave the brolly at home!
Things not to miss
Marrakech - life lived large
You're not in Marrakech for dusty old museums (although there are a few), you're here for an African/Arabic/Mediterranean experience. This is the stuff of movies, the place where the stars light your way and centuries old alley ways take you to your destination. The right attitude for Marrakech is one of exploration; if you're ready for noise, colour and people, Marrakech is ready for you!
Djemaa El-Fna - the heart and soul of Marrakech! You'll spend a lot of time in the main square of Marrakech; either eating, drinking mint tea or being manhandled in to shops (in the nicest possible way). Explore the square and just people watch.
Spa treatment - you may have spent days building up that tan but prepare to have it scrubbed raw as you partake of a traditional hammam. The local equivalent of a Turkish bathhouse will lead you progressively through steamier rooms until you're ready for your black soap scrub (mashed olives), followed by a four-handed massage.
Souk sightseeing - when in Marrakech! Discover the hidden back streets and explore the numerous stalls, restaurants, cafes and shops of the souks. Take your camera because no one at home will believe your stories of the donkey wash or the fish seller with his retinue of cats.
Don't miss - the main square at night. Marrakech comes alive as dusk falls and the early part of the evening can be given over to hunting down the food you're in the mood for then sitting back in a rooftop cafe as you listen to the drums start up. The square at night is Marrakech - exciting, unbelievable, warm, friendly, loud and slightly edgy.