Marrakech historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a medley of souk stalls and palaces, you’re sure to have a thrilling time. Known as La cité ocre (Pink City), this beautiful and ancient city will you have wanting to explore its many winding streets, filled with colours and exotic aromas. Here are our top ten tips for having a romantic weekend on a budget.
1. Stroll through the Medina of Marrakech
The traditional market place of Marrakech, the Medina is the heart of the city and the centre for activity day and night. This is the largest Berber market in Morocco and has souks selling everything from carpets to ceramics, with different streets having clusters of similar wares. This is the place to shop (and haggle) but also a great place to stroll and soak up Marrakech’s unique atmosphere.
2. Visit a Hammam
What could be more relaxing than a spa visit? Morocco is famous for its hammams – traditional spas, and they can be found all over the city at various prices and qualities. Opt for a massage or traditional Arab Bath. The most famous hammam is the Hamman of the Rose. For those on a budget, there’s also a hostel spa at Equity Point, where you can have a traditional Arab bath and eucalyptus scrub for only 100 Dh.
3. Visit the Palaces
While wandering the ancient streets, discover the richness of Marrakech’s former glory. The 16th century Badi, Bahia and Royal Palaces are all worth seeing for their astonishing architecture and former grandeur. The Badi Palace, once a seat of power in the city, is now in ruins but still had beautiful courtyards and gardens. The terrace has a particularly beautiful view of the Atlas Mountains.The Royal Palace can’t be entered but it’s worth seeing the building complex from the outside and only a quick detour from the southern Medina. The Bahia Palace is particularly beautify and still retains its majesty.
4. Dine under the stars in Jamaa el Fna
This 11th century UNESCO site is an intriguing and hectic place to explore. The main square of the Medina, you can find everything here from snake charmers to tea sellers. The food stalls here are over whelming, with huge fragrant barbecue grills (grillades) supplying amazing meats and fish. We recommend Stalls 31 or 93 for the grills – where you can mix with locals in the low lights under the stars. You can also get sweet treats here. For crepes visit La Creperie de Marrakech, open late on Rue du Capitaine Arrigui, for the best crepes in town.
5. Rooftop dining in Jamaa el Fna
Escape the street theatre in the Main Square by retreating to one of the many roof top terraces that surround the square and sit back to enjoy the scene. Not only do you have a great view of Marrakech and the mountains, it’s a more tranquil place to enjoy what is happening in the square below. There are a host of good restaurants here. is sit back on a café rooftop and watch the ‘halqa’ – street theatre. Cafe de France is known for its literary history but a good place to eat. There are also choices with more traditional Moroccan food.
6. Explore the City’s Ramparts
Encircling the Medina since the 13th century, the city walls are a great place to take a morning stroll, before the chaotic city comes to life. They run for 12 miles but you can visit sections, using different gates to see the different parts of the city. This is the place to get great views of the city, and to see different areas. The highlight is the beautiful Bab Agnaou gate. The Bab ed-Debbagh gates is famous for being by the tanneries which still work and dye leather. It’s a colourful site but beware there’s a strong smell.
7. Relax at the Jardin Majorelle
These tranquil and beautiful gardens are a great place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the Medina. Formerly the home of French artists in the 1920s, the gardens are now open to the public and showcase charming plants and flowers alongside cool ponds and fountains, all housed in a striking blue and yellow surrounding.
8. A night visit to the Koutoubia Mosque
This is the largest mosque in Marrakech and is visible from all over the city. By day you can see the lovely gardens with fountains, but at night it is beautifully lit. There minaret is particularly spectacular at over 240ft tall.
9. Have a Theatrical Experience
More than just a place for dinner, Le Comptoir is an experience that has to be seen. Of course they have fabulous French-Moroccan cuisine, but there’s also belly dancing, live music, a lounge bar and cocktail club. This place is a great choice for an evening meal with a theatrical twist.
Stay at Equity Point Marrakech