Medina • Food • History Arts • Shopping • Nightlife

Best time to visit

October to May


Escaping from the Sahara desert and crossing the High Atlas mountain range, a so-called “blue man” (Berber nomad) stopped at the foot of a snow-covered mountain. He had finally found a hospitable land. At the crossroads of three rivers, the nomad sat down, ate the dates he carried and threw their stones away. As the tale goes, a vast palm grove suddenly rose and Marrakech was born.

The legend of the “Pearl of the South” reaches far beyond Morocco’s borders. The former capital, built by the Almoravide dynasty in the 11th century, has attracted global travellers across centuries, from caravans on the Gold Route to famous fashion designers. A unique warmth emanates from the heavy ochre city walls, inviting people to shelter in shady alleys or indoors for a blissful siesta.

The sights, sounds and smell of the 11th century Unesco-listed medina (old city) greet the traveller and provide an immediate introduction to the city. In the morning, children on their way to school and the shadows of people hurrying to the souk (market) populate the labyrinth of serpentine alleys. Stop at the Ben Youssef Medersa, which was once the largest Koranic school in North Africa. Built by the Merinids in the 14th century, it is a wonder of Moroccan traditional handicraft, with delicate zellige tiles, imposing woodcarving and ornamental plaster.  Pause at the rooftop Nomad, a trendy lunch spot to taste fusion Moroccan food with sweeping views.

In the afternoon, the heat slows the rhythm of the city down and invites relaxation.  You can pause at the Maison de la Photographie for reflection on the city’s culture and enjoy a refreshing walk in the Jardin Majorelle

The French painter Jacques Majorelle created the garden in the 1920s. A paradise for cacti, palm trees, bamboos and water lilies, the house was the home of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. It is famous for its characteristic use of cobalt shade now called “Majorelle blue”. At nightfall, people gather at the Djemaa el-Fnaa square around food stalls, musicians and storytellers. It’s a crowd that morphs from the families and friends grabbing dinner to a younger crowd hopping from bar to bar. Marrakech is the one Moroccan city that never sleeps, with a different experience every hour and for each person who is lucky to experience its wonders.


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