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Marrakech Holidays

The magnificence of Islamic architectural features of Marrakech can hardly be guessed, not even from the red, mud baked walls that stand out against the snow dusted contours of the Atlas Mountains. Find the nitty-gritty in the Kasbah and médina – a whirlwind of kiosks and souqs, tanneries and shisha cafes that make short breaks to Marrakech seem all too short.

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Holidays in Marrakech

Marrakech’s imperial past as the capital of the Almoravid Empire has graced it with the symmetrical mosaics of the Bahia Palace and the vast Ben Youssef Mosque. Less opulent but telling of Marrakech’s cosmopolitan history is the Lazama Synagogue and the Miaâra Jewish cemetery. Alongside the grandeur and splendour of the citadel are the coils and tangles of the souq market and médina, hives of activity that tell the city’s story as a trans-Saharan trade route. A Marrakech city break isn’t complete without haggling with pottery merchants, carpet sellers and leather workers that do business with locals and tourists alike. Travelbag’s all inclusive Marrakech hotels are spread throughout the city, from the centre of the action around the fortified town to the more remote but artistically inclined areas like Ville Nouvelle that’s home to parks, café culture, a contemporary arts scene and high end bars and restaurants.

Things to do in Marrakech

The Red City & the Médina

Behind the pretty city walls is the chaos of Morocco’s médina, reached by a network of hairline alleyways that lead onto marketplaces, rooftop tanneries working hides and skins (as they have done for a thousand years) and 14th century Persian knot techniques that hang outside shop fronts. Shop for spices, lamps and silver in the souqs or catch the eye of snake charmers, tarot readers and apothecaries through the crowds and hand-drawn carts. Escape the midday heat in the Marrakech Museum, a 19th century palace that features Islamic coin collections, ceramics and weapons, try an Arabic cleansing ritual in a traditional hammam (steam house) or pause for sweet mint tea in a Marrakech teahouse. What isn’t often associated with a Marrakech holidays is the calmness of the cities lesser known parts – away from the médina.

 

Marrakech Hotels

Choose one of Travelbag’s all inclusive holidays to Marrakech and arrange your stay in a riad – a two story house built around an enclosed courtyard. Riad is derived from the Arabic for garden and the interior outdoor spaces are filled with date palms, curvaceous archways and murmuring fountains. They make easy breakfast sanctuaries and lazy evening hangouts at either end of the hot and fast paced days. In the Moussaine district, plenty of these traditional buildings have been converted into hotels where you’ll be close to shrines and mosques of note as well as the boutique stores, independent cafes and restaurants that live here too. To be in the thick of it (which in Marrakech means near the souks) opt for the adjacent Bab Doukkala neighbourhood which has some peaceful accommodation off the main drag on Rue Bab Doukkala. 

 

Islamic Decadence

“You who enter my door, may your highest hopes be exceeded” reads the entrance to the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa. It’s hard for them not to be when you gaze at the Islamic calligraphy either side of doorways, up and along the floral and geometric decorations of the walls to Atlas cedar cupolas and wooden lattice balconies that surely once inspired students of science and faith as much as it does tourists today. As above so below; the Saadian tombs, next to the Kasbah mosque, are every bit as opulent. You’ll find burials made of Carrara marble in the Hall of Twelve Columns – the most prestigious mausoleum in the necropolis complex. The splendour of Marrakech can be heard as well as seen with the sonorous call to prayer from the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, built sometime in the 12th century.

 

Best time to visit Marrakech

Summer is best avoided. Days can be so hot its unreal, intensified by the humidity of the North Atlantic. Winter temperatures are much more agreeable but only during the day time – in the evening time the heat swiftly disappears leaving you wishing you’d booked a room with a fireplace. Autumn is a good time to visit (September/November) when the heat has dropped off but better yet is spring when the north African roses bloom as red as the Marrakech walls and there’s no chance of leftover mugginess that might catch you in autumn. Be sure to check when Ramadan is – restaurants and cafes operate much reduced hours during the fast and purification month.

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