Marrakesh is so magical and full of culture, history, and fascinating surprises that it could occupy an entire vacation. It’s a great choice for a city break – a stop here for a few days on a tailor made itinerary. If you choose to explore the city, or head nearby for an amazing range of excursions, you will be amazed.
Morocco is a destination that has been sparking wanderlust in travelers of all ages for years now. It’s mesmerizing and unique. A vacation to this North African Mediterranean destination is a special treat for anyone looking for a little spice (literally!) and adventure. Over the past few weeks, we have been sharing some of our top choices for city visits. These are places you can explore on their own in several days. Or, you can easily incorporate them to a longer, tailor made holiday.
Here are some tips and advice on a city break to magical Marrakesh!
Getting to know Marrakesh
Marrakesh is one of the world’s legendary cities, and is an incredible feast for the senses. The city is deeply rooted in Moroccan history. It was only in the early 20th century that the names of Morocco and Marrakech were formally separated. The densely packed medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has the largest souk (traditional market) in Morocco. The most popular goods in the market are pottery, copper-wares, leather crafts, and other handmade crafts from local artisans.
Marrakesh enjoys warm winters and dry, hot summers, and has a nearly Mediterranean climate. It enjoys ample water supply fueled by underground streams from the Atlas mountains. However, the history and culture of Marrakech is deeply linked to the Saharan caravan routes. Hence, it is often perceived as being more desert-like than it actually is. In the hottest summer months, average temperatures near 100°F, while winter days seldom dip below 50°F.
By Moroccan standards, winters in Marrakesh are wet, with an average of 7+ rainy days and a little over an inch of rainfall per month. However, it’s a popular winter destination for visitors from northern Europe. Even in January it can be welcome escape from dreary weather.
Tours in the city of Marrakesh
Full Day Private Discovery of Marrakesh
Marrakesh enjoys a legendary status that conveys the ideas of mystery, sensuality, and exoticism. Nowadays, Marrakesh is a vibrant city that exhibits a curious blend of the ancient and the modern. It permits travelers the chance to experience the genuine medieval atmosphere of the old medina. And then, you can visit the trendiest bars, art galleries, and restaurants in the French Quarter, Guéliz, built at the beginning of the 20th Century, all in one day. Highlights of your visit will include Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, El Bahia Palace, and of course, the souks.
A private cooking class and lunch
One of the most pleasant aspects of Morocco is its closeness to nature. Organic food and vegetables a luxury in most Western countries are easily available in Morocco. With today’s private hands-on cooking class, you’ll have a close-up experience of traditional Moroccan cooking. Your culinary experience takes place in the Amizmiz Valley. An area still populated by Berbers who still stick to their traditional way of life. Just a short ride from Marrakesh, this valley has been little affected by tourism and modernity.
Your chef has a long experience running the kitchens of many well-reputed hotels and restaurants, both inside and outside Morocco. You will learn about this (and much more) using the ingredients you have selected from the chef’s gardens. Then, preparing a typically Moroccan two courses’ meal, and even baking your own bread. Following your class, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor under the shady trees of the garden- a truly unforgettable experience!
Private tour of the Majorelle Gardens
Your guide and driver will accompany you to one of Marrakesh’s most interesting attractions, Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens. Les Jardins Majorelle was created by the French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle, over almost forty years, starting in 1923. The property was the residence of the artist and his wife from 1923 until their divorce in the 1950s. Later, in the 1980s, the property was purchased by the fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked to restore it. Today, the garden and villa complex is open to the public. Thus, the villa houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakesh, the Berber Museum, and the recently opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The afternoon is free to spend at your leisure.
Day trips outside Marrakesh
The Ourika Valley is just a short distance from Marrakesh. It offers a beautiful excursion into the forested river valley. Here, there are small traditional Berber villages. Also, abundant flowering spring blossoms at the foothills of the Atlas mountains. A welcome retreat from summer heat and bustle of the city, the village of Setti Fatma has seven beautiful waterfalls.
The Ouzoud Falls are one of the most beautiful natural sights in Morocco. The 330 foot high waterfall is an incredible site, and the easy approach through the lush valley makes it a nice walk. The hike to the top is rewarded with incredible views. There are cafes on the water, local villages and traditional handcrafts. It makes a wonderful excursion from Marrakesh.
Marrakesh to Essaouira
Essaouira was once a Portuguese fortress, and the walls, ramparts, towers are a reminder of the historic conflicts in this coastal city. Today, however, it is a relaxed seaside town, known for its contemporary Moroccan art scene, and world-class windsurfing that attracts visitors from around the globe. The laid-back culture, local traditional music, ocean-fresh seafood, and natural beauty of the town make it a perfect place to visit.
Transformed by tourism in recent decades, the tiny mountain village of Imlil is still worth a visit. This means that summer months can be a bit crowded and hectic. The gorgeous scenery, terraced orchards, and stunning views all attract visitors, but it is also the starting point for most excursions to climb the famous Jebel Toubkal, or simply to hike the Atlas mountains. But it’s also a lovely spot to simply have dinner with a spectacular view and hear the mosques’ call to prayer echo magically down the valley.
Created during the French Protectorate in Morocco, stunning Takerkoust Lake dams the river for electricity. The resulting lake has become a popular excursion from Marrakech, with incredible water, cool temperatures, lush vegetation, and incredible views of the mountains rising over the landscape. The fresh water and quiet beaches offer all kinds of water activities, including swimming, boating, and waterskiing. You can also bike, drive, and hike the surrounding landscape, or even ride a camel. Locals and visitors alike enjoy a visit to the lake to relax and cool off.
The dessert outside Marrakesh
A shorter trip to the desert is a great idea for those with less time. Located 45 minutes southwest of Marrakech is an arid region, the Agafay Desert, also known as the ‘Desert of Marrakech’. This lunar-like landscape is dramatic, but we have a special treat for you as you arrive at a desert oasis where we will plan unforgettable dinner lit by over 400 lamps in a Berber tent. As there is no light pollution at all, star gazing takes on a new meaning. After the hustle of Marrakech, the silence is “deafening”, and the whole experience is one your family will treasure
City breaks, always tailor made
A few days in the Atlas mountains? Or even head to cities like Fes or to the sea? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish. Marrakesh is a great city break to add to so many other destinations!
We hope that these itinerary ideas provided some travel inspiration for your upcoming fall and winter. As always, its our mission and promise to make your Mediterranean travel dreams come true!
Contact us to start planning!