The cultural richness and diversity of Marrakesh
Marrakesh is a beautiful city that offers a lot of cultural richness and diversity. With its bustling souks, surprising snake charmers, delicious traditional food, amazing palaces, wonderful gardens, and famously welcoming hospitality, the city is an amazing place to experience. Within this article, I describe a top ten of sights you must visit in Marrakesh.
Jemaa El-Fnaa is a big square and market place in the centre of Marrakesh. During the day, there are many orange juice stalls, spice stalls, snake charmers, henna tattoo artists, magicians and locals with chained Barbary apes. At the square you will taste the best orange juice you have ever tasted. A glass of orange juice costs around five to ten Dirham (€0,50-1,00). In the evening, all the charmers and artists depart and the square gets filled with dozens of food stalls. It becomes a great place to try the traditional Moroccan food. Both day and night, Jemaa el-Fnaa, is an amazing place to experience. Around the square are some rooftop restaurants located and the square is the gate to the Marrakesh souk. This is an typical traditional North African indoor market with all kind of local products and tourist souvenirs. Haggling is expected at the souk and it is easy to get lost while wandering in the souk. The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) proclaimed the Jemaa el-Fnaa in 2001 as an intangible heritage of humanity and part of the world heritage list.
The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. The architecture of this mosque is beautiful and it is surrounded with a nice park. The mosque is daily in use for praying, but only open for Muslim visitors. Therefore, most of the tourists are not allowed to enter. Whether you are religious or not, the mosque is worth a visit.
The Bahia palace is a lovely palace to visit. The walls and high ceilings are decorated in a traditional way with fine carved stones. It is possible to visit the inside of the palace and the small garden around it. The inside is empty, but with a guide, it is very interesting to get to know about the history. The palace would bear the name of the first wife of the king. The entrance is only ten Dirham (€1,00).
El Badi (Badia) palace
The Badia palace is a nice place to visit, but less interesting then the Bahia palace, because you are only allowed to visit the outside of the palace. The size of the palace is impressive and the architecture is amazing. There is a large pool in the centre of the palace and on top of the wall are many nests of storks. The entrance is only ten Dirham (€1,00).
Since 1947, Louis Majorelle (a French painter), opened the garden to public, which is today known as the Majorella Garden. Within the garden are many exotic plants, trees, ponds full of fish and there is a small restaurant. It is a lovely and peaceful place to visit. The entrance to the garden is around 70 Dirham (€6,50).
Day trip to the Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains are perfect for a day trip. It is possible to do several excursions with jeeps or buses, but you can also decide to hike in the mountains, which I did. The views are spectacular and you will be able to see the snow on top of the mountains. During the hike you cross several Berber villages, where you can experience the real local life of the Moroccan inhabitants. There are different local restaurants and houses available in the villages, where you can enjoy a mint tea or local snacks. If you would like to overstay in the Atlas Mountains, I recommend the Kasbah du Toubkal. The location of this hotel is stunning, and the place is brilliant. The roof terrace of this hotel, provides the chance to enjoy your breakfast or dinner with an amazing view. The Atlas Mountains are definitely worth a visit. It will definitely be one of your highlights of your trip to Morocco.
Camel ride in the Palm grove
The palm grove is about twenty minutes (by car) away from Jemaa El-Fnaa. It is possible to book a tour via one of the tour operators in the city centre. Most of the prices of a ride amount to €30,00 – €50,00. The price depends on the amount of hours you would like to ride the camel. It is nice to explore the desert and palm groves of Marrakesh from a camel’s back. The guides are friendly, but the surrounding of the palm grove is very bare.
The Saadian Tombs has 60 tombs and more than 100 different gardens. It is an impressive sight to visit. There are beautiful mosaic floors with raised graves amongst them. The entrance fee costs ten Dirham (€1,00).
Oasiria Water park
This water park is located slightly outside Marrakesh, but has a free shuttle service running from Gueliz. It is a nice place to relax. The park has several waterslides and some nice (hot and cold) pools. The entrance fee is 190 Dirham (€17,50). The price is quite high, but this is the average price you would pay in any other water park. It is not allowed to swim with a burkini.
The medina of Marrakesh is surrounded by a 16 kilometer red clay wall. Sometimes, Marrakesh is called the ‘Red city’ because of its walls. Bab Agnaou is one of the nineteen gates of Marrakesh. This city gate has a wonderful architecture and construction of a horseshoe arch.
This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.
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Marrakesh is soo charming – seems to be very colourful! Beautiful photos 🙂
It is indeed a very charming and colourful city Barb! Marrakesh is an amazing place to visit. Thanks for you comment 😀