5 Exciting Things to Do in Marrakech
The red city sits to the north of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, 580 km south-west of Tangier and 327 km south-west of Rabat, the current capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. Marrakech derives its pseudonym of “red city” from its characteristically red walls constructed between 1122 – 1123 AD, made from pisé, a reddish pink clay. The city is a favourite tourist destination in Africa and is the fourth largest city in Morocco after Casablanca, Fes and Tangier.
If you ever find yourself in the red city of Marrakech, here are 5 exciting things you can do to make your stay unforgettable.
Visit a Museum
A trip to Marrakech should involve a visit to one or two museums. There are several bound to enthral anyone with an appreciation for arts and culture including handicrafts, calligraphy and photography. The architecture is a stand-alone attraction as well, which guarantees a tour to any of Marrakech’s museums time well-spent. Dar Si Said Museum (Museum of Moroccan Arts) contains one of the oldest and finest collections of Moroccan artefacts and comes well recommended for a visit.
A good place for photography aficionados is the La Maison de La Photographie (House of Photography), a museum in Marrakech housing vintage photographs, glass negatives and photography-related documents dating from 1870-1960. Other museums of interest include the Berber Museum, Tiskiwin Museum and the Museum of Marrakech.
Sleep in a Riad
They are vintage buildings usually built with a garden or courtyard in the centre. Riads used to be homes to wealthy Moroccan elites in the past and could pass for small palaces as a result of their enormous size. If you’re looking for quiet or privacy, a riad might be unsuitable because of its structure, which is less like a hotel and more like a family home. Yet, a night at a riad may serve to bring you closer to Moroccan culture and lifestyle than a week at a hotel. However, depending on your budget, you could go for the more expensive, modern riads which have been renovated and refurbished to hotel standards.
Take a Food Tour
It is said that you cannot completely know a people until you have tasted their food. Getting to know – and perhaps to love – Moroccan cuisine should be a major highlight of your trip to Marrakech. Indeed, there’s much to explore in the red city where food is concerned; from the popular mechoui (spicy lamb roast) to the local bread (khobz). There are also other mouth-watering delicacies like fresh olives, Moroccan dates, harira couscous (tomato soup), tajines and beverages like sweet mint tea.
You can decide to take an independent food tour if you’re feeling a little bold or find a food tour company to help you discover Moroccan cuisine. It also helps to know that Moroccan food is relatively cheap.
Get a Bird’s-eye View of the City
Seeing the red city from above is an experience you’re certain not to forget in a hurry. Doubtless, Marrakech is a picturesque city with the Atlas Mountains, desert, groves, trails, domes and pisé coloured city walls, all combining to form a wonderful pixelated jigsaw from above.
An aerial view of Marrakech from inside a hot air balloon or helicopter is definitely worth including into your plans when you visit. Having a good camera handy is also an excellent idea for this trip.
Walk the Wall
A great way to get a good sense of Moroccan history is to visit and walk the 12th-century pisé coloured ramparts of Marrakech. They are about 19km long and stretch around the city of Medina. These historic walls were originally built to keep out invaders and provide protection over the city’s inhabitants. Some of the original exit/entrance gates, for example, Bab Agnaou still stand today and tourists make it a duty to use them. If you’re feeling for something grander, you could take a calėche (horse-drawn carriage) ride around the walls instead.
To wrap up your visit to Marrakech, be sure to pamper, yourself a little with a rejuvenating massage at a local spa or hammam.
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