A Week in Enchanting Marrakech: Blending History, Culture, and Adventure

Advisor - Heather Budd
Curated By

Heather Budd

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  • Arts & Culture

  • Marrakech

  • Group Travel

  • History

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

A Week in Enchanting Marrakech: Blending History, Culture, and Adventure
Curator’s statement

We spent a truly amazing week in Marrakech. It is an exciting, vibrant and enchanting city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and modernity. The bustling markets, stunning architecture, panoramic views, warm hospitality and incredible food delighted all of our senses. And if you are like me and love escaping the city for a bit of adventure, you are on the doorstep of the beautiful and rugged Atlas Mountains.

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Where to stay

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The Oberoi, Marrakech

Surrounded by 28 acres of Mediterranean orchards, this posh hotel in Marrakech boasts elegant rooms with views of the Atlas Mountains.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage or spa credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Royal Mansour Marrakech

Perhaps Marrakech's best-known palatial hotel with an expansive spa and luxurious suites that offer an authentic Morrocan experience.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Riad Kheirredine

Where Moroccan hospitality meets refined luxury, providing an enchanting escape in the heart of Marrakech's historic medina.

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Advisor - Heather Budd

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Marrakech has so much to offer in terms of sightseeing, dining, shopping and simply relaxing. Below is a guide to some of the things we enjoyed most while visiting this eclectic and enchanting city.

Things to Do and See:

Jemaa el-Fnaa

This main square in Marrakesh is frenetic and captivating. From snake charmers to street performers, it comes alive with entertainment as the day turns into night. Grab a mint tea at one of the rooftop terrace cafes, listen to the call to prayer, and enjoy the sunset. And definitely don’t miss the food stalls!

Jardin Majorelle

We loved visiting this botanical paradise with vibrant blue structures, exotic plants, and the former residence of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. It’s a great place for photographers and plant-lovers!

Hammam

A trip to Marrakech would not be complete without a visit to a hammam. We indulged in a half day of pampering at the Mythic Oriental Spa where we were treated to a full private hammam experience complete with Moroccan black soap exfoliation and massages. Highly recommend!

Koutoubia Mosque

You can't miss the largest mosque in Marrakesh, and its impressive minaret. It is the spiritual heart of the city. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside but can appreciate the view from the outside.

Marrakech souk - Heather Budd

Medina and Souks

We literally got lost in the labyrinthine streets of the Medina! Don't miss wandering the bustling souks, where you can shop for spices, textiles, ceramics, and traditional Moroccan crafts. If haggling is not your thing, you can shop for beautiful traditional crafts at the Ensemble Artisanal.

Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace is the only royal palace you can visit in Morocco. It has beautiful gardens, intricate tilework, huge carved wooden doors, and enchanting sun-dappled courtyards. It was one of our favorite places to visit on our trip.

House of Photography

I love photography and really enjoyed this gallery as it gives a glimpse into the diversity and history of Morocco. A bonus is the cute roof terrace where you can enjoy a coffee or mint tea and take in the view (and take more photographs!) of the Medina with the Atlas Mountains looming in the distance.

La Mamounia

Even if you are not staying at this iconic hotel, you can visit for a refreshing drink at the famous Churchill Bar and soak up the old-school nostalgic glamor. If those walls could talk! Definitely worth booking a reservation.

Places to eat & drink

Cafe Arabe

We loved the view from their rooftop terrace overlooking the Medina with the Atlas Mountains in the distance. it is a great spot for lunch and a glass of Moroccan rosé wine.

NOMAD

Situated across four floors in the Rahba Lakdima spice square, NOMAD provides an ideal setting for brunch, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. With a commitment to utilizing fresh local produce, the restaurant delivers exquisite flavors that are vibrantly presented. For an added treat, guests seated on the rooftop can enjoy soaking up the sun while taking in fantastic views of the lively Medina below and the distant Atlas Mountains.

Terrasse des Epices

We visited this rooftop bar and restaurant several times as it is in the heart of the Medina with a fabulous wine list, creative cocktails, and delicious food.

Al Fassia Guéliz

This women-owned and operated restaurant was one of our favorite dining experiences of our entire trip. I highly recommend the crisp pigeon pastille, arguably the best in town, and the delicious chicken tagine. They are also renowned for their slow-cooked lamb, but they recommend placing an order 24 hours in advance. Reservations are a good idea for this one!

Méchoui Alley

Just off the northern edge of Jemaa el-Fnaa square, this hidden gem is usually full of locals and serves up some of the best street food we’ve ever had. The méchoui lamb is incredible. It’s a bit messy, but it’s worth it!

Food stalls at Jemaa el-Fnaa

This is not just a place to satisfy hunger; this is a celebration of Moroccan culinary traditions. It can feel a little overwhelming, but just look out for any stall that is busy with lots of locals, as that’s a very good sign! The experience is completely immersive, allowing you to experience the local food culture, try new flavors, and revel in the lively ambiance of one of Morocco's most iconic squares.

Comptoir Darna

An evening at Comptoir Darna is an event in itself. Meaning 'our home' in Arabic, hospitality truly goes beyond mere good manners. But the main attraction isn't the food, it's the buzzy atmosphere and free entertainment with live musicians, belly-dancers (starting at 10:30 pm), and a DJ spinning chilled-out world-music vibes until 3am. There's a small dance floor for those who want to have a boogie.

Day Trips

Beldi Country Club

We fancied a change of scenery and wanted to experience something a bit different, so we arranged day-passes at the Beldi Country Club, which Tatler Magazine describes as “part Alice in Wonderland, part bohemian fantasy” and covers 15 acres, but is only 10 minutes from the city. We spent the afternoon wandering through the gardens, lying by a picture-perfect pool, and enjoying delicious food. There’s a beautiful spa if you are in the mood for a traditional hammam experience or a relaxing massage. They have four pools (one heated for use in the winter months), and one that is dedicated for use by children.

Bahia Palace - Heather Budd
Jardin Majorelle - Heather Budd

Atlas Mountains Adventure

One of the highlights of our trip was a private 4x4 tour to the Atlas Mountains. Our tour guide picked us up directly from our hotel and we headed out of the city. We were taken to a small village market where we were taught how to make khobz (traditional Moroccan bread). We then went to ride camels, which was fun but also a bit terrifying! We headed further into the mountains and visited an Argan oil cooperative. We then had an amazing lunch in a Berber home. After lunch we drove through the Asni valley and took in the amazing views of the Atlas Mountains snowy peaks, before heading back to Marrakech.

Need to Know

Given that Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country, it's crucial to approach travel with mindfulness and respect for local traditions, particularly during significant religious events such as Ramadan or if visiting religious sites.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Marrakech. In need of further inspiration? Check out Nilda Del Valle Heller’s guide, Morocco Through Kid's Eyes: Casablanca, Marrakech & Essaouira.

Advisor - Heather Budd

Travel Advisor

Heather Budd

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