Surrounded by palm trees and olive groves, arid plains and cool mountain valleys, Marrakech is one of the great Islamic cities of North Africa. It is rich in history and culture, architecture and design, and its markets have made it famous all over the world.
The medina can all be covered on foot – in fact this is often the only way as cars cannot get down the narrow streets. Mopeds however can and do so at ferocious speeds so watch out! Anywhere outside of the medina can be reached with a petit taxi, which are incredibly cheap and by far the easiest mode of transport. For an alternative within the medina, the caleches (horse-drawn carts) are a real treat. Just make sure that the driver sticks to the fixed prices that are displayed inside the carriage.
Opening hours are ideal – the souks just never seem to close! Open from around 9am during the week and 10 am on Sundays, they will stay open well into the evening until around 9pm. The more touristy areas of the souks will stay open even later.
Currency is the Dirham and prices are rock bottom compared to the US dollar. There are plenty of places to change money in the centre of Marrakech and in the Nouvelle Ville. Alternatively you can change money in your hotel – all prices and rates are fixed, so no matter how swish the hotel, it cannot charge you commission!
Good bargains can be found in the souks but be prepared for lots of searching and haggling. Typically carpets, gold and silver jewelry, lamps, leather goods and artwork are good buys. Just remember that if you cannot believe how cheap that authentic Berber rug is, it’s because it is neither authentic nor Berber.
El Edrissi Epices
For all your Moroccan spices and herbal remedies. Enough English is spoken to explain the function of the contents of the myriad of jars that line the store.
El Edrissi Epices
Caranvanserai is a 20 minute from the city but worth it. Ultimate in zen-like relaxation, amazing staff and service with fantastic food. You’ll find your bed and bath scattered with rose petals! Rooms are enormous, many with there own living rooms and private terrace but no TVs (think true relaxation here). The pool at night looks amazing with lanterns lighting it.
|La Maison ArabeThis hotel has the advantage of being in the centre of town. No pool on sight but you can take their free shuttle bus to their beautiful pool and restaurant 10 mins away. Here they also hold fantastic cookery workshops.
La Maison Arabe
Guide by Lora Galantini