Geographically just a short hop across the strait of Gibraltar but culturally a world apart from Europe, Morocco is a fascinating and heady mix of Arabia and Africa. Morocco is a Muslim country, but one that welcomes tourists with open arms. However, religion is still the biggest influence on life here and a solid knowledge of the Koran is regarded as essential.
Marrakech greets you with an intoxicating sights, sounds and smells. It is advisable to stay as close to the medina (the old town) as possible as most of the tourist sights are located within its walls.
Everything in Marrakesh centres on the famous ‘Jemaa el Fna’ which is reputedly the largest market square in Africa, and it is here that the souks (markets) for which Marrakech is best known are found.
The souks, with their endless stalls piled high with produce and their intricate and narrow alleyways, can be overwhelming so visitors are advised not to try to see everything at once. Those who get lost should be prepared to offer a small cash incentive to get the information needed to find their way. Shoppers shouldn’t buy the first example they see – there will be thousands of the exact same things on every stall. Nothing has a marked price so haggling is expected. At least a third of the expected final price can be offered initially and it is accepted practice to walk away if the stallholder will not budge.
Here are the top tourist attractions:
La Maison Arabe Cooking Workshops
Jemaa el Fna Square
Les Bains de Marrakech
Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)
El Badi Palace
Ali Ben Youssef Medersa (Madrasa)
Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret
Museum of Moroccan Arts (Dar Si Said)