A mini city guide to Marrakesh

A mini city guide to Marrakesh

Photography by Sarah Hannam

The busy, colourful and magical city of Marrakesh is
ideal for a short sunny getaway. Founded in 1062 it offers diversity and depth, with stunning architecture,
busy souks, pampering hammams and rich culture with Arabic, Berber and French influences.


The city is divided into two parts: the new, modern part called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle and the old part, Medina. Marrakesh can be overwhelming at first, but once you get used to its  noise, smells and crowds, you will be captured by the beauty of this vibrant city.

Djemaa El-Fna.


Djemaa El-Fna

The big square of Djemaa El-Fna is located at the entry to the Medina, and for many is the centre of Marrakesh life – it is a popular place for both locals and tourists. It is busy all day but at sunset it becomes an entertainment centre with musicians, dancers and all kinds of performers. There are some great dining options, with food-stalls and restaurants in the square, or choose to dine
on the rooftops of restaurants located close by, where you can see all the action for miles around. Tip: Bring some small change with you to tip the many performers and to pay for your photos with the monkeys.

Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle is a botanical garden with a stunning collection of cactus, and it houses a small art museum. French painter, Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) spent 40 years creating this beautiful garden, and in 1980 French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge purchased the estate and restored the gardens, where the former found inspiration for his couture designs, until his death in 2008. Tip: Visited by 700,000 people a year – it can get crowded.Avoid the worst of the crowds by visiting early in the morning.


The Souks

The souks, or markets of Marrakesh are a sensual experience with strong colours, sounds, flavours and smells. Whether you’re looking for shoes, rugs, teapots or food, there is so much on offer you will not leave empty handed. Walk around the many alleyways, explore and get lost. he souks are located north of Jemaa el-Fna and are open from around 9am to 9pm. here are no price tags and everything is negotiable. Tip: Beware of the bikes and motorbikes as you walk round. Make sure you barter – it’s an expected and traditional exchange in a sale, however small the item price.

Madrasa of Ben Youssef

Built in 1565 by the Saadians, the Madrasa of Ben Youssef is the largest madrasa in Morocco. Given that non-Muslims are in general not permitted to enter mosques in Morocco, visiting Medersa Ben Youssef is a very special experience indeed. It is recommended that you book a tour guide for the best experience. Tip: It can be a little tricky to ind as taxis cannot drive to the entrance.

Madrasa of Ben Youssef

Riad Yasmine


A riad is a traditional Moroccan house, set around a courtyard garden, that has become a guest house. There are hundreds of riads in the old city ranging in price and size. Most places include breakfast in the room rate.
here are also boutique hotels and international chains located in the old and new parts of the city. Some of our favourite places to stay are: La Sultana Marrakesh, El Fenn and Riad Yasmine.


Moroccan cuisine is rich and heavily spiced, yet not too hot;
try local dishes such as bissara soup, kebabs, couscous and tagine.
Tipping is common – 10% in restaurants and around 2 dirhams in cafes.

A trendy restaurant set on four levels, located close to the old spice market. he menu offers North African dishes, and the restaurant hosts pop-up events with guest local and international chefs cooking up a storm. Their stylish rooftop is a great spot to relax after a busy day in the area. nomadmarrakech.com

Grand Cafe de La Poste
French cuisine offering standard dishes such as escargot, beef tartare, foie gras, onion soup and duck confit. It is located in the new part of town and spread over three floors with two terraces and colonial style decor. Note that smoking is allowed in the restaurant.  www.grandcafedelaposte.restaurant

Fancy giving local cooking a go yourself?

Try a cooking class at the Palais Amani or La Maison Arabe, and take your new found culinary skills home for memories long after your holiday.

Nomad restaurant

Jardin Majorelle

This editorial was part of our 2nd printed issue. You can get your copy here.

Photography by Sarah Hannam