Top Things You Cannot Afford to Miss during Your Marrakech Trip
If you haven’t yet visited Marrakech, you might think that it’s a typical chaotic African city full of weird sounds, smells and vistas that won’t make you fall in love with it, and you might not include it in your list of top cities to visit. The fact is that the Moroccan city at the foothills of the grand Atlas Mountains is perfectly adorable and if you take certain precautions, can offer you such an unforgettably beautiful holiday that you’d like to return time and again! Marrakech is so full of interesting places and activities that we can’t count all in this short article; but we’ll try to enlist a few that would awaken an urge in you to fly to this colorful city at the earliest.
We all agree that deserts are the creations of man’s mistake. But over the years, nature has filled even deserts with colors, beauty and charm. Tours to deserts is an inevitable part of a trip to Marrakech, one of the most important being Marrakech desert tour or tour to Merzouga or Erg Chebbi. On the face of it, Merzouga is a very calm and quiet town, but at the core of it, it has so many fun activities that you’ll be surprised. Especially if you visit Merzouga from March to May or in the months of September and November, the weather won’t be unbearably hot and you can thoroughly enjoy your time in the desert. Note that there are several activities to do in Merzouga that are totally free.
Camping: Witness some of the loveliest sunsets in your life from your tent and enjoy the sun slowly disappearing behind the dunes painting the landscapes with incredible colors.
Hiking to the Highest Dune: Preferably do this right before sunset.
Stargazing: With no light pollution, Merzouga desert is a prime stargazing location.
Watching Flamingos at Dayet Srji: You won’t believe that an arid desert can contain a lake (& flamingos) but Dayet Srji is a salt lake in the west of Merzouga and, in the winter when it’s full, attracts numerous local and migratory birds including flamingos, watching which is sheer joy!
Camel Rides: Enjoy being a nomad for a couple of hours riding a camel. You can choose between short rides or overnight tours with luxury camping included.
Sandboarding: Sandboarding is an alternative way to experience the desert. Since the sand in Merzouga desert is super soft, you don’t have to fear falling down.
Equally fascinating is the Marrakech to Fes desert tour which you can’t afford to miss while visiting Marrakech. Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hosts the biggest and oldest medina in North Africa. Once the Moroccan capital, the city still holds its cultural significance inside its medieval walls with traditional handicrafts, tanneries, hammams and towers of spices.
Guided Tour to Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah: A small town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, is around 1,000 years old, and has a charming ambience. Hollywood filmmakers couldn’t resist the temptation to shoot this lovely town in their movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Prince of Persia, Asterix and Obelix, Gladiator, Game of Thrones and more. The town contains old houses which are converted in museums which gives a glimpse of earlier times. On the top, there are many lovely restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops, and you’ll get stunning views of the white peaks of the Atlas Mountains and desert landscape.
Ouarzazate: While heading towards Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, Ouarzazate is a town worth spending a night because it hosts the world’s largest solar power plant and the Atlas Studios, which has churned out hundreds of Hollywood blockbusters since 1983. The surrounding area hosts interesting kasbahs like Kasbah Taourirt.
Cedar Forest Trip: Wish to visit the ‘Switzerland of Morocco’? Visit the cedar forests and enjoy watching the spectacular rolling landscapes and peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Then descend to the Berber market town of Azrou to watch apes that thrive in the groves of cedar trees.
Shop in Souks
If you wish to soak in the city of Marrakech, you have a lot to see and enjoy, shopping in the souks (markets) being a main activity, which you can do any time. These souks are spread among the labyrinth of the medina of Marrakech, and are full of colors, sounds and smells. You can buy or just do window-shopping of carpets, spices, artworks, leather goods, clothing and more, and the area offers many opportunities to relish the delicious Moroccan street foods.
Djemaa El Fna
If you wish to get lost into the character of Marrakech, pay a visit to Djemaa El Fna where you can meet the mystical snake charmers, fortune-tellers, storytellers, musicians and bric-a-brac stalls. Just roaming around here between local musical groups and acrobat troupes is an experience you can never forget. Here too you’ll get plenty of opportunities of eating out. Don’t miss sitting on the rooftops of one of the many cafés and enjoying the panoramic views of the entire Djemaa El Fna while sipping coffee.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised seeing the lush green tropical gardens named Majorelle Gardens in the arid region of Marrakech. These gardens will please you with its cool palms, cacti and ferns. They are the work of the French painter, Jacques Majorelle, whose old paintings’ studio is located within the premises. The garden also hosts a museum dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent, the French fashion designer, who bought the property after Majorelle’s death in 1962.
Wish to get lost in the magnificent Moroccan architecture? Visit the 19th century Bahia Palace, the residence of the Grand Vizier Bou Ahmed, who served Sultan Moulay al-Hassan I.
Enjoy the plethora of colors created by painted ceilings, zellige tiles and lavishly decorated wrought-iron features in the interiors of the palace displaying the luxurious lifestyle of the sultan.
The courtyard is massive and made of marble, and the haram contains lavish salons. The internal courtyard is lush with banana-leaf plants and citrus trees, that create a tranquil atmosphere.
Hot-Air Balloon Ride
Enjoy watching the city of Marrakech from the skies with a hot-air balloon ride! You’ll be mesmerized by the view of the city, the palm groves and the surrounding arid plateau and the Atlas Mountains at a distance.
Some tour operators also offer a camel ride or quad bike ride after the hot-air balloon ride. Some others offer private baskets instead of sharing the basket with other tourists.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll have to take certain precautions to make your Marrakech trip fun. First of all, be appropriately protected from heat, cold and sand. Carry adequate cotton clothes, warm clothes, wide-brimmed hat, goggles, sunscreen lotion, scarves and plenty of water, while going on desert tours, because during the day, you may experience extreme heat and at night, there may be extreme cold.
Be wary of strangers who may volunteer to help you out. Before starting the vacation, it’s a good idea to go through reviews of experienced tourists so as to know the prices and quality of products and services.
Marrakech has a lot more to explore than the above-mentioned attractions! Whether it’s Fes to Marrakech desert tour, tour to the famous Marrakech tanneries, or palaces, mosques, gardens, and hammams, you’re sure to enjoy every moment of your Marrakech trip! So, have you started planning your next vacation to Marrakech?