The historical importance of Marrakesh, one of the country’s four imperial cities, is largely due to its strategic location between the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlas Mountains, and the Sahara Desert. This makes it a real crossroads, offering those who spend the night there a whole range of possibilities, each one more attractive than the next.
To begin with, and without leaving Marrakesh, it’s worth moving away from the bustle of the medina for a few hours to admire the stunning Majorelle Garden, a charming property that was acquired in 1980 by the French designer Yves Saint Laurent and that contains almost 300 plant species from all over the world. The Menara gardens, with their artificial lake and the Atlas Mountains in the background, also offer one of the most beautiful sunsets in Marrakesh.
A little further from the Red City, nature lovers can head to Mount Toubkal to see the snow-capped peaks of the country’s highest summit, cool off in the Ouzoud waterfalls, admire the incredible landscapes sculpted by erosion in the Dadès gorge or head to Merzouga for a desert trek. There, away from the light pollution of the cities, you can gaze at a captivating starry sky.
The citadel of Ait Ben Haddou and the city of Ouarzazate, whose beauty has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood producers, deserve a special mention. Proof of this is that some famous scenes from Game of Thrones, Star Wars, The Jewel of the Nile, Gladiator, The Mummy, and Lawrence of Arabia were filmed here. The nearby town of Skoura, meanwhile, is often overlooked by most tourists. However, it’s worth driving a few kilometres along sandy roads to discover the impressive palm grove that the Almohad Sultan Ya’qub al-Mansur ordered to be planted in the 12th century.
As if this wasn’t enough, Morocco’s coast also offers some very interesting alternatives, such as the white sandy beaches of Agadir, where good weather is guaranteed 300 days a year, and the beautiful Essaouira, a town overlooking the Atlantic that’s reminiscent of a Portuguese village. Its white houses, the colour of the door and window frames, the paving of the streets and even the geometric tiles that decorate them serve as a reminder that this part of the country was under Portuguese rule between the 15th and 18th centuries.
Lastly, Casablanca, now Morocco’s financial capital, awaits you 200 kilometres to the north, guarding the Hassan II mosque, the tallest in the world, and a considerable display of 20th-century art deco and neo-Moorish architecture, among other interesting features.
As interesting as Marrakesh itself are the excursions that can be made from the city, just a few hours away by road.
The Ouzoud Waterfalls excursion from Marrakesh is one of the most refreshing and authentic Moroccan excursions.
The weekly custom of going to the hammam is one of the most enjoyable rituals in Morocco. In Marrakesh, you’ll find some of its main temples.