Travelling to Marrakesh with friends, fun for everyone
When it comes to time travel, there seems to be a consensus in fiction; you have to travel to the future or the past together. Marty McFly and Doc, the two eternal (time) travelling companions, are the spearhead of a whole series of time-travel epics in which friendship ends up being the key to success. In the city of Marrakesh, and specifically its maze-like medina, something similar is at play. Once you’re there, time seems to rewind a hundred years. And what better experience than to share this feeling with your group of friends? There are many different ways to enjoy Marrakesh. Getting lost in the old souk and ending up in the famous Jemaa el Fna square, eating a kefta kebab or having dinner in an old riad, relaxing in an Arab bath, and driving quads across the desert sands. Here are six things to do that are sure not to disappoint.
Learning to haggle in the souk in Marrakesh
The best possible introduction to Moroccan culture is to be found in the Medina, the part of old Marrakesh that developed under the protection of the city walls almost a thousand years ago. Although this is where the main points of interest of this ancient imperial city come together, we invite you to begin your visit by going to the medieval souk, a labyrinth of streets where the different guilds of craftsmen once lived together, and where today you can find endless stalls with slippers, leather bags, tapestries, scarves, spices, and genuine trinkets, all in no particular order. Although you’re bound to end up feeling lost, here’s a tip: once you’ve quenched your thirst for haggling, seek out the towering minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque and, once there, follow the avenue that connects it to the nearby and very iconic Jemaa el Fna square.
Morning tea in the bustling Jemaa el Fna Square
Once here, just let yourself be seduced by the exotic and frenetic nature of this little carnival of noise, crowds, and music, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. If you come during the day, the soul of Marrakesh will enrapture you with its flower and juice stalls, henna tattooists, snake charmers, and monkey trainers. If, on the other hand, you come at dusk, what you’ll find is a gigantic street market where, in addition to sampling Moroccan street cuisine, you’ll also see performances by local musicians, dancers, and storytellers.
- Privileged location in the palm grove of Marrakech
- Business center with 10 spacious rooms
- Wellness and Fitness Center
- Two outdoor pools and Kids Club
However, we recommend you finish your visit with a mint tea or an Arabic coffee on one of the terraces that flank it. Le Grand Balcon du Café Glacier, for example, never disappoints. If, moreover, your break coincides with the adhan, the call to prayer of the muezzins of Marrakesh, we can assure you that this will be an experience you’ll never forget.
A traditional meal at Chez Chegrouni
They say that Moroccan cuisine alone justifies a trip to any of its cities. Marrakesh, in particular, is home to every possible way to enjoy a good bite to eat. From quaint street food stalls to restaurants hidden behind the walls of a riad, Moroccan cuisine embraces us with its mix of flavours and smells, somewhere between cinnamon, lemon, argan oil, and mint. That said, we recommend you go to Chez Chegrouni, one of the most famous places in Marrakesh, both for its terrace overlooking the Jemaa el Fna square and for the fantastic lamb and plum tagine prepared by its chef. We should also point out that, as it’s located inside the city walls, the restaurant’s menu doesn’t include alcoholic beverages. In any case, it offers unbeatable value for money.
A relaxing time at Hammam Ziani
A visit to this traditional hammam, located a few streets away from the Bahia Palace (internal link), is the perfect respite after a morning of hustle and bustle in the Arabian souk. Divided into separate rooms for men and women, this Arab bath (internal link) uses a lot of steam and beldi, soap made from black olive oil, to exfoliate and cleanse the skin. It costs around 40-60 euros and lasts up to two hours. However, if you want to experience the true essence of a hammam, then you should head for a public one, where the treatment is less “sophisticated”, and the washing and massage take place on the same stone floor.
Shopping in Gueliz, the westernmost side of Marrakesh
After wandering through the labyrinth of streets in the Medina, it’s time to move on to less crowded areas. The Ville Nouvelle, also known as Gueliz, can be a great option. Located to the northwest of the city, this modern area will take you back to the colonial era when Morocco was a protectorate shared by Spain and France. Today, the wide and long Mohamed V Avenue runs through this district, which is lined with art deco architecture, fashion boutiques, art museums, and gourmet restaurants. All in all, it provides a good opportunity to do some shopping during your stay in Marrakesh.
A drink at sunset at Nikki Beach
The beach clubs of Marrakesh, as you can imagine, are strangely paradoxical; they don’t have a beach. Instead, these small oases dedicated to leisure and relaxation are located under the gentle shade of the palm groves so typical of the area. In particular, Nikki Beach, considered one of the best ones in Marrakesh since its inception in 2005, is located on the outskirts of the city, around 20 minutes by taxi from the Jemaa el Fna square. Its facilities include a large swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers, a beach bar with all kinds of drinks, and a DJ booth with decks that keeps spinning throughout the day.
Quad biking in the palm grove of Marrakesh
If you have time to spare on your trip and want to make the most of it to visit interesting places around the city, we recommend a quad bike tour of the famous Palm Grove of Marrakesh (internal link), a 13,000-hectare area with large sand dunes, thousands of palm trees, and many oases that look like something from a film. In Marrakesh there are many companies that provide this service, including not only the rental of the vehicle, but also the necessary training to drive it and a transfer to the place of departure. Sand tracks, rural villages, breathtaking scenery, and a large dose of adrenaline are the essential elements for this popular activity.