Marrakech Travel Tips: Where to Go and What to See in 48 Hours

  • 1 year ago
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Morocco's Rose City offers a welcome dose of sunshine, souk stalls in serpentine alleys, and the towering Koutoubia Mosque, as Aoife O'Riordain discovers

Travel essentials

Why go now?

Marrakech is the ideal place for a blast of sunshine in our light-deprived winter months, with January temperatures in the low 20s. The 6th Marrakech Biennale festival begins on 24 February and runs until 8 May (


Touch down

Marrakech's Menara airport has numerous connections from around the UK; British Airways (0344 493 0787; from Gatwick; easyJet (0330 365 5000; from Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow; and Ryanair (0871 246 0000; from Luton, Stansted and Edinburgh. It's a 15-minute taxi drive to the ancient walled city centre, the medina. Agree a price before you set off – usually between 150 dirham (£10) and 220 dirham (£15). Bus No 19 departs from the airport every 20 minutes to half an hour all day and runs all day at a cost of 30 dirham (£2); it stops at several points in the centre including Djemaa el-Fnaa (1) inside the medina, the railway station and the Place du 16 Novembre (2). 

Get your bearings 

Marrakech is known as the Red, or Rose City, owing to the deep, dusky pink tint of its ancient heart; on a clear day you can see the hazy peaks of the Atlas Mountains rising up to the south.

Towering over the city skyline is its most important landmark, the 77-metre tall minaret of the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque (3), a twin of La Giralda in Seville. 

Marrakech's biggest attraction is its 11th-century, Unesco-listed medina surrounded by 16km of ramparts with 12 main gates. 

Behind the walls is a spider's web of alleys, souks and workshops, and to the south you'll find the Kasbah quarter, just inside the medina walls. 

Northeast of the city is the sprawling Palmeraie, dotted with more than 100,000 palm trees planted by the Almoravids in the 12th century. 

West of the medina is the Ville Nouvelle, laid out in the early 20th century during the French Protectorate. The Hivernage and Guéliz neighbourhoods are home to hotels, shops and restaurants. 

Guéliz is also where you will find the tourist office (4) at Place Abdel Moumen Ben Ali/Avenue Mohammed V (00 212 524 43 61 31; It's open weekdays, from 8.30am to 4.30pm. 

Check in

The newest luxury opening is the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech (5), on Route du Golf Royal (00 212 5 24 29 88 88;, surrounded by gardens with views of the Atlas Mountains. Doubles start at €450 room only. 

First-timers should stay at least one night in the medina in one of its wealth of riads, historic townhouses that range in style from simple to sophisticated. At the upper end of the scale, close to the Kasbah quarter, is La Sultana (6), 403 rue de la Kasbah (00 212 524 388 008; There's also a spa, restaurant, roof terrace and swimming pool. Doubles start at 3,250 dirham (£220) B&B. 

With fewer five-star frills, Riad Dyor (7), 1 Driba Jdida, Sidi Ben Slimane (00 212 0524 375 980; has a more pared-back feel; doubles from €130 B&B. 

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