Hailed as one of the most colourful and vibrant cities in the world, Marrakech is Morocco’s most popular tourist destination, and offers visitors a treat for all the senses. Overlooked by the hazy peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, Marrakech provides a real taste of Morocco, housing more than 1,000 years of history, a bustling market scene and some of the world’s most impressive mosques and architectural structures that are sure to delight even the most seasoned traveller. No matter how many times you return, there’s always something new to discover! Check out our guide to some of the city’s top cultural attractions.
Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret
One of the first places you should head to if you want to become acquainted with the city is the Medina. It’s always advisable to travel with a tour guide or city map so you don’t get lost, but most of the city’s famous monument can be found around this area. One of the highlights is the Koutoubia Minaret. Part of the Koutoubia Mosque, the minaret is the city’s largest structure, and you can hear prayers projected out over the medina’s red buildings five times a day. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside, but it’s well worth visiting just to take a look at this feat of architecture.
Djemaa el-Fna Square
The Djemaa el-Fna Square has been a bustling and iconic part of the city for more than 800 years now, and a visit there will make your senses come alive. Through the day the square is packed full of snake charmers and men with small chained monkeys as well as water sellers in traditional costume.
The atmosphere thickens in the evening, when crowds take to the squares to see the daytime acts replaced by magicians, spice merchants, storytellers and musicians. The procession of gypsy-style food carriages at dusk is a real highlight! You’ll enjoy a real taste of Morocco here.
Marrakech is a bustling city around the clock, so if the crowds at the Djemaa el-Fna Square become too much, take a much-needed break in one of the city’s most tranquil spots – the Jardin Majorella. Once the home of renowned designer, Yves Saint Laurent, the lush desert gardens stretch on for twelve acres and house more than 300 species of plant.
They also attract over a dozen birds and songbirds native to North Africa. If you have a fashionistas in your party, the ashes of Yves Saint Laurent were scattered here in 2008, and there’s also a memorial site amongst the fountains, statues and ponds of the gardens.
Built for Saadian Sultan Ahmed el-Mansour, these impressive tombs feature Italian Carrara marble as well as gliding honeycomb plasterwork with gold archways. The tomb was built by the sultan ahead of his death in 1603, and dates back to the sixteenth century. One of the highlights is the Chamber of Gold Pillars, and the Chamber of three Niches where princes are buried is also well worth checking out.