It’s a busy and vibrant city full of culture and energy, but behind the surface of Marrakech hides some undiscovered treasures. Here are just seven ideas to experience the lesser-known side of the Moroccan hotspot.
You can learn about Islamic scripture and law
Consider visiting the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Islamic college that shut in 1960 but remains open for tourists to explore. It’s the largest in Morocco, once housing over 900 students according to Time Travel Turtle – even now the building exudes a still calmness, and you can visit the dorm rooms yourself. Take time to witness the intricate details of the school’s architecture, including the Moorish great hall inscribed with Qu’ran extracts.
It’s an artistic city
A lot of people aren’t aware of the artistic side of Marrakech. Visit the Jardin Majorelle to experience the bright Art Deco architecture and peaceful botanical gardens, with the Islamic Art Museum in its heart. It’s a unique way to learn about the history of the city whilst discovering some beautiful artwork.
The food is impeccable
Food in Morocco is rich and plentiful, and that’s no different in Marrakech. Indulge in some of the finest street food on offer in the form of pastries, bocadillos and the famous m’smen, the crepes that can either be served with sweet or savoury fillings. And while you’re there, why not try one of the most challenging foods in the world according to the Secret Traveller’s list– the Moroccan sheep’s head?
You can visit luxurious bath houses
Ever heard of a hammam? You’ll find plenty of them throughout Marrakech – they’re bath houses that offer pampering and relaxation unmatched by any other. You’re usually separated between men and women, and you’ll get washed and massaged whilst you’re there. You may even have a private hammam to enjoy in your accommodation!
It boasts the busiest square in Africa
Be sure to immerse yourself in the bustle of Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech’s main square and one of the busiest squares in the entire world. Haggle your way through the countless stalls – just don’t risk offense by saying too low a price – and watch the spectacle of the millennium-old hoopla with entertainment from belly dancers and astrologers to name a few.
You can even enter palaces
In amidst the vibrance of the city centre lies some grand and gorgeous palaces open for you to visit. The Bahia Palace is arguably the most popular, with its marble courtyard leading to the buildings with floor-to-ceiling decoration throughout. There’s also the Badi Palace, once adorned in gold, turquoise and crystal but now still standing majestically in between its sunken gardens.
Traditional Riads are open for you to stay in
When looking for somewhere to stay in Marrakech you’ll likely come across an abundance of riads. These are traditional Moroccan homes open for you to stay in, and will offer an authentic experience during your stay! It’s worth having a look online to see where you can find the best ones, as they’re much more effective at immersing you in the Moroccan allure of the city.