Marrakesh's justly famous and colourful Djama el Fna square, the hub of the city.
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Marrakesh, also known as Marrakech in French, is easy to reach from Europe via Menara International Airport, other parts of Morocco on the new expressway from Casablanca or Agadir, or better still, at the end of a road trip along the amazingly scenic and serpentine roads though the High Atlas mountains such as the Dadés Valley and the Draa Valley.
Marrakech embraces a modest number of attractions in its medina (old town) such as terrific buildings especially
traditional inside-out riads, good museums and a fascinating covered souk
(market), one of the the best place to find good quality crafts in Morocco. But most of all Marrakech is home to Djema el Fna, the wackiest
square in the country and probably in the continent, where assorted weirdos put on performances all day long while
food stalls serve good food at great prices in a delightful atmosphere well into the evening.
Marrakesh is also within easy reach of seaside destinations such as Essaouira, beach resorts such as Agadir, Sahara desert dunes at Zagora, the beautiful drives and walks in the Draa Valley, Ourika River's Berber village charms and of course hiking along the Todra Gorge.
A rooftop view over to the nearby High Atlas Mountains.
The best months: We'd plump for the shoulder months of May, June, September, October.
Tourists need to be a lot more choosy about the best time to visit Marrakech than more equitable climes such as coastal Agadir or cooler Fes.
Although winters may look relatively warm with average lows of about 6C (43F) and highs of 19C (66F) tourists are frequently unprepared for the night chills and budget accommodation is rarely well insulated or heated. Furthermore the months from November to April experience the highest rainfall - not excessive amounts but still irritating and cold, so we'd suggest avoiding mid-winter (December-February) at least.
Midsummer is also very missable with average highs heading for 40C (104F) in July and August, and lows of 20C (68F) . The beach is the only place to be at that time, with its cooling Atlantic breezes and tepid surf.
Marrakech's covered souk (market),
Warm in winter, cool in summer and with a multitude of entrances leading off from Djema el Fnaa, the souk offers plenty of entertaining shopping at bargain prices, but don't forget to haggle. A shopkeeper's first price will almost always be based on an understanding that tourists with more than half a functioning brain will then offer a much lower figure, he will lower his, you will raise yours, and so on, as long as you have the strength to continue.
Some estimate that initial prices can be three times what the shopkeeper would accept after a struggle and a few cups of mint tea..
However, don't just haggle for fun as once started the bargaining process is extremely difficult to escape without a purchase.
Some popular, interesting and low-price items on sale are shoes, leather jackets, spices, traditional lamps, small carpets, jewellery (especially gold).
Water-sellers in Djama el Fna. Well, selling to locals but posing for tourists.
A typical Djama el Fnaa food stall.
Cooking kebabs, couscous, vast delicious stews (harira), for both local people and foreign tourists in Djama el Fna the food come cheap, amusing, tasty and acceptably hygienic and is more fun and way cheaper than a restaurant. The major downside is that you won't find alcohol on the menu and in fact there are few places in the area to buy booze in the medina. Places that do sell alcohol are usually very stylish and comfortable and possibly pricey such as Café Arabe, Chesterfield Pub (supposedly an English pub) and Narwama restaurant/bar.
It's a cheap place to get your teeth fixed too, though operations are quite basic. Ripit!
Taking a siesta in front of a traditional Marrakesh door. Next, more Marrakech Sights.
Morocco Pictures: Marrakesh 2 | Sahara
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