Holidays in
Marrakech

An enchanting desert city

One of Morocco’s most bewitching and best-known cities, Marrakech city breaks promise a dazzling mixture of culture, exploration and adventure. Once a palm-fringed oasis near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, the site was originally frequented by ancient Berber farmers. But its position on trading routes across North Africa saw it explode with political and economic power while remaining a major Muslim citadel.

A French colony for decades in the early 1900s, Marrakech today is a cultural melting pot, fusing the mystique of the past with a modern, creative swagger. City breaks to Marrakech have much to offer, whether you’re up for bargaining in the labyrinthine souks, relaxing with a traditional hammam spa treatment, taking a Jeep into the mountains or heading to a cool music festival. And you’re sure to appreciate the city’s architecture, which gives a real sense of its history and culture.

Known as the Red City, thanks to its many ruddy sandstone buildings, Marrakech is a roll-call of wonderful buildings, grand arches and bright ‘zellige’ tiles. So whether you’re admiring the minaret of the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque as the call to prayer echoes through the air, swooning over the lush Menara Gardens, applauding the street performers, salivating over the food stalls of bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa ⁠or wandering round Bahia Palace, this is a city with treasures at every turn.

Three tips for a top trip

Try two wheelsLocal tour companies offer trips around the city and beyond on both bikes and motorcycles. Whichever takes your fancy, it’s a speedy and authentic way to see Marrakech.
Pop to a riadTraditionally, riads are family-run hotels, but some boutique versions charge five-star rates. Grab a drink at the bar for a rush of exclusivity without the price tag.
Find a local guideThe twists and turns of the Medina or the prettiest routes between sights can take time to master – so let a reputable guide fast-track you to Marrakech insider status.

Best attractions to see in Marrakech

Jardin Majorelle

This exquisite garden, arranged around an extremely photogenic indigo Art Deco house, is a great spot to pause for a peaceful moment in the shade.

The Bahia Palace

This 19th-century palace offers some of the finest Moroccan architecture and design. Beautiful mosaic tiles, fountains and archways make it well worth a visit.

Yves Saint Laurent’s art

French culture is an integral part of Marrakech’s history, and this museum – dedicated to the work of fashion designer and sometime resident YSL – captures this modish relationship.

Your Marrakech questions, answered

In bars, restaurants and hotels it’s absolutely fine to drink alcohol, but in public it is strictly forbidden. Marrakech is a pretty relaxed place, but it’s important to respect local customs.

You’ll principally find North African dishes – tagines, kebabs, chermoula and some awesome street food – but its French influence also turns up on the menus of many chic restaurants and cafés.

Moroccan Dirhams, which are only available within the country – ATMs often offer the best exchange rates. Make sure you change your cash back before you leave.