Marrakech medina (the ‘old city’) is as exotic as it is enchanting. For years, this UNESCO World Heritage site has attracted movie stars, artists and writers, drawn by the vibrant buzz on the streets. Walking among the medina of Marrakech maze of alleyways, all your senses are in for a treat.
From local musicians and street food to hammam spas and stunning Islamic architecture, you never quite know what you’ll discover. On cobbled roads donkey carts jostle with mopeds, bikes, and cars as the locals go about their business. You’ll feel a million miles away from life back home.
A treat for all your senses
When you think of Marrakesh medina, you think of images of spices piled high into colourful pyramids. The beating heart of the city, the souks (or markets) in the medina of Marrakech are famous around the world. Your eyes will be treated to goods and trinkets in a multitude of bold colours, from saffron yellows and azure blues to pistachio greens. The heady fragrances of spices and orange blossoms rise up into the warm night air. Talented local musicians join the hustle and bustle of bartering voices, as the perfect backing track to a holiday full of discovery.
If you love to shop, you’ll be able to find almost everything you could ever need as well as a fair amount of things you never even knew you wanted. The souks are organised by the items they sell. For example, you’ll find stalls selling pashminas and other textiles located together in one area, with another area for rugs, and so on. Prepare yourself to be bombarded by the stall vendors as you walk past them, and remember haggling is all part of the game.
Explore the hidden gardens of Marrakech medina
Hidden amongst the alleyways of the medina, you’ll discover exquisitely tiled courtyards filled with terracotta pots planted with lemon trees. Providing a cooling oasis of calm from the hustle of the city, stop for a refreshing glass of Moroccan mint tea before heading back out into the medina. One of the biggest gardens in the medina that you can visit is Le Jardin Secret, a 400-year old Moroccan palace complete with tiled water fountains.
Pamper yourself at the spa
The ritual of the hammam (steam bath) is still an everyday part of Moroccan life. You’ll find traditional public hammams dotted around the medina, the perfect spot to sit back and relax. If you’re here as a couple, try Les Bains de Marrakech, a spa in the Kasbah area of the Marrakech medina, which has joint male and female bathing areas.
Sample street food
The medina of Marrakech is a popular destination for food lovers. For delicious local street food straight from the pot, visit Djemaa el Fna square.
Study stunning architecture
As you wander around the medina, you’ll see classic Islamic architecture at almost every turn. The keyhole arch is the main symbol of Moroccan architecture, and you’ll spot it on almost every building. For some of the most striking arches in the city (if not the world), grab your camera and head to Ben Youssef Madrasa college.