Minarets, mosaics and mountains
Marrakech’s beauty is as distinctive as it gets – minarets, mosaics and the fountains of riad courtyards, all set against the backdrop of the snow-tipped Atlas Mountains. One of Morocco’s most important cities, Marrakech fuses Arabic and African to form a fascinating cultural capital.
Its pulsating heart is Djemaa el-Fna, a big square set on the edge of the old city. Here you’ll find rows of open-air food stalls (try the melt-in-your-mouth lamb tagine or seafood brought in from Essaouira that morning), while jugglers, snake charmers and belly dancers put on a show.
For souvenir shopping, go traditional. The aromas and vibrant colours of the souks are the classic snapshot of Marrakech. The labyrinth of stalls sells bags of aromatic spices, hand-beaded slippers and delicate jewellery, with different souks specialising in different goods. Start at Souk Semmarine, which sells an intriguing mix of everything – but don’t forget to haggle...
Morocco is around 3 hours 30 minutes from the UK.
Transfer time from Marrakech airport to Marrakech is approximately 15 minutes.
There are no two ways about it: Morocco is a scorcher. Summers can get up to 40°C in July and August, although in coastal areas like Agadir, you’ve got the sea breeze taking the edge off. The heat is more tolerable in spring and autumn, when averages hover in the mid-20s. Remember to pack a jacket, though – things can cool down rapidly once the sun goes down.
Visas are not required for UK citizens travelling to Morocco.
There are no specific rules for tipping in Morocco. An upmarket restaurant may add on a service charge, so check your bill carefully. Otherwise, aim to leave around 10%. In taxis, it’s acceptable to just round up the fare. It’s a good idea to have some small change on you for paying taxis and tipping guides.
The official language of Morocco is Arabic. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.