Tag Archives: Marrakesh

Travelling to Marocco: a winter in Marrakech

Djemaa_el_Fna

Photo CC BY-SA by Boris Macek

Marocco and Marrakesh in winter are fantastic:  the days are warm and the nights are not too cold. In high summer, daytime temperatures can reach 38C. Winter can be warm and blissfully free of crowds. And it is this season that you should visit Marrakech, to spoil every corner, every smell, every sound. And also to attend the event which is held every year during the month of December: the Marrakech International Film Festival to be held from 5 to 13 December 2014. An event that parade the big international film and which is hosted by King Mohamed VI, with international juries. A unique opportunity to see this city even more colour and dress up waiting for the stars.

Getting around

The best and most picturesque to turn the Medina is on board the horse-drawn carriages, but there are also more modern means such as taxis that are readily available.
Also you can rent a car but it is advisable that you just need to head to places far away, otherwise it is better avoided the stress of driving in a very busy city. In case you want to rent a car, you can go to  Hertz (hertz.com), national (nationalcar.co.uk) and budget (budget.com).

Those who decide to take a vacation in Marrakech, cannot miss these places.

Djemaa el-Fna

L ‘UNESCO has designated this World Heritage site. A magical, almost fairytale place made from snake charmers, acrobats and street vendors. And even belly dancers, storytellers and astrologers. A kind of street theatre that counts 1000 years but that does not show them at all.

Hammam

Erroneously described as a health club, a real Moroccan hammam is much more. An experience not to be missed for those who want a silky skin and perfect.

Agafay desert

Those who can not venture into the Sahara desert can still live a very nice experience with a hike in the  Agafay desert which is an hour from Marrakech and that is on the slopes of the High Atlas chain. You can spend a different day than usual, dining under a tent, sleeping in a camp and experience the thrill of the desert.

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Photo CC BY-SA by Viault

Jardin Majorelle

It is a botanical garden that boasts about 300 plant species including a collection of cacti, a collection of bananas, a collection of rare plants, a palm collection, a collection of bamboo.

Ourika Valley

Ourika Valley is about 60 km from Marrakech. Here you can visit a number of Berber villages and women’s cooperatives that produce Argan oil. Near the village of Ourika  several waterfalls arise.

Where to eat in Marrakech

The food varies: from Marrakech street food to what you need in the parties of the building. Here are some restaurants where you can eat in Marrakech.

Gastro
Gastro MK is the perfect place for afternoon tea with scones, for a sandwich for a slice of cake.

Address: Derb Sebaai 4, Bab Laksour, Medina
Contact: 00 212 524 37 61 73; maisonmk.com

The Restaurant La Maison Arabe
A perfect Moroccan atmosphere and traditional specialties cooked with herbs and spices.

Address: Derb Assebhe 1, near Bab Doukkala, Medina
Contact: 00 212 524 387 010; lamaisonarabe.com

Grand Café de la Poste
Time travel is possible, you can do it around lunch behind the post office in Marrakech. Here is a bistro Colonial Art Deco where you eat well and where you feel the stars

Address: Blvd El Mansour Dahbi-ed, Gueliz
Contact: 00 212 524 433 038;

Al Fassia
The culinary sophistication combined with the decadence of Marrakesh all seasoned with excellent food like fish stuffed with herbs, shoulder of lamb stuffed with almonds and towers fluffy couscous.

Address: 55 Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni, Gueliz
Contact: 00 212 524 43 40 60

Mama Ti Lee
Mediterranean ingredients of the season by adding spicy typical Moroccan: creamy pumpkin soup flavoured with cinnamon, for example.

Address: 13 Derb Laarsa near Tiskiwin House, Riad Zitoun Jadid, Medina
Contact: 00 212 524 38 17 52, mamatilee.blogspot.com
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 19: 30-11: 00

Souk Kafe
Here you eat the authentic Marrakesh soul. The staff is cheerful and friendly. The specialty is lamb stew of Marrakhes. Vegetarians can order an assortment of six salads.

Address: 11 Derb Souk Jadid
Contact: 00 212 662 610229

Henna Cafe
Perfect for those who love the vegetarian cuisine.

Address: 93 Arset Aouzal (near Dar el Bacha), Medina
Contact: 00 212 656 566 374; hennacafemarrakech.com
Opening hours: Daily, 11: 00-20: 00

Amal Center
Amal Center guarantees the classic Moroccan hospitality for customers and paid internships, literacy courses and vocational training to local women in need. Picky eaters can enjoy a traditional cake of seafood and almond cookies.

Address: Corner of Rue Ibn Sina Rue Allal Ben Ahmed and (near the Policlinico South) Gueliz
Contact: 00 212 524 446 896; hope-amal.org
Opening hours: daily, noon, 16:00……

To get to Marrakesh by ferry? Check the link http://www.ok-ferry.com/en/marocco-ferries.aspx

Discovering Morocco and its surroundings

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Photo CC SA-BY by Viault

It is hard to find so close to Europe a range of attractions as varied: the sea, deserts, mountains, exotic gardens, hotels and a valid road network very efficiently like we find in Morocco.  The choice here is vast: you can visit the four famous imperial cities or enjoy the charm of the landscapes of the south, now dominated by the imposing kasbah and valleys, now undisputed in the immensity of the desert.

Morocco is characterized by an immense historical and cultural richness and a wide variety of landscapes, from the Atlantic coast from the ocean lashed the imperial city with an ancient history; the roughness of the Atlas Mountains to the expanse of sand dunes shaped by the wind. From the kasbah eroded by the passage of time to the princely palaces of the ancient medinas, explore this unexpected wealth is a continuous discovery and a deep personal enrichment.

You can also get to Morocco by ferry, departing from Italy, Spain and France. For more details and info can visit the pages of the site OK-Ferry.

The whole history of Morocco is written in the monuments of his four famous imperial cities, especially in Marrakech and then Rabat, Meknes and Fez, where mosques, palaces and gardens still show the power of the old Moroccan empire.
Marrakech is the most popular among the imperial cities, nestled in the foothills of the Atlas mountains, among palms and gardens adorned with multicoloured flowers.

Here you do not have to lose the souks and Jemaa El Fna, in particular, the true heart of the city: a stage of humanity heterogeneous and permeated by intense sounds and aromas will display at your sight.
Everywhere you go in Marrakech, you can meet adventures, powder and mint tea.

The five tourist attractions in Marrakech are:

Djemaa el-Fna, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. It is a lopsided square and picturesque where snake charmers, acrobats and street vendors selling potions showcase everyday.

Souk and Fondouks

Paris and Milan can not compete with Marrakech, where artisans create new designs every day using old instruments. In the souk northern modern masters reinvigorate ancient crafts.

Ali Ben Youssef Medersa

The heart of Marrakech is a celestial structure of the 14th century that was once the largest Islamic centre in North Africa. Carved wooden balconies and dorm rooms where up to 900 students follow the path to higher education.

Hammam

Erroneously described in tourist literature as a spa, a real traditional Moroccan hammam  offers a scrub all over the body which gives the skin to the condition of the newborn. Visitors prone to shyness or sensitive skin will appreciate the modern hammam in Marrakech, with private turkish bath and massage with soothing argan oil.

Jardin Majorelle

This garden is formally owned by Yves Saint Laurent. Rare flowers coming from the five continents thrives in the shade of cobalt blue art deco villa, built in 1931 by the painter Jacques Majorelle and preserved for posterity by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé.
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Photo CC BY by Grand Parc

Events in Marrakech in 2014 (still in progress)

Ramadan
June 28-July 28
The famous fasting month of Ramadan ends with a feast for Eid el-Fitr. Shops and offices are closed, while celebrating with Moroccan pancakes.

People’s National Arts Festival
July
The National People’s Arts Festival is really fun to walk fast pace and all perfectly synchronized. Do not miss the opening parade when 500 of the best interpreters of Morocco turning the Djemaa el-Fna square in a musical.
Additional Information: marrakechfestival.com; Free admission

Marrakech Art Fair Modern
October
Marrakech is the home of the first art school in Morocco that have come out from where his most successful contemporary artists. International collectors converge to Marrakech Art Fair for Modern works of art while sipping the tea.

Marrakech International Film Festival
December
Musical with outdoor screenings in Djemaa el-Fna, and a selection of international cinema at the International Film Festival of Marrakech.
Additional Information: festivalmarrakech.info;

Here are some sample itineraries to Morocco, all departing and arriving from Marrakech.20121102171818Carpets_in_Marrakech

Photo CC SA-BY by Donar Reiskoffer

Tour of the imperial cities

This itinerary offers the opportunity to admire both the Moroccan art of getting in touch with its lively souks. In just one week, you can see the sights of Marrakech with its historical part that shows off Koutubia (outside of the mosque and gardens), the Saadian Tombs, Palais Badii, Palais de la Bahia and the Museum Since You Said. Guests can visit the famous souks and dell’animatissimo Djemaael Fna Square.
Beautiful and interesting trip is also the one to the Ourika valley.
After Marrakech just go to Casablanca, a city whose visit can not fail to fascinate: the square of the United Nations, today said Mohamed V Square, the Royal Palace, the Hassan Mosque and the residential area of ​​Anfa. You can then go on to Rabat and visit the capital city of Morocco and royal residence: the Kasbah and the gardens of Oudaya, the Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V.

Another must-see is the city Meknes with the Agdal basin, the old stables, the Dar Jamai Museum, Bab el Mansour and the souks. Then you can leave at a time of Volubilis with a visit to the ancient Roman ruins.
In the city of Fez, you can visit the old medina El Bali, the Medersa Sahrij, the mosque of the university Karaouine, the souk with the tanning and dyeing of leather.

Tour Oases and Kasah

Another of the many possibilities to explore this land is the tour oasis and Kasah. A route that shares the magic of landscapes and places in the south of the country, between the picturesque kasbah and oasis of the desert, experiencing multiple and unforgettable emotions. A tour that can inizire the visit of the Bahai Palace, the Dar Si Said Museum and Saadian Tombs in Marrakech where you can visit the gardens of the Koutoubia, the souks and the famous Jemaa el Fna square.

And then the turn of Ouarzazate where you can be reached by crossing the Tizi n’ Tichka at 2260 meters above sea level, in the High Atlas chain. Do not miss a visit of the Kasbah of Taourit.
The tour continues with the visit of Tinerhir and Todra gorges, impressive cracks in the walls of red rock 300 meters high. To make it more adventurous why not take a trip off-road to Merzouga dunes to watch the sunrise from the dunes?
From Zagora you can continue along the Draa valley o arrive in Ouarzazate, from here you can go back to the starting point: Marrakech.