From the mayhem of the Medina to the cool gardens of a fashion icon, you’ll love 48 hours in Marrakech with the city’s spice-scented air, teeming souks and compelling culture.
Here you will find an atmosphere that thrives with the prospect of bustling markets, verdant gardens and all-night party potential. It’s loud, colourful and busy, delivering an exhausting bombardment of the senses.
But it’s also exhilarating and exotic…
Sit and sip a coffee on the cafe terrace opposite the new Yves Saint Laurent Museum and you’ll be treated to a free fashion show as visitors wearing their very best outfits – vintage YSL perhaps – arrive to pay homage.
From the mid-1960s, the French fashion designer visited Marrakech every year and was inspired by the city’s colours and patterns.
At the heart of the museum, housed in a smart new building, is a hall displaying 50 YSL pieces, including the pea coat, the Mondrian dress and the safari jacket. It’s closed on Wednesdays.
There’s a shop selling assorted designer bits, and a cafe, but instead head next door for lunch at the courtyard restaurant at the Majorelle Garden.
The stunning landscaped garden, restored by Yves Saint Laurent, is full of giant cacti, fountains, big pots in bold colours and vivid blue buildings.
Return mid-afternoon to your accommodation at the marvellous Riad Ifoulki for sunbathing on the rooftop terrace, a visit to the hammam and plunge pool, and to enjoy the quiet, inner-courtyard gardens. The bedrooms feature exquisite tiles and carved wood.
Danish owner Peter Bergmann is an expert on the city, and offers advice on where to find the best handicrafts, shirts, honey and perfume – and even how to haggle.
Book a half-board break at Riad Ifoulki and you dine on yummy home-made soups, breads and tagines on the rooftop terrace with views over the myriad passageways of the Medina. The riad also stages cultural nights when you are also entertained by local musicians and dancers.
Walk to the huge Jemaa el-Fnaa square, a ten-minute stroll from Riad Ifoulki – get your bearings in daylight for an evening foray later. You’ll be glad you did.
Today is sightseeing day, and most of these attractions are in or close to the Medina, so wear flat shoes.
Your list should include what’s left of El Badi Palace (once an ornate palace full of gold, onyx and Italian marble), and the Bahia Palace, built in the 19th Century for a grand vizier. Then head to the Koutoubia Mosque with its 253ft minaret.
The Ben Youssef Madrasa, built in the 16th Century as an Islamic school, is also one of Marrakech’s most significant monuments. Break for lunch in one of the restaurants in Jemaa el-Fnaa, or treat yourself at the classy La Mamounia hotel.
Ask Peter to book you a taxi to the Saadian Tomb (tickets cost ten dirham, or 78p). It has been used as a burial place for royalty and nobility since the mid-16th Century.
Take a map with you and head again to Jemaa el-Fnaa. The square comes alive after dark, with stalls galore and entertainers including acrobats, and animals such as snakes, monkeys and iguanas.
You’ll need nerves of steel for successful haggling. Pinpoint which souk you want – everything from baskets, leather, ceramics, to brass goods, Berber rugs and Moroccan slippers are on sale.
Ask Peter before you go how much you should really pay for that lantern or Hand of Fatima mirror. When you’ve had enough, flee for the sanctuary of the riad.
Source Credit: Daily Mail