Jemaa El Fnaa – the complete chaos
Marrakech, Morocco: It is amazing that a 3 hour flight from Northern Europe can land you somewhere so completely different. As you step off the plane in Marrakech you are greeted by hot humid heat and the smell of dry red dust. Once in the city itself, the hum of the mosques calling to prayer echoes across the old medina’s red walls. Marrakech provides visitors with a unique cultural experience whether it be trying out your barter skills in the souks or admiring the beautiful Moroccan art works in the museums, the city has it all and now it is easily reachable for a short break.
What to do:
On our first night in Marrakech we were told that nothing starts before sunset, these words played true as the city suddenly sparked into life as soon as the sun went down. One of the must see attractions in Marrakech is Jemaa El Fnaa, the main square in the old medina. Jemaa El Fnaa is Africa’s busiest square so be prepared for the complete chaos when you walk around; hawkers will shout, monkeys and snakes will suddenly appear at your elbow, and you will nearly be run over countless times by motorbikes.
If shopping is your scene on a short break in Marrakech then there is no better place. Running off from the main square are several tiny streets filled with stands selling everything from lanterns to handbags to oriental rugs. Of course you need to make sure you bargain but otherwise it is a shopping metropolis for all exotic goods.
Where to Eat:
If you are feeling brave you can eat at one of the food stalls in the main square. We ate at Stall Number One and enjoyed some excellent kebabs and tajine, however it was too crowded and touristy for my taste so I would also recommend you try out some of the excellent restaurants in the new town.
Bo & Zin is a fabulous trendy restaurant serving French and Moroccan fusion food. The tables are set outside in a covered terrace and on the weekends a DJ plays until late into the night. The crowd at Bo & Zin are super chic so remember to wear something nice!
Monte Cristo Marrakech is another great place to go for dinner or drinks. Downstairs there is an outdoor seating area with a relaxed vibe and upstairs there is a Sky Lounge / Club which opens until late on the weekends. The crowd is mixed with expats and locals and the atmosphere is sophisticated.
Here to Stay:
La Sultana is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Marrakech. Located in the historical Kasbah district La Sultana is the perfect place to stay if you want to go site seeing, it is less than 10 minutes walk to the main square! This beautiful hotel is an oasis of calm from the hectic streets of Marrakech and it is designed in an elegant old world Moroccan style.
La Sultana is comprised of 5 beautiful riads all with their own unique design. The hotel pays homage to Moroccan artisans with beautiful wooden carvings and exquisite tiling decorating the rooms and common areas. Spending a night here will make you feel like you have entered another world, one were Sultans still rule and live in lavish opulence in the old Imperial city.