Colourful, loud, frenetic – and sometimes overwhelming, Marrakech promises plenty and always delivers the goods.
Souk shopping in the market north of Djemaa el Fna square is an experience in itself; not only are there hundreds of traders selling an array of goods from scarves to handmade trinkets, there are also a myriad of fresh food stalls selling a selection of exotic spices, delicious olives, vegetables, and meats. The Souk traders are boisterous and persuasive; haggling and bartering is all accepted as part of the course so if you wish to buy something always break down to the lowest possible price. The Souks are an Aladdin’s cave of wonders so spend some quality time perusing what is on offerand get ready to start haggling down.
If you want to eat like the locals then grab a Tajine pot and take a walk around the market filling your pot with whichever ingredients take your fancy. Ras al Hanout is a classic Morrocan spice mix which works well with lamb, and there are lots of stalls to getvegetables, citrus fruits, and olives. Once you are done, head to the nearest furan or neighbourhood oven, where many of the locals take their bread and stews early in the morning for collection later in the day (many houses don’t have an oven so the furan is a vital component of Marrakech life). For a small price you can leave your cooking pot in the slow burning ovens and a few hours later, after a day seeing the sites, you can go and collect a genuine Moroccan meal. For more immediate sustenance, head to Djemaa el Fna to grab a meat kebab or some other local fare, and sit back and watch the snake charmers and acrobats dazzle you in the late evening sun.
Unwinding in Marrakech
Marrakech can be chaotic so be sure to take some time to chill out with a hammam or steam bath. At the beautiful Les Bains de Marrakech you can bathe in warming pools, relax in the steam room, and have a variety of facial and massage treatments including black soap body scrubs as well as a one hour full body treatment. The HammamZiani is also a top choice, and will leave you feeling completely calm and zen-like upon exiting. One note of caution, the steam rooms often involve nudity so if you are averse then perhaps try and search for a more
private and expensive option at one of the hotels. Just as relaxing are late afternoon walks around some of the city’s attractions, such as the Koutoubia Mosque or the Mennara Gardens that are lined with olive trees.
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