If you’ve sampled many of Europe’s finest cities on weekend city breaks and are looking for something a little different, why not head to Morocco’s most famous city for a taste of what Africa has to offer?
Marrakesh is a surprisingly short three hour flight and there’s plenty to see and do over a long weekend making this a great escape for an exotic, yet romantic, short trip.
You should elect to stay at a traditional Riad in the centre of the city, close to the fascinating communal square of Djemaa El-Fna for the most immersive of experiences. Throughout the day, the square is packed full of orange juice sellers, snake charmers and gymnasts all of which are looking to peddle their specialities for a small donation.
If you’re looking for cheap eats, then head to the square as dusk falls and you can grab yourself a hearty meal from one of the many temporary food stalls that are set-up just as quickly as they are packed away. Just opposite the square is Koutoubia Mosque which is surrounded by peaceful green gardens and comes alive during the call to prayer. You’ll find a mix of tourists and locals congregate in this area making it a wonderful spot to soak up the Marrakesh melting pot.
Marrakesh is a city packed with historical delights and is split into two distinct halves, the ancient fortifications of the old town and the newer, more cosmopolitan neighbourhoods that make up the modern side of the city. Naturally, the old town is the home of the best attractions, such as the old ruins of the El Badi palace and the ancient surroundings of the elaborate Saadian tombs where your tour guide will regale stories of the ancient Kings who reside here.
The royal residence is also well worth a visit, or for a fleeting glance, you could take a trip around the city by traditional horse and carriage for a more comprehensive tour of Marrakesh. For something a little different, but nonetheless still riveting, head to Yves Saint Lauren’s gift to the city, The Majorelle gardens. Visit at midday when the sun is at its highest so you can tantalise your eyes with the shades of green, blue and yellow.
As a bonus – flights to Marrakesh are extremely cheap at the moment with low-cost airlines, such as Ryanair, quoting at just £50 from many cities.