From Guéliz to the Medina, our tips to experience all the thousand and one charms of the red city.
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The Red City. The palm trees against ochre ramparts, the hidden riads in the Medina, and the bustling souks filled with colors and sounds. However, whether traveling alone, as a couple, or in a group, one quickly finds oneself surprised. Behind the postcard image, emerges a chameleon city, more festive than ever, always ready to challenge traditions.
From the Medina to the new neighborhoods, from the must-see places to the latest addresses, we take you on the paths of the new Marrakech.
What to do in the Medina of Marrakech?
Journey into the art of adornment at MAP Marrakech.
In the Kasbah neighborhood, it has been the big novelty since autumn 2022. In an architectural setting of 1400 m², designed by the Franco-Lebanese duo Michel Charrière & Joseph Achkar (L’Hôtel de la Marine in Paris), the World of Art of Parure Marrakech (MAP) showcases over 3000 objects on three levels arranged around a spectacular octagonal skylight made of ochre earth bricks and carved cedar.
The common thread among these tiaras, bracelets, brooches, and other ceremonial ornaments from around fifty countries? The passion of a Swiss couple of collectors, Marlène and Paolo Gallone, who have gathered over 7000 objects during their travels from Africa to the Far East. For these lovers of Morocco, revealing this collection in Marrakech was a natural choice. “It is an oasis where caravans used to converge,” emphasizes Paolo Gallone, “we are merely bringing back what used to circulate here!” Chinese hairpins made of kingfisher feathers, silver earrings from Hmong minorities (Laos), or “wells” of pearls from around the world… The journey invites you to a magnificent voyage around beauty, as if you were exploring the museums of ten capitals in one place!
Information is accessible via a QR code assigned to each display case (you need to connect to the museum’s WiFi). However, more educational tools are planned for the near future. In the meantime, it is possible to take the tour with an expert guide. Coming soon, the opening of the landscaped rooftop restaurant (serving light meals), an oasis in the sky of the Kasbah!
World of Art of Parure Marrakech MAP: 39/40 rue Touareg, KsibatNhas, Marrakech. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:30 am to 6 pm (10 euros, 5 euros for visitors under 25 and students, free for children under 12). Special rate for the opening until January 1st (7 euros, free for students) and for visitors of the Majorelle Garden.
Riad in The Secret Garden
A door opens in a wall of the Medina, revealing an oasis of greenery. In the Jardin Secret, behind the walls of an ancient palace, the art of the riad, the courtyard house, is unveiled! Everything is there: pavilions topped with green tiles, two intersecting alleys at right angles, fragrant flowerbeds, and that unique serenity of an Islamic garden, with the sound of water murmuring and birds chirping. Even the hydraulic system has been carefully restored, bearing witness to the ingenuity of ancient techniques for bringing water from the Atlas Mountains to the grand residences of the city.
Don’t forget to reserve a slot for the guided tour of the 17th-century tower (every 30 minutes) to admire the view, preferably in the late afternoon.
The Secret Garden Marrakech 121, Mouassine Street Phone: +212 5 24 39 00 40 Open daily from 9:30 am until sunset Accessible by taxi, located 400 meters away Price: €8 (an additional €4 for the tower, not allowed for children under 6 years old) Ages 7 to 24: €6.
Visit the Souks
It is the heart and soul of Marrakech! Immersed in the labyrinth of souks that extend from Jemaa El Fna square to the northern part of the Medina, one can witness the incredible transformation of the old city after its renovation last year. Designers and trendy little restaurants blend in with artisan workshops and bustling bazaars along freshly paved alleys. Among the new addresses, there’s the riad/concept store of Stella Cadente, in line with the dreamlike universe of the creative studio, or Kissa Store, co-created by the young stylist Mina Binebine. At the Place des Épices, one can indulge in the colorful spectacle of the square where hats and baskets thrive amidst the charms of herbalists. And one can simply indulge themselves after climbing to the rooftop of Nomad, with its 1950s-inspired decor, or at Ayaso, offering organic and locally-sourced cuisine, or at L’Mida, with its panoramic view of the Atlas Mountains, for a reinvented Moroccan lunch.
To escape the crowds, it’s best to avoid the late afternoon. And for the first visit, it’s recommended to get acquainted with a certified guide.
Nomad. 1 Derb Aarjane, Medina Marrakech 40000. Phone: +212 5 24 38 16 09. Open daily from 10 am to 11 pm. Evening reservations are mandatory.
L’Mida. 78 Derb Nkhel Rahba Kdima. Phone: +212 5 24 44 36 62 / +212 6 73 82 31 85.
Ayaso. 168 Rahba Kdima.
Coffee with the Basha
In an Art Deco patio with waiters donning fez hats, one enters Bacha Coffee like stepping into an old film. The atmosphere resembles the early 20th century when the Pasha of Marrakech would gather over coffee. The menu offers over 200 100% Arabica coffee varieties to be savored alongside homemade sweet and savory delights, sometimes infused with a hint of coffee for the ultimate refinement. Take the opportunity to visit the palace, a spacious riad with Art Deco influences (don’t miss the hammam), and the Museum of Confluences. Keep an eye on the agenda, as in 2023 it is set to host a traveling exhibition of collections from the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.
To access Bacha Coffee, an entrance fee of €1 is required at the palace. Since reservations are not possible, sometimes it requires patience to find a table, but it’s worth the wait for an extended experience.
Bacha Coffee. Dar el Bacha, Sidi Abdelaziz Road, Marrakech 40000. Phone: +212 5 24 38 12 93. Open daily except on Mondays, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Museum of Confluences. Open daily except on Mondays, from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission: €6 (€1.5 for those under 18). Phone: +212 (0)524 38 95 64.
Morocco Vintage at Maison de la Photographie
Experience the essence of Morocco through the lens of the first traveling photographers at Maison de la Photographie in Marrakech. Discover the origins of photography in Morocco with grand portraits and black and white or vividly colored scenes reminiscent of Veronese paintings. Explore postcards and autochromes that showcase the diversity of Morocco through a fabulous collection of archives. Take a break on the spacious terrace, offering one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Atlas Mountains.
Maison de la Photographie 45, Rue Souk-Ahal-Fès Access by taxi (Mokef), followed by a 2-minute walk Tel: +212 5 24 38 57 21 Open daily from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM Admission: €5
Marvel at Jemaa-el-Fna Square
Jemaa-el-Fna Square is the vibrant heart of the medina. It attracts visitors with its whirlwind of sounds, classified as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. As the day comes to an end, the spectacle reaches its peak: the time of clamor, the flutes of snake charmers, the drums of Gnawa musicians, and the melodies of Berber rebabs. It’s also the time for skewers, as the square turns into a true food court where Moroccans and tourists gather. To enjoy the spectacle, head to the terrace of Café Glacier, offering the best balcony-like viewpoint of the theater. The stands are open every day starting from 5-6 PM.
Hidden in a discreet derb (alley) is a beautiful and spacious riad: Les Etoiles de Jemaa El Fna (36 Fhel Zefriti, El Ksour), one of the five cultural centers established by the Ali Zaoua Foundation, created by the painter and writer Mahi Binebine and the filmmaker Nabil Ayouch. This place serves as a creative and learning space for young people, hosting various events such as theater performances, concerts, and more.
Chill Out on a Rooftop
Experience a jungle-like ambiance in the sky of Marrakech, such as at Kabana. In the medina, new oases touch the Marrakech skyline. During the day, you can relax under the sun while admiring the skyline punctuated by minarets and glazed tile roofs. As the afternoon turns into evening, head to the rooftop to witness the stunning and fiery sunsets, especially during winter. Our favorites include the green and jungle-inspired terrace of Kabana and the immense rooftop of El Fenn, one of the most stylish riads in the medina. The view of the Atlas Mountains and the Koutoubia Mosque in the twilight is as breathtaking as the cocktails served alongside tapas.
Kabana Marrakech 1 Kissariat Ben Khaled, Rue Fatima Ezzahra R’MILA, Marrakech Medina Tel: +212 (0) 6 64 46 44 50 Starting from €12 for a signature cocktail
El Fenn 2 Derb Moulay Abdullah Ben Hezzian Tel: +212 5244-41210
What to Do in Gueliz?
Nostalgic Vibes in Gueliz
Gueliz, also known as “Le Guéliz” by the locals, was the first district built outside the city walls during the French protectorate period (1912-1956). Leave behind the soulless new buildings that are increasingly invading the area and explore the peaceful and shaded small streets, where architectural gems can be found, tracing the steps of the aesthetes
Best of: Galerie 127 (photography) or Comptoir des Mines (contemporary art) in Art Deco style, SOME Slow Concept Store, a 1930s villa for browsing and enjoying a healthy lunch, or Le Grand Café de la Poste, a colonial-style establishment, for drinks or dinner.
Museum Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm)
Marrakech inspired Yves Saint Laurent with its vibrant colors, which later infused the world of haute couture. In a black setting, embark on an enchanting journey through the inspirations that shaped Yves Saint Laurent’s work, with 50 iconic models, such as the Mondrian dress or the Saharan jacket. Although less immersive than previous rotations, this fifth collection still manages to immerse visitors in the magic of the YSL universe. You will transition from the black of the early years to the multicolored shimmer of evening gowns, reminiscent of the designer’s passion for the works of 20th-century painters and the colors of Morocco.
To avoid waiting in line at the ticket office, reserve a ticket online (preferably for the afternoon).
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech. Rue Yves Saint Laurent. Marrakech 40090. Phone: +212 5 24 29 86 86. Open every day except Wednesday, from 10am to 6pm. Admission: €13. Combined ticket with the Berber Art Museum and the Majorelle Garden: €30.
Bath in greenery at the Garden Majorelle
The vivid blue of the orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle contrasts with the green of the garden’s succulent plants. Sometimes overlooked due to its association with Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who were responsible for its restoration, the Majorelle Garden is primarily an artist’s garden. It belonged to the orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle, who turned it into his masterpiece and muse. Over 50 years after his passing, the emotion remains intact when faced with this “cathedral of shapes and colors,” punctuated by the vivid blue of his former workshop… at least when the crowds allow for a leisurely admiration.
Purchase a ticket online and aim for the end of the day to avoid crowds during peak season. It is also possible to book a private tour upon request (firstname.lastname@example.org) for approximately €500 for a maximum group of 8 people. In case of high attendance, you can also visit the gardens of Villa Oasis, the former residence of Yves Saint Laurent.
Between the garden and the YSL Museum, the Villa Majorelle (named after its iconic blue color) invites travelers to take a break in its gardens, which seem borrowed from its neighbor. The property belongs to the grandson-in-law of the painter and once housed Jacques Majorelle’s nursery and greenhouses, as evidenced by the giant Atlas pistachio tree that pierces through the ceiling of the living room. Here, you can savor a daily dish or set menu (18 euros), salads (8 to 11 euros), pastries, or ice cream. Open every day except Wednesday from 9 am to 6 pm. It’s worth noting that there is a calendar of events (literary café, exhibitions, etc.) and the upcoming opening of a small museum.
Majorelle garden. Rue Yves Saint Laurent. Marrakech 40090. Tel. : + 212 5 24 86 86. Bus number 1 or number 4, stop Hôtel Majorelle. Daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: €12, €15 with the Pierre Bergé Museum of Berber Arts.
Shopping outside the walls in Sidi Ghanem
At 10 minutes from the center, the neighborhood of Sidi Ghanem is the new shopping hotspot: in just two years, concept stores have multiplied there, giving this industrial and artisanal area, without charm, its reputation as a designer nursery. Along its endless meticulously planned avenues, you can feel the pulse of local creativity in all its forms: home decor with the cozy tableware of Chabi Chic’s new flagship store or the giant cabinet of curiosities at Maison Sarayan; fashion with brands like Owl, Stella H, or Stella Cadente; and art with MCC Gallery (contemporary art), Keya Galerie featuring the eponymous painter, or Jajjah, the creative space of pop artist Hassan Hajjaj.
You can reach Sidi Ghanem by taking a petit taxi, but since the area is extensive, it is better to opt for a tourist transport, which allows you to move easily from one place to another.
Around the world at M Avenue
The 550 (small) meters of M Avenue have sparked a lot of conversation since the opening of this private street in December 2021, extending from the Hivernage district. Fans of a vintage Morocco may not always find themselves in this lifestyle showcase with immaculate sidewalks and a hushed atmosphere, where global brands shine like in Dubai, London, or Paris. However, curious travelers can also see it as a laboratory for the Marrakech of tomorrow, where they can discover a reimagined tradition. Spices and chic tableware made by local potters in the boutique of Douar, reviving regional cuisine; designer clothing at Atelier 44 or The 6th concept store; embroidered linens by Pretty Linge, or natural cosmetics by Nectarôme… In this open-air grand food court where kitchens from around the world jostle, the winds of globalization haven’t entirely swept away the scents of Morocco!
Instead of asking the taxi driver to take you to M Avenue, ask to be dropped off at the “Ronaldo hotel,” the CR7 Pestana Marrakech, a brand developed in partnership between the player and the hotel chain, located on the avenue!
What to do around Marrakech?
Admire Marrakech From Balloon
To contemplate the earth at your feet as the rising sun makes the greens and ochres shimmer. Perched in a wicker basket at nearly 1,000 meters of altitude, you quickly feel like growing wings of an adventurer. From the transfer in the night to the Berber breakfast under the caidal tent, through the preparation of the craft and the smooth flight, every minute brings its share of sensations. We recommend Ciel d’Afrique, the reference in Marrakech for 30 years. The ultimate experience? The Royal flight, private, with a gourmet breakfast from Bacha Coffee.
The Desert Experience
Just 40 minutes from the red city, here is already the desert. No golden sand dunes, but a lunar expanse of ochre earth with gentle undulations that can be explored on foot, by 4×4, quad bike, sidecar, or on the back of a dromedary, with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. One can stop for a lunch break or, even better, spend a night under the stars in a canvas camp facing the Atlas (Inara Camp, Scarabeo Camp, Caravan by Habitas Agafay), or in the beautiful pisé houses of La Pause.
Winter and spring are the ideal seasons to stay in the Agafay Desert, especially when the Atlas Mountains are snow-covered. In summer, it can get very hot there…
Feel Nature Vibes at Beldi Country Club
Just 10 minutes from the city center, the Beldi Country Club is an enchanted garden spanning 15 hectares, a microcosm of an ideal countryside designed as a tribute to the Moroccan way of life. With its immense rose garden facing the Atlas Mountains, a souk-like square reminiscent of a traditional village with designer stalls, cozy spa, and swimming pools under the olive trees… It provides all the reasons to relax in a bucolic setting! If you’re not staying in one of its two charming hotels, including a brand new one, you can opt for a day of lunch and swimming, regardless of the season.
Beldi Country Club. Barrage Road. “Cherifia” Marrakech. Starting from €180 for a double room, €39 for a poolside lunch (excluding drinks). Tel: +212 5 24 38 39 50.
Relaxing break with hammam
The first wave of heat surprises, but soon the feeling of relaxation sets in. With the body coated in black soap, one lies down on the warm marble and closes their eyes. The essence of the ritual lies in the perspiration followed by an exceptional exfoliation with a special glove. In the end, the skin is as smooth as a baby’s, ready for all the delights such as a ghassoul (clay) wrap or scented massages!
Among our recommended places: the Nuxe Spa at Villa des Orangers (Relais & Châteaux) and the spa at Royal Mansour with access to the charming citrus garden and indoor pool in the medina, the Spa at Palace Es Saadi with the latest addition of shirodhara, the ultimate Ayurvedic treatment, in the Hivernage district, or the Chenot Vitality Space Spa at Selman Marrakech, just 10 minutes from the city center.
Spa Nuxe at Villa des Orangers (Relais & Châteaux). Starting from €60 for a 45-minute massage, €40 for a hammam with exfoliation. 6, Rue Sidi Mimoun, 40000 Marrakech. Tel: +212 5243 84638. Open daily from 9 am to 9 pm.
Spa at Royal Mansour, starting from €220 for a 60-minute massage. Abou Abbas El Sebti Royal Mansour 40000 Morocco. Tel: +212 52980 8200. Open daily from 9 am to 9 pm.
Spa at Palace Es Saadi, starting from €160 for a shirodhara treatment, €100 for a Kobido facial treatment. Rue Ibrahim El Mazini. Tel: +212 (5)24 33 74 00.
Chenot Vitality Space Spa. €130 for the detox treatment, €170 for the hydro-energetic circuit. Route d’Amizmiz. Tel: +212 (0) 5 24 45 96 00.