Exploring the Enchanting City of Marrakech

Nestled in the heart of Morocco, Marrakech is a city that ignites the senses and transports visitors to a world of vibrant colors, aromatic spices, and captivating history. With its ancient medina, bustling souks, and architectural wonders, Marrakech offers a mesmerizing blend of tradition and modernity. In this blog post, we will dive into the rich history of Marrakech and discover the plethora of activities and experiences that await intrepid travelers in this magical city.

A Stroll Through History

Marrakech carries a storied past that dates back nearly a thousand years. Founded in 1062 by the Almoravids, the city quickly flourished as a prominent trading and cultural hub along the ancient caravan routes. Over the centuries, Marrakech witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, leaving behind a tapestry of architectural marvels that serve as a testament to its illustrious history.

Marrakech - Essential Morocco cities tour -1The Medina

Begin your journey in Marrakech’s UNESCO-listed medina, a labyrinth of narrow streets, bustling squares, and hidden treasures. Lose yourself in the vibrant souks, where you can haggle for spices, textiles, leather goods, and intricate handicrafts. Don’t miss the iconic Djemaa el-Fna square, a vibrant hub of storytellers, snake charmers, musicians, and delectable street food.

Discover Architectural Marvels

Marrakech boasts architectural wonders that showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage. Visit the Bahia Palace, a stunning 19th-century palace adorned with intricate tilework and tranquil gardens. Marvel at the Koutoubia Mosque, an impressive landmark with its towering minaret, and explore the Saadian Tombs, an exquisite mausoleum dating back to the 16th century.

Majorelle GardenWander the Majorelle Garden

Seek respite from the bustling city and immerse yourself in the tranquil oasis of the Majorelle Garden. Designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle, this botanical garden captivates visitors with its vibrant blue structures, exotic plants, and tranquil atmosphere. The garden also houses the Museum of Islamic Art, showcasing a collection of North African textiles, ceramics, and jewelry.

Indulge in Moroccan Cuisine

Marrakech is a haven for food enthusiasts. Delight your taste buds with the flavors of Morocco by sampling iconic dishes such as tagine, couscous, and pastilla. Explore the local food stalls and restaurants, savoring the aromatic spices and blending of sweet and savory flavors that define Moroccan cuisine. Consider taking a cooking class to learn the secrets of traditional recipes and spices.

Experience Hammams

Treat yourself to a traditional Moroccan spa experience by indulging in a hammam. These steam baths offer a rejuvenating retreat where you can relax, cleanse your body, and immerse yourself in the centuries-old bathing rituals. Complete the experience with a relaxing massage and traditional beauty treatments.

Marrakech’s allure lies in its ability to transport visitors through time, immersing them in a vibrant tapestry of history, culture, and sensory delights. From exploring the ancient medina to indulging in tantalizing cuisine and embracing the tranquility of its gardens, Marrakech offers a myriad of experiences that will leave a lasting impression. Embark on a journey to this enchanting city and let the spirit of Marrakech captivate your heart and soul.

Camel Caravan

Morocco camel tour activity

There’s something fantastic about camels that you never really understand until standing right in front of one. They’re big, over 6′ tall at the shoulders, and nearly 2/3 of a ton. They’re smart, remember kindness, and enjoy an affectionate scratch or pet (think of them as really big dogs with saddles). They’re also surprisingly photogenic and often will look right into the camera, ready for their closeup.

Morocco camel trekking activityRiding a camel takes no experience at all. Their size and feel resemble sitting on a felt-covered, substantial couch. Unlike the jarring up-down ride of a horse, the camel gently sways from side to side when it walks and never seems to be in a hurry. You also don’t have to steer a camel. Camels are pack animals and will follow the camel guide, who usually walks on foot in front.

If you think riding a camel is easy, you’d be right. It’s getting onto it is the adventure. You don’t mount a camel like you do a horse. The camels start by sitting down until you get in the saddle. That’s when the fun begins. Then, as the camel stands, its back legs straighten first, pitching the rider forward, then the front legs straighten, pitching the rider back. Then, when it kneels, it’s the same process in reverse. So remember, saddle up, lean back, then lean forward.

Ghost Tour of Fez

Guided tour activities at tourist attractions, MoroccoOver fourteen centuries have passed since the founding of Fez. One of the largest labyrinth cities in the world, the city has seen dynasties rise and fall, foreign invasion, conquest, bloody rebellion, and liberation. It’s an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, colored with hope, and tinted with blood. Guided tours of Fez focus on today and the city’s historical monuments and highlights, overlooking its colorful and sometimes dark past.

Now, for the first time in Morocco, SaharaTrek offers its exclusive guided Ghost Tour of Fez. Starting after dinner and just before sunset, you’ll get rare access to the places and stories left out of the tourist brochures.

Guided tour activities at tourist attractions, Morocco -1 The tour starts before sunset with a look inside the abandoned Glaoui Palace. Once a sprawling complex of twelve houses, hammams, Qur’anic schools, stables, a cemetery, and extensive gardens, it was the base of power for the Glaoui family. As powerful as they were brutal, the Glaouis’ ambition knew no bounds. They became the enforcers for the French during the occupation (1907-1956) and conspired to overthrow Sultan Mohammed V. After Moroccan independence, the blood-soaked Glaoui family was erased from history, and their multiple palaces were seized and left to rot.

Guided tour activities at tourist attractions, Morocco -2 As the sun sets, you’ll be driven to the hills overlooking Fez as the call to prayer echoes from a hundred mosques before heading down into the Madina. You’ll venture by foot, following your guide down the narrow, dark alleys before arriving at the Slave Market.

Slavery was abolished in Morocco in 1925, but its shadow still lingers in the Fez Medina at the Slave Market. During the day, they auction animal hides from the tannery in the market. In the afternoon, it’s a market for used clothes. But it’s when the market is empty at night that you can faintly hear the wails of despair from enslaved Christians taken by the Barbary Pirates or the sub-Saharan Africans brought over the Salt Road.

A short 2 hours after the tour starts and the darkest of the night has set in, you’ll be guided back to your Raid for the rest of the evening.

Taste of Morocco

Morocco's top food attractionsHere’s a joke: What do Moroccans call traditional Moroccan food? Answer: Food! And traditional Moroccan food is everywhere you go, surrounding you with the smells and tastes of the exotic. With our Taste of Morocco, you’ll experience the adventure that is Moroccan street food. In Marrakech and Fez, your tour guide will not only show you the sites of Moroccan culture and history, feeding your curiosity and desire for adventure. But also stop by the small shops and workingman’s cafes where you’ll get to sample the local delicacies feeding your stomach simultaneously. Think of it as a city-wide roving buffet that can easily replace a sit-down lunch.

As you tour the cities, keep your eyes (and noses) on the lookout for some of the specialties Morocco offers, and you’ll regret missing them.

  • Shebbakia: pasta ribbons with hot honey and grilled sesame seeds, commonly found during Ramadan.
  • Briouats: sweet filo pastry with a savory filling, like a miniature pasilla.
  • Morocco's top food attractions -1Briouats au miel: sweet filo pastry envelopes filled with nuts and honey.
  • M’hencha: almond-filled pastry coils, often covered in honey or syrup.
  • Cornes de gazelle: marzipan-filled, banana-shaped pastry horns.
  • Pastilla: sweet pigeon or chicken pie with cinnamon and filo pastry (a specialty of Fes).
  • M’laoui: flat griddle bread from dough sprinkled with oil, rolled out, and folded several times.
  • Bissara: thick beans soup, usually served with olive oil and cumin.
  • Olives: come in numerous varieties,
  • Almonds, walnuts, and dates.
  • Bread: almost always round like a cake and tears easily by hand. It’s usually homemade and cooked in the public oven.
  • Morocco's top food attractions -2Khlea: small pieces of beef or lamb marinated in light spices, then dried in the sun (gueddid) before being cooked and preserved in fat for up to 2 years. Still a homemade staple in rural areas, these days, many Moroccan families resort to buying it as it is so readily available everywhere.