Monday 26 August 2019

Marrakech: 24 hours in Morocco's most magical city

Perfect Day: Marrakech

Known as the Red City because of the pinkish-red walls that are to be found everywhere in the municipality, Marrakech is a vibrant mix of art and architecture, old and new
Known as the Red City because of the pinkish-red walls that are to be found everywhere in the municipality, Marrakech is a vibrant mix of art and architecture, old and new
Traditional hammam
Selection of spices on a traditional Moroccan market (souk) in Marrakech, Morocco
Jardin Majorelle
El Fenn. Photo: ©David Loftus

Nicola Brady

Nicola Brady spends 24 hours in Morocco's exotic metropolis.

10am: Jardin Majorelle

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Jardin Majorelle

The former property of Yves Saint Laurent, Jardin Majorelle is an enchanting space filled with tropical plants, ponds and cacti. The walls are painted a striking cobalt blue and it's also home to the excellent Berber Museum, which tells the story of Morocco's indigenous inhabitants. In the autumn, a new museum dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent will open its doors.

How: Admission to the gardens is €7, the museum is €3; see jardinmajorelle.com.

2pm: Hit the Hammam

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Traditional hammam

A traditional hammam is a must in Marrakech. After a session in a piping-hot steam room, you're slathered in black soap, doused with buckets of water and scrubbed to within an inch of your life. You'll have to leave your dignity (and your knickers) at the door, but your skin will end up as smooth as a baby's.

How: A hammam generally costs around €14-€18; try spa-hammam1001nuits.com.

5pm: Explore the Souks

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Selection of spices on a traditional Moroccan market (souk) in Marrakech, Morocco

There's no denying that the souks are intoxicating - tiny, winding paths weave between stalls piled high with leather, spices and nuts as the sunlight wisps through slatted rooftops. Getting lost is unavoidable, so embrace it. After a spot of haggling, head into Jemaa el-Fnaa, where BBQ stalls will be lighting up for the evening. Brace yourself - the stallholders can be aggressive in their schtick, but the tender barbecued meat is delicious.

How: See more at visitmorocco.com.

8pm: Stay at El Fenn

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El Fenn. Photo: ©David Loftus

If the frantic and dazzling Marrakech ever gets a little overwhelming, the beautiful riads scattered throughout the medina are a reprieve from the madness. These traditional Moroccan guest houses are enchanting, and El Fenn is one of the best. With strikingly pretty rooms, beautiful courtyards and a pool on the rooftop terrace, it's the perfect Marrakech sanctuary.

How: Rooms from €230; see el-fenn.com.

Do it:

Fly with Ryanair or easyJet via London or Madrid. Air Arabia flies direct from Dublin to Agadir (240km/3hrs away) from October.

Read more:

Naples: 24 hours in Italy's most surprising city

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