Our last trip to Marrakesh allowed us to get to know the city more and we are here now to share some of our tips we hope you'll find useful.
If you want to see more of the city, take the guided bus tours. These buses have just been introduced in recent years. They are red, double-deck buses and offer continuous tours throughout the day. Get a 24-hour hopper ticket and you can get off at major stops that take you to Djamaa Lfna, Menara, Saadieen Toms, Koutoubia, Bahia palace, Median, etc. The buses are equipped with recorded messages in multiple languages that provide major highlights of the bus route.
The horse carts might charge more, but have that leisurely stroll around town. May not cover as much of the city as the bus tours. You can however ask the cart person for a short tour that your bus did not cover.
As far as where to visit, start with Djemaa el-Fna or assembly place of the nobodies. This is the centre point of Marrakesh. It is a large square where many of the budget hotels and souks are located. In the evening, there are rows of open-air food stalls, jugglers, snake charmers, storytellers and magicians. Around the square there are rooftop cafes and restaurants with balconies, where you can watch the entire spectacle.
On the other side of the square outside Median walls is the Bahia Palace. It was built in the 19th century as a residence of the grand minister of one of the sultans. It has wonderful gardens, fountains and a shady courtyard. The walls are decorated with Moroccan mosaics, and hand-crafted artwork.
To the front of the square is the Koutoubia mosque. It is the tallest (70m) and most famous landmark in Marrakesh, and is visible for miles in any direction.
The bus tours will also tale you to the Menara garden, which is the most popular among the Marrakshis because it is peaceful and relaxing. It houses the oldest and best-preserved of the three most famous minarets, as well as the largest.
There are many other places we could not see such as The Saadian Tombs, Majorelle Gardens... but I recommend that you don't miss Ali Benmalah or what many call Chez Ali: an impressive memorable Fantasia Show, acrobat, traditional Moroccan folk dance and a dinner fit for a king. A traditional event, it includes an opportunity to see the Berber folklore, the jugglers' performance, the flying carpet, the belly dancing and finally the Fantasia show.
We had our hotel reservation made through www.asiarooms.com/ which we found offer very good deal on five-star hotels, just make sure you book way in advance.
The bus tour company does not have a site, but was recommended to us by hotel staff, you can't miss it if you ask, some hotels sell their tickets.
We took our daughter aged six months to Marrakech and were surprised by the number of friends and fellow travellers who commented on how brave we were. What they didn't perhaps realise was that a baby or small child is like a passport to the real Morocco.
We (or more accurately our daughter Emily) were treated like VIPs and invited into homes, given tips on how to survive the souks and all because we'd been cunning enough to come with a child! Kids make travelling easier, if you have the right attitude.
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