Marrakech lies on a large plain at the foot of the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains. This makes staying in Marrakech the perfect city to begin your visit to Morocco or an ideal base for exploring the country, particularly the High Atlas, Sahara region and Atlantic coast. Surrounded by its original fortified city wall Marrakech entices you into its midst - allow it to absorb you into its soul and we are sure that, like us, it will become one of your favourite places.
Incredibly popular, and ever growing in number, riads are traditionally refurbished houses of various sizes in the centre of Marrakech's mediaeval medina. These fabulous properties are designed to be cool in the Moroccan heat and inward-looking so will surround a private courtyard or garden which is most often open to the Marrakech sky and are known as riads (or dars).
Rediscover the World was one of the first UK tour operators, back in the 1990s, to offer riads as part of a different holiday experience; we have continued this with similar properties across the whole of Morocco. At least one of us here at Rediscover has visited each of the riads featured on our website so please feel free to discuss your requirements and budget and we will be happy to make recommendations - naturally such properties are likely to be a matter of personal taste and preference but we are confident that there is a riad to suit everyone.
There are many excellent hotels in the city that we would recommend for those who wish to have the wide range of facilities that only hotels can provide such as large swimming pools, gardens, a choice of restaurants, gym, parking, etc. If you just want a good hotel prior to departing on a tour of Morocco then we are confident that one of our personally selected hotels will be ideal.
Marrakech has many faces to offer the visitor - the fabulous historic and labyrinthine Medina of the Almohads, the more recent majesty of the Bahia Palace, the tranquility of its many famous gardens and the sophistication of its modern boulevards, cafes and riads. Today Marrakech has become a thriving metropolis with chic night spots, top restaurants and a very modern atmosphere in places, all of which emphasises the immense historical context of the Medina and its focal point, the Djemma el Fna.
Any tour of Marrakech should begin by exploring the Medina followed by a visit to the Djemma el Fna (Marrakech's main square - translates as "assembly place of the dead") in the shadow of the Koutoubia Mosque. Enter further into the labyrinthine souk for some serious haggling and you will be immersed in the sights, sounds and aromas of this mediaeval market place. In the evening the Djemma el Fna changes quite dramatically and comes alive with a plethora of al fresco dining stalls such as those selling spicy sausages, fresh fish and chips, traditional Harira soup and even snails, all washed down with plenty of sweet mint tea of course - sheep's heads are perhaps only for the very hearty traveller though. All the time you will be surrounded by acrobats, snake charmers, fortune tellers and entertainers of all kinds.
Head straight to the Ben-Youssef medersa, a Koranic school and don't miss the Marrakesh Museum which is close by in the medina; it can be found in the 19th century M'Nebhi Palace. You will be able to admire eight centuries of Moroccan arts and crafts - the Chrob or Chouf fountain is a must-see. This impressively sumptuous work has a wooden front dating from the 16th century. Take in the tanners' quarter which is situated a little to the east. There you will leave for an exotic journey to a world where the smells and colours will carry you away.
You can find foodstuffs, fabrics and handicrafts in the medina and its souks which are enclosed by the fabulous 12th century ramparts. Here everyone attends to their affairs, as they have for centuries. You can find some calm in the Arabo-Andalusian garden which houses the Saadian Tombs. You should visit the richly decorated rooms of these two mausoleums which are just below the superb minaret of the El-Mansour mosque. There is an unrestricted view of the rooves of the city from the terrace of the El-Badi Palace which is nearby. From the northern corner you can admire the ancient minbar (pulpit) of the Koutoubia mosque. This pulpit is beautifully ornamented with delicate sculptures and marquetry.
The Marjorelle Gardens house a collection of plants from the four corners of the earth flourishing among elegant ornamental lakes and an Art Deco villa. You may leave this enchanted spot in one of the many horse drawn carriages available in the city and take a trip to the Palmeraie; from there, continue to the Menara, one of Marrakesh's symbolic places - this elegant building is surrounded by an immense ornamental lake (Marrakshi families come here to enjoy this cool spot during heat waves). You can enjoy an ice cream, a pastry or a cool drink in one of the establishments in Gueliz, the modern part of Marrakech. Luxury shops, banks, tearooms and cafes. Marrakesh is a city full of life and enthusiasm.
The Lalla Takerkoust Lake is just 20 minutes from Marrakesh and you can explore its 7km by pedal boat, motorboat or even jet ski. The Oukaimeden ski resort in the Atlas gives you access to one of the most extensive ski domains in Africa. You can climb Mount Toubkal (4167m), situated to the south of Oukaimeden. It isn't a particularly difficult climb provided you are in good physical shape, have hired a certified guide and have done the necessary preparation. You can visit the Ourika Valley which is about 30km from Marrakesh: the granary for the area, with its fields of different crops laid out like a draught-board; its waterfalls punctuating the beautiful unspoilt scenery. Asni village, with its very beautiful red kasbah, should be seen. Ouirgane is a very popular spot for Marrakshis. Don't hesitate to take a break for lunch in one of the many restaurants in the area: another opportunity to savour the delicious local cooking.
Where to stay
The Riad el Zohar has been lovingly restored, keeping many of its original features such as the intricately painted ceilings.
Located in the heart of the historical quarter of Riad Laarouss, a short walk from the famous Djemaa El Fna square.
An high quality gem of a riad; the 18th century Riad Kniza is a real treasure in the heart of the city and is one of our most popular luxury properties.
A larger riad-style boutique hotel set in a quiet area near the Bahia Palace. High quality accommodation and facilities.
This riad-style, opulent hotel has a collection of rooms and suites named after characters from '1001 Arabian Nights'.
The Riad Mur Akush has been beautifully restored, striking a balance between the traditional and contemporary, and exudes understated class.
A small riad offering high quality accommodation, small pool, roof terrace and great food. Stylish French and Moroccan antiques furnish the bedrooms together with hand woven berber carpets and artifac ...
A luxury boutique, riad-style hotel set amongst beautiful gardens with a large pool, restaurant and high quality spa.
Riad Hikaya is a luxury boutique hotel located in the Kasbah, an easy walk from the main square, Jemaa al Fnaa, and the city's other famous landmarks. Ancient traditions combined with contemporary comforts, ...
Incredibly, this luxury riad-inspired hotel is just around the corner from the Djemma el Fna. It stands on the site of a 13th century palace so there are many original pieces of woodwork.
Located just a short distance from the medina the Kech Boutique Hotel & Spa is a state of the art hotel bringing together elements of authenticity and modern comfort.
Things to do
A wonderful opportunity to capture a totally different lifestyle; meet the Berber people whilst enjoying the dramatic countryside of the High Atlas.
A full day visiting the enchanting Atlantic coastal town of Essaouira; enjoy a complete change of pace and scenery !
A truly '1001 Nights' experience - a favourite finale to any stay in Marrakech.
An excursion to the foothills of the Toubkal National Park with fantastic scenery, Berber villages, remote valleys & a short guided hike.
High up in the Atlas mountains is the Lhasa-like 12th century mosque of Tinmal, one of only two mosques in Morocco open to visits by non-Muslims.
Hot Air Ballooning above the High Atlas plains. A flight with an experienced, licensed & fully qualified pilot plus full ground support.
This is a great introduction to the High Atlas; two reasonably challenging guided day hikes and a stay at our Head Guide's gite in Imlil.
A day in the High Atlas, crossing the Tichka Pass and visiting one of the grandest & most famous of all the Atlas forts - the Kasbah of Telouet.
A fully-inclusive private guided tour of Marrakech. Full day tour includes English-speaking guide, entry fees, lunch in the medina and transport.
A fully-inclusive private guided tour of Marrakech. Half day tour includes English-speaking guide, entry fees and transport.
Relatively easy one day guided walks. A choice of classic routes, charming hidden valleys and plenty of opportunity to meet the Berber people.
Discover the secrets of Morocco’s unique and richly varied cuisine.
"We loved our holiday. Hi-lights were the Riads in Marrakesh, the warmth and friendliness of the staff; the 3 day desert safari/ tour of the south, the camels, camps and staff there, and the Tamagroute visit; the half day tour of Marrakesh. Siad, our half day Marrakesh guide, was excellent, as was Rachid who took us on the safari (15-17 feb)."
C Tyler, March, 2020
"Apologies for taking so long to say thank you for arranging a most enjoyable holiday. Everything went to plan and the Riad in Marrakech was a delight and all the staff so pleasant and helpful. In the end we ate at some point each day in the Riad as it was very fresh and they were pleased to provide variations of what they had on offer on their menu. The weather throughout was perfect and there is so much to see and enjoy in Marrakech and the other destinations we would be pleased to return for further exploration. We had no problem walking around in any of the locations and thoroughly enjoyed the three contrasting scenery. The last Riad restaurant views were great and enjoying such clear rain free weather meant we had clear views throughout our trip. All the drivers were very prompt and nothing seemed too much trouble and much to our surprise they stuck rigidly to speed limits. Definitely a holiday to remember and for this we must thank you both."
R Lines, March, 2020
"Thank you for organizing a lovely, relaxing, awe-inspiring holiday, with special attention to detail. We are planning to use your service on our next trip."
S Mullen, December 2019
"Seeing the Sahara and experiencing sunset in this magical and barren place. Our guide for the Marrakech walking tour was lovely and knowledgeable and showed up some truly wonderful sites. Our guide/driver down to the Sahara, Wadii, was simply amazing. His humour and friendliness were infectious and every moment of the trip was pure magic. I would recommend him a million times over for any kind of trip in Morocco, be it a desert adventure or trip around Marrakech."
E Tilley, March 2019
"Our guide for the Marrakech walking tour was lovely and knowledgeable and showed up some truly wonderful sites. "
E Tilley, March 2019
"Thank you so much - it was all very efficient and easy to book, and we had a wonderful time."
S Burke, UK, February 2019
"My wife and I made a journey through Morocco during February. We decided that using trains and staying at riads would form a central part of our journey theme and are awfully glad we did. Our main advice and booking was aided by Andy and Dawn, Rediscover the World UK. We had a number of requests for guidance, all of which were met with patient, knowledgeable and practical responses. One city only offered very expensive options for a guide and we were left in no doubt that it was expensive and alternative solutions found. This is the mark of a good agent/adviser. One city had considerable restrictions on available accomodation owing to a music festival and still they managed to find something suitable. There was a lot of work involved in solving this, which we appreciate."
S Mills, February 2019
"Thank you for one of the best holidays I've had in years! Everything went smoothly from start to finish. All the transfers were waiting for us on time and were very friendly and efficient. Both the hotels were excellent with an incredibly high level of service. It was wonderful to be able to explore these fascinating cities, knowing that our accommodation and travel requirements had been arranged so expertly for us. I have no hesitation in recommending your company and hope to travel to other destinations with you in future."
R Passfield-Taylor, UK, June 2018
"I think it is worth re-iterating what an awesome holiday we had in Morocco. Every aspect of the planning was good, well thought through, and matched to our needs. You know the country really well and that helped us to have the most fabulous holiday. It was a holiday of a lifetime for us, it has provided the most wonderful memories,and it lived up to the billing. Thank you again."
J White, UK, May 2018
"Our accommodations in Marrakech were superior, and the mountain trek to the Azzaden Trekking Lodge and back to the Kasbah du Toubkal was first-rate. In addition, all dealings with Rediscover the World UK were exceptional."
D Garrison, USA, May, 2017