The city's close proximity to Europe makes Marrakech holidays ideal for a short break...
The Moroccan city of Marrakech remains the most accessible entry point into Africa, with Menara Airport (RAK) under four hours' flight time from the UK. The city's riotous jumble of Old Town and New Town shopping areas is famous the world over. You can visit souks brimming with kaftans and carpets, marketplaces fragrant with street foods, the UNESCO-protected labyrinth of the Medina or the Old City with its covered stalls and winding alleys.
Venture beyond the hubbub and serenity awaits in the Menara Gardens or in the Gueliz neighbourhood, where the French-Moroccan fusion of the Majorelle Gardens forms a tropical paradise that will amaze old and young visitors alike. Families staying here might want a few energetic days and there are plenty of activities which cater for children, such as go-karting and Marrakech's own bowling alley in the Palmeraie.
Marrakech truly is a melting pot of history and culture and even children will be fascinated by its many monuments and grand residences. Feast your eyes upon more Moroccan craftsmanship at the Dar Si Said Museum, or take a step into the Grand Vizier's vision at the splendid Bahia Palace. The El Badi Palace dates from the 16th century, as does the Koranic school of Ali ben Youssef Medersa, which is a visual treat with its mosaics and carved woodwork. In fact, Marrakech's past goes all the way back to the 1100s, with the Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret still a testament to enduring faith as well as a stunning example of Moorish architecture.
Hotels here offer a surprising level of service for your money. There are traditional town riads with an open courtyard or New Town complexes with facilities such as swimming pools and spas. Those opting for a longer stay can take advantage of the deluxe out-of-town establishments, as well the chance to explore further afield and take in the Atlas Mountains or keep company with the native Berbers at one of the southern oasis villages such as Amtoudi.