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Cultured, colourful and chaotic, Marrakech city breaks will make a big impression. Known as the “Red City”, this ancient imperial capital has excellent shopping opportunities, sumptuous hotels and a UNESCO-listed medina that you’re bound to get lost in.
The city’s main square, Jemaa El-Fnaa, is a hive of activity all day, with storytellers, musicians and more to entertain. You’re in the heart of Marrakech’s medina here – and you’ll really tell by night when it comes to life, so visit after sunset at least once to see it in full swing.
Many of the city’s most alluring hotels are in the medina, and you can slip away to hip hideaways with rooftop terraces and historic riads (traditional Moroccan houses) with tranquil green gardens. You’ll also be able to look around sights such as the beautiful Bahia Palace in the medina, gaze up at the intricately decorated tower of the Koutoubia Mosque and haggle in its souks.
Souk shopping is a must on a Marrakech city break, and you’ll find streets of busy markets snaking through the medina selling everything from carpets and colourful spices to leather goods. Always haggle when shopping in souks – it’s expected and you’re likely to pay over the odds if you don’t.
Despite the city’s lively streets, there are plenty of spots to slip away to for some much-needed relaxation. In the Majorelle Gardens, which was bought by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner in 1980, you can walk among cacti and exotic plants. There are also some green spots in the medina, such as Le Jardin Secret, which has a traditional Islamic garden and one displaying exotic plants. Don’t forget to plan a visit to a traditional hammam (bathhouse) to be scrubbed and soothed.
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