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.
Consider the timing of your holiday in Marrakech very carefully, as temperatures will soar in summer...
During the hottest months of July and August, daytime temperatures can easily climb upwards of 40C. If you don't like it hot, or have the comfort of young children to consider, the best time to take your holidays to Marrakech is usually between the months of November and February, when temperatures are pleasantly warm. It's always advisable to book early during this period, especially over the school holidays, as it is a popular time to go.
Marrakech takes pride in its festivities and events...
Marrakech International Magic Festival; March: Street performers are nothing new in Marrakech, but the magicians that take over in spring add an element of surprise. There are numerous free street shows as well as paid-for gigs.
Marrakech Popular Arts Festival; July: Music, poetry, dance and theatre weave through the programme at this large event, which is said to be one of the best of its kind in North Africa. There is plenty to see in public spaces, as well as ticketed events.
Marrakech Film Festival; December: Bring the year to a close in style by attending North Africa's premier film festival in Marrakech during December.
Marrakech's unique attractions have been a magnet for travellers for decades...
Whatever time of year you go, the culture, people and treasures - both natural and man-made - will inspire you. Here are our top picks to get your holidays in Marrakech off to a great start:
Kids and teens: Younger members of the family will love the slides, rides and pools at Oasiria Water Park. There's plenty for young and old to enjoy at Morocco's first waterpark.
Romance: Take a stroll around the stunning Jardin Majorelle (the city's botanic gardens). The cool stillness of the gardens provides a welcome respite from the heat and the setting is simply sublime.
Active types: The nearby Atlas Mountains welcome adventurous travellers who are keen to zip-wire, hike, cycle or take a 4x4 tour through this glorious scenery.
Free and cheap: The historic Medina is the pumping heart of Marrakech. It costs nothing to take a seat in Place Djemaa el Fna square, which is also known as Jemaa el Fna, and watch the human circus of dancers, acrobats, snake charmers and fire swallowers.