Marrakesh - Moving around the city

An exciting city boasting history, culture and iconic landmarks in equal doses – there’s lots to take in when visiting Marrakesh. The most impressive thing about a trip to the Moroccan capital though is the sheer diversity of what to see and do. Within a relatively short radius you can explore the Atlas Mountains, venture out into the Sahara Desert, wander an endless stream of souks, taste incredible food, and so much more. In this guide, we’re going to take you around the different parts of the city and tell you what modes of transport you can utilise to take it all in.

The Palmeraie

Home to more than 100,000 palm trees – The Palmeraie is one of the best places to visit in Marrakesh. Especially if you’re a fan of nature. This vast expanse of land is a wonder to behold on the edge of the city’s northern section. With development over the last few decades, the area is now also home to several great hotels and an 27-hole golf course. Legend has it that the area was created by Arab warriors who left a trail of date seeds thousands of years ago, but regardless of its origin, one thing’s for sure – it’s beautiful to look at.

Moving around the area is usually done in one of two ways – by camel or by quad bike.

Best for: Soaking in the beautiful surroundings. Spanning an area of more than 139 kilometres, there’s plenty to explore.
Don’t miss: Playing a few rounds at the award-winning PalmGolf resort which features 11 lakes and immaculate greens.

Marrakesh by Camel

High on many people’s bucket lists, Marrakesh is the perfect place to ride a camel. Whether it’s at the aforementioned Palmeraie or in the Sahara Desert, there are lots of opportunities to ride these majestic creatures. Yes, they can be a bit temperamental at times, but there really aren’t many better ways to explore than a Marrakesh camel ride

Sat atop of your trusty camel, you’ll have a great way of the gorgeous sand dunes that roll across the horizon. And you’ll look the part too, as many tour packages will provide you with a traditional Cheich to wear on your head. This turban/veil garment is mostly worn by the Berber people and is designed to keep wind-borne sand from blowing into your face. 

Riding a camel on a Marrakesh desert trip is one of the most fun things you can do with a group of friends or family as tour packages often work out at a great value when you book with multiple people. And if you’re worried about safety - the camel handlers always stay close by to help you and lead you as one great big camel train.

Best for: Exploring the area on a camel. There are plenty of tours to choose from depending on how long you’ve got and how far you want to go.
Don’t miss: Taking a desert trip. Depending on your spirit of adventure, these can last from a day up to 4 days and nights.

Marrakesh by Quad Bike

One for the adrenalin junkies among you, exploring the city on a quad bike is one of the most popular Marrakesh activities. Available through a number of full-day and half-day packages, you and your party can rip through the city’s sand dunes with relative ease. Far from being an exclusively high-octane activity, many packages offer a tour of the local surroundings in addition to the actual quad biking. And if you pick the right Sahara desert tour, you can even stop off at a traditional Berber village for a spot of lunch and mint tea.

Best for: Exploring the dunes. Book a Quad Bike tour that lasts a few hours, or choose a trip that involves a camel ride, too.
Don’t miss: Lunch and mint tea at a Berber village. Some tours include helping to shop for and prepare the meal. 

Marrakesh by Foot

When you’ve had your fill of Marrakesh desert trips and want to get reacquainted with your own two feet, there’s still so much to see around the city. The best mode of transport for getting around the traditional medina – walking around the seemingly endless maze of souks is probably the most popular pastime you can indulge in. You may well get lost but that’s all part of the fun when you are searching for places to see and visit. Lose your way for one minute and you may well find yourself in a secret courtyard with gorgeous fountains and plants. 

Still wondering what to see in Marrakesh? The city’s main square of Jemaa el-Fnaa is simply a must-visit. Full of activity, there’s countless street food vendors, quaint cafes, and so much more.

Best for: Shopping and sightseeing. Take your time to explore the area, but don’t forget to Google-pin your hotel in case you get a bit lost.
Don’t miss: The cafes and eateries, all offering delicious Moroccan dishes. Choose a sit down meal to relax with friends, or a street snack for an authentic experience.

Marrakesh by Horse

Another way of seeing the city, albeit in a more serene way than a quad bike, is by a Calèche – otherwise known as a horse drawn carriage. Stopping at all the major places of interest and waiting for you while you explore, it’s the best way to see the city in style.

Best for: A guided tour of the city. The routes can vary according to interests, but tend to head anti-clockwise around the medina.
Don’t miss: The Koutoubia Mosque. The largest Mosque in Marrakesh, it’s only a few metres away from the Jemaa el-Fnaa souk, making it a great place to start or finish a tour.

Marrakesh Day Trips

Even though there is so much to see and do in the city, you’d be forgiven for wanting to explore the further reaches a little more too. And if you do, there are plenty of Marrakesh day trips to indulge in. Some Marrakesh day trips include visits to the three stunning valleys of Asni, Ourika and Oukaimeden where you can enjoy another camel ride and have lunch in a Berber home. 

Other desert tours will take you to the foot of the Toubkal Mountain, the highest peak in North Africa, or show you the fantastic Ouzoud waterfalls. And if none of these trips or modes of transport have quite tickled your fancy – you could just go all out and treat yourself to a hot air balloon ride over the Sahara.

Best for: Visiting the valleys of Asni, Ourika and Oukaimeden. High in the Atlas mountains, the scenery is stunning throughout the journey.
Don’t miss: The Ouzoud waterfalls. A series of falls that collect in the El-Abid River gorge, this is a popular bathing spot for visitors.

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