Located inland from the Atlantic coast at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech has historically been known as a playground for the rich and famous.
Originally built in 1070 A.D. and famed for its palaces, gardens, open markets and festivals, a French colonial influence resonates in the town’s cafes and brasseries that line the boulevards. The city is dominated by earth-red walls set within lush rose gardens, olive orchards and palm groves.
Marrakech is divided into two sections - the traditional walled city, or Medina, and the modern city, the Gueliz. The town square of Marrakech, Jemaa l-Fna, is the centre of medina. By day, it is a market and in the evening the square is alive with belly-dancers, fire-eaters, acrobats, snake charmers and fortune-tellers.
Al fresco dining is most popular – specialities include barbecued kebabs, boiled snails, and tajines (stews, usually a mixture of vegetables, poultry or lamb with the addition of fruit).
Arabic is the official language, but French and Spanish are widely spoken. English is generally understood in the tourist areas.
Summer temperatures rise to 33ºC (95ºF) with winter temperatures rarely dropping below 14ºC (57ºF).
HOW TO GET THERE
Direct scheduled flights are available from London, Paris and US major cities. Other international flights arrive in Casablanca with a 45 minute connection to Marrakech.