From the moment you arrive in Marrakesh, youâll get the distinct feeling youâve left something behind â a toothbrush or socks, maybe? But no, what youâll be missing in Marrakesh is predictability and all sense of direction. Never mind: youâre better off without them here. Start at action-packed Djemaa el-Fna and head north into Marrakeshâs maze of souqs, where Berber tribes once traded slaves, gold, ivory and leather, and where modern tourists scour people-packed alleys for carpet bargains and babouches. If you look carefully, youâll also spot a number of creative new boutiques and galleries. They signify the evolving face of the medina as a new generation of craftsmen and artists try to connect the cityâs hankering for modernity with its traditional craft heritage.
Beyond the souqs, the medina is an ideal place to explore private palaces and riad mansions, many of which now provide the cityâs most atmospheric accommodation. But itâs worth leaving the old city occasionally for dinner, drinks and art galleries in the ville nouvelle (new town), mountain bike rides in the palmeraie (palm oasis) or horse-riding and weekend retreats in the Agafay Desert and Ouirgane.