Marrakech - The Souk & Place Jemaa-el-Fna -

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The souks, or suqs, are the typical covered markets that you can find scattered throughout the Medina. They are one of the main attractions of Marrakesh. As soon as you enter, you’ll get lost in the small alleys full of tiny shops, colorful stalls, exotic smells, sounds, and the loud voices of the merchants trying to tout their wares- all sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitors. Remember the golden rule in Marrakesh, NEGOTIATE for EVERYTHING! The market stretches from the Ben Youssef Mosque in the North to the famous Jemaa-el-Fna square in the South. It is organized into areas dedicated to specific goods and activities: leathers, wool, jewelry, produce, lanterns, apparel, dried goods, spices etc.. Take a break afterwards in one of the many terraces to sip on a mint tea and admire the sunset.

Of the souvenirs available I suggest: some small bottles of argan or rose oil, spices (curry, turmeric, etc), the famous black soap used in hammam for a quick scrub or the iconic Morrocan slippers worn by none other than Aladdin.

Jemaa-el-Fna square is the true epicenter of all the chaos that is Marrakesh. During the day, you’ll find snake charmers and stalls selling dentures (yes, you read correctly, dentures), street artists, monkey trainers, henna tattoo artists, horse drawn carts, and vendors selling dates and freshly squeezed orange juice.

By night, the market makes way for stalls serving up fresh local cuisine. It is definitely worth trying at least once! Although there are seemingly an infinite number of stalls, they are all in fact numbered which is helpful to find specific ones. The most famous that I tried was the“Aicha N°1” read here to learn more!

The square is dominated by the Koutubia mosque, the tallest in Marrakesh. A few steps from the mosques is the Cyber Jardin on Avenue Mohammed V, and L’Embsemble Artisanal, a sort of artisans quarter where prices are fixed and there is no bargaining. It seemed a little too touristy for my liking.

Marrakech - Useful Info -

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If you live in Europe, Marrakesh is the perfect destination for a long weekend or quick getaway. Although it is a very lively city, here you will still have the chance to unplug and escape hectic day to day life back home.

Marrakesh Meanara airport is quite near to the city, only around 10km. This makes transportation to and from the terminal rather quick and efficient.
Taxis should be relatively cheap, even for trips within the city. From my personal experience, they can also be wildly inconsistent.  When I took a taxi from my hotel to the airport, it cost me only 2€, meanwhile, my trip from the airport to my hotel came out to 27€.

When it comes to overnight accommodations, you must have already heard of the famous “Riads” of Marrakesh. These are traditional Moroccan style buildings with internal courtyards that usually house a swimming pool or a hammam. I absolutely recommend spending some time in one of these. As for neighborhoods, there is no doubt that the Medina is by far the best. The Medina is the historic heart of the city surrounded by the ancient fortifications. It is made up of winding alleys and lanes that make up an impressive labyrinth.

The Aya Riad is an excellent choice for those who want a little peace and quiet while at the same time not compromising on location. It is a few steps away from the chaotic markets of the old town! The Riad is composed of 8 rooms decorated in traditional Morrocan style surrounding a courtyard and a spectacular terrace. The terrace is the ideal place to have breakfast while taking in amazing views of the famous rooftops of Marrakesh or the breathtaking sunsets. Sofia, the manager of the Riad is very friendly and organized. She can be reached by email at: riadaya.marrakech@gmail.com - tell her that Giulia referred you!