Emily Luxton is a fabulous writer and blogs about all things travel. I was first drawn to her website not only because of her eye-catching photographs, but her well written posts about the places she has been. She seemed like such a fun blogger to know so I reached out to her. She came up with this wonderful article and I’m delighted to share it with you. I love how she focused her experience around good food and relaxation:
Five Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Marrakech
1. Dine in Style at the Djemma el Fna
The highlight of Marrakech is, without doubt, the Djemma el Fna. During the day, this large square in the city centre is largely empty, besides the crowds of tourists drawn towards snake charmers, henna artists, and story tellers. As the sun sets, though, the square fills up with stalls, barbecues, and some of the best sales people on the planet! Don’t try to resist the charmingly insistent banter, instead just plonk yourself down at a table and get stuck in to a big plate of barbecued meat skewers or a bubbling bowl of tagine.
2. Take a Moroccan Cookery Class
Take those fabulous flavours home with you by learning a few Moroccan recipes at a cookery class. Many local riads run these daily, often starting with a tour of the market to show you the best spices to use. Take back a jar of Ras el Hanout – a blend of the seller’s finest spices – and you’ll soon be impressing your friends with a tasty tagine recipe.
3. Escape the City at the Cascades d’Ouzoud
A set of stunning waterfalls high in the Atlas Mountains, a visit to the Cascades d’Ouzoud really shouldn’t be missed. From the top you’ll have some breathtaking views of the mountain scenery, while down in the valley you’ll be face to face with these spectacular falls and the near-constant rainbows around their base. You may also meet some very friendly Barbary monkeys – try not to have food on you as they can get a little grabby – and if there’s time you can stop off a the nearby argan oil cooperative to find out how the stuff is made, and pick up a very cheap pot of this beauty miracle!
4. Relax at Les Jardins Majorelle
There are quite a few gardens and parks in Marrakech, which is just as well as all that red stone and dust can start to overheat your senses. The best place to refresh is Les Jardins Majorelle, designed by French ex-pat Jaques Majorelle in the 1920’s and 30’s. Part botanical gardens and part artist’s landscape, the Majorelle gardens are filled with stunning plants, an impressive cactus collection, and numerous exquisite ponds which are home to some very cute tortoises. What really makes the gardens magical, though, is the brightly coloured paint splashed onto every available surface: electric blue walls, flower pots in neon yellow and orange. All that colour is a sure-fire way to refresh the mind!
5. Revive with a Moroccan Hammam
If all that sun and sight-seeing leaves you feeling a little strung out, head to a local hammam to have your skin revitalized and your muscles relaxed. You can find hammams all over the medina, as well as more upmarket spas in many of the hotels in the Nouvelle Ville. After a long session in the steam room to open your pores, you’ll be hand-washed and rinsed with buckets of water, before being scrubbed down with a ghassoul which will shed so much skin you’ll feel baby soft! Many packages also finish up with an argan oil massage, leaving your skin dreamy soft and your shoulders thoroughly de-tensed! The perfect way to round off any trip to Marrakech.
Emily Luxton is a writer and travel lover currently based in London. She runs travel blog www.emilyluxton.co.uk, which she uses to satisfy her wanderlust while she saves for a round the world trip.