This rose-pink oasis city with its spectacular backdrop of snow capped Atlas Mountains captures the heart and imagination of everyone who visits. Pulsing with the beat of the drummers of the Djemma el Fna Square, it is a city alive with possibilities.
Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan a night-time festival atmosphere prevails (starting approx. 18 Jun 2015). At this time Muslims fast during the day and feast at night. Some restaurants may be closed during the day and alcohol restrictions may apply at hotels. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden, courtyard or pool. The riads are inwardly focused which allowed for family privacy and protection from the weather in Morocco. Many riads have now been converted to hotels and are a great place to stay for a traditional Moroccan break.
Moroccan cuisine is rightly celebrated as one of the best in the world and Marrakech has numerous fine restaurants to choose from. Start with a bowl of steaming, spicy harira soup or unexpectedly delicious bastilla, a semi-sweet pigeon pie made with layers of filo pastry. For the main course, a chicken or lamb tagine with couscous is a must, while for dessert, a choice of small, nut-filled pastries will be offered and accompanied by a glass of sweet, green mint tea or a strong, thick coffee. Although it is a Muslim country, alcohol is widely available; look out for local wines, the best of which are red.
The souks of Marrakech are over-flowing with fantastic things to buy, from carpets and lamps to slippers, pottery, jewellery and leather goods. Particularly worth looking out for are beautiful thuya wood boxes, often inlaid with mother-of-pearl, brightly-coloured tagine pots, basketwork and kilim rugs. You will be expected to haggle, so never pay the first asked price, but if you feel hassled by a seller, simply walk away. There are fixed-price tourist shops outside the souks, if you'd rather not bargain.