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The Medina

Enclosed by ancient walls, the oldest quarter of the city is a UNESCO world heritage site.

TravelCurious Tip

It can feel easy to get lost here, but don’t pay an eager local to show you round - you might get more than you bargained for! Google Maps works fine in the Medina and will save you time and money.

Marvellous Medina

Medina means simply ‘city’ or ‘town’ in Arabic - in North African cities, it refers to a distinct old quarter of the town, usually walled, holding a maze of narrow streets. Marrakech’s is ancient, extensive and particularly special, containing a millennium of history within its walls; it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.


Mosques and more

Koutoubia Mosque, the symbol of the city and an icon of its skyline, dominates the Medina with its 77 metre minaret. A stone’s throw away, the bustling square of Djemaa El Fna offers delicious food and local entertainment.

Bahia Palace, built in the 19th century, captures the essence of Islamic style; the much older (and ruined) palace of El Badi lives up to its name of ‘the Incomparable.’ The 500 year old Saadian Tombs, only uncovered in the last century, reveal funerary marble worthy of the sultanate. Ben Youssef Medersa, a stunningly ornamented place of learning, welcomes visitors with the inscription ‘You who enter my door, may your highest hopes be exceeded’ - and it’s been doing a good job for around 600 years.

The Medina is not only the heart of Marrakech, but of Morocco itself. Founded around 1070 AD by the Almoravids, Marrakech has long been the most important city in Morocco - the country is even named after it. Virtually unmatched in its concentration of beautiful and historic buildings, a marvel awaits round every corner of the Medina, and a trip to Marrakech would be incomplete without exploring its magical streets.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Marrakech
Souks
A labyrinth of spices, food and eye-catching goods, these bustling markets are the colourful essence of Morocco.
Ben Youssef Medersa
A koranic theological college, the Medersa is often labelled the most beautiful building in Marrakech - quite an accolade.
The Almoravid Koubba
Just south of the Ben Youssef Mosque, this small shrine is the oldest monument in Marrakech.
Tagine
Tagine is a traditional North African Berber dish, named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked.
Tangia
A Moroccan speciality, the meat and spices in tangia are traditionally slow-cooked for hours in a public oven.
Communal Bread Ovens
Most homes in the medina don’t have the luxury of an oven, so bread is baked communally instead.

Related Tours

Meandering through the Medina: Private Half Day Highlights Tour inc Transport
As you enter the silent heartlands of the Imlil Valley, bustling Marrakech - just 35 miles away - seems like another world.  The scenery unfolds slowly, passing through the market town of Asni to reach the big skies of the Imlil Valley: an oasis of calm with lush, green plains nourished by meltwater from the mountains peak - a spellbinding sight.  

  • Gain fascinating local insight from a guide with in-depth knowledge of Imlil Valley 
  • Walk at your pace, be it a gentle stop-and-stare or an invigorating upbeat hike. 
  • Learn about the geological make-up of the Atlas Mountains, formed millions of years ago
  • Discover the unique indigenous plants and wildlife that thrive in the Imlil Valley
  • Learn about the Berber communities and how the mountains and climate shape their culture.
  • Drink fresh, sparkling water from a waterfall and discover the purity of meltwater first hand 
  • Enjoy Berber hospitality a share a tagine with a local family in the heart of the valley
  • Enjoy a camel ride the Moroccan way - a unique experience!
  • Learn the societal and economic value of camels in Berber culture 
  • Enjoy immersion in the rural way of life in a remote, wild and raw Moroccan landscape
Few sightseeing experiences are as pleasurable as discovery on foot, with every step a connection between the visitor and the terrain. Forget long-distance glimpses of far-off monuments, or time spent on a tour bus in gridlocked traffic, walking takes you to sights that cars and buses inevitably miss. On this Imil Valley Full Day Excursion you have the freedom to venture off-beat to to explore curious trails and landmarks, stopping at whim to delve into woodlands or crumbling ruins that catch our eye. We will relish the cool mountain air and jaw-dropping bucolic views at around 5,900 ft above sea level. And every step will tread the land of ancient Berber footsteps and allows you to interact with a storied and scenic terrain with a Moroccan breeze in your hair. 

Tucked amongst walnut, cherry, and apple orchards and cascading waterfall-fed streams, Imlil Valley is backdropped by milky blue wispy skies. Small clusters of rustic sun-bleached adobe huts cling to the slopes while snow-dusted Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak, holds court high above a riddle of loose-stone precipitous mule tracks. The Imlil Valley Full Day Excursion will take you to the very heart of the Atlas Mountains where massive layers of rock, formed millions of years ago, lie in crumpled ridges and folds. 
Full Day Tour of Marrakech with private vehicle to the Majorelle Gardens
Step inside this centuries-old trading hub - the first of Morocco's four imperial cities - and the peace and tranquility of the rural landscape abruptly ceases. 

  • Visit the city’s largest mosque, the highly-decorated Koutoubia Mosque with its 77-metre minaret (253 feet) 
  • See fortune tellers, snake charmers, poets, and storytellers on historic square Jemma el Fna 
  • Discover the cultural importance of Marrakech’s UNESCO World Heritage sites  
  • See the silk-spinners, spice-sellers, rug stalls and basket weaves in the Souks of the Medina
  • Marvel at the  ‘palace of the beautiful’ - the Bahia Palace - a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture
  • Learn about the psyche of the Marrakech people and the cultural norms in a city with a population of 1-million
  • Visit the only surviving remains of the Saadian dynasty (1524-1659), the intricately decorated sepulchres of the Saadian Tombs
  • See the Ben Youssef Medersa, Marrakech’s large madrasa, an Islamic college of religious studies and instruction.
  • Learn about the construction of the ramparts using pisé, a reddish pink clay, which glows spectacularly in the setting sun
  • Relish the enchanting gardens of Jardin Majorelle created by French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) 
  • Marvel at orchards and ponds of Jardin se l’Aguedal, a sultan’s retreat that stretches south of the Royal Palace
 Marrakech is where Europe, Africa and the Middle East intermingle in an exhilarating riot of noise, smells and colour that defines the character of the great city of the Maghreb. Tightly packed, and bubbling with an irrepressible energy, Marrakech is a rarity in a fastly-homogenized world. Founded a thousand years ago, on the edge of the Sahara Desert, its palaces of pinkish hue are backdropped by the snow-dusted peaks of the High Atlas. Crowds nudge, livestock squawks, vendors holler and food stalls spit and billow as snake charmers pipe sweet music next to stalls selling henna tattoos. Marrakech’s history is living, breathing and intoxicating, with the ancient section of the city designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. 

Your full day tour of Marrakech takes an in-depth look at the city on an exploration of its major sites. Discover that although the legendary goods-ladened camels of the trans-Saharan caravans no longer roll through, Marrakech remains a seductive destination, drawing visitors from all over the world to its maze-like medina. Experience skillful bartering in the souks and marvel at the painted hues of red, orange and pink of Marrakesh’s sun-baked monochromatic walls and ramparts. Your stroll around the city takes you past the city’s photogenic doorways, leafy courtyards and mosaic-clad riads. 

Walk through time on the Heart of Marrakech Full Day tour through the bustling square Jemma el-Fna square through a puzzle of streets and alleys, where you will experience first-hand the mules and push carts of the city piled high with wares. Surrounded by fine historic sites, you will also visit the Koutoubia Mosque, the Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs and the famous Ben Youssef Medersa, steeped in ancient stories. Though it is just a 15-minute walk from Marrakech’s modern office buildings and nightclubs, the 21st century truly feels a lifetime away. After a delicious Moroccan lunch, explore the beautiful blooms and shrubs the city’s stunning Majorelle and Menara Gardens, in which you will appreciate the fresher, cooler environs. You will also experience the striking contrasts when you visit Marrakech’s new city “Gueliz,” with its stylish wide French-era boulevards and upscale Moroccan and European restaurants. 
Traditional Culinary Lunch and Hammam Experience
 Bustling Marrakech is a byword for joyous chaos: a crowded tangle souks, skinny cobbled alleyways and 3,000 jostling vendors vying for trade. 

  • Discover the evocative spice-rich aromas of cinnamon, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika, coriander, saffron, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, fenugreek and caraway
  • Enjoy the rich flavours and fresh produce in a chef-prepared local dish especially for you
  • Learn about the food rituals and cooking techniques from the chef (a local Dada)
  • Savour unlimited glasses of refreshing Moroccan tea  - not exclusively mint flavored but often aromatic herbs such as sage, wormwood, lemon verbena, wild thyme, and wild geranium
  • Indulge the senses with a sweet-smelling steam-shrouded hammam cleansing ritual
  • Imbibe invigorating Moroccan botanicals such as rose, patchouli, jasmin, geranium, bergamot and eucalyptus
Thrumming sounds, plumes of grill smoke and the beguiling melody of the snake charmer’s flute resonate through the throngs. Cries for custom echo around a zillion stalls piled high spices, live chickens, richly-woven rugs, coffee pots and silken slippers. Family, kinship, and the warmth of shared meals are highly prized in Moroccan life and are as central to culture as another ancient tradition: the soap-and-suds full-body cleansing of a steamy Moroccan hammam.  On your feast for the senses tour, enjoy  these two much-valued rituals: a beautifully Chef-prepared Moroccan lunch and a deeply relaxing spa experience in an elaborate domed bath house. 

Marrakech cuisine is diverse and peppered with a unique mix of cultures over ten storied centuries. Your chef, a veteran of private dining experiences, will create a gastronomic lunchtime splurge using Morocco’s most evocative flavours, textures, aromas and spices. Food is powerful, enhancing the intensity of the memories we build and a specially-created menu will introduce you to the fresh produce of Morocco’s breadbasket regions. Each dish and flavour will provide new insight into the culinary character of Marrakech, blending Berber staples with Arabic nuts and dried fruit, the cooking styles of the Ottoman Turks and the olives and citrus fruits of the Moors with plenty of Gallic culinary twists. The result is a blended cuisine so tantalising on the tongue it sends a zillion feel-good messages surging through the body: a sensory delight.

Next, indulgence builds on Morocco’s ‘Al Baraka’ - a special spiritual energy that is created when kith and kin gather together - and leads us to the warm, cleansing waters of the hammam. In ancient times, a resounding boom of a copper gong would fill the streets at dawn, heralding the opening of the baths. Today the gongs have long gone, yet the baths remain an integral part of the social fabric of Marrakech communities. Different hammams have different characters, some serve as a meeting place for family, friends and co-workers while others are a sanctuary of quietude a world away from the hubbub of the city. Interiors are largely unchanged by time with dazzling wall-to-ceiling tiled mosaics, ornate gilded domes and gleaming marble. 

Treatments are revitalizing, centering on the venerated steam and scrub tradition of Roman bathing practices, which were adopted along the Mediterranean coast in the seventh century A.D. during the Arab conquest. Today this centuries-old mix of spiritual and social indulgence takes place in steam rooms opulent decor, heated by hot coals to keep the marbles floors warm and the water hot. Steam, different cleansing scrubs and deep, rhythmic massage are exfoliating, detoxifying and leave the skin cleaner than a newborn baby. Aromatherapy  - using the scent of rose, sweet patchouli, heliotrope, jasmine, geranium and bergamot accented with a hint of eucalyptus - is a glorious finale and a treat for 10,000 olfactory glands, pure sensory joy.

Note: Please be sure to bring swim trunks for the hammam experience. 
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