Spices, medieval relics, glitter, purple, red, mosques, temples, dust, riads, sounds, smells, donkeys and a flurry of markets – Marrakech is a sensory overload from beginning to end. Our culinary tour of Morocco would not be complete without a stop in this imperial city. Mystical Marrakech is an enchanting palm oasis set against the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas mountains.
Our Morocco tour includes a visit the Bahia Palace where we’ll see authentic and expansive harem quarters. We enter the ancient royal Saadian Tombs and explore the vibrant and historic Jewish mellah (quarter) and the majestic Koutoubia Mosque before entering the 9th century walled medina.
As we explore the medina, we stop at Ben Youssef Madrasa, a historic Koran school, and wind our way through the serpentine labyrinth of the ancient bustling souk, where we’ll see Moroccan craftsmanship at its finest. In the late afternoon, we’ll shop at local artisan co-ops and learn about traditional Moroccan crafts or stop for a cup of tea at Djemaa el-Fna square. It’s here at night that visitors will come upon mystical snake charmers, hustlers and mischievous monkeys, all part of the nightly drama that unfolds, as Berber acrobats, fortune tellers, musicians and engaging storytellers seduce rapt crowds.
Marrakech was formed initially within a wall of thorn bushes which soon were replaced with primitive clay walls. As centuries passed it became the central trading point for those traveling across this northern African outpost. A walled city like old Marrakech is called a medina in northern Africa. A visit to this city is easily navigable by map and is worth a wander through its ancient alleyways. During our time in Marrakech, we will also take a traditional cooking class using local ingredients sourced from a souk – the traditional outdoor Moroccan market.