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Marrakech tours and excursions

Marrakech tours

Horse drawn tours

For an opulent experience, climb into the cart of a horse drawn carriage, usually standing in wait for well-heeled customers near the Jemaa el Fna. Hop in around sunset for striking views of the scenery around the Medina, including the Koutoubia Mosque. Fares should be negotiated in advance.

Walking tours

If you're short on time, and exploring the souks solo holds no appeal, ask your hotel or riad to recommend a reliable, knowledgeable guide or get a list of licensed guides from the tourist office. Negotiate fees in advance. For small groups, Marrakech by Locals can arrange various walking tours, such as exploring the medina.

Website: http://www.marrakechbylocals.com

Marrakech excursions

Essaouira

With its beguiling blue buildings, surfer-strewn shores and psychedelic 'happy pants' hanging in the bazar, Essaouira has clung on to an element of its hippy charm that made it popular in the 1960s and 70s. A near constant Atlantic breeze aids the town's chilled ambiance, where seafood sizzles in rustic cafes next to art studios and record stores. Suddenly Marrakech feels a lot further than 180km (112 miles) away. Supratours express buses leave Marrakech next to the train station several times a day.

Tel: +212 537 731 061.
Website: http://www.supratours.ma

Imlil, Atlas Mountains

The mighty Atlas Mountains frame the city of Marrakech and provide the perfect complementary antithesis to a holiday in the city. The tranquil Berber village of Imlil, located roughly 66km (40 miles) away, is an ideal overnight spot, where intrepid muleteers crawl past on their way into the mountains. Trekking and relaxing is the main port of call here, with a waterfall the main attraction. The best way to travel to the mountains is grand taxi: climb in and get cosy, you'll probably be sharing your seat.

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Featured Hotels

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Riad Cherihane

Notable for its vibrant rooftop garden where tortoises laze in sun, the well-priced Riad Chrihane is situated near the northern edge of the Medina, roughly a 15-minute walk from Jemaa el Fna. Though it can be tough to track down, due to its location down a quiet side alley, complimentary Moroccan tea and biscuits greet wearisome guests.

Riad L'Etoile D'Orient

Restored in 2010, this tastefully appointed riad mixes the modern with the traditional, meaning guests can upload snaps of the refined Moroccan decor using the speedy free Wi-Fi service. Just minutes from Jemaa el Fna, rooms here include flatscreen TVs and gorgeous bathrooms. There's also a rooftop terrace to enjoy.

Riad Al Massarah

This riad is the definition of Marrakech cool, with its blend of traditional lofty architecture, handsome custom-made furnishings and ultramodern bathroom fittings by Philippe Starck. Proprietors Michael and Michel are blazing the trail for responsible tourism with clever use of natural light and solar energy, contributions to local charities, and standard-setting wages for staff.

Riyad El Cadi

This elegant guesthouse is a maze of historic riads set around five courtyards and faceted with private balconies, terraces, staircases and light wells. Each of the rooms has its own décor scheme (stay in the cupola-capped Ottoman suite with Turkish tile and latticework harem balcony). It also has a pool with Jacuzzi, subterranean hammam and well-stocked wine cellar.

La Maison Arabe Marrakech

Opened in the 1940s, La Maison Arabe was a popular dining place for the rich and famous (Winston Churchill was a patron). It closed in the 1980s but reopened in 1998 as a hotel with Italian blueblood and African antiques collector Frederic Ruspoli at the helm. His collection is now the centrepiece of the hotel's luxuriously restored suites and rooms.

Les Jardins de la Koutoubia

Tucked behind the Jemaa el Fna, this lovely hotel has 100 rooms and suites, clustered around a palm-filled courtyard with a large pool, decked out in a modern Moroccan style. Other major draws include the serene spa, offering traditional hammam treatments, and the piano bar and rooftop terrace, perfect for that evening sundowner.