If your Marrakech holiday is a quick escape and the priorities are a stunning setting, good food, relaxation and sun, you may prefer to stay away from the centre and just dip into the medina. Staying in rural Marrakech is a wonderful way to absorb the Moroccan culture and completely wind down. You can combine it with a few days in a riad or just use it as a single base from which to explore the city, the desert, the Atlas Mountains and even day trips to the coast. Below are a selection of our rural Marrakech holiday options around the city edge, from the super-smart Palmeraie to the lower key Ourika Valley – drop us an email or give us a call and we’ll make some recommendations.
The start and finish for most Morocco Holidays. Highlights are the souks in the old Medina, the main square in the evening, the Majorelle gardens and the historical sites. You should definitely stay in a Marrakech Riad for at least a few nights but also some beautiful villas and hotels on the edge of town in rural Marrakech. Click for suggested riadsMore
Essaouira is our favourite at all times of year. Probably the prettiest coastal town in Morocco and loads to see and do. Great camel trekking, horse-riding, surfing kite/windsurfing, cooking lessons, lovely medina (more relaxing shopping than Marrakech). Also great places to stay in town and in the village click below for suggestionsMore
High Atlas Mountains
Incredibly close to Marrakech but a world apart, the Atlas mountains are an essential visit. Go for a day trip (trekking or driving tour), or stay in one of the beautiful kasbahs perched on a hilltop to relax and soak up the viewsMore
The massive dunes of the Sahara should be on anyone's "bucket list" and it is easy to do a trip into the desert from Marrakech, Fes or the coast with a bit of planningMore
Ait Ben Haddou
One of the most famous sights in Morocco, Ait Ben Haddou is a rock fortress on the south side of the Atlas. Always a good stopping point on our desert tours and a must for the photo albumMore
The Todra and Dades Gorges maybe a little over-hyped but certainly worth a stop on the way to Mezourga - part of our Desert & Gorges TourMore
A pretty walled town within easy reach of Agadir (so a lot of day trippers from the package hotels) but also a great place for a night's stop between the desert and the coastMore
Having been re-built after and earthquake 50 years ago it doesn't have as much charm as other Moroccan cities but the beach and climate are lovelyMore
A small seaside town built up around a pretty estuary and lagoon. Home to La Sultana, the best coastal hotel in Morocco and can easily be combined with a visit to Marrakech and EssaouiraMore
Less well known as a tourist destination but with recently introduced direct flights from the UK it is an interesting city where you can see the modern Morocco alongside the rivermouth Kasbah and the medinaMore
The biggest city in Morocco and an industrial sprawl. We generally advise not stopping there and even if flying to Casablanca head North to Fes/Rabat or south to Marrakech/Essaouira. If you are passing through it is worth visiting the spectacular seafront mosque.
Fes makes for a fabulous long weekend or as part of our "Grand Tour". The highlight is the medina which most people prefer to Marrakech, partly as it is on a hill you are much more aware of the geography. Also, do a day trip to the Roman ruins at Volubilis and ask about a night or two in the village of BhalilMore
The second good dune area of Morocco is Erg Chebbi by Merzouga - easier to get to (no 4x4 needed) and whilst the dunes are stunning we prefer Erg Cheggaga for a proper desert experience.More
Not only is Morocco a country of great cultural riches, it is also geographically varied and therefore offers the independent traveller a huge variety of holiday experiences in a short space of time - you can easily see 3 totally different aspects of Morocco in a week's holiday - see the Itineraries section for some ideas.
The north of the country has a Mediterranean coastline and a strong European influence. Behind this coastline sits the Rif, a fertile region of high mountains, gorges and interesting rock formations. The west of Morocco is dominated by the Atlantic coast and there are many beautiful beaches and water sport activities on offer. Essaouira is situated in a prime location on this coastline. Inland are the impressive Atlas Mountains, home to the Berber people, and perfect for hiking, trekking and biking holidays. The south of Morocco is a vast region of deserts, mountains and oases, where nomads still travel around in a centuries old tradition. Marrakech stands at the foothills of the Atlas and is a perfect centre from which to explore the Atlas, Desert and Coastal area.
To explore the whole of Morocco could take a lifetime. We have focussed on the three main centres of Marrakech, Essaouira and Fes along with tours and trips to include the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Please email us or phone us (0207 112 0019) for a chat about how to best use your time.
Got a question about holidays in Morocco? Call Alisdair, Barbara or Anna on (UK) 0207 112 0019, or email email@example.com
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We still have some great Morocco Holidays available – check our offers page of give us a call
Fleewinter is Guardian Award Winner!
We are very proud of the holidays and service we provide our customers, and were over-the-moon to win the best Short Break Tour Operator 2014 award from the Guardian & Observer Newspaper. We also only missed best overall small tour operator by 0.8%! Many thanks for everyone who voted for us.
Return flights to Marrakech £33.82
Much as it pains me to help Ryanair with their advertising, return flights Luton to Marrakech in January for less than £34 per person are pretty gobsmacking. My tip would be book the flights today then wait for the new year to to get a late offer on riad and what a great 2015 escape…
Rod’s Medina Tips!
We especially liked the Majorelle Gardens which is only a short and cheap taxi ride away from the Medina. Very peaceful and relaxing inside with an interesting Berber museum and a small café which offers a nice lunch.
La Mamounia is a really luxurious and expensive hotel but a well worth a visit. Have a drink in the grounds and then wander around the gardens.
Of course the souks in the Medina are a must. Avoid the local guides who will come up to you and offer their services. Be polite and refuse them but if you do need a guide your riad will arrange one at a sensible price. We prefer to find our own way around and have some friendly banter with the stall owners many of whom speak English. We even found one character who spoke a little Welsh!
The Place Djemaa el Fna (The Square) is a great place after dark when the whole place comes alive with all sorts of activities and shows going on. We did not have any problems but I should imagine that it is a great place for pickpockets to operate in the crowds whilst watching the snake charmers etc. so don’t walk around wearing expensive watches or taking more than a few Dirhams for use in the evening. Our riad had a safe so all valuables could be left safely there whilst out and about.
We are very proud of our drivers!
I would just like to drop you an e mail to say what a wonderful holiday we have just had in Morocco – the Riad and Hotels were all first class and the whole tour worked like clockwork.
Your driver Mahjoub is worth his weight in gold – he was helpful in every way, and took us just where we wanted. His experience in the desert was a godsend as the camp at Chiggaga had been cut off for two days, but he managed to get us in and out with this local knowledge.
Many thanks and rest assured we will be recommending Fleewinter to our friends
Astonishing Flight Prices to Marrakech
Easyjet currently have flights to Marrakesh in December from only £50-70 per person return which is the lowest we have ever seen. Couple this with riad special offer and we reckon you could do a 3 night stay in a luxury riad including flights and transfer for less than £200 per person. You’d save that of your heating bill at home (well almost…)
Yoga in the Sahara Desert
Yoga instruction will be provided at the Luxury Camp of Erg Chigaga from 4 to 8 November.
It is NOT though a yoga retreat. It is an optional activity that guests can choose to participate in. Private lessons costs 50 euros.
It is therefore an enhancement to ones desert stay
‘Excellent well informed efficient service. Barbara listened to what we wanted and made excellent suggestions without ever pushing anything. She was very fast at checking availability and confirming bookings. I have recommended Fleewinter to everyone I know because the service was so exceptional.’
Les Alizes and the Photographic Museum
‘Restaurants we ate at Les Alizes In Essaouira and the food was exceptional – this was in the list of recommendations that you provided.
In Marrakesh we had lunch at the Photographic Museum which was also really excellent, their chicken tagine was amazing.’
‘At the riads the best evening meal was provided at Rebali Riads where the chicken tagine and couscous was also excellent.’