Morocco’s third largest city, Marrakech, rests at the feet of the Atlas Mountains, and is a relatively short drive from the Sahara Desert. These contrasting topographies provide breathtaking scenery and endless opportunities for adventures.

The city itself has two distinct faces, the historic Medina district and the more modern Gueliz. Visitors won’t likely have trouble keeping themselves busy in this bustling and colourful modern city that still has one foot firmly planted in its ancient past.

From the tradition Moroccan riads to elegantly-appointed four-star hotels, Marrakech has something comfortable to offer all of its visitors. From high-priced luxury to budget-friendly comfort, the options for accommodations are many. La Mamounia is a legendary award-winning hotel, known worldwide for its lavishness, grandeur, and for attracting world famous celebrities. The hefty price tag will get you sumptuous gardens, a luxury underground spa, a gym, swimming pool, and award-winning restaurants, not to mention jaw-dropping architecture and very comfortable rooms.

Fora real Moroccan experience, Riad Nesma is a value that can’t be beat. The traditional Moroccan riad, or house, has been transformed into a beautiful, comfortable guesthouse that features a tiled fountain, cedar-tiled ceilings, relaxing guest rooms, and a rooftop terrace on which you can enjoy breakfast each morning. Experience the real Marrakech without breaking the bank.

Bab Hotel offers a modern touch in this ancient city. Located in the more contemporary Gueliz district of Marrakech, clean lines and cool white decor provide an airy respite to the desert winds. The reasonable rates get you breakfast each morning, as well as access to the spa, swimming pool, gym, and a fully-equipped business centre.

Located in the Medina district, the Hotel Sherazade brings to mind visions of old Morocco. The riads, rooftop terraces, and colourful tents will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The hotel is close to several local attractions, and the family that operated it is very attentive and friendly.

The two districts of Marrakech offer visitors two distinct dining experiences. The modern Gueliz features trendy bars and restaurants with modern decor and diverse menu options, while the Medina lets travellers experience the more traditional, old world Moroccan fare with its side street cafes and street vendors.

Dar Marjana, located in the Medina, might be pricey, but it is worth the experience if you want amazing traditional Moroccan cuisine. The exquisite riad restaurant’s decor is only outdone by its menu items. Enjoy entertainment by belly dancers and Gnaoua musicians as you dine.

Serving up classic Moroccan fare in the modern Gueliz, Al Fassia Gueliz is a must-do while in Marrakech. Fairly priced and simply adorned, the food, which is prepared by the women who run the restaurant, is as good as it gets. Restaurant Al Bahriya brings fresh seafood to the Gueliz, simply and deliciously prepared to order. A colourful old palace provides the backdrop to Le Marrakchi, which serves authentic Moroccan cuisine in the Medina district. Modern touches to the menu make this place a standout.

Marrakech can overwhelm all of your senses. From museums to historic religious sites to scenic gardens to the crowded bazaars, you can find it all by navigating the often narrow, busy city streets. The Dar Si Said is a former nineteenth century palace turned museum. Explore the collection of pottery, jewellery, leatherwork, and other crafts.

Ali ben Youssef Medersa was once a Koranic school, dating back to the sixteenth century. It is a gorgeous work of art and architecture, immaculately preserved. The souks cannot be missed. Located in the centre of the Medina, Marrakech’s fabled marketplaces are a cacophony of sights, sounds, and smells. Hand-crafted wood items, textiles, and carpets are among the many items to browse.

The Majorelle Gardens, located in Gueliz, give you an opportunity to escape the crowds and bustle momentarily, and catch your breath. The gardens feature plant species from around the world. While there, visit the Museum of Islamic Art.

Being at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the winter months in Marrakech can get quite chilly, despite the ever-present sunshine.

The most beautiful time to visit is in the spring months, when the hillsides explode in colourful blooms, and the temperatures are pleasing and warm. Easter week is by far the most crowded time in Marrakech, so plan accordingly.