Morocco: A Night in Marrakech

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of: an enchanting palm oasis set against the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is Morocco’s second oldest Imperial City and retains the majestic splendor of its ancient past. Buildings are blushed in hues of rosy earth, and horse-drawn carriages clip-clop along broad avenues lined with palm, lime and orange trees.

By day, donkey-driven wagons carrying fruit, vegetables and more clip-clop past fragrant gardens of roses, honeysuckle and jasmine. Explore the ancient Bahia Palace from the days of the harem, enter the ancient royal Saadien Tombs and view the majestic Koutoubia Mosque before submerging yourself into the 9th century walled medina.

When the sun sets, Marrakech comes alive. The bewitching night beats in the heart of the old city’s famed square, Djemaa el-Fna, where delectable fare is grilled over coals in bustling torch-lit open-air markets. Mystical snake charmers, hustlers and mischievous monkeys unfold as part of the nightly drama as Berber acrobats, fortune tellers, musicians and engaging storytellers seduce rapt crowds.

Wind your way through the serpentine labyrinth of the spice-filled air of the bustling souk, unchanged for over 1000 years, where you’ll discover the best of traditional Moroccan craftsmanship. Cap off your evening at the spectacular dinner event of
“Fantasia” where you’ll bear witness to a stunning dramatic display of Arabian Nights, belly dancing, folkloric troupes, and stately Arabian steeds charging in dynastic battles as of yore, all under the glow of torchlight and a full moon.

The nightlife in Marrakech owes more to what’s going on in the streets than in the bars, especially in El Palmeraie el Fná. There are numerous good bars dispersed throughout the city, especially between Palmeraie, Guéliz and Hivernage.

As the night gets into full swing, the streets fill up. Why go to a restaurant when you can eat, drink and carry on in the plaza? It’s all meant for tourists, but you’ll be convinced this type of thing happens every night whether you’re there or not. And perhaps it does: musicians, acrobats, snake-charmers and healer. Better to just sit back and take it all in.

If you’d like to get to know the real “western style” Moroccan bars you can do so in places like Mammounia. If traditional culture is what you’re after, check out the Charlston or the plaza Abd el Moumen Ben Alí.

Whatever you do, you can’t help by delight in Marrakech’s spectacular folklore, exotic music, and belly dancing. Check out the tours and accommodations links for more points-of-contact on things to do, places to stay and restaurants in which to eat.