Marrakech behind the scenes & the secrets of the Atlas Mountains
Discover the secrets of the special royal city of Marrakesh and enjoy the beautiful nature and traditions of the colorful Atlas Mountains nearby. Mariëtte van Beek speaking Arabic and been living in the Marrakesh medina for quite some time doing research on storytelling about traditional saints and holy tombs will be your personal guide, Shed will show you highlights of Marrakesh including some secrets behind the scenes on normal and traditional life in the old city of Marrakesh. And she will take you to some special places in the High Atlas mountains discover more about Berber traditions and how life is at peace in a small Berber mountain village.
Arrival in Marrakech
On arrival you have your transfer to the Marrakech medina – the old city centre – in only about 20 minutes. And then you are welcomed in our nice and small Riad hotel, close to the famous Jemaa el Fna square. This square is now an UNESCO cultural heritage point of interest. You will see artists of all sorts, from fortune tellers to traditional medicine man, from snake charmers to Berbertroubadours. On the square, your guide Mariette van Beek will start her stories … And of course you will have your first glass of so fresh Moroccan orange juice surrounded by the nice smells of all the food stalls in this openair restaurant at night. Make your pictures to never forget this moment. After dinner we have time enough to enjoy the performances of all the different artists and the crowd of Moroccan and international people that are to be amused … This open air theater is free to visit every day! But take into account social and economical understanding; these people make their living with their performances so keep your Moroccan money coins to pay your contribution to this cultural heritage.
Highlights of Marrakech
Morning in Marrakech. At sunrise you make the best pictures and it gives the otherwise so crowded streets of the medina a complete different atmosphere. After a delicious breakfast on the roof terrace of our Riad we are guided along the ‘highlights’ of Marrakech.
You walk past the largest mosque Koutoubia, the Saadian tombs, the Kasbah Mosque, the ruins of the Palais El Badi, the beautiful decorated Palais el Bahia with mosaics and woodcarvings … And in the meanwhile Mariette shows us the less see familiar places as well. You will be surprised. And it will make you curious for more, that’s for sure … One of those special places where Mariette takes you is the shrine of Sidi Bel Abbes.; one of the seven most famous sacred tombs of Marrakech. Mariette can tell you everything about it, due to the research she did in the past about the rituals and stories around these holy graves. Together with all the things she knows about ordinary daily life in Marrakech makes you to discover the magical imperial city of Marrakech from a different point of view.
In the morning we will visit the monumental building of the Medersa Ben Youssef. Then we will continue towarsd the ancient gate “Bab el Khemis”; meaning the Thursday gate. Here’s a great flea market is held every Thursday where you can encounter almost everything. Except for a lot of tourists … During our discovery trip we will traverse the complete medina with small alleys, residential parts and the commercial souks and handicraft districts. In the meanwhile at every corner of the street your guide will have a nice story on traditions and beliefs. And we will visit find a number of prestigious sacred Only the old women in the street still now where to find them …..
Transfer to the Atlas Mountains
Today we will start our visit to the majestic Atlas Mountains. The road to the mountains is already breathtaking. If we have the chance we will visit one of weekly local farmers market. And the pilgrimage village of Moulay Brahim. In the afternoon we will arrive in the tiny Berber village of Tamatert. Here we will stay for 2 nights in a lovely Berberguesthouse with an enormous view.
Nice day walk along Berber villages & valleys
In the mountains we take the time for a nice walkwalk to a high pass for even more great views over the valley of Imenane. Or we just make an easy stroll visiting the villages and meeting the Berber people for a tradiotional tea ceremony. A delicious – picnic – lunch will be included. And ofcourse we have to taste the Berber cous cous. Those who dare, can try to eat it with their hands (right!). And perhaps we will hear the traditional drum music with nice singing between the mountains, which informs us about weddings or other celebrations.
Nice walk to say goodbye to the mountains + return tranfer to Marrakech
For anyone who is in the mood today we can make for example a nice last walk to visit the village of Aremd, the last village on the way to the Morocco’s highest mountain: Jebel Toubkal. That will make us pass by the viewpoint of Kasbah du Toubkal; in earlier days the spacious residence of the local lord, now a luxury accommodation for mainly UK tourists. In the afternoon we will have our return transfer to Marrakech. Where in the evening we can re-enjoy the spectacle of Jemaa el Fna.
Jardin Majorelle and more
We have still not seen everything of Marrakech. Today we have to visit the colorful decorated botanical garden full with tropical plants ‘Les Jardins Majorelle’ one owned by Yves Sint Laurent. An oasis of beauty and silence in the middle of this crowded part of the city. In the afternoon we can explore the modern ‘face’ of the city in the Gueliz district. Here you can find luxurious international shops and ‘haute couture’. At the end of the day we can finish our ‘shopping’ at the Ensemble Artisanal, the handicraft center where you do not have to haggle for one moment.
In our own Riad we enjoy a nice farewell dinner during the evening. If you like, you can join the afternoon cooking workshop to prepare this delicious dinner together with Fatima and Saída. You first go in the souks first to discover the real secrets of the Moroccan cuisine ….
Departure from Marrakech
After a final lovely breakfastis our to leave. After a full week with colorful and a huge amount of new impressions. You will have nice memories forever.
- 2x airport transfer
- 5 nights in a charming Riad Hotel in the medina (old town) of Marrakech including breakfast
- 3 days excursion to the Atlas Mountains including all meals with a 2 nights stay in a comfortable Berber Guesthouse ‘with a view’
- 2x dinner – Day 1 and Day 7 – Marrakech
- All excursions including entrance fees according to program
- Expert guiding and ‘storytelling’ by arabic speaking travel journalist Mariette van Beek
- Lunches in Marrakech (4x; day 2, 3, 7 and 8)
- Other dinners in Marrakech (3x; day 2, 3 and 6)
- Drinks, souvenirs and gratuities
- Single room during the trip (7 nights) – additional € 105
You can find lunch in Marrakech for around € 5 and you’ll pay approximately € 10 for a dinner. Mariette will show you the best places. Of course there is plenty of choice in the more expensive restaurants as well. You also have to go there when you prefer to have alcohol with your dinner …
- Imperial Cities