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5 Activities in Marrakesh That Are Authentically Moroccan

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Just a few hours’ flight from Montreal, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, lies the magnificent Moroccan jewel that is Marrakesh. Nicknamed the Red City because of the way its walls glow in the blazing sun, Marrakesh unfolds its charms to offer much more than a simple tourist or sunbathing destination. It’s a place where eras blend harmoniously to offer a unique and enriching immersion, where you can step out of your comfort zone, open yourself to the unknown, marvel and be transformed by the transformative power of travel. Here are some of my favorite Marrakesh activities for a truly authentic Moroccan experience!

Enjoy a local breakfast in Gueliz

Start your day in Marrakesh with breakfast in the heart of Gueliz, Marrakesh’s new town. Take a seat on the terrace of the Café des Négociants, a true local institution.

Its history dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, when Gueliz was still in the early stages of development under the French protectorate, while the city was being modernized. The café takes its name from the many traders and merchants who frequented the area at that time. It was a lively place where businessmen, diplomats and expatriates gathered to discuss business and socialize. Today, the Café des Négociants remains a popular meeting place, appreciated for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and simple yet elegant décor. Sit in the sunshine, mingle with the Marrakchis and enjoy fried eggs, msemens (Moroccan pancakes) and pastries at any time of the day or night.

Then stroll along Boulevard Mohammed VI, Rue de la Liberté or head to the charming Parc El Harti to discover other neighborhood gems.

Relax at the Beldi Country Club

Beldi Country Club is a must-see destination in Marrakesh. Ideal for tourists who want to immerse themselves in the purest incarnation of Moroccan relaxation!

Part hotel, part spa, Beldi’s gardens and eco-buildings radiate timeless charm and cultural richness, providing a serene setting for relaxation. The lunch-pool formula is amazing and is open to everyone. An incomparable moment of rest!

A well thought out and executed concept, the site offers a variety of beautiful flower lined paths, adobe structures, magnificent swimming pools, a souk with a fine selection of local artisan brands, a pottery workshop, a bar and several lounges and facilities that combine nature and design.

The word beldi means “authentic” in Moroccan. It captures the essence of this unique place where you can truly recharge your batteries and find serenity in the midst of beauty. This is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city!

Participate in a traditional woodworking workshop with a master craftsman at Association Zawya

Known for its diversity and its links to the sacred and numerals, Moroccan handicraft has deep roots in the country’s traditions. Although it has evolved, flourished, and even diversified over the centuries, through dynasties, reigns, and customs, it continues to play an important role in the local economy. It is a repository of ancestral knowledge and a source of employment for many people throughout the country.

In Marrakech, I recommend a woodworking workshop at the Zawya Association with master craftsman Anass Ghouat. He is a skilled craftsman who has worked on the restoration of the Ben Youssef medersa, a historic landmark in the medina of Marrakech. He’ll teach you all about the geometric patterns that are emblematic of Moroccan architecture and ornamentation. You’ll have a chance to have a chat with the expert, who has a wealth of technical and historical knowledge, while at the same time creating a small work of art on wood. The Zawya Association is an Italian-Moroccan project for underprivileged boys in the Zaouia district of Marrakech’s medina that is both playful, with a slice of pizza or homemade gnocchi, and social, with coaching and support. It’s a great project at the intersection of society, design, art and culture. I can’t recommend it enough. For young and old alike!

Mention the password #TamyAirTransat to enjoy a free snack (pizza, focaccia or cake) and a Moroccan tea or coffee on the terrace!

Allow between 350 and 400 DH per person (course, tools, wood and paint).

Do a good deed at AMAL

The AMAL association in Marrakech works for the social integration of women while offering authentic culinary experiences. It’s undoubtedly one of the most transformative activities in Marrakech, right down the line! Amal offers cooking classes to tourists and locals, creating a delightful mix of cultures for a good cause. You’ll deepen your connection to the local culture by experiencing typical Moroccan food and people.

It also serves as a restaurant and hosts various social events. In addition, AMAL continues to provide food to its underprivileged neighbors and to provide support to the communities that are in need. One of its most notable efforts was during the earthquake that struck Morocco in the year 2023.

Located in the Semlalia district of Gueliz.
Reservations recommended.

Stroll through the medina

Personally, I love to stroll through the labyrinth of the medina. It’s simply one of the more iconic, yet authentic activities in Marrakesh. This is the historic, centuries-old heart of the city, built in 1070-1072 by the Almoravids.

For a truly authentic experience, take your time. Exchange warm greetings with the artisans of the souk. Allow yourself the luxury of sharing moments of genuine laughter with them. From sites steeped in history—such as the Ben Youssef medersa, Dar El Bacha and the Mouassine Museum with its monumental gates—to sumptuous riads, elegant palaces and lush gardens… Marrakesh’s medina offers treasures and encounters around every corner. A feast for the eyes!

Cover image credit: Beldi Country Club

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