Morocco’s premier tourist destination manages to retain its unique character, in spite of budget airlines disgorging thousands of Europeans in search of sunny long weekends. (To avoid extended immigration lines, it’s well worth the small expense to purchase fast-track entry, even if you’re arriving on a domestic flight.) Marrakech feels cleaner, safer and less stressful than even a decade ago, thanks to tourism police cracking down on unlicensed “guides” and hard-selling shopkeepers in the souks. Numerous historic riads (courtyard houses) are now plush guesthouses, and one of the most opulent hotels in the world is a short walk from the main square, the Djemaa el-Fna. There, snake charmers, musicians and dancers entertain tourists and locals alike, as they have for centuries.
The Best Shopping in Marrakech
If you visit only one shop in Marrakech, make it Mustapha Blaoui . Located on an appealing street leading from the Bab Doukkala neighborhood past the Dar el Bacha Palace into the souks, this Marrakech institution has no sign on its old wooden door (look for “144” in metal studs on the lintel above). Push the door open, and you’ll discover a sprawling, rambling warehouse with all manner of tempting goods, ranging from Berber rugs and hand-painted ceramics to brass lamps and antiques. 144 Arset Aouzal, Bab Doukkala. Tel. (212) 524-385-240.