Jemaa El Fna#2 in Best Things To Do in Marrakech
It's hard to miss Jemaa El Fna. Sitting at the center of the medina, this open-air square stands as the city's main gathering spot. By day, Jemaa El Fna hosts dozens of entertainers, from snake charmers to fortune tellers to herbalists. By night, the area fills with the aromas of piping hot couscous, grilled meats and simmering vegetables from the food stalls. From the square, narrow alleyways lead intrepid shoppers through a maze of souks (markets), composed of spice vendors and carpet sellers who will stop at nothing to get you to buy something. Here's a tip: Never settle for the original price. Half the fun of shopping around Jemaa El Fna is practicing your bargaining skills. Most hawkers will negotiate with you, but walk away if you encounter a stubborn seller.
Recent visitors praised Jemaa El Fna's bustling marketplace but suggested visiting at night when there's more to see. Several also stressed the importance of saying "no" when you do not want an item or service and suggested keeping a close eye on your belongings since pickpockets are regularly spotted here.
Jemaa El Fna welcomes visitors 24 hours a day, but individual vendors operate on different hours. The square is free to visit (though extra charges apply for items purchased on-site) and can be reached by taking ALSA's History Tour Tourist Bus to the No. 15 stop. Multiple traditional bus routes (including line Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 14, 15, 16 and 66) also stop by the square. Another option is to walk from nearby attractions like Koutoubia Mosque, the Badi Palace and the Saadien Tombs. Additional information about Jemaa El Fna is available on the attraction's website.
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#1 Medina of Marrakesh
The heart of Marrakech lies in its historic city center – a UNESCO World Heritage site. For centuries, the medina acted as a political and economic hub whose influence radiated throughout the Middle East. Royals resided here, international trade took place here and cultures developed here. As you stroll through this 11th-century labyrinth of alleyways, you'll see that Marrakech's history remains intact.
Past visitors said that the medina is a must-see, especially at night. Most of its popular food and merchandise stalls are situated in Jemaa El Fna, but for a less crowded atmosphere, explore the streets outside the medina's main square. It's easy to lose your bearings here, so some former travelers also suggest visiting with a guide. Companies that offer guided walks around the medina include Marrakech Guided Tours and Marrakech Tour Guide – both recommended by recent travelers.
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