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Lonely Planet Pocket Marrakesh: top sights, local life, made easy (Travel Guide)

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Refuel with a sugar fix at Pâtisserie des Princes, lauded for its pastries (though the ice cream is delicious too). For a refreshing mint tea with a view of the Koutoubia Mosque minaret, head across the road to lovely old-fashioned Café El Koutoubia. How to get to Koutoubia Mosque Inside the gardens, the former servants' quarters house Café Majorelle, a lovely, leafy spot for tea or cake. Just outside the entrance of Jardin Majorelle, MyKawa serves salads, sandwiches and Moroccan breakfasts with a dash of Mediterranean style. How to get to Jardin Majorelle Koutoubia Mosque is just outside of the Marrakesh medina walls, a short walk from Djemaa El Fna square. Marrakesh's biggest concentration of budget hotels is in this area, most only a stone's throw from the square, along Rue Sidi Bouloukat and Rue de la Recette (easy walking distance from both the airport bus and taxi drop-off points). Upmarket riad accommodation is found off Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid. Where to eat near Koutoubia Mosque

If you're specifically interested in shopping for large items, culinary tours and/or getting to know more about historic sights, it may be worth investing in a city guide. They can help make sense of experiences, save you money on shopping and add value with their local knowledge. Costs are around Dh350 per adult in a private group; reputable hotels can make guide recommendations. Be smart about car rentalAlkamar Camp is open to day visitors, offering the opportunity to spend an afternoon by their pool with incredible views. Enjoy a desert sunset and dinner for Dh450 per person. Time out to recharge

In recent years, more sleeping options have opened in the Mellah, which has a more local vibe. Place des Ferblantiers is about a 10-minute walk from the Djemaa El Fna, a little further away from the heart of the medina but easier to access by taxi, which can be useful for visitors with children or walking issues. The gardens are home to more than 300 plant species from five continents, mostly collected by Jacques Majorelle over several decades of globetrotting. The gardens were first opened to the public in 1947 but were abandoned after his death until Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé made it their mission to save them from property developers. Non-Muslims can’t go inside the Koutoubia Mosque or minaret but are most likely to get a glimpse inside on a Friday when the doors are open for prayers. The best spot from which to photograph the Koutoubia's minaret – framed by old stone and date palms – is under the archway to the left of the main entrance. Where to stay near Koutoubia Mosque While there may be less typical tourists in June to August, Marrakesh welcomes another type of traveler – Moroccans residing abroad (known locally as MRE) as they return home for the summer holidays. Wedding celebrations are also popular during this time.The lanes that spool north from Djemaa El Fna sum up the push and pull between old and new in Marrakesh. This atmospheric area is home to the city's biggest concentration of souqs and qissariat (covered markets), where shafts of sunlight strike through palm-frond roofing and hawkers bid you hello in 10 languages. The road between Marrakesh and the coastal town of Essaouira is dotted with plenty of argan trees, and Assouss Cooperative d’Argane is the big-city branch of a women’s organic-certified argan cooperative that's located outside Essaouira. La Bahia (The Beautiful) is an 8000-sq-metre, floor-to-ceiling extravagance of intricate marquetry, plasterwork and zouak (painted wood), and certainly one of Marrakesh's most eye-popping sights.

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