Marrakesh is a very walkable city—well, at least as far as distance is concerned. Listen carefully for the cries of “balak!” as you walk the medina. Those come from the rickshaw and donkey-cart drivers warning “watch out”—and they're not kidding. Fortunately, they move slowly, and you (usually) have time to get out of their way, because they are certainly not navigating around you. It’s easy to get lost in the old city, known as the medina, but that is also part of its charm. And while many of the souks in the medina embody the idea of frenetic sensory overload, you can still find windows of tranquility. Take the time to look at the quirky details in every façade, and notice the windows and entry doors—no two are the same—as well as the low door frames and covered walkways that seem designed for a generation just a little bit shorter than today's. Here are five of my favorite walks around the Red City:
One of the main arteries coursing through the medina is the rue Semmarine, and you’ll likely find yourself here. This is the essence of the frenetic energy of the souks, with bazaar booths coming at you from different angles packed with every identifiable object. Go along for the ride.
Rue Dar el Bacha
This street offers many charming windows into the past, as well as plenty of chic shops—from fashion to antiques and jewelry. You can peer into several caravanserais—old-style inns with courtyards—after you pass the Dar el Bacha Palace. Rue Dar el Bacha is teeming with history and character.
This long avenue stretches from the Koutoubia mosque—a beautiful and ancient minaret—through the new city of Marrakesh, with its many modern stores and restaurants, from Zara to Starbucks. You can find many of the city’s contrasts on Boulevard Mohamed V. Along the way, check out the Cyber Park, a garden from the 18th century that has embraced the 21st century with free wifi.
Rue De La Kasbah
The Kasbah conjures up a whole panorama of dangerously romantic images. This street runs north to south, starting from the Saddian tombs, and is a great compass by which to navigate the Kasbah. The real magic of Kasbah is its tranquility, allowing you to quietly take in some of city’s historical sites.
Avenue Bab Jdid
Looking to enjoy a stroll through the greener side of Marrakesh? This walk starts from the Menara Gardens and passes the Oliveraie, an olive orchard. Enjoy some nature before winding up at the historic La Mamounia, where you can finish off your walk with a cup of Moroccan tea.