Flying from London to Marrakech
If your annual summer holiday in the Costa del Sol isn't setting the pulses racing anymore, a couple of weeks in Marrakech could be right up your street.
Whether you're exploring the ancient ruins of El Badi Palace or watching a snake-charmer in action at the lively Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, Morocco (especially the mid west) is one of the few genuinely enchanting holiday destinations left in the known world.
Heathrow: British Airways, Royal Air Maroc
Gatwick: British Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Thomson Airways, easyJet
Up until the mid-2000s, Royal Air Maroc had a firm monopoly on flights between Western Europe and Northern Africa, but the market has slowly opened up to low-cost carriers as protectionist economics begin to disappear from the region.
This means Royal Air have started to shed their reputation for opulence: the cabin crew are still plenty attentive and the food and drink better than most, but comfort is no longer a priority. And neither, apparently, is punctuality - passengers have directed criticism at the airline for being late in recent years (although this appears to be somewhat exaggerated).
Our tip: Marrakech is a two week holiday rather than a weekend getaway, so you'll need plenty of luggage. When the alternatives are RyanAir and easyJet - especially for a near three hour flight - you're better of sticking to reliable carriers like Royal Air, BA and Thomson.
The good news is, at a little under two miles away, Marrakech Menara is right on the city's doorstep. A newly renovated airport with two large terminals (and a third on its way), Menara has been designed to help ease the flow of three or four million passengers a year - and heavy congestion is surprisingly infrequent when you consider the volume of traffic.
Although it's only a short trip, walking into the city centre into Morocco's sweltering temperatures probably isn't a great idea. With no train service, your best bet is getting one of the air conditioned buses that run every half hour (you can also try for a taxi, but they can be a little pricey).
Top things to do in Marrakech
- Visit Jardin Majorelle - beautiful botanical gardens maitained by French artists. You will surely see breath-taking paintings combined with plants and flowers.
- Palacio da Bahia - you won't even need a guide in this palace and you will see great historical architecture.
- Medina of Marrakech - it's a UNESCO protected heritage site and an amazing shopping site. You can buy literally anything there.
- Koutoubia Mosque - built more than 800 years ago, this was the first mosque in Morocco.
- Nikki Beach - great beach with swimming pools, drinks and food. There's even a sushi boat.
If you're on the lookout for some winter sun, Marrakech and its low twenty new year temperatures is an ideal destination. Flight prices around this time drop to £50 for a one-way ticket. In the summer, expect to pay double this - if not more.
Hotel prices in Marrakech are steep, but the service is exemplary: a similarly opulent room in say, London or Paris, would put a far bigger hole in your wallet. This being the case, we recommend going for a travel agent package instead of trying to plan your trip independently (there's still plenty of spontaneity to be found out in the city's bustling street markets).