Discover Jemaa el Fna Morocco

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Discover Jemaa el Fna Morocco

The world’s most exciting town square, Jemaa el Fna reminds you you’re in Africa. In the heart of the old city of Marrakesh, snake-charmers, henna-painters, storytellers, date-sellers, and orange juice vendors set up their stalls in the sleepy heat of the afternoon.

As night falls, the vendors are joined by tribal drummers, ladyboy dancers, and mobile restaurateurs selling delicious grilled meats, bread, and salad as the smoke rises above their stalls ’til past midnight.

Jamaa el-Fnaa (Jemaa el Fna, Djema el-Fna, Djemaa el-Fnaa) in Morocco continues a rich tradition of sights sounds, and scents that have been on-going since the 11th century. Acrobats, dancers, musical performers, magicians, and storytellers entertain as fortune tellers, henna tattoo artists and water-sellers in fringed hats beckon to passers-by.

Jemaa el Fna is the living heart of the city and is on UNESCO’s Oral and Immaterial Heritage list. It owes its fame to its size, its bustle of activity, and its unique atmosphere. Open only to pedestrians, it is a whirligig of people to meet and sights to see, scattered with restaurant stalls offering an endless variety of food and drink. Jemaa el Fna really comes to life at night, with locals and visitors alike flocking to the terraces of the cafes that surround it. There are storytellers to listen to, fortune-tellers to consult, acrobats to marvel at, and, of course, the famous Gnaoua dancers, leaping hither and thither to the hypnotic rhythm of their “krakachs” (metal castanets).

Things to do at Jemaa el Fna

Do it by bicycle!

A nice and unusual way to visit the medina and the Jemaa El Fna square is to cycle it! Bike tours can be arranged which is an accessible route framed with humor by our guides during whom you will stop at a friendly herbalist and at a selected orange juice seller! A perfect ride for the whole family.

Participate in evening entertainment

At sunset, the Jemaa El Fna Square comes to life and offers to onlookers many activities, certainly kitsch but unique. Try mini-golf or bottle fishing, or admire the street acrobats’ shows. It’s an amazing experience!

You will also notice monkeys and snakes, but it is a trade that we prefer not to encourage.

Drink a mint tea on a rooftop

Mint tea is a real institution here in Morocco. Drink it preferably on one of the many rooftops and terraces that border the Jemaa El Fna square. It is traditionally drunk very sweet, so do not hesitate to ask without sugar if you are not a fan!

Taste the local specialties at sunset

And among the specialties that you can taste on the Jemaa El Fna square, we find the sheep’s head or the snails in their spicy broth. And if you are vegetarian, just observe the show.

Admire the Koutoubia (the Great Mosque of Marrakech)

The “Koutoubia” is the largest mosque in Marrakech. Its 77-meter high minaret is decorated with a green ceramic band. The mosque has the shape of a “T” and includes a large courtyard surrounded by a portico and a prayer room with columns. Its 17 naves, supported by numerous white pillars, house one of the largest prayer halls in the Muslim West, able to accommodate up to 20,000 worshipers.

The architecture of Koutoubia has inspired other monuments in the world, including the Giralda of Seville.

Drink an orange juice

If you are hot, stop at one of the many stalls and order a squeezed orange juice or a “panaché” (fruit mix). A refreshing delight for only 4 dirhams

Negotiate with traders

Expect to be carried by local merchants: souvenirs, carpets, trinkets, henna tattoos… Do not hesitate to negotiate prices, and above all, keep smiling in all circumstances; it’s just a game.

How to get to Jemaa el Fna

Ask your driver to drop you off in front of the “Hotel Tazi” which is convenient first for stopping in front and with a street called “Rue aux Princes “which take you directly to Place Jemaa El Fna with a walking distance of 150 meters.

Where to stay while visiting Jemaa el Fna

Riad Mena and beyond

Redefining luxury in the medina, elegant Riad Mena is one of the finest examples of its kind in Marrakech with soaring classical proportions, six vast suites, a separate pool patio, and a serene central garden that truly feels like paradise on earth.

Riad Joya hotel

Crafted with care by Italian art director and designer, Umberto Branchini, Riad Joya provides a high-octane dose of minimalist, Italian chic amid the medina’s dusty lanes. Food is a real focus here, try the cookery course which involves a visit to the market, a lesson from the chef, and culminates in your own meal.

Royal Mansour Marrakech

The magnificent Royal Mansour is the gold standard of luxury hotels in Marrakech, offering gracious service and facilities second to none. Designed by King Mohammed VI, it was conceived as a ‘medina within a medina’, with just 53 private riads set within five hectares of fragrant Moorish gardens.

Fair Mont royal palm Marrakech

The perfect antidote to the frenetic pace of Marrakesh’s Medina is this tranquil resort and country club set in a vast expanse of countryside framed by a ring of mauve-colored mountains. Swim in its lake-like pool or tee-off beneath cornflower blue skies on its 18-hole golf course and vow never to go home.


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