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Laura Lindsay, from Lonely Planet, answers your travel questions

I’m planning a weekend city break and have heard good things about Marrakech, but I’m not sure what there is to do there beyond shopping. Do you have any must-sees you can recommend?
Emma, via email

Marrakech has a wonderful variety of sights. For culture, head to the aptly named ‘Beautiful Palace’ or Bahia Palace, a masterpiece of gilded, inlaid woodwork and carved stucco that took over 14 years to create.

If that isn’t enough opulence, check out Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle.

The world-famous fashion designer gifted this stunning garden of rare plants to the city.  Afterwards, pop next door to the Museum of Islamic Art. The Saadian Tombs are housed here – they are among the most lavish in Morocco.

After all that exploring, treat yourself to a traditional Moroccan hammam. This involves a steam bath and skin-scouring scrub.

Don’t bother with the overpriced, softie tourist options, go for try the cheaper spots preferred by Moroccans themselves, such as Hammam Bab Doukkala and Hammam Dar el-Bacha.

You’ll get a much more authentic, rough and ready experience.

Shopping is certainly one of Marrakech’s biggest draws, but forget the department stores or any of the high street chains – it’s the souks where you’ll find the best buys.

These areas are always buzzing and you can find everything from leather handbags to woven rugs and bright ceramics.


I’m planning to travel to Turkey for Christmas and New Year. Where would be good to see its festive side at this time of year? Also, where would you suggest I visit outside of Istanbul?
Murray, via email

Turkey isn’t a conventional choice for a festive break. Firstly, as a Muslim country, there won’t be many Christmas celebrations going on outside expat circles. If you’re hoping for a little winter sunshine to escape Britain’s chill, the temperatures won’t be warm enough for that either.

Those considerations aside, you have a couple of good options to make the most of the Christmas period.

You could head to Cappadocia in the centre of Turkey, where you’ll have the opportunity to ski at Mount Erciyes.

And if the weather permits, a magical sight is Cappadocia’s famous ‘Fairy Chimney’ rock formations after it’s been snowing.

Alternatively, Bodrum and Fethiye resorts along the south-west coast have pleasant harbours and excellent restaurants. Both destinations are also great places to delve into Turkey’s rich history.

Fethiye is close to the magnificent Lycian Way, which snakes between stunning coastal views and ancient ruins. Bodrum is just over three hours from Ephesus, one of Europe’s best preserved classical cities.

Do bear in mind that many tourist resorts close down in winter, so you might have to make do with a limited amount of restaurants and bars.


Lonely Planet’s Laura Lindsay will give you the benefit of her infinite wisdom if you email a question to

If your question is answered, you’ll win a Lonely Planet guide of your choice.


Photos: Getty, Thinkstock


Travel tips and advice: Weekend city break in Marrakech and Christmas in Turkey
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