African city £61 and four hours from Newcastle with mazy streets and bustling markets

Summer is well under way, though this week, someone could have told the weather.

Rain, thunderstorms, and grey skies are enough to make anyone want to plan a holiday. And some destinations offer heat and sunshine outside of the traditional holiday season for UK tourists.

In October this year, Ryanair launches a new flight from Newcastle Airport to the city of Marrakesh in Morocco. For many British and European tourists, Marrakesh is the first taste of Africa - a stunning city packed with palaces, gardens and mosques, all centred around the feast for the senses that is Djemaa El Fna square.

Ryanair advertises flights to Marrakesh starting at £59.99 one way. The cheapest overall deal ChronicleLive found to Marrakesh was from Sunday, November 10 until Wednesday, November 13, with a basic return flight costing £121, according to Skyscanner.

Here are five things to do in Marrakesh, should you choose to go.

Shop and eat in the city's souks

Djemaa el Fna is a huge square and marketplace at the centre of Marrakesh's medina. The UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the city's biggest attractions and is home to BBQ stalls, snake charmers and street entertainers.

The city's souks (markets) are just a short walk from the main square including the antiques-laden Souk Semmarine, Souk Haddadine (Blacksmith's Alley), and Rahba Kedima (the spice market).

Marrakesh in Morocco
Marrakesh in Morocco -Credit:iStock Editorial/getty images

Stroll around the Jardin Majorelle

The Jardin Majorelle is one of the most breath-taking sights in Marrakesh, a botanical garden with a bright blue villa at its centre. It was created by a French artist, Jacques Majorelle, over forty years starting in 1923.

Famous French designer Yves Saint-Laurent loved the garden so much that he bought it in 1980. There is now a museum dedicated to YSL, Musée Yves Saint Laurent, next door to the gardens, showing some of the designer's most famous works.

Visit the city's palaces

Marrakesh is famed for its palaces, with the Bahia Palace one of the first places on many visitors' itineraries. The 19th century building is decorated with stuccos, paintings, and mosaics amid a set of gardens, and was intended to be the greatest palace of its time.

At the other end of the scale is the El Badi palace, ruins of the once-magnificent home of Sultan Ahmed al Mansour. Its towers, now inhabited by storks and their nests, overlook the city's medina.

The Musée des Confluences is homed in yet another palace, while the Medera Ben Yousef is a stunning 14th century religious school considered an architectural marvel and one of Marrakesh's most important monuments.

Hike in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains

Those who are staying in Marrakesh for a week, or simply want to get out of the urban sprawl, could head into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Often done with organised day trips, travellers can visit Berber villages and waterfalls in the Ourika Valley, around 60km from Marrakesh.

Head out into the desert

A popular day trip close to Marrakesh is the Agafay Desert, where tourists can do camel treks and quad biking - but do note that the Agafay Desert is not part of the Sahara. Nevertheless, it is an experience unlike any available to travellers in Europe and the UK.

It is possible to visit the Sahara Desert from Marrakesh, but Merzouga and Erg Chebbi, considered a gateway to the Sahara, is more than eight hours by car. If you have an extended break in Morocco, it is possible to camp in the desert overnight.