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Mellah, Marrakech

The 17 best things to do in Marrakech

From museums and souks to fabulous restaurants, here are the things in Marrakech you should not miss

Paula Hardy

Within minutes of arriving in Marrakech you’ll learn a new word: ‘ Balek !’ Roughly translated as, ‘move it, donkey coming through!’ It’s a good word to know as Marrakech is a creative cauldron and is currently making an exciting dash to the future. 

Having earned the prestige of being Africa’s first Capital of Culture, the city is now on a mission to introduce you to the best Moroccan food, fashion, design, art and hospitality. The Medina has recently benefited from careful architectural restoration; new museums have opened showcasing jewellery, desert gardens and ethnographic collections; the city’s souks sell almost anything you can dream up; and, the food scene is booming. So, join the throng and try out these must-do recommendations.

RECOMMENDED: 🥘  The best restaurants in Marrakech 🇲🇦 Your ultimate guide to Morocco

This guide is by Paula Hardy , a writer based in Marrakech . At Time Out, all of our  travel guides  are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our  editorial guidelines . 

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What to do in Marrakech

Medersa Ben Youssef

1.  Medersa Ben Youssef

  • Things to do

An architectural marvel and Marrakech’s most important monument, this 14th-century religious school has recently undergone a painstaking five-year renovation during which the rich zellij tiling, ancient cedarwood ceilings and vine-covered stuccowork have been brought back to stunning life. Up in the dormitories of   Medersa Ben Youssef you’ll find absorbing videos about the restoration.  

Why go?  To get an appreciation of the extraordinary technical skill and imaginative power of Morocco’s master craftsmen, who still ply their trade in the city’s souks.  

Souk Semmarine

2.  Souk Semmarine

Souk Semmarine is the Bond St of Marrakech’s central souks, lined with carpets, cut brass lanterns, leatherwork and babouche. Dive in and get lost in the tangle of alleys which lead off into  Rahba Kedima (the  spice market) and  souk Haddadine ( blacksmiths alley).

Why go?  Did you even go to Morocco if you didn’t come back with something to remember it by? Haggle with the traders for that beautiful rug you spotted   – you won’t regret it. 

Musée Yves Saint Laurent

3.  Musée Yves Saint Laurent

The French designer loved spending time in Marrakech so much   he bought the famous   Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and   made it home. Now, the   Musée Yves Saint Laurent, located next door,   is dedicated to Yves’s couture legacy and has a permanent display of hundreds of garments spanning his 40-year career.

Why go?  The YSL collection is an amazing body of work that even non-fashionistas can appreciate. It’s housed in one of the city’s most striking   contemporary buildings, and includes a beautiful café, bookshop, archive library and auditorium.

Jardin Majorelle

4.  Jardin Majorelle

Created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, this botanical garden is home to more types of cacti than you can shake a terrarium at and has a stunning indigo blue art deco house as its centrepiece.

Why go?  Phone cameras at the ready – Jardin Majorelle with its sculptural cacti and indigo blue villa is pure Instagram gold. Majorelle’s studio also houses the Berber Museum, showcasing a rich collection of traditional Moroccan jewellery and fashion.  

Bahia Palace

5.  Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace (which roughly translates to ‘beautiful palace’) was built in the late 19th century, and now forms the epicentre of the city’s culture.  You won’t believe the decor until you see it, with high, gilded ceilings, rooms filled with paintings, mosaics and stuccos, and a huge, open garden to wander.

Why go?  To find a spot in the shade and sit for hours to take it all in. 

El Badi Palace

6.  El Badi Palace

What is it?  The epic ruins of Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour's once-magnificent palace, within which are set sunken gardens of orange trees surrounded by epic ramparts whose decrepit towers offer panoramic views over the medina.

Why go? El B adi  may be a ruin, but it offers a fascinating insight into the power and wealth of past Moroccan dynasties. Within the ruins, you’ll also find the jewel that is the Koutoubia’s  minbar  (prayer pulpit), crafted by 12th-century Cordoban artisans. 

Maison de la Photographie

7.  Maison de la Photographie

What is it?  A three-storey riad-turned-gallery housing the vintage Moroccan photography collection of Patrick Menac’h and Marrakshi Hamid Mergani. The images document the lifestyle and landscapes of Morocco between 1870 and 1950 – more than a century later, many things remain exactly the same.

Why go?   To immerse yourself in the visual history of Morocco. Maison de la Photographie 's rooftop café is also one of the highest in the medina and is a great spot for lunch .

Indulge in a restorative hammam

8.  Indulge in a restorative hammam

The  hammam  – public bathhouse – is a Moroccan institution and you’ll find one in every neighbourhood in Marrakech as well as hotels like La Mamounia , Riad Tarabel and Es Saadi . It’s where Moroccans go for their weekly, relaxing  gommage  (scrub), but also to reconnect with themselves and with friends and family.

Why go?   Because it’s an authentic Moroccan experience and is incredibly restorative. Alongside a full body scrub, most hammams offer masques and massages as well. 

Contemporary Art Crawl in Gueliz

9.  Contemporary Art Crawl in Gueliz

Ten minutes west of the walled medina, you’ll find the neighbourhood of Gueliz, the so-called 1930s ‘New Town’. Alongside its cafes and shopping malls, it harbours some exciting modern and contemporary art galleries like Galerie Siniya 28 , Galerie 127 and Comptoir des Mines . 

Why go?  Gueliz is the modern face of Marrakech and these galleries offer an insight into the vibrant, multidisciplinary art scene that Morocco fosters.  

Jemaa el-Fna

10.  Jemaa el-Fna

The vast open square at the heart of the medina is one of Marrakech’s biggest attractions and is a Unesco world heritage site. Expect snake charmers, street entertainers and over-enthusiastic henna artists at every turn.  Locals and tourists descend on the Jemaa every night, drawn by the ceaseless hoopla and  halqa  (street theatre). 

Why go?  Grab some food from one of the barbecue stalls, listen to some music, head up to a rooftop bar and marvel at the sunset.

Musée des Confluences

11.  Musée des Confluences

The former governor’s palace and home to the notorious Thami El Glaoui, Lord of the Atlas. Now the Musée des Confluences , it houses the archaeological collection of American Patty Birch and puts on shows exploring the intersection of eastern and western cultures.

Why go?  This is one of the most beautiful palaces in the medina, vast in ambition and covered in intricate detail: coffered cedar ceilings, geometric tiling, stucco worked into elaborate floral motifs. Don’t miss Marrakech’s best cafe , Bacha Coffee House , which serves more than 40 brews in a jewel-like space .

Marrakech Insiders

12.  Marrakech Insiders

Hop aboard a vintage sidecar motorbike for Marrakech Insiders ' tailormade tour of the Red City. The essential tour nips down alleys and through grand royal gates to give you a behind-the-scenes peak of local neighbourhoods, while other tours take you out to Art Deco Gueliz and beyond to the Palmeraie and desert. 

Why go? Because it’s fun and revealing and will give you a fabulous insight into Marrakech that will be hard to access on your own. It’s also a tremendously adventurous way for families to tour the city.  

13.  Musée de Mouassine

A jewel of 16th-century Saadian architecture, this  douiria  (guest apartment) was built by a  chorfa  (noble) family and retains all its exquisite original decoration that acts as a backdrop to thoughtful exhibitions and musical events.

Why go?  Every Monday and Friday from October to May, Musée de Mouassine hosts concerts of classical Moroccan music. Set in such beautiful surroundings, the events are super-atmospheric and accompanied by tea and pastries.

Sahbi Sahbi

14.  Sahbi Sahbi

Sahbi Sahbi is an atmospheric modern Moroccan restaurant in the New Town, Gueliz, designed by renown architectural practice Studio KO. Presided over by an all-female team, Sahbi Sahbi serves up some of the best traditional Moroccan dishes in a stylish interior with an open, central kitchen where you can see the magic happen. 

Why go?  To sample traditional Moroccan cooking at its finest, including unctuous beef tangia with white beans and cinnamon-dusted pigeon pastilla. Reserve a seat at the counter to see the chefs in action.  

The Mellah

15.  The Mellah

The Mellah is the ancient Jewish quarter of Marrakech, which has undergone an extensive renovation programme reinstating Jewish street names and repairing unique architectural. Make sure to visit the Al Azama synagogue, founded in the 16 th -century, and the extraordinary Miaara cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in Morocco.

Why go?  Tours give an insight into a fascinating part of Marrakech’s (and Morocco’s) history. The Mellah is also an area of the city is less well explored by tourists and still has a very authentic neighbourhood atmosphere.

Souk Cuisine

16.  Souk Cuisine

Souk Cuisine  puts on cookery classes with a twist. Starting with a tour of the souks, you shop for ingredients before heading to a riad where you’re taught how to cook by a group of local women.

Why go?  Food is a huge part of Moroccan culture, and the course is a fab way to learn more about the country and its traditions. You’ll also make some of the tastiest tagines in town.

Café Clock

17.  Café Clock

Café Clock is a hybrid restaurant-café-cultural centre where you can consider the merits of date milkshakes and camel burgers and sign up for storytelling workshops, calligraphy classes, oud lessons and Gnaoua jam sessions.

Why go?  To dive deep into Moroccan culture and give some things a go yourself. Also, 10 dirhams from every camel burger Café Clock sells goes to charity.

More great things to do in Marrakech

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Never Ending Footsteps

28 Incredible Things to Do in Marrakech, Morocco

Backed by the Sahara Desert and the towering Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is a city paused in time. A feast for the senses, prepare for an atmosphere unlike any other. Within the red city walls is Marrakech’s famous medina. Here you’ll find a rush of sounds, floating aromas and vibrant colors where snake charmers hover and traditional riads provide a quiet escape.

As you explore, you’ll discover the city which flourished under two imperial dynasties, creating enchanting architecture that has stood the test of time. Explore ancient tombs, royal palaces and manicured gardens. 

As a gateway to the Sahara Desert and the imposing Atlas Mountains, Marrakech provides both a pulsating culture and imitable nature. Continue on to discover the best things to do in Marrakech. 

marrakech crazy tourist

Get Lost in the Medina

In Marrakech’s Old Town, the medina is a journey into the past. The narrow walkways, centuries old, are a sensory experience and a kaleidoscope of colors, aromas and action. The maze-like layout can make it almost impossible to not get lost. For many travelers this the exact intention, with the hope they can stumble upon a hole-in-the-wall cafe for local coffee or a unique shop they would find nowhere else.

As you roam, you’ll pass many of the best attractions on this list, including the UNESCO Djemaa El Fna and the Koutoubia Mosque. But sometimes it’s the little things that blow you away the most. Aspects far removed from your regular life and experiences, which make travel mean so much.

The action in the medina moves quick. Dodge carts transporting anything from fresh produce to decor and see an entrancing mix of African, Middle Eastern and European culture. All woven into one delightful fabric. 

marrakech crazy tourist

Shop at Djemaa El Fna

As you explore Marrakech’s famous medinas, you’ll probably come across the sprawling Jemaa El Fna. The open-air market and square is a popular meeting point for locals and one of the top free things to do in Marrakech. Throughout the day, the market is a hub of activity, noise, aromas and visual stimulation. 

Wander, again, with the aim of getting lost to find snake charmers around the corner, flanked by fortune tellers and street eats. All combine to create an enthralling experience that can both be overwhelming and equally intoxicating. For travelers, the vendors here can be aggressive. So don’t be afraid to bargain as you peruse anything from spices to carpets. 

Djemaa El Fna rises to another level after dark. Under the Moroccan moonlight, mix your market experience with some nightlife as live music floats through the narrow passageways.

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Bargain hunt in the Souks

After getting a taste of the Old City and exploring the main square at Djemaa El Fna, it’s time to dive head first into the souks. Offering the best insight into local and historic culture, the souks are a series of covered markets spread throughout the narrow streets.

The main section to pursue your next bargain is within the flurry of lanes in Place Ben Youssef and Place Rahba Kedima. The most famous of these lanes is Souk Semmarine. Where other souks may specialize in a single product, Semmarine is a conglomerate of enticing options. Surrounded by mesmerizing textiles and the smell of spices pouring out of local establishments, shop for leather goods, silverware, rugs and your next cherished memento. Just like at Djemaa El Fna, don’t be afraid to haggle.

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Explore the Medersa Ben Youssef

Ruling Morocco for over a century, the Sadi Dynasty brought exceptional architecture and history to Marrakech. One of the best preserved examples of this is Medersa Ben Youssef. Brilliantly decorated, the theological college, next to the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque, used to be the chief hub in Morocco of Koranic study.

Once home to almost a thousand students, the medersa comprises a series of rooms situated among several ornate courtyards. Each courtyard combines both amazing stonework and vibrant tiling. However, the chief attraction is the central courtyard, the biggest and most diverse. Featuring traditional tiling and exceptional wood-crafted detailing featuring Arabic script. Arrive in the early morning to see the sun soak the courtyard for the first time each day. The color contrasts elevate the 16 th century building to being one of the spectacular in Marrakech.

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Visit the Koutoubia Mosque

Another must-see on your adventures around the iconic medina is the Koutoubia Mosque. In the southwest corner of the “old town”, just across from Djemaa El Fna, the rose-colored walls are an instantly recognizable sight. As you walk closer, you will begin to admire the sheer size of the 253ft (77) tower that completes this amazing 12 th century structure.

As you explore the outside of the Moorish mosque in earnest, its beauty only grows as you come to appreciate the enormous archways and complex tile work rarely found in the modern world. Such is the Koutoubia Mosque’s presence that it has been the inspiration for several other such religious buildings in Rabat, Morocco and Seville, Spain.

For visitors hoping to see inside the Mosque, only those of Muslim faith can enter.

sahara desert sand dunes

Go on a Desert Safari

The medina is intoxicating, a center of culture and traveling excitement, so we’d forgive you if you wanted to spend your entire time here. However, beyond the Old City walls is a natural world just as captivating. Morocco’s desert scenery is within reach from Marrakech with a variety of half-day, full-day and overnight adventures on offer.

Whether it’s your dream to explore on camelback, hike on two feet or journey beyond the city in an all-terrain vehicle, Marrakech has you covered. Some of the top destinations beyond the city include the Ourika Valley and Ouzoud Falls. For these adventures, it’s always best to travel small, with knowledgeable guides showing off the amazing landscapes and leading you to the best local (and off-the-beaten-path) restaurants.

On this guided desert safari , venturing out on camelback into the Sahara Desert with a night in a Bedouin camp.

marrakech crazy tourist

See Bahia Palace

Under the clear, blue Moroccan sky the colors of Bahia Palace shine. Built in the late 1800s to be the home of Grand Vizier Bou Ahmed, the palace is an extravagant example of life among the elite in Marrakech. The ornate tiles flanked by woodwork covered in bright blues, oranges, greens and yellows provide the best in local artistry. 

Despite being ransacked just after the turn of the 20 th century, members of the Moroccan royal family continue to stay within the palace. Lucky for us mere mortals, much of Bahia Palace is open to the public, including the spacious marble courtyard. Here you’ll find some of the palace’s best designs. Wander by fountains, orange trees and stain glass windows before finishing in the main courtyard. Travelers should arrive early to avoid the rush of crowds around midday.

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Witness the Saadian Tombs

In the 18 th century, when Sultan Moulay Ismail plundered much of Marrakech, he missed the tombs. The Saadian Tombs were hidden in plain sight for centuries until they were rediscovered in 1917. With over 160 tombs, home to some of the most important figures in the Saadian Dynasty, the Saadian Tombs is one of the best-preserved sites from the era.

The tombs first came to use in the 1300s, but it wasn’t for another 300 years that much of the intricate features were added. These include the complex decor from Italian marble headstones, to beautiful mosaics and cedar ceilings. 

The tombs have an aura about them and walking through the space is peaceful, even among the rush of tourists.  

marrakech crazy tourist

See Marrakech From a Hot-Air Balloon

Even after exploring the desert from the ground, nothing can quite prepare you for the array of colors you’ll experience from above. Devoid of all humidity, the crisp air provides the perfect canvass for an entrancing desert painting. Head up into the sky on your very own hot-air balloon to capture panoramic views of Marrakech, the Sahara Desert and the looming Atlas Mountains.

The early morning start allows you to rise with the sun as the shadows change rapidly below. The oranges and reds become brighter and the spots of green shrubbery stand in stark contrast. Over your hour in the sky, enjoy the tranquility with plenty of time to capture memorable photos before touching back down.

Beginning with a hotel pickup and ending with tea and fresh bread with a local Berber family, this is the hot-air balloon experience you’ve been waiting for.

marrakech crazy tourist

Trek through the Atlas Mountains

One of the best trips you can take out of Marrakech is to the Atlas Mountains. The mountains are not a continuous range, but a series of them separated by wide plateaus. Starting along the Mediterranean and meandering to the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlas Mountains cross through a variety of ecosystems and geography. All of this will be on full display as you make the journey into the amazing landscapes.

The length of your experience in the Atlas Mountains can range from a day to weeks, depending on your goals and budget. But no time in the mountains would be complete without exploring some of the traditional Berber villages, the gorgeous valleys and at least one summit view.

On this single day trip to the Atlas Mountains, follow your local guide for impeccable views in the high alpine combined with cultural experiences in the village of Imlil.

marrakech crazy tourist

Roam the Menara Gardens

For beauty a little closer to home, visit the Menara Gardens. Under the rule of the Almohad Caliphate, these gardens first appeared in the 12 th century. The gardens were later named after the beautiful pavilion building that stands tall above the landscape.

In front of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, roam the gardens at any time of day. Enjoy some respite from the Moroccan sun while being surrounded by picturesque and manicured gardens. Followi the many laneways that splice the Menara Gardens and spot rows of olive trees before reaching the central lake with views of the pavillion.

The gardens are a popular hangout spot for locals and the large promenade that connects to the park is always flush with vendors selling anything from sweet treats to souvenirs.

Tiskiwin Museum

Created by Bert Flint, a Dutch anthropologist, the Tiskiwin Museum puts on display an encompassing collection of Berber artifacts. The prominent collection has since become a part of the city’s Cadi Ayyad University as a way to preserve the country’s history that dates well beyond Arab occupation.

The museum takes you on a journey along historic routes that connected Marrakech to Timbuktu. As you venture on this journey, you’ll experience further insight into tradition life from festivals to trade and commerce.

Some of the impressive artifacts include period furniture, robes, jewelry and baskets plus delicate stone and wood carvings. Alongside each exhibit is a thorough description to help complete the picture.

marrakech crazy tourist

Explore Mellah

Marrakech’s Jewish Quarter features even narrower streets that the famous medina. This was a forced necessity rather than a choice thanks to the rule of the French Protectorate, which began in 1912. Under their rule, the Jewish community couldn’t live outside the quarter, so they grew from within, using every inch of the district at their disposal.

Mellah was once an atmospheric neighborhood that rivaled the medina through the ages. The district was a hub of trade, banks and jewellers until the strain and persecution of the Protectorate became too much and the community size dwindled. Today, the original street names have been restored and visitors can experience a glimpse of what life was like before 1912. With the reemergence of markets and cafes, Mellah is also a popular alternative for those who wish to escape the hectic action found at the famous souks.

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Slat Al Azama Synagogue

One of the top sites in Mellah is the beautiful Slat Al Azama Synagogue. Built after the Jewish community was expelled from Spain in the 15 th century, the synagogue features stunning hand-glazed traditional tiles. The varied colors of blue are in direct contrast to the array of warm orange, red and brown colors all around Marrakech.

The beautiful courtyard, once a religious school for 400 students, is a wonderful place to sit and take in the intricate designs. The Slat Al Azama Synagogue also has a small exhibition space complete with historic documents and photographs that explore the history of the synagogue from the 16 th century to the modern day. Where it remains one of just two local places of worship for the Jewish community.

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See the Ouzoud Waterfalls

Your adventures out into the desert and to the Atlas Mountains may also lead you to the stunning Ouzoud Waterfalls. But if they don’t, then you must add this amazing natural landmark to your Marrakech itinerary. Nirvana personified, the Ouzoud Waterfalls are a series of cascading falls encapsulated by lush green forests and desert rock.

We’d forgive you for thinking you’ve arrived in Heaven. The array of colors is enough to send you to another world. When the roaring El Abid River reaches its first drop, the water tumbles dramatically into the abyss before forming a natural pool. From there, it floats subtly along until powerfully surging off the next cliff. Both falls combine to drop 360ft (110m) in elevation. Footpaths and bridges will guide you between both falls, allowing you to stand beneath the first behemoth with excellent views of the second waterfall. 

On this guided tour experience, experience the Ouzoud Waterfalls up close on a hike and boat ride.

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Visit the Museum of Marrakech

As a palace built for the defense minister Mahdi Menhbi in the 19 th century, the Museum of Marrakech is more renowned for its architecture that the museum itself. If you can’t get enough of Moroccan designs and decor, then you should pay a visit to the old Dar Menehbi Palace.

A prominent example of Andalusian architecture, the palace fell into disrepair during the 20 th century until it was restored and turned into the museum we see today. As for the museum’s exhibits, you can discover various collections of historic weapons, modern art and even some pottery from the palace’s first iteration.

However, the main attraction continues to be the striking courtyard. Large even by Marrakech’s standards, the gorgeous courtyard features a multi-level chandelier that hovers ominously over the space.

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Badi Palace

Once home to royals and the city’s elite, the Badi Palace is now a skeleton of its former self. But when among the ruins, it’s easy to picture the just how splendid the palace would have been in its heyday, during the 16 th century. 

Roam through the four sunken gardens, passing reflecting pools that have long been empty. Where much of Marrakech’s historic buildings offer clear insight, Badi Palace is a sobering yet beautiful reminder that not everything lasts forever. As you continue to meander through the old grounds, enter the palace itself to see dozens of old chandeliers, frozen in time, along with Venetian sconces, and the hundreds of thousands of tiles.

From the walls of Badi Palace, visitors will be afforded excellent views of the sprawling medina along with the neighborhood of Mellah.

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Check out the Museum of Photography

Documenting local life, culture and the landscapes of Morocco from 1870 to 1950, the Museum of Photography offers an immense visual take of a fascinating period in the nation’s history. 

Within the Old City, alongside Medersa Bed Youssef, discover over 10,000 original pictures from a number of prominent photographers. Among the exhibits are postcards and documentaries complemented by glass negatives. You’ll also find an extensive library with works from the same period.

Away from the noise and bustle of the hawkers below, the Museum of Photography gives you the chance to step back and admire without a mad rush. Once you’ve seen it all, wander to the rooftop terrace for some local coffee at the highest cafe in the medina.

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Try a Cooking Class

Whether you’re wandering through the medina and souks or have ventured to the surrounding districts, you would have gotten a taste of local cuisine. Famous for its couscous, bastilla and tagine, Morrocco is home to one of the best cuisines in the world. If one of the top ways to get to know a city is through its food, then the best way to bring Marrakech home with you is by learning how to make their traditional eats. The easiest way to do this is by signing up for a cooking class where you’ll learn not just how to make the classics, but also deserts and mint tea.

With many options for couples, families and groups, there’s bound to be a class that works best for you. Under the guidance of your head chef, this cooking class will guide you through making a traditional four course meal.

Take the Kids to Oasiria Marrakech

For all its beauty and culture, Marrakech is still a hectic place and at some point you’ll be searching for a timeout. One of the best ways to escape the hustle and bustle of the medina and have some fun is at Oasiria. Across 25 acres of beautiful gardens, are eight pools to swim in and over 15 slides for those seeking some thrill.

How you approach your time here is completely up to you. With sprawling green lawns under swaying palm trees and rows of olive orchards, Oasiria is an oasis as the name suggests. Kick back and let the kids run off.

But if you want to join in on the fun, you can ride down the Kamikaze and the Cobra before jumping in the wave pool. Finish with a journey down the park’s lazy river for a lovely change of pace.

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Experience the Tanneries

Although smaller than the renowned tanneries in Fes, the local tanneries of Marrakech are just a worthwhile visiting. For every leather item that you’ve discovered in the souks, the vast majority, from bags to shoes, were once right here.

With the leather spread out under the sun, each piece of hide follows the same traditional process. Beginning with drying, the hide is then cured before the tanning and later, the dyeing, begins. Turning hide into leather makes it more durable and also allows the tanners to change the color, creating a myriad of possibilities.

In the morning hours you can watch the slow process take place with excellent views of both the tanneries, the leather workshops and the surrounding city. 

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Enjoy a Communal Bath at a Hammam

When the legs inevitably grow tired after exploring narrow streets and the Atlas Mountains, then use the traditional cure for your woes. Hammams are a traditional communal bath, so don’t expect your usual spa treatment. Often under an ornate dome, the bath halls are a place to relax, cleanse and exfoliate with steam rising from the water.

As it is a communal experience, you’ll have to be comfortable around strangers who would have been doing this for years. There are several renowned hammams, from the Royal Mansour to Heritage Spa and Les Bains De Marrakech. Within the medina, however, are several smaller local hammams where few travelers think to go. Come here for a traditional experience.

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Walk through Majorelle Gardens

With your body refreshed and ready to go, it’s time to explore the tropical and desert landscapes of the Majorelle Gardens. With towering palms among the rows of cacti, the gardens are a visual masterpiece.

It should come as no surprise then that it was all created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. After arriving in Marrakech to deal with lingering health problems, Majorelle become a prominent local painter. His most renowned work, however, is the gardens and his former home.

Colored a thick blue (now known as Majorelle blue), his home stands out among the lush greens. It’s here that the artist went to work in his studio, which has since been transformed into a museum of Berber art. 

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Medina Riad Hotels

As you plan your Marrakech adventure, you may find yourself stuck on accommodation. If that’s the case, then look no further than the traditional riad hotels speckled around the medina. The riad, a local guesthouse, will provide you will a firsthand experience of Morrocan architecture.

Many riads feature a small, central swimming pool and the perfect place for a bath after yet another exciting day. Eat in the vibrant courtyard surrounded by dreamy tiles before falling asleep in your man-made oasis.

Not only does the aesthetic promise to be on point, but it will provide a welcome point of difference to the often-stale hotel experience.

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Visit the Yves Saint Laurent Museum

When Jacques Majorelle passed in 1962, Yves Saint Laurent bought the property. Yves’ ashes were later scattered around the gardens in 2008. Alongside the park, you’ll find the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, dedicated to the life and times of the famous designer and one of the top attractions in Marrakech.

Yves Saint Laurent always had a soft spot for Morocco, especially Marrakech. Nine years after his passing, the museum opened and provides one of the biggest collection of his work in the world. Showcasing his four-decade career, explore iconic designs that everyone can appreciate. 

The striking brown building contrasts with the deep blue studio at Majorelle Gardens but comes with an on-site cafe, auditorium and bookshop.

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Try the Local Coffee

In Marrakech, it pays to wake up early. Not just to experience some of the best sights without the late-rising crowd, but also to see the medina before even the locals have gotten out of bed. Before the street stalls and markets welcome a flurry of activity and the action reaches its zenith, find a local cafe and enjoy the scenery.

As you try some Moroccan spiced coffee, you’ll realize how much more you can see without the endless heads and shoulders blocking your view. Over time, you can witness the day slow begin to develop.

If you’re searching for the best spot to grab a coffee in Marrakech, then head to Bacha Coffee House. Alongside the ornate Musee des Confluences, the coffee shop serves over 40 different brews.

berber village in the sahara desert morocco

Day trip to Ait Ben Haddou

Within the mid-range of the Atlas Mountains is Ait Benhaddou, where the plethora of sandstone buildings mix in perfectly with the desert landscape. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the town is exceptionally well-preserved, offering you a picture perfect insight into an ancient culture.

After arriving, you may feel a sense of déjà vu. If you’ve seen either of the Gladiator and the Mummy films or Game of Thrones, then you’ve seen Ait Ben Haddou before. More than just a movie backdrop, the town was an important stop along the caravan route between Marrakech and the Sahara for centuries.

Within the walled community, four families remain. Untouched through the eras, the settlement is still without electricity and the majority of locals have moved across the stream to a new village. This leaves you with an incredible kasbah to explore. 

marrakech crazy tourist

Explore Dar Si Said

The oldest museum in Marrakech, Dar Si Said, or the Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts, provides an amazing range of Berber artifacts within a typically gorgeous palace. Exploring the evolution of art and design in Morocco, discover fine silver jewelry, ancient pottery and decorated leather.

Each artifact can be traced to a variety of different regions and eras, from the medina itself to the town of Taroudant and the High Atlas Mountains. As you wander between each exhibit, you can admire the traditional designs and zellige tile work that stacks up against other popular palaces around Marrakech. 

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Lauren Juliff

Lauren Juliff is a published author and travel expert who founded Never Ending Footsteps in 2011. She has spent over 12 years travelling the world, sharing in-depth advice from more than 100 countries across six continents. Lauren's travel advice has been featured in publications like the BBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Cosmopolitan, and her work is read by 200,000 readers each month. Her travel memoir can be found in bookstores across the planet.

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15 best things to do Marrakesh

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Crazy and chaotic Marrakesh is the full to the brim of things to do and is the perfect destination for a long weekend. The eclectic mix of a distinctly Middle Eastern culture, a close proximity to Europe and a touch of Africa in everything it does makes the vibrant Marrakesh an amazing city break option with an abundance of must see sights and things to do. We adored wandering through the Marrakesh Medina, sampling its top sights and embracing the lively energy of the city before taking some amazing day trips to the incredible Atlas Mountains and the beautiful seaside town of Essaouira! Here’s our tips for sightseeing and our guide to the best things to do in Marrakesh, perfect for a long weekend or more in Marrakesh. Enjoy!

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-4

Exploring Marrakech

Marrakech is a city best explored on foot and the best way to do this is to stay in the Medina (the historic centre of Marrakech) in a traditional Morroccan hotel known as a riad. This will allow you access to all of the medina at any time of the day, especially in the quieter evening and morning times. The best riads we reccommend in Marrakech are:

  • Riad Joya:  Where we stayed while in Marrakech. Riad Joya is a truely beautiful, luxury riad with all rooms facing onto the interal courtyard. We enjoyed breakfast on the roof in the mornings and Jemaa EL Fna is a 5 mintue walk from the hotel door and the staff couldn’t have done more for us. Our rate also included a free transfer to/from the airport which was really useful as finding your riad in Marrakech really hard when you arrive – Check prices now
  • Riad Enchanté: another intimate riad located close to Riad Joya and also a short 5 minute walk to Jemaa El Fna – Check prices now
  • Riad Les Nuits de Marrakech: Literally one minute walk from Jemaa El-Fnaa this beautiful traditional Moroccan Riad is perfect for couples and although it’s in the centre of the medina it’s very peaceful. This riad also has a beautiful terrace and swimming pool – Check prices now

Click here for the best Marrakech Hotel Prices

1  |  Jemaa el-Fnaa

The iconic and chaotic Jemaa el-Fnaa is the hub of the Marrakesh Medina. By day the busy market place is filled with spice traders, orange juice stalls, snake charmers, medicine men and performing monkeys. By night the square undergoes a complete transformation with the night food stalls selling, among other things, the Moroccan stable tagine and groups of locals host sing songs and tell stories while crowds gather around.

Marrakesh sightseeing tip: Jemaa el-Fnaa is a total assault on the senses and can be a shock to the system. Embrace it! We drank the orange juice, joined the locals eating tagine at the food stalls and broke our hearts for the monkeys and snakes who were part of the show. Jemaa el-Fnaa is an integral part of Marrakesh and is not to be missed!

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-33

2   |  Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)

A visit to Marrakesh must include a trip to the stunning Majorelle Gardens. French painter Jacques Majorelle dedicated over 40 years to designing and building this wonderful garden and when the designer Yves Saint Lauren heard that the gardens were going to be removed to make way for a new hospital he purchased the gardens and lived in them. His ashes were scattered in Majorelle when he died.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-17

3  |  The 7 Saints (Place de 7 Saints)

The seven saints of Marrakesh are 7 Awlya men who Allah designated with a special rank among Muslims. Moroccans visit the tombs of the seven saints throughout the city to pray to Allah and this unique memorial is dedicated to the 7 men.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-19

4 |  Bahia Palace

Get lost in this amazing palace which literally translates to ‘Beautiful Palace’. Originally a collection of houses, the Bahia Palace and gardens are the result of 6 years of work by slave turned high ranking government offical Bou Ahmed at the turn of the 20 th century and captures the unique Islam and Morocco style. The highlight is the opulent harem which once housed Bou Ahmed’s four wives and 24 mistresses.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-10

5  |  Marrakech Medina Gates

19 gates mark the entry points to the city of Marrakesh and the 12th Century royal entrance of Bab Agnaou is our favourite. The gate was the entry point to the royal Medina and is the site of the El Mansouria mosque, El Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-30

6 |  Koutoubia Mosque

Located just off Jemaa el-Fnaa, the tower of the Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh and is visible throughout the entire Medina.

Marrakesh sightseeing tip: only practicing Muslims may enter the Koutoubia Mosque.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-29

7  |  El Badi Palace

The El Badi Palace took 25 years to build and was a lavish building of 360 rooms constructed and decorated using the finest materials of the 16th Century. The Palace is in ruins today but enough remains to imagine the former glorious history of the site.

Marrakesh sightseeing tip:  keep an eye out for the storks on the palace walls!

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-53

8  |  Saadian Tombs

Sealed up for centuries, a passageway to the Saadian Tombs was discovered in 1917 and revealed a burial ground with opulent Mosaics, marble and gold. The tombs date back to the 16th Century and over 200 members of the Saadian Dynasty are buried at the site.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-7

9 |  Medersa Ben Youssef

At the Islamic college of Ben Youssef visitors of all religious beliefs can experience the stunning art and architecture of the college. The Islamic school was once the largest in North Africa and housed 900 students. The dormitories and the prayer hall are interesting to explore but the highlight is the majestic courtyard with its ablution pool.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-23

10 | Medina Souks

As compelling as they are unnerving the souks of Marrakesh’s old city must feature on every Marrakesh itinerary. The maze of shops sell everything from souvenirs to leather to electronic goods and the atmosphere is electric as the stalls come alive. The Dirham is king so make sure to have your haggling hat firmly in place to secure a bargain!

Marrakesh sightseeing tip:  the stallholders can be quite aggressive but a firm ‘ No thanks ‘ will do the trick.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-25

11 | Musee de Marrakech 

in the heart of the Marrakesh Medina the Musee De Marrakesh is housed in the Dar Menebhi Palace and has an impressive collection of jewellery, costumes, weapons, pottery and ceramics. The building itself is stunning and the huge chandelier in the courtyard is an impressive addition.

Marrakesh sightseeing tip:  the captions are in French so, if you don’t speak the language, a visit to Musee Marrakesh is a visual experience rather than a learning one.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-55

12 | La Maison de la Photographie

La Maison de la Photographie is photography museum housing a small private collection of photos, post cards, journals and maps documenting the history and diversity of Morocco.

Marrakesh  sightseeing tip:   A photography museum is a fitting place to capture one of the best rooftop views of Marrakesh. The relaxed rooftop terrace at the Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech looks over the Marrakesh rooftops towards the Atlas mountains and shows off the Marrakesh skyline at its finest! Check out our other rooftop favourites here!

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-44

13 | Marrakesh Leather

From the tanneries to the souk stalls leather is a hot commodity in Marrakesh. We stuck to purchasing the leather goods but some tourists opt to take an underground visit to one of the many tanneries which offer a glimpse into the ancient tanning process.

Marrakesh sightseeing tip:  the quality of the leather varies widely in the souks as the bags can be treated in different ways in the tannery. A strong smell of urine can be common but the smell does fade with time so persevere!

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Day Trips from Marrakesh

14 | essaouria.

Essaouria is a quaint coastal fishing town which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site ( our obsession is well documented! ) and home to a stunning Game of Thrones filming location. It’s far removed from the chaotic Marrakesh and the sea air, fortified walls and beautiful coast are a welcome break from city life. Read about our day trip to Essaouria here !

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15 | Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains dominate the Marrakesh backdrop as they separate the coast from the Sahara desert and are only 40 minutes outside Marrakesh. A trip to the Atlas Mountain is a Marrakesh must do and is rewarded with stunning views and, on occasion, the opportunity to meet members of the North African traditional Berber population.

Marrakesh sightseeing tip:  check the weather prior to any visit to the Atlas Mountains as conditions can vary wildly from Marrakesh. We left the city on a relatively standard day and ended up caught in flash flooding as we drove through the mountains. It was a frightening experience as we watched parts of the road crumble away in front of our eyes and saw towns trapped by the thunderous rivers created by the rainfall. Lesson learned.

Morrocco Marrakech Must See Sights-39

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Marrakech: 18 Things To Do in this Magical City

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Best things to see in Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Marrakech (also spelled Marrakesh) is thought to be either rooted in the Berber phase murr akush meaning “the land of God” or the Arabic words murra kish , which translates to “pass by quickly”, used to warn travelers of thieves and wild animals. After spending a few days in Marrakech, you’ll probably agree that both are accurate.

With a population of about one million people, Marrakech is still only the 4th largest city in the Kingdom of Morocco . Situated at the base of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, on a clear day, the view from the many rooftop restaurants and patios is absolutely unbelievable ! Tourists are flocking to Marrakech for the beautiful architecture, the vibrant colors, the inexpensive shopping , and the delectable cuisine !

There’s never a dull moment in this bustling city. Read on to learn all about the best things to see and do during your trip to the magical city of Marrakech!

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Doorway in the Palace of Bahia, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

Marrakech, Morocco Travel Basics

Things to know before you go.

  • The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (Dhs).
  • There are a number of languages spoken in Morocco but the two official languages are Modern Standard Arabic and Amazigh (Berber) . The second language for most Moroccans is French. You’ll also find that many people speak at least a little English.
  • Learn a few phrases in Arabic to get around! “Al Salam Alaikum” (pronounced sall-em wall-a-come) is a nice way to say “hello”. “Shukran” (pronounced shoo kran) is “thank you”. “Ma’-Elsalama” (pronounced ma sell lem-a) is “goodbye”.
  • In general, non-Muslims aren’t allowed to enter mosques around Morocco . Marvel at their beautiful architecture from the outside but don’t attempt to go inside (unless you are Muslim).
  • Friday is the Muslim prayer day  so don’t be surprised if some restaurants and shops are closed.

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: The Atlas Mountains rise over Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Safety in Marrakech

The crime rate in Morocco is fairly low. Petty crime like pickpocketing is common in tourist areas and on beaches. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings. And women traveling alone in Morocco will likely get some unwanted attention from aggressive men.

Travelers who want to keep in touch with their friends and family back home needn’t worry, Wi-Fi is available in pretty much every hotel, restaurant, and coffee shop in Marrakech. But as with every public Wi-Fi connection, you can’t always guarantee the security of your data. To ensure your online safety, be sure to  download a VPN before departing , just in case. ExpressVPN provides VPN apps that allow you to access content from your home. It won’t affect your browsing experience due to censorship.

As with anywhere in the world, most people generally mind their own business. So if someone is going out of their way to be helpful when you’re not asking for it, they probably have ulterior motives. And lastly, be sure that you receive the correct change when you pay for anything in cash.

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Light rays in the Palace of Bahia, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Scams in Marrakech

Because Marrakech is made up of hundreds of narrow alleyways and very few street signs, finding your way around is a challenge. You’ll likely encounter quite a few (male) strangers offering to “help”. They’ll want to show you the way and then point and say “it’s just right there around the corner” and ask for a tip. Unfortunately, they’ve just gotten you more lost than you were, to begin with. You’ll also get quite a few people telling you “nothing is down there” or “you don’t want to go that way” or “that site is closed today”. They are lying.

Download an offline map via Google Maps so you don’t have to listen to those scammers. Google is surprisingly accurate and considering that there are very few street signs (or any signs for that matter), it will keep you from having to ask for help.

Best Time of Year to Visit Marrakech

The best time to visit Morocco will depend on the areas of the country that you plan on visiting. To visit the Sahara Desert , you’ll find the summer months of June to August to be sweltering. But the coastal town of Essaouira will be incredibly pleasant during those months.

The winter months of November to February experience mild temperatures. Although, if you plan to visit the Atlas mountains (and the blue city of Chefchaouen ), they can be exceptionally cold during that time.

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: La Mamounia Palace Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

You’ll find the most pleasant temperatures throughout the varying regions in the spring (mid-March to May) and in the Fall (September to October). If your Morocco itinerary includes visiting Marrakech in the summer months, you’ll likely be uncomfortably hot when venturing outside so plan accordingly.

Tip: If your trip to Marrakech falls during the holy month of Ramadan, you’ll find a very different atmosphere. Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and Muslims must fast from dawn until dusk. Because they are only allowed to work 6 hours/day, most businesses operate on a reduced schedule.

How Long to Spend in Marrakech

Marrakech is the most popular tourist destination in Morocco and for good reason. You could spend 4-5 days exploring the historic sights and wandering the winding souks of Marrakech. Even if you only have one week in Morocco , plan on spending at least 2 days in Marrakech.

Knowing this, make sure you get out and see the rest of the country – we liked a lot of Morocco’s other cities like Essaouira and Casablanca even more than Marrakech!

What to Pack for a Trip to Marrakech

Islam is the established state religion in Morocco and 93% of the population claim to be Muslim. And the vast majority of those are Sunni Muslims. As with most conservative countries, women cover their knees and shoulders when venturing out of the house. Remember, you’re not here to change the culture, you’re here to experience a new one.

Women in Morocco are expected to cover their knees and shoulders. However, the country can be incredibly hot or incredibly cold depending on the time of year and the city that you are visiting. We recommend long, comfortable pants, button-down shirts, long dresses, a warm sweater, and a scarf to cover your head if you ever feel out of place.

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Marrakech Museum Fountain

You’ll be walking a lot and the streets can be dirty or cobblestone or anything in-between. Opt for comfortable, closed-toe flats over flip flops. Check out my entire Moroccan Packing list here !

Getting To and Around Marrakech

  • The international Marrakech airport is Menara Airport (RAK). Many cities around the world have frequent flights into and out of Marrakech. Ryanair and Vueling offer low-cost flights from many European cities.
  • When you initially arrive in Marrakech, the easiest way to get from the airport to your riad is to arrange a shuttle ahead of time. Because of the narrow alleyways, most cars can’t drop you off in front of your riad so you’ll have some walking (and navigating) to do. And with those annoying scammers on the prowl, it can be an incredibly frustrating experience. If you arrange with your riad in advance, they’ll have someone meet you at the drop-off point to carry your bag and walk you directly to the front door.
  • You’ll find taxis everywhere in the city but especially congregated at the entrance to tourist sites. Most prefer not to use the meter so be sure to negotiate the price upfront. Check with your riad manager on what a fair taxi fare is to various sites around town.

The Top 18 Things to Do in Marrakech, Morocco

1. people watch in the jemaa el-fnaa square.

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Street games in Jemaa El-Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Jemaa el-Fnaa (also spelled Jemaa El Fna) is the name of the central square in the heart of Marrakech. It is absolutely buzzing with activity at all hours of every day. During the day, you can get fresh-pressed juice or dried figs at one of the many street vendors. You can also wander around watching people try their luck at street games. Don’t be surprised if someone tries to put a monkey on your shoulder for a fee. If you stop to look at any of the entertainers, you’ll be expected to give a small tip (10 Dhs should suffice).

At night the square is full with people eating at the food stalls, watching the male belly dancers, or sitting on stools listening to the many musicians jamming out. This is prime time for pickpockets so watch your belongings closely!

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Food stalls in Jemaa El-Fnaa, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

The food stalls in Jemaa el-Fnaa offer fresh, fast, and cheap food in the middle of the bustling square! Beware that the touts trying to get you to sit at their stalls are incredibly aggressive and can be very rude.

We loved the food at these little restaurants but always dreaded the act of walking through them to find one we liked. While these stalls are definitely not the best food in Marrakech , it’s a fun dining experience. Just try your best to ignore the touts.

Alcohol in Marrakech: During my first trip to Marrakech in 2016, alcohol was nearly impossible to find. But on my most recent trip to Marrakech, it appeared that more restaurants were beginning to cater to foreigners and we encountered several offering (pricey) beer, wine, and cocktails. But being a predominantly Muslim country, you’re unlikely to see many Moroccans imbibing in public, and intoxication is most definitely frowned upon.

2. Explore the Bahia Palace

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Courtyard of the Palace of Bahia, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

The massive and ornate Bahia Palace is from the nineteenth century and is absolutely a must-see in Marrakech! The name Bahia means “brilliance” and with lush gardens, large courtyards, and ornate architecture, it more than lives up to its name! It was considered to be the largest and most luxurious palace in all of Morocco in its heyday.

3. Relax in the Le Jardin Secret

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Le Jardin Secret

In the middle of the hectic, winding alleyways of the medina, Le Jardin Secret is the perfect place to relax your feet and unwind. It is one of the largest and oldest riads in the medina and took 3 years to restore the grounds to what you see today. Wander around the gardens and enjoy a coffee with a view from the terrace.

4. Snap Some Photos at the Jardin Majorelle

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Jardin Majorelle

The Jardin Majorelle is a beautiful art deco house and stunning surrounding garden that was owned by the French orientalist painter, Jacques Majorelle in the early 1900s. Designer Yves Saint Laurent purchased it in 1980.

You can visit several museums or simply wander around the courtyard. Admire the strange cacti, the splashes of the signature bright blue painted throughout, and the coy fish swimming in the reflection pools. Go early in the morning or after 16:00 to avoid the crowds.

4. Visit El Badi Palace

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: El Badii Palace, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

The El Badi Palace was built throughout the reign of the Saadian Sultan, Ahmed El Mansour from 1578 – 1603, this was a lavish palace at its prime. Unfortunately, it has fallen into ruin but is constantly being renovated. A courtyard with sunken vegetation and several pools sit inside of the thick walls where large storks now nest. There are several small museums as well as a terrace overlooking the courtyard.

6. Stay in a Riad

Rather than staying in a hotel while visiting Marrakech, many tourists opt instead for a more traditional experience. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house that has an interior courtyard.

Many of the riads in Marrakech are brightly colored and filled with lush plants. The sun shines in from the open roof above the courtyard to bathe the riad in the afternoon light. Many riads also offer rooftop lounge areas where you can relax on comfortable cushions while enjoying views of the entire city.

Riad ChiChi is a quaint, charming riad centrally located in the heart of Marrakech. It is a simple and classic riad, with white-washed walls and splashes of vibrant blue throughout. Intricate Moroccan lamps hang from the ceilings of the spacious, modern rooms.

Riad Chichi, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

If being in the center of the bustling medina is not your cup of tea, the Riad Ariha is farther north in a less touristy part of town. Similar in style to the ChiChi, this riad has a beautiful central courtyard with lush greenery growing up the walls and windows covered in intricately patterned shutters. You can’t go wrong with either option! 

Riad Ariha, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Tip: Keep small change on you to tip the kitchen staff, the housekeepers, and any other helpful hotel staff members.

7. Dine on Delicious Moroccan Food

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Kefta (meatballs), tomato, & eggs Tagine, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

If you’ve never tried Moroccan food, you’re in for a real treat! Bubbling hot tajines, thick soups, and all the mint tea you could ever dream of await you in Marrakech. We loved the food in Morocco so much that we wrote an entire post about our favorite Moroccan foods ! Here are just a few you should try:

  • Tajine – a variety of meats and vegetables are slow-cooked inside of a clay pot with a conical lid. Beef, lamb, chicken, and meatball tajines are incredibly common and can be found at almost any restaurant serving Moroccan food.
  • Couscous – consisting of very small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina (resembling rice), usually served with a stew spooned on top and some type of meat with vegetables. 
  • Moroccan Soup – a thick, creamy soup made of chickpeas. It is served in most restaurants and by many street vendors all over the old city.
  • Msemen – flattened square-shaped dough is kneaded together with a mixture of peppers, onion, and tomato and then grilled, rolled, and eaten on the go! You can find a few street food msemen vendors around the Medina.  
  • Mint Tea – this sugary sweet tea is full of fresh mint leaves and expert pourers can hit a small glass from a foot or more above! 

And be sure to check out a few of our favorite restaurants around Marrakech:

  • Bazaar Cafe – for stunning city views on their rooftop terrace and a delectable lamb tajine! You can also get alcoholic beverages here (which you can’t find at many restaurants in the old city).
  • Atay Cafe – for a casual atmosphere and a fresh and delicious avocado tomato salad. The pastilla made of cinnamon, almond, and chicken is a must-try as well!
  • Restaurant Dar Zellij – if you’re looking for high-quality food in a more upscale atmosphere, this is a must-visit spot right near the Riad Ariha.
  • Hôtel Restaurant Café de France – the TripAdvisor reviews are harsh but we thoroughly enjoyed our mint tea and lemon chicken tajine while watching the sunset over Jemaa el-Fnaa!

8. Enjoy a Coffee at La Mamounia Palace Hotel

La Mamounia Palace Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

La Mamounia Palace Hotel is a strikingly beautiful property that was formerly a palace. It has been transformed into arguably the most luxurious hotel in all of Marrakech. Even if you are not staying at the hotel, it’s worth a visit to wander around the lobby area or enjoy an overpriced coffee in the lush gardens out back.

Tipping Etiquette in Marrakech: While Moroccans generally don’t follow these guidelines, as with most other countries a more generous tip is expected from foreigners. These are just guidelines, of course, and you should tip more if you had amazing service and less if you didn’t.

  • 10% at restaurants (be sure that a service charge hasn’t already been added to your bill).
  • Many taxis in Marrakech prefer not to give foreigners rides on the meter. Check before you accept a ride and negotiate a fair price. In that case, no need to tip. If you receive a ride on the meter, just round up (if the ride costs 8 Dhs, round up to 10).
  • 10-20 Dhs for someone who has carried your bag for a reasonable distance on their back or in a cart or on a mule.
  • 10-20 Dhs per day for the housekeeping staff at your riad.
  • 30-50 Dhs per day for a riad manager depending on how much you rely on them for booking tours and transportation.
  • 100 – 300 Dhs for a guide on a half-day or full-day tour.

9. Stroll Through the Marrakech Museum

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Courtyard of the Marrakech Museum, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

The actual artwork in the Marrakech Museum is not nearly as impressive as the building they are housed in. You’ll find intricate wooden latticework, gorgeous tiled fountains, and a massive metal piece hanging from the ceiling that will leave you in awe. The large, covered courtyard is one of the most picturesque places in the city!

10. Admire the House of Photography

The House of Photography in Marrakech is a museum of sorts that showcases beautiful photographs in and around Marrakech as well as many portraits of Moroccan people taken in the 1930s and 1940s. The artwork is contained in an old riad that is beautiful as well. Have a coffee on the roof and enjoy views of the city below!

11. Check out the Saadian Tombs

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Saadian Tombs, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Getting the opportunity to see the intricate and exquisite details inside of the Saadian Tombs  used to be well worth the 10 Dhs entrance fee. But unfortunately, the price has skyrocketed so if you’re on a budget you may want to skip this site.

The tombs were constructed in the late 16th century and discovered in 1917. They hold the remains of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur and his family. The area of the tombs is small and easy to tackle in around 30 minutes. Be prepared to wait in lines as the tomb viewing areas are only meant for a few people at a time.

12. Tour the Ben Youssef Medersa (Madrasa)

The Ben Youssef Medersa (Madrasa) is a stunning Islamic madrasa (aka college) located in the heart of the medina. It was commissioned in 1564–65 CE by the Saadian sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib and has been an intellectual hub for centuries.

13. Wander Through the Souk Semmarine

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Shopping for Spices

The most popular of the souks in Marrakech , Souk Semmarine starts at the Jemaa el-Fnaa. It runs north in the maze of alleyways crisscrossing throughout the medina. It is sheer madness but you’ll find a wide selection of rugs, blankets, leather goods, pottery, and lamps at reasonable prices (if you negotiate hard enough). But get ready to get hassled!

It’s impossible to avoid shopping in the Souk Semmarine during a trip to Marrakech. Be sure to bring an extra duffel bag for all of your new Moroccan treasures!

Photography Etiquette in Marrakech: Despite Morocco being an incredibly photogenic country , some Moroccans prefer not to be photographed. This may be due to religious reasons that are referred to as aniconism in Islam. Or, it may simply be due to the massive tourism boom that has occurred recently.

Regardless of any religious beliefs, it is always polite to ask anyone before taking their photograph. Or, if you can’t speak the language, indicate your request with non-verbal queues. Don’t be surprised if you are turned down or asked for a tip. In fact, even if you are not attempting to take a photograph of a local but they are in the vicinity of your lens, you may find that they attempt to block their face or even get offended or angry.

14. Shop at the Ensemble Artisanal

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Leather cushions in the souk, Marrakesh, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

If being hassled and getting involved in aggressive price negotiations isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll find the Ensemble Artisanal to be more relaxing (but with higher prices than the souk). The shop owners are far less aggressive and you won’t feel as pressured to buy something just because you’ve asked the price.

The building housing the shops is worth wandering through even if you don’t buy anything!

15. Watch Sunset in the Main Square

Top Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco: Best Things to do in Marrakech: Jemaa El-Fnaa at sunset, Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

There are dozens of restaurants surrounding the Jemaa el-Fnaa offering terraces with stunning views of the crazy scene below. Grab a front table at least an hour before sunset to enjoy the views while sipping mint tea. You’ll be much happier watching the square from your peaceful spot up above.

We enjoyed the view and the lemon chicken tajine at the Hôtel Restaurant Café de France .

16. Bathe in a Hammam

In all honesty, I found my Marrakech hammam experience to be incredibly awkward. But it made for a great story, so in the end, it was worth getting naked with a few strangers. You’ll undress down to your underwear, then get dosed with water and scrubbed down. Then you’ll sit silently in a sauna for 15 minutes, and finally, get one last rinse.

Don’t expect a relaxing experience unless you opt for an expensive, touristy, and not-so-authentic hammam.

17. See the Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret

While non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the mosques in Marrakech, you can still enjoy views of the beautiful Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret from the outside. There are always people milling around outside, snapping selfies, and enjoying the beautiful Moroccan sunshine.

18. Take a Day Trip to the Desert

You’ll find no shortage of tour agencies around town offering daily desert excursions and camel rides in the nearby Moroccan deserts. They’ll take you just a few hours outside of Marrakech so if you’re short on time it’s an easy way to fulfill your Moroccan Sahara dream. Or better yet, drive yourself !

We hope you enjoy your trip to the magical city of Marrakech!

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Best things to see in Marrakech, Morocco by Wandering Wheatleys

Val grew up in Portland, Oregon but moved to Oahu on a whim back in 2013. She sold her house and all of her belongings and bought a one-way ticket. Since then she’s taken two around-the-world trips and has visited 60-ish countries while living out of a duffel bag. Val started documenting the Wandering Wheatleys travels back in 2013 as a way to update friends and family about her whereabouts and to relay humorous daily interactions. The only readers were her mom and her mother-in-law but that didn’t stop her! These days you’ll find Val dreaming up future trips, creating new travel content, managing a team of amazing travel enthusiasts, and chasing around her two adorable but naughty kids.

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13 thoughts on “marrakech: 18 things to do in this magical city”.

marrakech crazy tourist

Thank you so much for this post, it’s so detailed. Can you recommend any hammams? As a Brit, being naked aroudn strangers is not something I’ve ever encountered and I’m not super excited about it, but I want to experience local culture.

marrakech crazy tourist

This is an incredibly helpful and detailed post. Thank you for taking the time to put all this together. Definitely one of the better articles out there with true relevant info for travelers to Marrakech!

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The Sweet Wanderlust

11 completely unique things to do in Marrakech

By: Author Brittany

Posted on Last updated: February 17, 2023

Marrakech is unlike anywhere else on earth. Spices from simmering tagines invade your nostrils and your eyes dart from building to building, trying to take in all the colorful textiles and ceramics displayed for tourists to purchase. Cats roam freely, looking for their next meal and if you’re not paying attention, you may be pushed off the road by a singularly-focused donkey.

When you visit Marrakech , you’ll find it is a completely unique place, with new experiences around every corner. If you’re looking for over-the-top unique, read on for Marrakech activities you won’t find in a guide book.

Unique things to do in Marrakech, Morocco

Stay in a jazz era icon’s home.

Josephine Baker was once called the “the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville.” She was known for dancing in a banana skirt (and not much else) and for bringing her pet cheetah, Chiquita, on stage with her during performances.

Raiding Riad Star’s dress up closet

For all the glitz and glamor, she was fierce in the fight for doing what was right. As an African American born in the USA, she fought for civil rights, refusing to perform for segregated crowds. She married and moved to France, where she became an integral member of the French Resistance during WWII, establishing a base in Morocco from which she made tours to entertain soldiers and pass on important intelligence.

You can stay in Josephine Baker’s home, now Riad Star by Marrakech Riads . Throughout the gorgeous riad, you’ll find nods to the home’s famous former occupant. From rooms named for her and her children (the Rainbow Tribe, adopted children of different races and religions) to a dress up closet full of 1920s-style clothes, you’re sure to feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to an era of luxury.

Riad Star dining area

Riad Star – Former home of Josephine Baker

Fill your own donuts

When you set foot in Le Trou Au Mur (the hole in the wall), you know you’ve arrived somewhere special immediately. Pass the traditional clay mechoui on your way to the stairs, where the dining room vibe is both casual and special simultaneously.

After spending more than a day or two in Morocco, you’ve surely noticed the lack of alcohol. It’s likely that the first thing you’ll notice at Le Trou Au Mur are the wine glasses on the tables, signifying the sale of the forbidden (for locals) drink.

Don’t get distracted, though, because you’re not here for a drink. Ok, ok, you can have one if you want! But you’re here to try the donuts! Served fresh out of the fryer in an individual basket accompanied by three syringes full of local flavors. Taste cardamom and ginger, caramel and chocolate with argon oil.

Fill your own donuts at Le Trou Au Mur Marrakech

Fill your own donuts at Le Trou Au Mur

Visit a Sex and the City filming location

Although Sex and the City is set in Abu Dhabi, it was filmed in Morocco.

Aidan and Carrie run into each other in the Marrakech medina, and you can meet the man who saw it all happen!

Shop like Carrie, Samantha and Aidan at Aziz, a shop run by a man with the same name. His shop has been open for 40 years, where he sells items he’s made and antiques collected from around Morocco.

He recounts that SJP has very small fingers, so he had to make the ring smaller for her. And he let us in on the fact that shoe shop from the movie is not real, but it was designed as a set on this very street!

You can find him from 10:30am- 6pm daily except Friday at 17 Rue Fehl Chidmi. Walk South on Rue Mousssine until you come to a dead end. Take a right on Rue Sidi el Yamani and your first left onto Rue Fehl Chidmi. You’ll see Aziz’s shop on the right hand side with photos of the celebrities taped to the window.

Aziz shop in Fes - Shop like the Sex and the City cast

Visit Aziz, a Sex and the City Marrakech filming location

Visit the Hollywood of Morocco

If you’ve seen a movie anytime in the past 50 years, chances are, you’ve seen Aït Ben Haddon already. This ksar (fortified village) has been around since the 11th century and has recently become a favorite film location. Just a few of the 20+ films include Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, AD The Bible, The Mummy and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

Aït Ben Haddon - Ouarzazate - Ali Baba filming location Morocco

Aït Ben Haddon – Ouarzazate – Ali Baba filming location Morocco

Aït Ben Haddon - Ouarzazate - Game of Thrones filming location Morocco

Aït Ben Haddon – Ouarzazate – Game of Thrones filming location Morocco

Purchase shoes fit for a king

At Sabir Cuir, the custom-made shoes are fit for royalty. Literally. King Mohamed VI has shoes made of Senegal fabric from this very shop and now you can, too.

Pay a visit to this shop to have your feet measured and shoes created by hand. Typically, the shoes are made of leather, but vegetarian-friendly shoes are possible, too.

Sabir shoe store in Marrakech

Buy a pair of shoes fit for a king at Sabir Cuir

Purchase a pair off the shelf (shoes 450dh/ boots 700dh) or get measured for a custom fit (shoes 550dh/ boots 800dh). Have something else in mind? Work with the master cobblers to dream up a one-of-a-kind pair just for you. Custom ordered shoes can be made in two days, so check this one out at the beginning of your trip!

Ask for the “Made in Italy” shoes, designed for a business owner in Italy who decided after the shoes were made that the customs price was too high. His “no” could be your “yes” since these shoes are available at a discounted rate!

Visiting Morocco, you’re sure to be offered henna at every turn. While the roadside stands may seem cheap and convenient, there’s a very real possibility that they’re using black henna.

Before traveling to Morocco, I was unaware that the p-phenylenediamine (PPD) found in black henna can cause chemical burns and allergic reactions. It’s illegal in many places, but tends to be found in touristy areas.

At Cafe Henna, only the best, natural henna is used with no additives. The women who apply henna are true artists and care is given to render the design exactly as you desire. The artist who applied my henna perfectly copied the design (which I showed her on Instagram) in under 10 minutes.

Henna Cafe - charitable project for Moroccan education - safe and natural henna in Marrakech

Natural henna at Cafe Henna in Marrakech

Don’t miss the hummus and falafel while you wait for the henna to dry. Enjoy your henna for 1-2 weeks!

Moroccan Darija class

Did you know that the Arabic spoken in Morocco is different from that spoken in other Arabic-speaking nations? Their dialect is called Darija. Although they share many of the same words, its been influenced by the Spanish and French. Many of the tour guides in Morocco are quick to point out that while they can understand other Arabic dialects, most others cannot understand them. Immerse yourself in the Darija dialect with a class at the Henna Cafe. Yalla , yalla  (hurry)! For 20dh, join a daily group class from 3-4pm.

Experience the art of Hikayat (Moroccan traditional storytelling

In the ninth century, kings had storytellers. When this practice ended in 12th century, storytellers moved to the squares and made a living by taking a collection just before the story’s climax. With rise of media, though, the art of storytelling is becoming increasingly more rare. Back in 2014, a group of university students studying English began discussions to revive tradition by translating Dahlia Arabic stories into English. The last master storyteller, who’s been telling stories for over 50 years, shared his stories with these students. Now, those students share the great Moroccan stories with tourists at Cafe Clock twice a week. Visit for a story or a traditional concert.

Storyteller at Cafe Clock Marrakech

Listen to the master storyteller at Cafe Clock

Cafe Clock Marrakech Schedule (As of January 2019) Monday: Hikayat / Traditional Storytelling 7pm (free) Tuesday: Sahara Sounds 7pm (free) Wednesday: Jam Session 7pm (free) Thursday: Hikayat / Traditional Storytelling 7pm (free) Friday: Classical Arabic Music 7pm (free) Saturday: Houariyat ladies 6pm (50dh per person – includes a drink) Sunday: Gnaoua sunset concert (30dh per person)

Eat a camel burger

If you visit the Sahara, it’s likely you’ll ride a camel. But would you consider eating one ? Cafe Clock makes a camel burger with taza ketchup that is worth trying! Its 95dh price tag is a bit higher than many meals, but for good reason. Ten dirhams from every camel burger sold is given back to local charities promoting the welfare of women and children and education for all Moroccans.

Camel Burger at Cafe Clock in Marrakech

Try a camel burger at Cafe Clock

Rooftop cafe in Jema el-Fna

Jema el-Fna is the most stereotypical part of Marrakech. Expect to see monkeys on leashes, snakes being charmed and bands performing in the square. You can also expect to see an upturned palm in your direction if you take a photo of any of the above. Escape the madness of the square and enjoy the scene from above on a rooftop terrace on the outskirts of Jema el-Fna.

I enjoyed an apple soda at Le Grand Balcon du Café Glacier, where I could witness all the chaos of the square without fear of being pickpocketed.

Moroccan music at Kui-Zin

Music is inextricably laced with culture, and Kui-Zin offers an opportunity to experience Andalusian music from 7-10:30pm every night. While Andalusian music began in Spain, its been an important part of Moroccan culture for hundreds of years.

Dar El Ala - Andalusian museum

Live Andalusian music every night at Kui-Zin in Marrakech

Want to see a belly dancing show in Marrakech? Visit on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday from 8-8:30pm and you may just get your wish!

The recommendations in this post are ones you’re not likely to see in a guidebook. I hope you enjoy the lesser-known side of Marrakech on your next trip to Morocco! Looking for more fun things to do in Morocco? Check out this itinerary for an amazing two weeks in Morocco , a food tour in Rabat or a surf and yoga retreat in Tamraght .

Loving these Marrakech activities you won’t find in a guide book? Pin this post!

Unique things to do in Marrakech

Thursday 8th of June 2023

Thanks for sharing your experience and highlights in Marrakech. Morocco is both exciting and intimidating to me. The excitement won over and I'm booked to go to Marrakech this year. As a solo female traveler, I want to make sure I'm taking all precautions. I read up on a lot of tips for female travelers in Morocco, but one thing I head of that seems to be common is female tourists being groped. Is this true? If so, do you have any suggestions to avoid this?

Tuesday 13th of June 2023

@Brittany, Thanks. That's great to hear.

Monday 12th of June 2023

I hope you have an absolute blast! While I have friends who have shared uncomfortable experiences with me, I personally never had any bad experiences with the men in Morocco. I planned my outfits to be pretty conservative (long pants, long sleeves, or covered with a scarf), and responded to requests to visit shops with a "thanks, but no thanks!" and a smile, and I was thanked by one shop owner for acknowledging him. I hope that helps and that you have an amazing time! I loved Morocco!

adventures with crystal

Sunday 24th of February 2019

Wow! I wouldn't have guessed there would be such diversity in the things to do - the food looked amazing. I liked seeing Josephine Baker’s home -- looks so magical in Marrakech

Monday 25th of February 2019

I had no idea either!! It was such a great experience to explore and uncover exciting things around every corner!

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

I loved this guide! I appreciated how you took the time to find the unique experiences too. The doughnut shop seemed so cute! I'm such a big fan when it comes to custom shoes! When I visit I'll be sure to remember Sabir Cuir.

I just wish I had more room in my suitcase! I was so sad to leave those special shoes still sitting on the shelf!

What a lovely guide! I'm going to Marrakech soon so I will definitely be referring to this guide again :)

I hope you have an incredible trip, Susie!

This is lovely!

Thanks so much, Medha! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Wanderlust Chloe

A Quick Marrakech Itinerary – Quirky Places To Visit In Marrakech

La Sultana Spa, Marrakech

Planning a trip to Morocco’s red city? Create your own Marrakech itinerary with these quirky places in the city! 

Whether you’ve got your flights booked, or you’re looking for inspiration, planning a trip to Marrakech is always a fun thing to do! The city offers so much. From the bustling market stalls in the medina, to the beautiful YSL gardens. 

For lots of tips on where to visit on a first trip, check out my guide to the top places to visit in Marrakech .  Once you’ve added those to your Marrakech itinerary, it’s time to spice things up with a few quirky spots you might not have considered before. 

From a super cool party spot, to a beautiful place to stay and a great cooking school, you’ll struggle to choose what to do next!

Marrakech Itinerary – Quirky Places To Visit On Your Trip

A Great Place To Stay In Marrakech

Tucked away in the historic centre of the medina is Riad Farnatchi – one of the best riads in Marrakech . A favourite of Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig and Scarlett Johansson, the riad now boasts a stunning new spa with private marble hammams and a beautiful pool. For an extra memorable trip, check into one of the 9 luxury riad suites – you won’t regret it!

A Great Place To Relax In Marrakech

Head to the spa at La Sultana – one of the city’s top hotels. With a string of awards under its belt, the spa mixes traditional Arab architecture with high-end luxury – think beautiful marble hammam chambers, ornate lanterns, and exotic looking plunge pools. Try a Royal Hammam for a real flavour of Moroccan indulgence.

A Great Place For Culture Vultures In Marrakech

Venture into the medina to Riad Yima , artist Hassan Hajjaj’s boutique gallery and tearoom. Nicknamed the ‘Andy Warhol of Marrakech’, Hassan’s unique style blends east and west, with an astute sense of humour. As you explore the colourful riad you’ll find everything from clothes and furniture to large works of art. It’s a stylish place to rest your feet and enjoy a mint tea after trawling the stalls in the medina.

  Repost from@majesticdisorder at @riadyima #hassanhajjaj #riad #marrakesh #morocco A photo posted by Hassan Hajjaj (@hassanhajjaj_larache) on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:56pm PST

A Place To Learn How To Cook In Marrakech

Want to pick up some skills to take home? Head to La Maison Arabe ’s out of town estate and learn the basics of the country’s cuisine with their half day Moroccan cookery class . After exploring the lush vegetable and herb gardens, don an apron and get to work in the kitchen. Prepare a chicken tagine along with side dishes and a traditional dessert, all washed down with some Moroccan mint tea.

A Place To Eat, Drink and Party In Marrakech

Buddha-Bar Marrakech used to be one of the coolest places to hang out in the city. With its gourmet Asian fusion menu, creative and delicious cocktails and new nightly shows, it’s more than just a place for dinner – it’s a real journey for the senses. 

I hope this quiry Marrakech itinerary gives you some great suggestions for your trip. Dont forget to check out my Marrakech guide for the key sights you just can’t miss!

This post was created as part of a campaign for Buddha-Bar Marrakech, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Chloe Gunning

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

1 thought on “A Quick Marrakech Itinerary – Quirky Places To Visit In Marrakech”

Hi Chloe, I’m heading to Marrakech next week and came across your article. I couldn’t find much about what was on so I’ll definitely try to tick off your suggestions. That spa looks beautiful and I’m going to book dinner at Budha next Thurs.

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Road is Calling

hidden gems in Marrakech

15 Unique Hidden Gems in Marrakech & Alternative Places to Visit

With my list of hidden gems in Marrakech, you have a chance to visit lesser-known treasures inside and outside the Medina and get unique insights into the city’s rich culture and history!

One of my favorite things to do in any city that I visit is to avoid touristy places and opt for off-the-beaten-path gems. This is what I did in Marrakech while exploring it during my one-month staycation there. Overall, I visited more than 100 places (both famous sights and secret finds) but I definitely spent more time in lesser-explored neighborhoods exploring corners tucked away from the tourist crowds.

Some of these spots I found on my own while wandering through the labyrinthine streets while others came as advice from our hosts and new friends who call Marrakech home.

I decided to share my favorites as they help to make a list of non-touristy things to do in Marrakech and see the city from a different perspective – a more authentic one, without herds of tourists, long queues, and commercialized experiences.

So if you are looking for unusual things to do in Marrakech, don’t miss these secret locations and have fun exploring! 

Planning a Trip to Marrakech Last Minute? 

Traveling to Marrakech soon and dreaming of having a special visit combined with touristy and hidden gem places? If yes, then I am also sharing here my favorite alternative riads, tours, and activities. Check them out!

Beautiful Hidden Riads That Do Not Easily Pop Up on Booking Websites:

  • The Bohemian Jungle – a complete refuge-place for mid-budget away from the chaotic streets of Medina
  • Riad Kbour & Chou – hidden in the northwestern corner of Medina, has a spa and rooftop
  • Riad Azawan – alternative riad for low budget with everything of the highest standard 
  • Anya & Spa Riad – luxurious riad on a mid-budget with Instagram-worthy pool and Berber-style rooms

Unusual Activities in Marrakech:

  • Hidden Corners of Medina & Souks – exclusive shopping tour with a guide ( free walking tour !)
  • Medina by Night – private tour that includes some secret food stalls
  • Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Marrakech – includes breakfast at sunrise
  • Cycling Tour Around Marrakech – see the city in a unique way with pastries and tea included
  • Ramadan by Night Tour – best free (!) tour to experience Marrakech during Ramadan time (if you are visiting then)

Marrakech Hidden Gems For Alternative Experiences

Palais sebban – grandiose palace-hotel for food, culture & elegance.

hidden gem in Marrakech

Palais Sebban is a luxurious boutique hotel-riad, one of those that are open to the outside public. It was originally constructed as a private residence for a very wealthy Moroccan family (this place is huge!) and that is why has so many luxurious details that found its reflection in intricate tilework, carved wood details, and lush inner courtyards (there are 5 courtyards in total!) typical of the era.

The location of this palace is in the western part of Medina on a very quiet street where tourists rarely wander unless they know about this location. This is why it is kind of hidden and nontouristy.

Generally speaking, Palais Sebban is an incredibly beautiful place for aesthetes where it’s so inspiring to have lunch or dinner in a beautiful setting, and then go up to the rooftop terrace for a glass of sparkling wine while enjoying the views of Marrakesh from above.

No reservations are required. But once you get there, you need to dine or have a drink to be able to walk around the property as in-house guests do. At the entrance, tell the guard that you came to dine in and he’ll bring you inside.

Khalidoun Art – Interesting Rug & All Things Beautiful Shop

hidden shop in Marrakech Medina

Khalidoun Art was a rug shop in the past until the recent moment when owners changed the concept and opened a bigger store with various items for sale made by locals. I stumbled upon this gem purely by chance when walking along Rue Sidi el Yamani Street which, by the way, is famous for exclusive shopping.

In Khalidoun Art you’ll find almost everything that you may think of – designer clothes, shoes, jewelry, leather bags, decorations for the home, carpets, and even furniture. Price tags are pretty high (and I am not sure who they are meant for) but it is still possible to find more or less affordable items and bargain for some of them.

I think this spot deserves to be on the list of gem locations as it is a nice example of a beautiful Marrakech shop where all things that are made by locals are showcased with exquisite craftsmanship and authenticity, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Morocco .

The location on google maps is not correct. It is actually here on the opposite side from Maison du Caftan clothing store. Make a stop here when visiting other locations from this hidden gems list or when trying street food in the area.

House of Photography – Alternative Museum to See What Marrakech Was Like in the 19th & 20th Centuries 

Old Marrakech

The House of Photography is a lesser-known interesting museum in Marrakech hidden away from the masses in the northern part of Medina. It is the best place to see what Marrakech was like in the recent past when the country was closed to tourism.

The museum is housed in a former riad on 3 floors with a pretty inner courtyard and spacious rooftop terrace with panoramic views where you can pause after a visit and order juices, salads, and of course Moroccan tea with desserts.

In the museum itself, you’ll find a collection of hundreds of photographs showcasing Morocco’s history , culture, and daily life from the late 19th century to the present. Many photos show old Marrakech which was only the Medina without the newer part outside the walls.

rooftop cafe Marrakech medina

There are also regular temporary exhibitions, various educational programs, and a gift shop where to purchase one of many photographs in different sizes.

They are open every day from 9:30 to 19:00, ticket prices is 50 MAD, and children under 15 years old can enter for free. We spent there almost 2 hours and truly enjoyed the visit! You can find more info on the House of Photography website .

Miss Lalla Hammam – Best Hidden Place for Moroccan Hammam Experience

            View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Miss’ Lalla Hammam Authentique (@misslallahammamspa)

As with other hidden places in Marrakech on this list, I learned about Miss Lalla Hammam also purely by chance when walking to Madrasa Ben Youseff College. There was a small signboard there with the name of a spa which was difficult to notice but the door was open and pleasant aromas wafted from inside, so I decided to take a look and ask about the spa services.

A lovely gentleman who turned out to be a manager was so nice to show me around, share all the information about the Hammam Center, and explain the menu. Everything was very clean and prices of services were slightly lower than in other spas I have been to. When I went through reviews, I also noticed how excellent they were (you can read them  too) which is very important to me.

I haven’t been to this spa yet (but definitely plan to!), but I wanted to add it to my list as it is an alternative hammam place in Marrakech , especially if you want to avoid touristy spas like Le Bain Bleu or Les Bains D’Orient that are literally on all sources out there.

The spa itself is in a beautiful riad setting, the staff welcomes you with tea and fruit and provides everything needed for the experience – towels, slippers, and robes.

Mellah – Historic Jewish Quarter With Hidden Cafes & Synagogues

Mellah neighborhood

The Mellah quarter is that area of Medina that historically has been home to Marrakech’s Jewish population with traditional Jewish style architecture. It started in the 16th century and today remains a culturally rich area with synagogues, its own markets, and a unique atmosphere that reflects its heritage.

For me personally, this is a favorite part of Medina because it is somewhat quieter and not as hectic as anywhere near the Jemaa el-Fna square. Also, it has the best street food in Marrakech where you can eat to your heart’s content paying only a couple of dollars.

Its main square Tinsmiths Square has a market with a variety of goods like spices, textiles, and traditional Moroccan handicrafts. In fact, the number of spices is so big that you don’t know what many of them are. I think I saw some spices for the first time even though I’ve been to the biggest market in Istanbul and a couple of markets in Dubai .

If you have time, devote at least a few hours to this area which has a few interesting landmarks such as the Lazama Synagogue and the Jewish Cemetery . Both provide insights into the area’s Jewish heritage. 

Just a short walk from the Mellah, there is another hidden gem the Saadian Tombs which date back to the Saadian dynasty and show many beautiful decorations and architectural details.

Riad Elisa & Spa – Off the Beaten Path Riad Great for a Spa Visit

alternative spa in Marrakech

This is another of my favorite secret hammams in Marrakech which I also found purely by chance when looking for a spa in the area around the Bacha Palace.

Riad Elisa is not a very famous riad in the city (maybe because it is rather simplistic compared to many other riads in Medina ) but it has a fantastic spa and traditional hammam which stays quite empty when other (touristy) hammams are booked for weeks in advance and always full of people.

Prices here are the same as everywhere else but what you get extra at no cost is a beautiful pool area in the room with loungers, dimmed lights, and tranquil music. After any treatment, including the complete traditional experience of the Moroccan hammam or a massage, visitors get a chance to spend time in this relaxing zone as long as desired.

We visited and truly enjoyed a hammam experience here. If you are interested as well when on a trip to Marrakech, take a look at the Riad Elisa Spa menu . There is a phone number in the end of the page which is connected to WhatsApp. Making reservations is easy and always quick.

Oh, and they also have a rooftop with drinks and views but if you are limited on time, I better recommend you skip it and go to another rooftop restaurant which I mention in this post.

Gallery Zahra Shop – Hidden Story With Cheap Moroccan Ceramics

Zahra shop ceramics in Medina

Zahra Shop Gallery is a lesser-known boutique shop within the historic center of Marrakech selling an array of black and white (as well as brightly colored) handcrafted ceramics that are sure to add character and charm to any space.

You’ll see how big and unique collections of ceramics here are with a fusion of classic Moroccan design elements and contemporary flair. All ceramics on display here tell a story of artistry and creativity. They are beautiful and interesting to look at or to buy to bring back home.

The owner, Mohamed, can deliver anything from this shop (there is also another one, a bigger one he has in another part of medina) to your home in Europe, Canada, or USA, if you don’t feel like carrying everything with you. At the time of writing, the delivery price is $4 per kg.

So if you are seeking distinctive pieces of ceramics for your home or simply want to look at unique examples of craftsmanship, Zahra shop is a place not to miss. Whether you’re drawn to bold patterns, intricate designs, or minimalist aesthetics, you’ll find something here that suits every taste and style. 

Riad Yima – Unusual Place for Different Types of Tea & Art Gallery

tea room in Marrakech

At first sight, after seeing the word ‘Riad’, you may think that it is another typical accommodation that offers a restaurant or spa experience. But in reality, it is a different place.

Riad Yima is not a private residence nor it is a guest house with dining options. It is an art gallery, tea salon , and at the same time cultural space where visitors can relax, see unique objects, and try (or buy) crafted teas or coffees available for purchase or tasting while there. 

It was created by the Moroccan artist and photographer Hassan Hajjaj who had a vision and desire to create a space that would uniquely celebrate Moroccan culture and creativity. He acquired this house when it was almost falling apart (like many riads in the city) and transformed it into a lovely riad with many details such as ingeniously repurposed Coca-Cola boxes and old road signs that became tables and chairs.

Besides them, the space is filled with a mix of other diverse items, photographs, and unique objects that leave you guessing what that is. Come here when in the area to see just how varied and truly cool Marrakech is thanks to unique places like this one.

Royal Mansour Marrakech – a Masterpiece of Moorish-Andalusian Architecture

secret place in Marrakech

The most grandiose and the most luxurious place in Marrakech, hidden from the general public is The Royal Mansour Marrakech Hotel, designed as a miniature replica of the traditional Medina. It is not only named after the Moroccan monarchy but is also owned by King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

Situated on 5 hectares adjacent to the walls of the old city, it comprises 53 individual riads (private three-story villas in Moroccan style with their private gardens, courtyards and even pools), four restaurants, a spa center with a vast pool, 150 fountains, Arab-Andalusian gardens, and 550 art pieces.

This is a real masterpiece of Moorish-Andalusian architecture and a center of luxury that immerses guests in opulence and Moroccan heritage .

walking around Royal Mansour hotel

Staying here is beyond many people’s budget ( check it out together with photos) but I don’t encourage you to do that. Instead, come here for a few hours to get amazed by the stunning architecture and lush gardens, indulge in a meal at one of the Michelin-starred restaurants, see a couple of exhibitions (one with old Moroccan money as you see in the photo above), or pamper yourself with a luxurious spa treatment. 

It is a place of improbable luxury where opulence meets sophistication creating an unforgettable experience even for those who just happen to visit without an overnight stay.

Yves Saint Laurent Museum

            View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Musée YSL Marrakech (@myslmarrakech)

Everyone knows about the cobalt-blue Majorelle Garden as it is one of the most popular places to visit in Marrakech. However, many overlook the nearby museum of the famous couturier, which also offers much to explore.

It is dedicated to showcasing the life and work of the renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and features a permanent collection of Yves Saint Laurent’s designs, including clothing, accessories, sketches, and photographs, highlighting his significant contributions to the world of fashion. Additionally, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions that explore various aspects of fashion, art, and culture.

The building itself deserves special mention as the architecture of the museum is very impressive. It is an excellent example of modern museum architecture. With the first rays of sun, the brick walls take on a delicate powdery hue – a nod to the “pink city” (another alternative name that Marrakech received for the abundance of pink-red houses in the southwestern part).

The facades of the building are completely blank, like most traditional Moroccan houses. But inside is a very different matter – a series of rooms full of things related to Yves Saint Laurent’s life and career, including some interesting documentaries about his life.

Hidden Restaurants & Cafes in Marrakech

Here I want to share my favorite hidden gem food places that you will love visiitng as well. 

Atay Cafe – Secret Restaurant With Views Next to the Madrasa Ben Youssef College

non touristy cafe in Marrakech

Atay Cafe is probably my favorite hidden gem rooftop restaurant in Marrakech with amazing views of Medina and Atlas Mountains . I don’t know why I love it so much – either because it was the first establishment of this type I visited in Marrakech or because it offers a great combo of prices, excellent service, and views, unlike many other restaurants in the city.

Menu here is extensive and diverse featuring African and Mediterranean cuisines. Drinks here cost between 1-70 MAD and food between 50-120 MAD per dish. My friends who told me about this cafe said they enjoyed here delicious chicken skewers , tagines, and couscous with chicken. We didn’t try them but loved parfaits, soufflés, and avocado juice (which was so creamy and perfectly sweet).

Oh, and their ‘nus-nus’ coffee drink with pepper and ginger tastes just like a traditional spiced Berber coffee, which is a rarity in Marrakech. If you get a chance, try it!

Whenever in the area visiting Madrasa Ben Youssef College or just walking on the Rue Amsafah street, don’t miss Atay Cafe for a quick break and instagrammable photos! Exact location is here .

Kui-Zin – Hidden Restaurant for Traditional Music & Moroccan Food Buffet

hidden gem cafe in Marrakech

Just across the road from Atay Cafe, there is another rooftop restaurant that is somewhat hidden and easy to miss unless you know about it. It is a must-go-to place if you want to get some nice views of Marrakech, eat traditional food in a romantic setting, and at the same time have traditional-style entertainment. And all of this while not paying much. 

My experience here was a dinner with beautiful Berber and Gnawa music in the background (performed by local musicians). But a host at the door also told me that on many days during the month, they fill evenings with the captivating melodies of Andalusian music (the one you can hear all over the Malaga region ) that has seamlessly integrated into Moroccan culture, adding depth and richness for centuries.

Mark and I came here specifically for the performance and ordered traditional dishes from the menu. But Kui-Zin also offers a buffet option of Moroccan food at a reasonable price of €18 per person, making it a fantastic choice for an enjoyable and affordable evening out.

All performances last from 19:00 to 22:30 every day (even during Ramadan, we were there during this time) and on some evenings (on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) there is a chance to see a belly dancing show here from 20:00 to 20:30.

Cafe Clock – Non Touristy Cafe Where to Try Camel Meat

Camel meat burger

This cafe is located in the Mellah neighborhood (Jewish quarter) that I mentioned above and is kind of a hidden gem food place in Marrakech where to try camel meat.

Finding this type of meat around the city is quite difficult as it is relatively expensive compared to other meats and is not widely available in local markets or restaurants due to its limited demand and price.

But Cafe Clock decided to stay loyal to the tradition of serving camel meat and does it by offering burgers (which are quite pricey, around $10 for one).

Honestly, I absolutely didn’t like this burger (or better to say the camel patty in it) but I am still glad I ordered it as now I know and can tell what camel meat tastes like. It was all part of the nice experience with the lively atmosphere!

Dar Essalam – the Oldest Restaurant in Marrakech

            View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Restaurant DAR ESSALAM (@restaurant.dar.essalam)

This is actually a highly celebrated restaurant in Marrakech for its exceptional cuisine. Yet, I am adding it to hidden places to visit as I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere and found out about it from a host of the riad where we stayed .

Dar Essalam is located in the heart of the Medina within a 17th-century palace. It was featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Man Who Knew Too Much” so you may recognize it if watched this movie.

The restaurant comprises three halls – K’Dim, a luxurious hall adorned with rich decorations, Bahia, an 18th-century hall designed for dinners for fifty people, and Royal, a beautiful example of Moroccan architecture , accommodating banquets for 180 people, dating back to the 19th century.

Additionally, there is the Marijane hall from the 19th century , with a capacity of up to 130 people.

You come here to taste such national dishes as couscous, harira soup, various tagines, salads, and Eastern sweets. Every evening, it also hosts a show featuring live Moroccan music and songs as well as various dances, including belly dancing.

You need to make a reservation here either over the phone or via Instagram.

Henna Cafe – For Henna Tattoos & Vegetarian Dishes

Moroccan henna

Number one reason I personally love this cafe is the opportunity to get here a beautiful henna tattoo while spending time in a peaceful corner with a cup of coffee and vegan dessert or falafel.

Although the reason I visited was not to get a tattoo done by someone but to ask them to teach me how to make it myself . The owner told me I was the first one to inquire about such service, so he offered a class (90 minutes long) for 150 MAD ($15) with a lady (and him translating) that would include information on how to choose henna (which ones are safe to buy and which ones are not) and detailed techniques on how to draw tattoos on my own.

If you are interested in the same type of experience, you need to go to the cafe first (or give them a call if you have a Moroccan number) and make an appointment. 

But if you are not into tattoos, it is still a nice place where to stop for a full-size meal and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere (however keep in mind, all food options are vegetarian).

There is also complimentary Wi-Fi here and the opportunity to get some work done on a laptop (when you order food). Moreover, guests can partake in Arabic language lessons for a nominal fee.

All in all, Henna Cafe is a fascinating venue where to indulge in tasty vegetarian Moroccan cuisine while immersing yourself in some unique Moroccan experiences!

I am going to update this post and add more hidden gems in Marrakech as I continue exploring this city at a slow pace. But if you have anything special to add of your own, please do, I’d love to know!

More Tips For Marrakech Travel

  • Getting From the Airport to City Center – best transport type for each neighborhood & tips

Similar Posts With Hidden Gem Places 

  • Malaga Hidden Gems – off-the-beaten-path locations where tourists rarely visit
  • Secret Places in Montenegro – to add to your Montenegro itinerary

hidden gems in Marrakech

Anya is originally from Ukraine but in heart she is a citizen of the world. She is working online and that’s why has an opportunity to travel a lot and live in different countries. At present time, she is based in Spain while waiting for the war in Ukraine to be over to be able to return home. On this blog, her main goal is to inspire others to travel to under-the-radar places and discover the world while working remotely.

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » Morocco » 15 Best Morocco Tours

15 Best Morocco Tours

There aren’t many countries in the world that boast the same amount of amazing diversity of climates and cultures as Morocco.

Though it lies in the north of the African Continent, in many ways, it’s more Middle Eastern than it is African.

It’s best known for its amazingly vast, harsh deserts, the fascinating ethnic groups that dwell there, and its cultured cities that are really grand melting pots of many different cultures and ethnicities.

Its bazaars, oases, and palaces are all big draws too, so finding plenty of interesting things to do won’t be a problem in Morocco.

Below are 15 of the best tours in Morocco.

1. Fantasia 1001 Nights Dinner and Show from Marrakech

Fantasia 1001 Nights

If you’ve ever read, 1001 Arabian Nights, which is a compilation of old Moroccan folk stories, you’ll know that the tales are full of magic and mysticism.

Based on those tales, this dinner and show combo is the perfect relaxing and entertaining way to end a busy day.

The theatre is set in a quaint, palm-lined courtyard and includes an array of different dishes from many of the country’s regions and ethnic groups.

The four-hour show includes horsemen, belly dancers, and some pretty incredible acrobats too.

These spots fill up quickly, so consider booking in advance.

2. Atlas Mountains Day Trip with Camel Ride

Atlas Mountains Day Trip

Though Marrakech is an amazing place to explore, it’s good to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle for a spell too.

You’ll get an up-close-and-personal look at North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal.

A stop at Imlil in the Atlas Mountains will give you a fascinating view into the culture and lifestyle of the area’s Berbers, and you’ll get some of the most amazing mountain and valley views to be had in the vicinity.

After some warm mint tea, you’ll saddle up the camels and follow your guide to a waterfall, ancient terraced agricultural works, and an authentic Berber market.

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3. Marrakech Half-Day Quad and Camel Tour in the Desert

Half-Day Desert Quad & Dromedary Tour

If you’re not quite up to snuff when it comes to riding quads or camels, don’t worry, this half-day tour will give you all the training and gear you’ll need to see the amazing desert, have fun, and get home in one piece.

You’ll ride into a real Berber village mounted on your desert-dwelling beast of burden like Lawrence of Arabia decades ago.

In general, Moroccans are known for their warm hospitality; you’ll know why when you join them for some hot tea shaded from the merciless rays of the ever-present desert sun.

Plan on getting back to Marrakech at 6:00 PM.

4. Full-Day Tour of Ouzoud Waterfalls from Marrakech

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Though you might not think there are any waterfalls in an expanse of desert known for its intensity and vastness, the waterfalls at Ouzoud are an amazing and scenic oasis set amongst the village of Grand Atlas.

You’ll be picked up from your hotel and transported to the falls by an air-conditioned minibus. Though the drive takes about three hours, it’s full of dramatic vistas that you won’t likely see again.

After an afternoon spent swimming, relaxing and gawking at the cute monkeys that call the falls home, you’ll be transported back to your hotel and will arrive around 6:00 PM.

5. Overnight Camel Trek to Erg Chebbi Dunes from Merzouga

Overnight Camel Trek

There’s really no more enchanting and authentic way to see the magnificent deserts of Morocco than mounted atop a camel.

This once-in-a-lifetime tour is available in a host of languages and includes stops at Berber settlements, where you’ll dine on traditional tagine dishes while sipping hot mint tea.

You’ll experience traditional desert life while watching the sunset over the dunes, joining in a drum circle, and sleeping in a Moroccan dwelling that’s surprisingly comfy.

If luck is on your side, you may also see some fascinating desert animals like lizards and the pink flamingoes the area is famous for.

6. Desert and Palmeraie Quad Tour from Marrakech

Marrakech Quad Bike Experience

Palmeraie is a breathtaking oasis on the outskirts of Marrakech that consists of hundreds of thousands of palm trees and even a golf resort and beach.

The fact that this remarkable oasis is surrounded by the world’s largest desert makes it a place of great contrast and distinction.

You’ll experience Moroccan hospitality and cuisine, all within a short drive of the city, which makes it a great way to experience the culture and maximize the value of your time.

Don’t expect a hectic pace; this guided tour is all about relaxation, peace and experiencing the mesmerizing beauty of the desert.

7. Berber Villages and Valleys Atlas Mountains Day Trip

High Atlas Mountains

Available in English and Arabic, this day trip will take you across the Haouz Plain, the gateway to the majestic Atlas Mountains and the amazing Moulay Brahim Gorges.

You’ll ride camels on many of the paths that branch into the mountains, from which you’ll reach elevations that just may provide you with the unique sight of tall, snow-covered mountains looming over a vast, hot and arid desert below.

In villages like Imlil, you’ll relax, eat, and sip some hot mint tea to restore all the energy you expelled during the morning portion of your trip.

The afternoon will be spent exploring some remote and amazing valleys.

8. Day Trip to Essaouira from Marrakech

Essaouira

Morocco’s Berber women are a hard-working lot that produce many of the country’s most valuable staples like argan oil, which is produced from the fruit of local argan trees.

This day tour begins in Marrakech at 8:00 AM and after a three-hour journey, you’ll arrive in Essaouira on the country’s Atlantic Coast.

You’ll wander through the ancient city’s narrow streets, breathing in the sea air and taking in the characteristic Moroccan architecture, which stands in beautiful contrast to the shimmering sea and clear blue sky.

After this amazing day, you’ll arrive back in Marrakech at about 7:00 PM.

9. Day Trip to Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou

This jam-packed day trip includes door-to-door transportation to and from your hotel in Marrakech. It will take you on a three-hour odyssey into the Moroccan deserts on the other side of the famed Atlas Mountains.

You’ll traverse a pass that’s nearly 2000 meters high and visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s surrounded by dazzling canyons, forests of palms, and scenic villages precariously tucked into steep mountains.

The town of Ouarzazate is considered Morocco’s Hollywood for its glitz and flash and budding movie industry, which is ideally set near such amazing surroundings.

Expect to arrive in Marrakech at 7:30 PM after a memorable day.

10. A Taste of Marrakech Food Tour and Dinner

Taste Of Marrakech

Marrakech’s markets are known for amazing local fruits, vegetables, and ingredients, most of which are rare and exotic by western standards.

Particularly popular are the dried fruit and nuts that are staples in Moroccan cooking.

Djemma El Fnaa Square is one of the area’s largest and most visited open-air markets and is full of energy, haggling, snacking, gossiping and plain old shopping.

This guided tour will take you into the back alleys and narrow streets, where most locals shop for the things they need to feed their families.

The market is a great place to pick up some souvenirs. After your tour, you’ll eat in a local eatery that’s usually full of locals and tourists alike.

11. Agadir City Half-Day Trip

Agadir City

This guided tour of the coastal town of Agadir begins with pick-up from your hotel.

It’s a three-hour tour that’s available in many languages and is even accessible for those in a wheelchair.

You’ll learn about the town’s past and get great glimpses of the marina and shimmering Atlantic from the Kasbah fort which has played an important role in the city’s history.

There will be plenty of time to stroll past the chic shops on the beachfront promenade and marina, and you’ll also see the chaotic port which is a busy fishing, shipping, and economic hub.

12. Marrakech Monuments and Souks 3-Hour Tour

Koutoubia, Marrakech

This short though complete three-hour tour will give you a local’s view of many of the famous city’s souks – or markets – as well as stops at some of the ‘Red City’s’ monuments, historic areas, and palaces.

You’ll be picked up from your hotel and head directly to Koutoubia, which is one of the city’s oldest and most revered mosques, and considered to be one of the most majestic in all the Muslim world.

Trips to ancient tombs and some of the city’s most beautiful examples of Arabic art and architecture are also included, after which an hour will be spent at the Bahia Palace built in the 19th century.

13. Marrakech Tagine Cookery Class with a Local

Marrakech Tagine Cookery Class

Tagine cooking is a traditional method of cooking local fare using a two-piece, conical ceramic cook pot known as a tagine.

If shopping in the local market for ingredients then getting an intimate cooking lesson from a local sounds like a great way to spend a few hours, then this tour is for you.

You’ll learn about new and exotic spices, the finer points of selecting ingredients, and the correct method to prepare them to simmer away until moist and tender inside the tagine.

This tour is a great way to meet a few fellow tourists and prepare a world-class meal that you’ll be able to enjoy when it’s all done.

14. Tangier Highlights Private 6-Hour Tour

Tangier, Morocco

This superb six-hour tour explores the exotic and sophisticated city of Tangier. Many of its main attractions include chaotic markets and the various caves around the city, too.

You’ll experience unmatched views from the city’s east, as well as a visit to the Spartel Cape – the most northwestern point on the continent of Africa.

This cultural icon of Morocco is among the oldest inhabited places in the region and sits at the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea.

Its rich heritage and lore include a cave that was once thought to be the home of the mythical giant Hercules.

15. Hammam and Steam Relaxation in Marrakech

Hammam And Steam Relaxation

The last thing in the world that vacations should be is stressful, but let’s face it, they can get a bit harrying trying to cram as much as you can into a relatively short time.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, consider this hammam and steam relaxation tour.

A hammam is a Turkish bath, and the Bab Doukkala District near Medina is the place to go to get rid of that accumulated tension.

There are plenty of individualized therapies so you’ll definitely find one that fits your needs.

You’ll relax with a cup of tea as the staff describe the available options.

This may just be the crown jewel of your whole trip.

15 Best Morocco Tours:

  • Fantasia 1001 Nights Dinner and Show from Marrakech
  • Atlas Mountains Day Trip with Camel Ride
  • Marrakech Half-Day Quad and Camel Tour in the Desert
  • Full-Day Tour of Ouzoud Waterfalls from Marrakech
  • Overnight Camel Trek to Erg Chebbi Dunes from Merzouga
  • Desert and Palmeraie Quad Tour from Marrakech
  • Berber Villages and Valleys Atlas Mountains Day Trip
  • Day Trip to Essaouira from Marrakech
  • Day Trip to Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou
  • A Taste of Marrakech Food Tour and Dinner
  • Agadir City Half-Day Trip
  • Marrakech Monuments and Souks 3-Hour Tour
  • Marrakech Tagine Cookery Class with a Local
  • Tangier Highlights Private 6-Hour Tour
  • Hammam and Steam Relaxation in Marrakech

PlanetWare.com

17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Marrakesh

Written by Jess Lee Updated Dec 26, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Marrakesh is a city that effortlessly combines the ancient and the new. The city's name provided the root for the name of the country itself, spelling out this town's importance through the ages.

Within the high red walls of the medina, just soaking up the atmosphere is the main tourist attraction with snake charmers and smooth shop touts both competing for your attention amid a noisy, colorful bustle that encapsulates Morocco's vibrant soul.

For shoppers, Marrakesh's souqs are the best place to visit in Morocco, offering the full scope of the country's artisan work, while the medina's scatter of richly decorated heritage buildings are some of the country's most famous monuments.

Marrakesh is also the gateway into the High Atlas region, Morocco's major activity area, with hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and many other active things to do. Even on a short visit, you can experience a taste of Morocco's mountain life on one of the many Marrakesh day trips offered from the city.

Discover what the city has to offer with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Marrakesh.

1. Shop the Medina Souks

2. experience djemaa el fna after dark, 3. stay in a medina riad hotel, 4. admire the koutoubia mosque, 5. stroll around majorelle gardens, 6. visit the medersa ben youssef, 7. soak in a hammam, 8. be dazzled by bahia palace, 9. hot-air balloon ride over the marrakesh countryside, 10. cycle or horse ride in the palmeraie, 11. check out the saadian tombs, 12. visit dar si said, 13. admire the interiors of marrakesh museum, 14. explore the badi palace, 15. peek into the almoravid koubba, 16. picnic in manara gardens, 17. photograph the marrakesh tanneries, where to stay in marrakesh for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to marrakesh, map of attractions & things to do in marrakesh, history of marrakesh.

A colorful rug shop in a medina souk

For many visitors, Marrakesh's labyrinthine medina (old city) district is the town's star attraction.

The narrow alleyways are a kaleidoscope of colors, scents, and sounds and are bound to be the sightseeing highlight of your trip.

As well as simply wandering (and getting lost) amid the bustling maze, there are myriad shopping opportunities where you can put your haggling hat on and barter to your heart's content.

The main souq area is the tangle of lanes between Place Rahba Kedima and Place Ben Youssef.

Marrakesh medina alleyway

Just off Place Ben Youssef, you'll find Fondouq Namas, an old trader caravanserai that is now home to plenty of carpet shops. Place Rahba Kedima itself is one of the main medina areas for buying spice and spice mixes.

Souq Haddadine is the metalworkers area, while just to the north is Souq Cherratine, where the leatherworkers have their workshops.

The narrow crisscross of lanes between the main thoroughfares of Souq el-Kebir and Souq Smata is full of traditional clothing stalls, while if you follow Souq Lebbadine west, you'll end up amid the skiny alleys of Souq Teinturiers (the Dyers souq).

Djemaa El Fna

This large square at the entry to the medina is the center of Marrakesh life.

The Djemaa El Fna (assembly place of the nobodies) is a vibrant hub of bric-a-brac stalls, musicians, storytellers, fortune-tellers, and snake charmers that springs into life from late afternoon daily with entertainment carrying on until midnight.

An evening spent here wandering between the acrobat troupes and local musical groups is a truly Moroccan experience.

At sunset, the northern section of the square fills with stalls serving cheap meals and snacks. It's also easy to escape the chaos of the square for a time-out at one of the many cafés that rim the square. Many of these cafés also offer the best panoramic views of all the Djemaa El Fna action from their rooftops.

Address: Avenue Mohammed V, Marrakesh

Rooftop terrace of a medina riad hotel

Marrakesh's riad hotels are an experience in themselves, and for many travelers, a visit here is as much about the hotel as it is about the city.

A riad is a traditional medina mansion, centered around a courtyard. Over the past few decades, many have been restored, revamped, and opened as boutique hotels, usually in the luxury and mid-range category (though Marrakesh even has a backpacker hostel based in a restored riad).

Some are palatial in both historic ambience and their Moroccan artisan features, while others blend contemporary style with traditional design.

Modern comforts and amenities such as plunge pools and on-site hammams (Turkish baths) are common in the larger riads, and many also provide evening meals on request.

Koutoubia Mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque is Marrakesh's most famous landmark with its striking, 70-meter-tall minaret visible for miles in every direction.

Local Marrakesh legend tells that when first built, the muezzin (man who calls the faithful to pray) for this mosque had to be blind, as the minaret was so tall, it overlooked the ruler's harem.

The mosque was built in 1162 and is considered one of the great achievements of Almohad architecture.

The archaeological excavation area on the northwest side of the minaret displays the foundations of the earliest mosque built on this site. It was destroyed by the Almohads and replaced with the current mosque.

Non-Muslims are not allowed into the Koutoubia Mosque itself.

Majorelle Gardens

These lush tropical gardens full of cacti, palms, and ferns, are the work of painter Jacques Majorelle.

Originally from the town of Nancy in France, Majorelle came to Marrakesh for health reasons and became well known for his paintings of local Moroccan life.

His most famous work, though, was this garden and the vibrant blue (the color now known as Majorelle blue) painter's studio he lived in on the grounds.

After Majorelle's death in 1962, French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent bought the property, and upon his death in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the gardens.

Within the grounds, Majorelle's old painting studio is now home to a fabulous museum dedicated to Berber artistry.

Just next door to the entrance into the gardens is a museum dedicated to the life and fashion legacy of Yves Saint Laurent, which also hosts a program of temporary exhibitions.

Address: Avenue Yacoub el Mansour, Marrakesh

Medersa Ben Youssef

The sumptuously decorated Medersa of Ben Youssef is one of the finest examples of Saadian era artistry in Morocco. This theological college (completed in 1565), directly opposite the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque, once homed 900 students and was the largest center for Quranic study in the country.

The warrens of rooms where students once slept are clustered around small internal courtyards in typical Islamic architecture style, but the main internal courtyard is the real highlight here.

The fine zellige tiling, stalactite ceilings, cedar-wood detailing, and Kufic inscriptions used as decoration across the courtyard's interior make this medersa one of Morocco's most beautiful buildings and a star medina attraction.

Traditional decoration of a Moroccan hammam

Navigating around the medina can be hot, dusty, and crowded work but luckily there's a traditional way to relax and rejuvenate after your sightseeing and shopping is done.

A hammam is a traditional communal bath (often called a Turkish bath) with a multiple domed interior dedicated to bathing. The process at its most basic consists of steaming, washing, and then exfoliating your skin, with a short massage as an additional service.

While public hammams are scattered throughout the medina and still serve the community, many historic and contemporary-built hammams provide hammam experiences directly aimed at visitors and are a great introduction to Moroccan hammam culture.

Some of the more luxurious hammams also provide modern spa add-ons with a host of beauty treatments and massages available.

Bahia Palace

This magnificent peacock of a palace was built in the late 19th century as the residence of the Grand Vizier Bou Ahmed, who served Sultan Moulay al-Hassan I.

The interior decoration is a dazzling display of Moroccan artisan work combining zellige tiles, painted ceilings, and ornate wrought-iron features showcasing the opulent lives of those high up in the sultan's favor at that time.

The massive marble grand courtyard and opulent salons of the haram area are the two main attractions, while the lush internal courtyard of the grand riad, with its banana-leaf plants and citrus trees, is a tranquil respite from the city.

Address: Rue Riad Zitoun el Jedid, Medina, Marrakesh

Hot-air balloons fly over the arid plateau surrounding Marrakesh

Several companies run sunrise hot-air balloon ride tours in Marrakesh, which provide panoramic views across the city, the palm groves, and surrounding arid plateau and the spine of the Atlas Mountains in the distance beyond.

For photographers, the dramatic vistas are definitely worth the early-morning start.

Flights generally take off just after sunrise and usually include an hour of flight time with a picnic breakfast of traditional Berber dishes offered after the flight, and return transfers to the city center.

Higher priced tours often include a camel ride or quad bike tour after the hot-air balloon ride or offer private baskets rather than sharing the balloon basket with other passengers.

Marrakesh palmeraie

Marrakesh's Palmeraie (palm groves) area is just to the northwest of the city.

Containing around 50,000 date palm trees, the palmeraie is an alternative to staying in central Marrakesh, with plenty of villa-style luxury boutique hotels.

If you are not staying in the palmeraie, though, you can still enjoy a time-out from the city in this tranquil, shady haven as it's a popular destination for cycling, horse riding, and quad-bike tours, as well as camel rides.

Palmeraie half-day cycle tours are offered by a couple of local companies and thoroughly cover the area, while Palmeraie-based stables offers horse rides that explore both the palmeraie and some of the surrounding countryside.

Saadian Tombs

This 16th-century burial ground is home to 66 members of the Saadian dynasty, which ruled over Marrakesh between 1524 and 1668.

The tombs here include that of the ruler Al-Mansour, his successors, and their closest family members.

It's a rambling, atmospheric place, with the mausoleums set amid a rather overgrown garden.

In particular, the main mausoleum (where Moulay Yazid is buried) has a fine surviving mihrab (prayer niche).

The Saadian Tombs were walled up by their Alawite successors and were only rediscovered in the early 20th century.

The entrance to the Saadian Tombs is the small alleyway next to the southern wall of the Kasbah Mosque.

Address: Rue Kasbah, Medina, Marrakesh

Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts

This lovely old palace built by Vizier Si Said is home to a wonderful collection of Berber jewelry in finely worked silver, oil lamps from Taroudant, pottery artifacts, embroidered leather, and marble.

There is also a display of Moroccan carpets and an amazing collection of traditional Moroccan door and window frames, which highlight this country's local architecture styles.

For anyone interested in the evolution of North African art and crafts, it's a lovely place to potter about for a couple of hours.

Near the Dar Si Said, the Maison Tiskiwin has a rather wonderful collection of costumes, jewelry, arms, musical instruments, textiles, and furniture (focused on Saharan culture) put together by Dutch art historian Bert Flint. Another branch of the museum is in Agadir .

Location: Off Rue Riad Zitoun el Jedid, Medina, Marrakesh

Marrakesh Museum

The Marrakesh Museum (Musee de Marrakech) has an eclectic collection ranging from contemporary art to Qur'anic inscriptions, with local ceramic work, textiles, and coins thrown in for good measure.

For most visitors, the real highlight of a visit here, though, is the building itself.

The museum is housed in the Mnebhi Palace, which was originally the residence of Mehdi Mnebhi (a minister in Morocco's government) but was later home to Pasha Thami Glaoui, ruler of Marrakesh.

The architecture is a harmonious blend of local North African form with Portuguese elements, and features an extremely impressive central courtyard area complete with a lavish chandelier.

Address: Place Ben Youssef, Medina, Marrakesh

Badi Palace

The ruins of Al-Mansour's once grand palace are one of the kasbah area's most atmospheric sights. The Saadian ruler built the opulent palace, with pavilions set amid a mammoth garden of reflective pools, during his triumphant reign, but it was plundered and destroyed soon after.

Now the sparse remnants of mosaic-tiled floors, ruined pavilions, and the high enclosing walls are all that remain. There are excellent views across the medina from the top of the walls, where storks have also built their nests.

After viewing the palace, head to the nearby Mellah , the old Jewish quarter of Marrakesh. It was established in the 16th century and is now populated mainly by Muslims.

The small synagogue here has been nicely restored and can be visited, as can the vast Jewish cemetery.

Almoravid Koubba

Also known as the Koubba Ba'adiyn, the Almoravid Koubba is Marrakesh's oldest monument still standing, built in the 12th century during Ali Ben Youssuf's reign.

Although its original use is unknown, some experts have suggested that it may have been the ablution house of a mosque that once sat next door.

Its simple exterior design (a squat, square building topped with a dome) belies an interesting interior, with a dome ceiling covered in Almoravid motifs.

The koubba was one of the few buildings to survive the damage inflicted by the Almohad conquerors, who destroyed much of the earlier Almoravid architectural legacy.

Address: Place Ben Youssef, Medina

Manara Gardens

This huge garden, once a royal retreat, is a bubble of serenity hidden right in the heart of Marrakesh. It's a favorite spot for locals who want to escape the hustle and enjoy some peace and quiet.

The majority of the area is taken up with olive groves, but for visitors, the main attraction and reason to come here is the large reflective pool with its fine pavilion. Built in the late 19th century, the pool and pavilion are a favored spot for many local Marrakesh families, who come here to picnic and stroll.

There are excellent photo opportunities here of the pool with the Atlas Mountain Range reflected in its water, on a clear day.

Address: Avenue Menara, Marrakesh

The tanneries in Marrakesh

Marrakesh's tanneries district is smaller than the one in Fes but just as atmospheric. This is where the leather hides, used for the colorful shoes, bags, and other products you'll find in the souks, get dyed in a myriad of shades.

Come here in the morning if you want to see the tanners working in the colored vats of dye.

For photographers, there are great views over the entire area from some of the leather workshops, which rim the tanneries. You need to pay the shop a tip to enter and head up to their balconies or rooftops, and do expect the staff to try to get you to linger and buy something.

Address: Rue Bab Debbagh, Marrakesh

If you're visiting Marrakesh for the first time, and want to be in the heart of the action, the best area to stay is in the medina, near the Djemaa El Fna, the large square at its entrance. Some of the best-value accommodation options here are riads, traditional Moroccan guesthouses with inner courtyards that are shielded from the hustle and bustle of the medina outside; breakfast is usually included in the price.

Luxury Hotels:

  • Oranges and rose blossoms perfume the air at La Villa des Orangers , steps away from all the medina attractions and the Koutoubia Mosque. This is a Relais & Châteaux property, with three patios, a rooftop pool, and a spa with a hammam.
  • In the medina, near the entrance to the old souk, Riad Dar Anika is a more affordable luxury option, with a lovely courtyard pool and warm Moroccan hospitality.
  • If you prefer to stay away from the hubbub of the medina, the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech is a taxi ride away. Facilities include palm-lined pools, a spa, fitness center, and kids' club.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • In the heart of the medina, the evocatively-named Riad Romance resides in a restored 17th-century building , with a lovely courtyard pool, cozy rooms, and a rooftop garden.
  • Also in the medina, Dar Charkia , with a heated swimming pool, is in the Dar el Bacha antique dealers district. All the rooms are air-conditioned, and many come with a fireplace.
  • Riad Karmela is a soothing oasis amid the medina, with a spa, restaurant, and personalized service. With its family apartments, it's a great choice for those traveling with kids.

Budget Hotels:

  • In the medina and with a pool, Riad Sadaka has comfortable and cozy rooms and serves up tasty Moroccan cuisine, while Riad L'Orchidee has air-conditioned rooms, a plunge pool, and plenty of inviting nooks for relaxing and dining.

Taking an organized tour is a great way to see all the highlights of Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains and experience the traditional culture without the hassle of finding your way around. Along the way, you'll learn all about the area's history, as well as insider tips and stories. These tours also include convenient pickup and drop-off at select hotels.

  • Full-Day City Sightseeing Tour : The Marrakesh Discovery Tour allows you to relax and enjoy the sights while a local guide takes you on a tour through the city's labyrinthine backstreets and bustling souks, as well as historical highlights such as Bahia Palace and the Koutoubia Mosque. This full-day tour includes lunch at a medina restaurant, entrance fees, and pickup and drop-off from select hotels.
  • Half-Day City Sightseeing Tour: Alternatively, the Marrakesh Half-Day Private City Tour offers three to four highlights of the city with stops at Majorelle Gardens, Bahia Palace, and the Saadian Tombs followed by a medina walking tour. Transport is included.
  • Small-Group Atlas Mountains Day Trip : The Four Valleys Day Trip from Marrakech with Optional Visit to Takerkoust Lake and Kik Plateau is the perfect complement to a hectic city stay. This full-day tour gives you a great overview of the Atlas mountains, with a visit to three lush valleys, traditional Berber villages, Ourika Valley waterfalls, an optional lunch in a Berber home, and an optional upgrade to include the Takerkoust Lake and Kik Plateau. This is a small-group tour with more personalized service and a maximum of seven people.
  • Toubkal National Park Day Trip : The Atlas Mountain Three Valleys Day Trip is a private full-day tour of the beautiful scenery in and around Toubkal National Park, with an included lunch and visit to a traditional Berber home. As well as all transport being included, with pickup and drop-off from Marrakesh hotels, the tour itinerary includes a short hike (or mule ride) from Imlil to the tiny mountain village of Ait Souka, a visit to an argan oil cooperative, and a camel ride.
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride : The Atlas Mountains Hot Air Balloon Ride offers a different perspective on the desert and Atlas Mountain foothill scenery surrounding Marrakesh. On this morning adventure, you take a hot air balloon ride for bird's-eye views. Afterwards, descend to ground level for a delicious Berber breakfast and a camel ride in Marrakesh's Palmeraie. Also included is a flight certificate, as well as pickup and drop-off from select hotels.
  • Camel Ride : The Sunset Camel Ride is a great way to explore the sandy trails of Marrakesh's Palmeraie area, shaded by date palms as you ride. The ride takes around one hour and ends at a traditional Berber house with included mint tea and snacks. Pickup and drop-off from Marrakesh hotels is included.

The Almoravides made Marrakesh the capital of an empire that covered most of the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) and extended well into Europe.

With the Almoravide conquest of southern Spain, Marrakesh was invested with the cosmopolitan culture of Andalusia and became a bastion of Islamic civilization and an intellectual center where the most famous scholars and philosophers of the age converged.

Lavish buildings were constructed and splendid gardens designed. The ancient ramparts and gates of the city are monuments to its medieval preeminence.

Almohade armies stormed the gates of Marrakesh on March 23, 1147, conquering the Almoravide capital.

The Almohades under Abdal Mou'min continued their conquest of North Africa, extending their empire through Algeria and Tunisia and moving across the Mediterranean to capture Seville, Cordoba, and Granada. Under Abdal Mou'min, Marrakesh became an even greater Islamic capital.

Marrakesh went into a period of decline under the Merenids, who captured the city in 1269. The Merenid capital was already centered in Fes, and Marrakesh fell into neglect for two and a half centuries.

The fortunes of Marrakesh revived under the Saadian dynasty. The Saadians were tribesmen from the Souss region, who conquered the whole of southern Morocco in a war against the Portuguese colonialists in Agadir.

When the Saadians gained control of the whole of Morocco, their leader, Mohammed Al Mahdi, made Marrakesh his capital in 1551 and began to restore the city.

Although the new city district of Marrakesh was constructed in 1913 during the French occupation and reflects this European influence, the majority of the city (like Fes) is a genuinely Islamic city in both its genesis and traditions.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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After Marrakesh: You can explore some of the most beautiful valleys and gorges of the High Atlas area on day trips from the city but to really delve into this vast region of snowcapped peaks, palm tree oases, and mudbrick kasbahs, take a journey into the High Atlas itself.

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Head to the Coast: Head west to the Atlantic coast to check out some other Moroccan cities. Casablanca is a bustling city and home to the Hassan II Mosque. The capital, Rabat, has a medina perched right on the coast, and Agadir is Morocco's top beach break city, with a swathe of white sand.

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25 ICONIC Things to Do in Marrakech (Don’t Miss #15!)

By: Author Tiana Thompson

Posted on Last updated: March 16, 2024

Categories Africa , Morocco , Travel Guides

Home » 25 ICONIC Things to Do in Marrakech (Don’t Miss #15!)

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marrakech crazy tourist

Marrakech is a vibrant city in Morocco that is known for its bustling souks, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful architecture. If you’re looking for an exciting place to visit, Marrakech is definitely the place for you.

The city is full of life and there’s so much to see and do. The people are genuinely some of the most hospitable I’ve met and were so friendly and welcoming, despite cultural differences and language barriers.

I recently came back from an amazing first visit to Marrakech and I absolutely loved it. I spent an amazing five days there and am already planning my next trip back (see ya in March 2023, Morocco)!

From exploring the ancient Medina and hanging for goods in the bustling souks to riding a camel through the Sahara Desert, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay here. There are so many exciting things to do and see in this historic city, and these 25 Marrakech activities don’t even scratch the surface of all the things this place has to offer its visitors.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing the best things to do in Marrakech , the main attractions you should definitely add to your Marrakech itinerary, and what to avoid while visiting Marrakech .

About Marrakech

marrakech crazy tourist

Marrakech is a city in central Morocco, in North Africa. The city is located just south of the Atlas Mountains.

It is the fourth largest city in the country with a population of over 1 million people. It’s located about 160 miles (260 kilometers) from the capital city of Rabat and is easily accessible by plane, train, or car.

The city was founded in 1062 by Youssef ibn Tachfin, the leader of the Moroccan Almoravid dynasty. Marrakech served as the capital of the Almoravid dynasty and later the Almohad dynasty.

The city is now a popular tourist destination, with many people coming to experience its unique culture and history.

This historic city has been a major trading hub for centuries, and its Souks (or markets) are world-renowned. The Medina is the old city center and is full of narrow streets and alleyways lined with shop owners, stalls, and street vendors. It’s a great place to bargain for goods, as prices are often negotiable.

Marrakech is also known for its beautiful architecture, with many buildings in vibrant colors and landmarks dating back centuries. Morocco is a Muslim country and brings a unique blend of French and Arab cultures. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for an exotic and exciting place to travel.

Marrakech is best known for its bustling souks, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful architecture. It’s also a popular tourist destination for its unique culture and history.

Marrakech is generally safe to visit, but as with any city, there are always areas that are best avoided. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and not flash valuables or walk around alone at night.

Ideally, you would want to spend at least 3-5 days in Marrakech to experience all that the city has to offer.

The best time of year to visit Marrakech is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and pleasant. Average temps during these months range from the low 60s to mid-80s.

Yes, alcohol is widely available in Morocco and there are many bars and nightclubs throughout the city.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to dress conservatively in Marrakech. This means covering your shoulders and knees, and avoiding shorts or skirts that are too short.

Morocco is generally an affordable country to visit, with prices for food and lodging being relatively reasonable. Of course, there are always ways to save money, such as bargaining for goods in the souks or eating at local restaurants.

The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). 1 USD is equivalent to about 9.38 MAD, or $10 USD = 100 Moroccan dirhams.

The official language of Morocco is Arabic, but French and Berber are also widely spoken. In Marrakech, you’ll hear French more often than you’ll hear any other language. It is a tourist-heavy city, so most people will be able to speak English as well.

25 ICONIC Things to do in Marrakech

1. visit the jardin de majorelle.

le jardin majorelle marrakech

The Jardin de Majorelle (or the Majorelle Gardens) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marrakech.

The gardens were created by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1922s. They feature a stunning array of plants and flowers, as well as a labyrinth of intertwining alleys and hallways, bold-colored buildings, and a beautiful blue-and-yellow Art Deco villa. The gardens are home to many exotic plants and trees, including cacti, palms, and bamboo.

The gardens also feature a number of fountains and waterfalls, as well as a cafe on site. The Majorelle Café is only accessible to visitors to the garden and is situated in a perfectly shaded spot where you can enjoy some tea or refreshing beverages while taking a break from the Marrakech heat.

They also offer breakfast and lunch if you want to make a day of it!

The Pierre Bergé Museum of Berber Arts is a museum that is featured at the Jardin de Majorelle, which showcases a collection of Berber art and artifacts. This Berber museum was actually once the former painting studio of artist Jacques Majorelle, who the museum is named after, and was later inaugurated in 2011 as the museum we know today.

From the Rif to Sahara, the more than 600 objects collected by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent residing here bear witness to a culture that is still alive. This vast collection has been organized into multiple rooms displaying various pieces showcasing the rich history and geography of the Berber people of Morocco.

Le Jardin de Majorelle is open daily for visits, from 8am to 6:30pm. The last entry for touring the museum is at 6pm though, so make sure to get there earlier to ensure you have time to see everything. Tickets to the museum can be purchased at the ticket office on-site, but the museum recommends buying your tickets online in advance at least 24 hours before your visit.

This transportation and ticket package costs $32 USD per person and includes a round-trip transfer from your Marrakech hotel, as well as admission to the Majorelle Garden and the Pierre Bergé Museum of Berber Arts. It’s ideal for those who want to enjoy a hassle-free visit to this top Marrakech attraction.

2. Get Lost in the Medina

marrakech crazy tourist

The Medina is the Old City of Marrakech, and it’s absolutely massive.

It’s a labyrinth of narrow streets and bustling souks (markets). With its winding streets and maze-like alleyways, it can be easy to get lost here. But that’s all part of the fun! Exploring the Medina is a great way to experience the true culture of Marrakech.

There are a number of things to see and do in the Medina of Marrakech, such as visiting the numerous markets, checking out the historic mosques, and exploring the many side streets and alleyways. Be sure to bargain when shopping in the markets, as prices are often negotiable.

If you really want to get off the beaten path, head to the Derb el Mitter area of the Medina. This is where the locals live and work, and it’s a great place to find some hidden gems. From traditional Moroccan restaurants to family-run shops, there’s a lot to explore in this part of town.

me in a marrakech market

If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, there are a number of guided tours available. This free walking tour will take you to all the must-see sights in the Medina, as well as some hidden gems that most tourists don’t know about. You’ll hit up some of the best markets, learn about the history and culture of the area, and get an insider’s look at life in the Medina.

The best way to see the Medina is by simply walking around and getting lost. Getting lost in the Medina is all part of the experience, and it’s honestly the best way to get to see the true authentic side of the city.

On my recent trip here, we ended up getting lost in the medina while looking for the restaurant that we had dinner reservations at. We wandered down the narrow alleyways, taking in the sights and sounds of this vibrant city.

We ran into a group of young boys playing soccer, who kicked the ball to my friend who eagerly accepted the invitation to play for a few minutes. We ended up finding the restaurant, but not before getting completely turned around and spending a good hour or so exploring the Medina.

marrakech crazy tourist

So, if you find yourself in the Old City of Marrakech, don’t be afraid to get lost. It’s all part of the fun!

Just make sure to keep your wits about you and carry only small amounts of cash. Though crime is generally pretty low here, pickpocketing and petty theft is common in heavy tourist areas like this one.

3. Explore Djemaa el-Fna

Djemaa el Fna marrakech at sunset

Djemaa el-Fna is the central square of Marrakech, and it’s a hive of activity day and night. By day, you’ll find snake charmers, acrobats, and fortune-tellers, while at night the square comes alive with food stalls serving up delicious Moroccan fare.

This main square is one of the most popular Marrakech attractions due to its vibrant atmosphere, and it’s the perfect place to people-watch and soak up the local culture.

If you want to get a henna tattoo while in Marrakech, this is definitely the place to do it! Henna artists can be found all around Djemaa el-Fna, and they’ll usually have a portfolio of designs for you to choose from.

Prices for henna tattoos start at around 100 dirhams (about $10 USD), and they usually take about 15 minutes to complete.

Note : These henna tattooers will 100% try to swindle you into paying a higher price if they realize you’re a tourist.

One lady tried to get me to pay 60 EUROS for a Henna tattoo after she had finished it and refused to let me leave! I stood my ground and eventually talked her down to $30 (which was frankly still too expensive) but I was over it by that point and just wanted to leave.

Sellers here will try to haggle with you, so it’s best to always agree on a price before they start tattooing.

Sometimes they will even try to charge you more than you agreed upon after they’re finished, so be firm and only pay what you agreed to.

Djemaa el Fna marrakech

Make sure to visit Djemaa el-Fna at night, when it really comes alive!

The square is really popular and therefore extremely crowded in the daytime, which can be a bit overwhelming. I visited both during the day and around sunset, and I can 100% say that the evenings here were much better!

marrakech crazy tourist

Not only is the sun not beating down on you relentlessly, but the square is also much more lively and atmospheric at night. The best time to go is around sunset, when you can watch the square transform from a busy marketplace to a lively entertainment hub.

There are also plenty of food stalls to choose from here, serving up everything from grilled meats to fresh fruit juices. I highly recommend trying a fresh fruit juice from one of the many stalls here!

You can choose from fruits like strawberry, mango, pineapple, watermelon, and even avocado! You can even mix together two fruit juices if you wish (I highly recommend the strawberry-mango!).

Aside from the fruit stands, there are also stalls serving up Moroccan staples like tagines and couscous. The Djemaa el-Fna square is one of the best places to try all the traditional foods of Morocco in one place! You can explore all the street food stands on your own, or take a guided tour.

This 3.5-hour food tour of Djemaa el-Fna costs $50 USD per person and includes a guided tour of the square, where you’ll learn about the exotic spices and flavors used in Moroccan cuisines, like saffron, anise, and cumin. Your expert guide will show you around all the different stalls of the market and you’ll get an up-close look at how locals haggle at the meat markets, as well as see the traditional bread-making process.

You’ll also get to try a variety of dishes, including a traditional Berber meal of ghoulal, a soup cooked with snails! To top it off, you’ll enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner while enjoying the show of the performers in the square.

This tour is a great way to learn about the culture and cuisine of Marrakech in one go!

4. Visit the Saadian Tombs

marrakech crazy tourist

The Saadian Tombs are the final resting place of the rulers of the Saadian dynasty, and they date back to the 16th century. The tombs are beautifully decorated with intricate carvings and tile work, and they’re definitely worth a visit.

At the tombs, you’ll find the bodies of more than 60 members of the Saadian dynasty, as well as their servants and concubines. The walls of the tombs are lavishly decorated with arabesque carvings and intricate Islamic calligraphy, which date back to the 1600s. The Saadian Tombs are one of the best-preserved examples of Islamic art in Morocco, and they’re definitely worth a visit!

The Saadian Tombs are located in the historical city center of Marrakech, just a few minutes’ walk from the Jemaa el-Fna square. They’re open every day from 9am to 5pm, and admission costs 70 dirhams (about $7 USD).

Note: The lines here tend to get long in the afternoon, with tourist groups lining up to view Al Mansour’s chamber. Try to get here right at opening time or later in the day – the afternoon light is the best time for photos here, as the light reflecting off the marble walls is simply gorgeous!

5. Check out the Bahia Palace

marrakech crazy tourist

The Bahia Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings in Marrakech, and it was once the home of a powerful Moroccan ruler. Built in the late 19th century, the palace was designed to be the ultimate luxury home, and is spread across two acres in the heart of the bustling Marrakech medina.

The palace features over 150 rooms, which are all lavishly decorated with intricately carved woodwork, tiled floors, and colorful mosaics. The Bahia Palace is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in Moroccan architecture and design! It has housed a number of important Moroccan figures over the years, and has previously hosted events such as the Marrakech Biennale.

The palace is now open to the public, and it’s definitely worth a visit for its stunning architecture and botanical gardens.

The Bahia Palace is located in the historical city center of Marrakech, just a few minutes’ walk from the Jemaa el-Fna square. It’s open every day from 9am to 4pm, and is closed on religious holidays. Entrance to the palace is about 70 dirhams ($7 USD).

6. Browse the Souks

marrakech souks

Marrakech is famous for its souks (markets), where you can find everything from spices and leather goods to handmade jewelry and lanterns. Haggling is expected (and even encouraged), so don’t be afraid to bargain for a better price! Some common things you’ll find in the souks are spices, herbal remedies for illnesses, Morocco’s famous Argan oil, and handmade Berber carpets.

I got so many goodies from the markets, including a beautiful Moroccan-style lantern, some hand-embroidered towels, and a silver necklace. I even bought some traditional Moroccan mint tea, a spice blend, authentic argan oil, and traditional black soap and an exfoliating glove that they use in the hammams to bring back home with me.

The best time to visit the souks is in the morning, when they’re less crowded and the air is cooler. However, be aware that many of the shops don’t open until later in the day (around 10am), so you may not find much to do if you’re an early riser.

There are a few different souks in Marrakech, but the most popular ones are the Souk el-Kebir (the main market) and the Souk de la Médina (the old city market). The Souk el-Kebir is located in the heart of the medina, while the Souk de la Médina is located just outside the walls of the old city.

7. Wander around Koutoubia Mosque

things to do in marrakech koutoubla mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech, and its minaret is the city’s highest point. This mosque is one of the most important landmarks in Marrakech, and it’s definitely worth a visit – even if you’re not religious.

The mosque was built in the 12th century, and its minaret is 77 meters (253 feet) tall. The minaret tower was actually initially displeasing to the Muslim people of Marrakech, as they felt that the tower did not at all resemble Mecca like it was intended to. The tower was redesigned a few centuries later to make it more like the mosques in Mecca, and today it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Marrakech.

Five times per day, you can hear the muezzin doing the call to prayer from the mosque – it’s a really beautiful and atmospheric experience. There’s even an arrow at the top of the minaret that points in the direction of Mecca, so that locals know which direction to pray to when they hear this call.

The mosque is open to the public and tourists are welcome, but visitors are expected to dress modestly (no shorts or tank tops) and remove their shoes before entering. Even if you don’t go inside, it’s worth walking around the exterior of the mosque to see its beautiful architecture up close.

The Koutoubia Mosque is located in the center of the medina, just a few minutes’ walk from the Jemaa el-Fna square. It’s open every day from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

8. Take a bike tour of Marrakech

pikala bikes

A bike tour is a fun and unique way to see the city while getting some exercise in! Ab bike tour here will usually take you through the Medina (old city) and includes stops at all of the major sights, including the Djemaa el-Fna square, the Saadian Tombs, and the Bahia Palace.

I did this bike tour on my trip to Marrakech and absolutely loved it! Admittedly, I’m not the most sporty person, so initially I was skeptical when my friend told me that he’d booked this 3-hour bike tour of the city. Not only that, but the day we booked the tour for happened to be 106 degrees (46 C) – the hottest day of our entire trip!

I honestly wasn’t sure that I would enjoy this bike tour due to the heat and trying to navigate and busy and bustling city like Marrakech, but it truly ended up being one of the highlights of my trip. Despite the heat, the tour was a lot of fun and a great way to see the city!

Our guide, Fatuma, was very knowledgeable about the history of Marrakech and made sure to include plenty of stops for photos. She was very sweet and friendly, asked us tons of questions about ourselves, and was really interested in getting to know us better. She made sure to go at our own pace and was always happy to stop and answer any questions we had. We even got to try some traditional Moroccan mint tea halfway through the tour, and stop at a community bread-making oven to see the process and try some fresh bread!

The bike tour lasts 3.5 hours and costs $31 USD per person and includes bottled water, juices, and Moroccan sweets at a local cafe, a local guide, and your bike, helmet, and safety equipment. I would highly recommend booking this tour for anyone visiting Marrakech, especially if you’re looking for a unique way to see the city.

9. Try traditional couscous and tajine

tagine in marrakech

If you take a trip to Morocco and don’t eat couscous and tajine… did you really even go? Couscous is a type of grain that’s commonly served with vegetables and meat, while tajine is a slow-cooked stew that’s usually made with chicken or lamb. Both dishes are incredibly flavorful and definitely worth trying! Couscous takes a long time to prepare so traditionally, it’s only served in Morocco on Fridays. However, you can usually find it being served in restaurants all week long. Tajine, on the other hand, can be found being served any day of the week.

Morocco’s food culture has been influenced by a variety of different cultures over the years, including Arab, Berber, French, and Spanish. This can be seen in the diversity of Moroccan cuisine, which includes a wide variety of both sweet and savory dishes.

However, there are a few things that you should know before ordering couscous or tajine in Morocco. Firstly, portions are usually very large, so it’s meant to be shared among a group. Secondly, it’s considered impolite to leave food on your plate, so make sure to eat everything! And lastly, always use your right hand when eating, as the left hand is considered unclean.

Now that you know a few things about Moroccan cuisine, go out and enjoy some delicious couscous and tajine! The food here was some of the best I’ve ever had, and I would definitely recommend trying more than just the traditional couscous and tajine if you have the chance, but these two dishes are certainly a good place to start.

10. Trek through the Atlas Mountains

marrakech crazy tourist

The Atlas Mountains of Morocco are a stunning mountain range that stretches for over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) across the country, from the Moroccan port city of Agadir to Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia. The mountains are home to the traditional Berber people, as well as a variety of wildlife, including Barbary macaques, Barbary apes, and leopards.

There are a number of trekking routes through the Atlas Mountains, ranging from easy one-day hikes to multi-day treks that require some mountaineering experience. No matter what your level of fitness or experience, there’s a trek for you!

I did a two-day trekking trip through the Atlas Mountains on my trip to Morocco, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, and I loved getting to experience a different side of Morocco that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. My favorite part of the trek was camping overnight in a traditional Berber hut, where we got to sleep on the floor and eat dinner with our guide’s family. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget!

If you’re interested in doing a trekking trip through the Atlas Mountains, I would highly recommend this 3-day hiking tour of the Atlas Mountains . It’s a great option if you’re looking for a guided tour and have a few days to spare. Over the span of three days, you’ll be immersed in the High Atlas Mountains’ natural vistas and unique Berber settlements and trek through mountain passes, gorges, and woods alongside an expert hiking guide. You’ll also have the chance to stop by the towns of Imlil, Tinerhourhine, and Aït Aïssa; and take in the breathtaking views from heights of over 7,874 feet (2,400 meters)! The tour starts at $145 USD per person and includes a three-day hiking tour with a guide, three meals per day, accommodation in the Atlas Mountains, and roundtrip transportation from Marrakech.

If you’re not up for a hike, there are plenty of other things to do in the Atlas Mountains. You can go horseback riding, take a camel ride, or even go skiing in the winter! You can even take a day trip to the Atlas Mountains from Marrakech if you don’t have time for a multi-day trip.

11. Visit Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

marrakech crazy tourist

Aït Benhaddou is a fortified city (or ksar) in southern Morocco that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is located on the old caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech, and it was once an important stop for traders travelling through the region.

Today, Aït Benhaddou is a popular tourist destination due to its well-preserved architecture and stunning location at the base of the Atlas Mountains. The city is home to a number of traditional Moroccan buildings, including kasbahs (fortified homes), mosques, and palaces.

One of the most popular things to do in Aït Benhaddou is to take a day trip from Marrakech. The drive from Marrakech to Aït Benhaddou takes about four hours, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city and its surroundings. This day trip to Aït Benhaddou will pick you up from your hotel in Marrakech and take you on a guided tour of the city. You’ll learn about the history of Aït Benhaddou and get to see some of its most important sights, including the kasbah, the souk (market), and the mosque. You can even add on an optional camel ride through the desert for only $10 USD extra and/or a traditional Moroccan lunch to your experience.

The day trip costs $144 USD per person and will last about 10-12 hours. It includes roundtrip transportation in an air-conditioned van, a guided tour of the ksar, and entrance fees to the UNESCO site.

12. Explore the Yves Saint Laurent Museum

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum of Marrakech is a must-visit for any fashion lover. The museum is dedicated to the life and work of famed fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who was born in Algeria and spent many years living in Morocco.

The museum is located in the Jardin Majorelle, a beautiful garden that was once owned by Saint Laurent himself. In addition to Saint Laurent’s fashion designs, the museum also features a number of other exhibitions, including a look at his personal life and his work in film and theatre.

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum is open every day from 10:00am to 6:00pm, and tickets cost $15 USD per person. You can also buy a combined ticket that includes entrance to the museum and the Jardin Majorelle for $20 USD.

13. Eat your way through Marrakech on a food tour

food stand in marrakech

You know what I like to say, the best way to explore a new city is through its food! And Marrakech is a city that definitely doesn’t disappoint when it comes to food. From traditional Moroccan cuisine to international dishes, there’s something for everyone in Marrakech.

If you want to learn about the different types of food available in Marrakech and get a taste of some of the best dishes the city has to offer, then you need to take a food tour! This Marrakech food tour will take you to more than 10 of the best places to eat in the city, including a traditional Moroccan restaurant, a local market, and a bakery.

You’ll get to try a wide variety of Moroccan dishes, including tagine (a type of stew), couscous, and pastilla (a meat pie). And of course, no food tour would be complete without a few sweet treats! You’ll get to try some traditional Moroccan desserts, like baklava and khboz (a type of flatbread). After your tastings, you’ll finish the tour off with a delicious 3-course Moroccan dinner and a cup of traditional hot Mint tea.

This is a great opportunity to eat like a local and learn about hidden food spots of Marrakech that you’d probably miss if you were exploring on your own. It’s a small-group experience that’s capped at 12 people, so you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions and chat with your guide. The tour costs $50 USD per person and includes all food and drink and an English-speaking guide. It lasts approximately three hours.

14. Go shopping

marrakech crazy tourist

My toxic trait? I have to go shopping in every city I visit. It’s a serious problem, but I just can’t help myself! Thankfully, Marrakech is the perfect place to indulge in my shopping addiction.

Not only is the city full of souks (marketplaces), where you can find everything from handcrafted Moroccan furniture to traditional Berber clothing, but there are tons of department stores and malls as well.

If you’re looking for a more traditional shopping experience, then you need to head to the souks. My favorite souk in Marrakech is the Souk des Teinturiers, also known as the Dyers’ Market. This market is dedicated to all things textile, and you’ll find everything from handwoven rugs to colorful silk scarves.

If you’re looking for something a little more modern, then you can head to one of the city’s many malls. The Menara Mall is the largest mall in Marrakech and features over 90 stores, restaurants, and cafes. Some classic stores like Zara, H&M, and Stradivarius have outlets here, as well as a number of Moroccan brands.

Something I didn’t know until coming here, is that the markets in Marrakech are also filled with tons of fake designer bags and shoes for sale. So, if you’re looking for a fake Louis Vuitton or Gucci bag, this is the place to get it! Of course, not everyone is into that, but I know that some of you are, so I thought I would mention it. You can even find shoes and belts with designer logos like Nike, Adidas, Yeezys, and Balenciaga.

15. Ride camels in the desert

camel ride in marrakech

This is definitely the highlight of any trip to Morocco! A camel ride in the Sahara Desert is an experience you’ll never forget. Camels have been used for transportation in the desert for centuries, and there’s no better way to see the Sahara than on the back of one of these gentle giants.

There are tons of tour companies in Marrakech that offer camel rides, both in the desert and in the city. Camel rides can also be arranged through most hotels in Marrakech. Prices vary depending on how long you want to ride for and how far into the desert you want to go, but you can expect to pay around $30-$50 USD for a one-hour ride.

The sunset camel ride I did wasn’t in the Sahara, but rather in a small village at the base of the Atlas Mountains. If you’re short on time, this is a great option as it’s only about an hour from Marrakech. I paid $40 USD for a one-hour ride and it was totally worth it! We learned a lot about camels, including how intelligent they are and how they can remember people’s faces for up to 20 years!

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We were picked up from a central meeting point in Marrakech around 6pm by our local guide, and driven up to the mountains in an air-conditioned van. Along the way, we got to stop at a local spice shop and listen to explanations about the traditional herbal remedies they use to treat illness.

The tour also included a stop at an argan oil cooperative, where we learned about the history of argan oil and how it’s made. We also got to watch the women crack the argan nuts by hand and press the oil using a traditional method. It was really interesting to see how it’s done and to hear about the cooperative’s efforts to empower local women.

making argan oil in marrakech

After the argan oil stop, we continued on to the desert. When we arrived at the camel stable, we were each given a camel to ride and our guide showed us how to mount and dismount. Then we set off into the desert! The views were absolutely incredible, especially as the sun was setting. We rode for about 45 minutes before stopping to watch the sunset over the sand dunes. It was truly a magical experience. After the sunset, we rode back to the stable and were given mint tea and Moroccan pastries.

If you want to really make the most of your camel ride, consider doing an extended camel trek and adding on an overnight stay in a desert camp. You’ll get to sleep under the stars, enjoy traditional Moroccan meals, and maybe even see the sunrise over the sand dunes. This 4-day private camel trekking experience gives you the chance to take in stunning views of Berber villages and scenic landscapes as you travel to the Dades Valley by camelback. You’ll pass through the oasis of Tafilet, the largest date palm grove in Morocco, meet local Gnaoua people, and camp in the Sahara Desert under a blanket of stars. The price for this private tour is $715 USD per person and includes all food, drink, camel rental, overnight accommodation in a desert camp, and transportation back to Marrakech.

Overall, I would highly recommend doing a camel ride if you’re visiting Marrakech! It’s a great way to see the desert and it’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

16. Take a day trip to Essaouira 

essaouira morocco sea view

Essaouira is a beautiful coastal town located about three hours from Marrakech. It’s known for its stunning beaches, colorful fishing boats, and relaxed atmosphere. The Medina (old town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is full of narrow streets, art galleries, and cafes.

There are several ways to get to Essaouira from Marrakech . You can take a bus, which costs around $10 USD, or you can book a day tour through a local tour company.

Or, if you just want transportation to Essaouira but don’t want to do the full tour, you can hire a private car to drive you from Marrakech to Essaouira for about $80 USD per group.

If you’re interested in taking a day trip to Essaouira, I would recommend booking a tour as it’s a long drive and it can be difficult to navigate if you don’t speak French or Arabic. Plus, the tours usually include stops at interesting places along the way that you might not otherwise see. Tours typically cost around $60-$70 USD and include transportation, a stop at an argan oil cooperative, and lunch. It’s definitely worth the money and you’ll get to see some beautiful scenery along the way!

On this 12-hour Essaouira trip , you’ll spend a full day in the seaside town of Essaouira. You’ll visit the old Medina, explore the ramparts and watch the fishermen bring in their daily catch. You’ll also have free time to relax on the beach, go shopping, or try some of the local seafood. The price for this tour is $25 USD per person and includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, transportation to Essaouira in a climate-controlled van, and a knowledgeable guide.

Essaouira is also a great place to test out your surfing skills! The town is known for its strong winds, which make it a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you’re interested in learning how to surf, there are several surf schools in Essaouira where you can take lessons. Prices vary, but expect to pay around $40-$50 USD for a two-hour lesson. This 3-hour surfing and kite-surfing experience is a great way to learn how to surf or kite-surf in Essaouira. You’ll have a professional instructor who will teach you the basics and then you’ll get to practice your new skills in the water. The price for this experience is $30 USD per person and includes all equipment rental, transportation, and a drink.

All in all, I would definitely recommend spending a day in Essaouira if you’re visiting Marrakech. It’s a beautiful town with a lot to offer, and it’s the perfect place to relax after exploring the bustling city of Marrakech.

17. Relax and refresh in a traditional hammam

marrakech crazy tourist

Morocco is well-known for its hammams, which are traditional bathhouses where you can relax and refresh your body and mind. Hammams usually have different areas for men and women, and they often have separate days or times when each gender can use the facilities.

Hammams have been used by Moroccan locals for centuries to cleanse the body, and they’re now becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Hammams typically use black soap, which is made from olives and Laurel, to cleanse the skin.

At the hammam, you’ll first undress and then wrap yourself in a cloth. You’ll then lie down on a heated marble slab and let the steam work its magic. After a few minutes, you’ll cover yourself in black soap and wait up to an hour for it to dry completely. Once it’s dry, you’ll scrub your body with a special exfoliating glove made for removing dead skin cells. After you’ve scrubbed your body, you’ll rinse off the soap and then lie down on the heated marble slab again to relax and let your skin absorb all of the nourishing properties of the black soap.

The whole experience usually lasts around an hour for men, but can take up to three hours for women, as they usually have their kids in tow as well and like to spend their time chatting with friends who are also visiting the hammam.

Hammams are a great way to relax and detoxify your body, and they’re an integral part of Moroccan culture. If you’re interested in experiencing a hammam while you’re in Morocco, I would recommend doing some research beforehand to find a reputable place. If you’re interested in experiencing a hammam, I would recommend going to one of the more well-known and reputable places in Marrakech, such as Les Bains de Marrakech.

Les Bains de Marrakech is a luxurious spa that offers a variety of services, including hammams, massages, and facials. The price for a traditional hammam experience starts at around $60 USD, and they also offer three other spa experiences that each increase in price.

If you’re looking for a more authentic hammam experience, I would recommend checking out Hammam Ziani. Hammam Ziani is a local bathhouse that has been in operation for over 400 years, and is a place where locals go about once per week to cleanse their bodies. The price for a traditional hammam experience at Hammam Ziani is only $10 USD, and it includes the use of a steam room, sauna, and cold plunge pool. This hammam is open daily from 8am to 10pm.

18. See Marrakech from the sky on a hot air balloon

marrakech crazy tourist

One of the best ways to see Marrakech is from above, and there’s no better way to do that than on a hot air balloon ride. This has to be without a doubt one of the coolest things to do in Marrakech.

There are a few companies that offer hot air balloon rides in Marrakech, but the one that I would recommend is Ballooning Marrakech . They offer both group and private hot air balloon rides, and the price for a group ride starts at $120 USD per person.

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, this hot air balloon flight over Marrakech also includes an authentic Berber breakfast in a traditional Moroccan tent. After you spend some time relaxing and enjoying the views, you’ll be served a delicious breakfast of bread, Moroccan pancakes, honey, butter, and coffee. This experience costs $200 USD per person and includes pick-up and drop-off from your hotel, your flight in a hot air balloon, as well as breakfast after the ride.

marrakech crazy tourist

Hot air balloon rides are typically offered in the early morning hours, as that’s when the weather is the most stable. The whole experience usually lasts around three hours, and it’s an experience that you won’t soon forget!

If you’re looking for something unique to do in Marrakech, a hot air balloon ride is definitely something that you should consider.

I unfortunately didn’t have the time to do this on my most recent trip to Marrakech, but it is definitely on my to-do list for the next time I visit!

19. Take a cooking course

marrakech crazy tourist

As we know, the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

But the same can actually be said for women. Well, at least for me it can.

If you’re looking to impress your significant other, or just want to learn how to cook some authentic Moroccan food, I would recommend taking a cooking course.

Morocco is the origin place of so many amazing foods that we now enjoy all over the world. Think of dishes like couscous, tagine, and harira soup. All of these dishes originated in Morocco, and I’m sure that you’ve had at least one of them before, maybe even without realizing where it came from.

This cooking class is taught by a private Moroccan chef named Khmisa, who teaches both individuals and small groups. During the class, you’ll learn about Moroccan cuisine and culture, as well as how to cook some of the most popular dishes. The tour is accompanied by Kawtar, another Moroccan woman who is passionate about food and all things travel and tourism.

She will help you communicate with your guide and join you as you walk through the souks in search of fresh ingredients to use in your cooking. The cost for this cooking class is $45 USD per person, which includes a market visit to buy ingredients, as well as the cost of the food itself.

If you’re interested in learning how to cook some authentic Moroccan food, I would highly recommend taking a cooking course with Khmisa and Kawtar.

Not only will you learn how to cook some delicious food, but you’ll also get to experience the market and learn about Moroccan culture.

20. Spend a day by the pool at Nikki Beach

nikki beach marrakech

Marrakech is hot . Like, scorching hot .

So hot that sometimes the only thing you want to do is lounge by the pool with a refreshing drink in hand.

And there’s no better place to do that than Nikki Beach.

Nikki Beach is a luxury beach club that’s located just outside of Marrakech. It’s the perfect place to spend a day relaxing in the sun, swimming in the pool, and enjoying some delicious food and drinks.

If you want to add on a massage or other spa treatment while relaxing by the pool, you can do that for an additional cost.

You will have to pay an entrance fee to visit Nikki Beach, so be prepared to spend some cash.

A day pass to Nikki Beach depends on which section of the club you want to sit in. The cheapest option is their “Cannes” sun lounger area, which fits up to two people and costs $50 USD for the day, but also requires a $120 minimum spend on food and drinks once you get inside.

For $400 USD you can book the “Marrakech VIP” lounge section of the day club that can fit between 4 to 6 people and requires an additional minimum spend of $700 USD.

nikki beach marrakech

Or, if you’re feeling really indulgent, you can book a VIP cabana bed for the day, which is all-inclusive, with all-you-can-eat food, drinks, and shisha.

With this package, you’ll also have free access to all the services offered at the on-site spa. Prices for this VIP package require a $2000 USD minimum spend and can accommodate 6-7 people. You can find all their lounge bed options and prices on their website .

Nikki Beach also offers a variety of food and drinks on their menu , but it is honestly a bit expensive.

Prices per plate here are closer to prices that you would see at beach resorts in Europe, and not at all similar to standard food prices in Marrakech. You can easily expect to spend at least $25 on a meal here, not including drinks or appetizers.

So, if you’re on a budget, I recommend eating before or after your time at Nikki Beach.

All in all, Nikki Beach is a great place to spend a day if you want to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. But it’s definitely not cheap, so keep that in mind when planning your day here.

21. Ride ATVs in the Marrakech palm grove

marrakech palm grove

Looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity while in Marrakech? How about an ATV tour through the Agafay Desert!

The Afagay Desert is located just outside of Marrakech and is a great place to get away from the city for a day. ATVs rides are a popular choice in Marrakech because they’re fun, easy to use, and a great way to explore the desert.

You can find ATV tours that range from 1 hour to full-day excursions, so there’s something for everyone.

On this quad biking tour , you’ll ride an ATV through the desert, stopping along the way to admire the stunning views. You’ll also visit a traditional Berber village, where you can learn about their culture and see how they live as you drink traditional Moroccan mint tea with them.

marrakech atv ride

This tour is great for both solo travelers and couples, as you can either ride your own ATV or share one with someone else. The $40 cost of the tour includes the ATV rental, a guide, and transportation to and from the desert – you can even choose what time of day you want to go on the tour.

So, if you’re looking for an adventurous activity to do in Marrakech, an ATV tour through the Agafay Desert is a great option!

Just make sure to wear sunscreen and comfortable clothes, as it can get very hot in the desert.

22. Take a tour to Fez

marrakech crazy tourist

Fez, another imperial city, is the cultural and spiritual heart of Morocco. The Medina of Fez el-Bali is the largest pedestrian UNESCO World Heritage site in the world and full of souqs selling everything from spices to rugs to leather goods.

Fez is located about 5.5 hours from Marrakech by car, so it’s obviously not ideal for a day trip. But if you have a few days to spend in Marrakech and are looking to explore some of the surrounding cities, Fez is a great option. There are many different tour companies that offer day trips from Marrakech to Fez, and the cost of the tour will depend on which company you choose.

This 3-day tour to Fez from Marrakech includes transportation to Fez in a group van, a local guide, all meals, accommodation, and entrance fees to all the sights. In three days, you’ll explore Ait Ben Haddou’s Kasbah, tour the Gorge of Todra, and go on an overnight camelback safari to a desert camp in the Sahara.

You’ll visit all the major sights in Fez, including the Medersa Bou Inania, the Nejjarin Fondouk, and the Karaouine Mosque, and also have free time to explore the souqs and do some shopping.

This is a great tour for anyone interested in Moroccan culture and history, as Fez is one of the most important cities in Morocco. The tour includes all transportation and entrance fees, so it’s a great value for the money.

Tickets for this tour start at $174 USD total for three days of exploring and all meals, which is definitely worth it in my opinion.

Note: This tour ends in Fez and does not include transportation back to Marrakech. You will need to make your own arrangements to get back to Marrakech from Fez.

23. Spend the day at Ouzoud Falls

marrakech crazy tourist

Like I mentioned earlier – Marrakech is hot. Like, really hot .

So hot that sometimes you just need to get out of the city and escape to a cool, refreshing place. And there’s no better place to do that than Ouzoud Falls.

Ouzoud Falls is located about 3 hours from Marrakech by car, and it is absolutely worth the drive. The falls are absolutely stunning, and you can even take a boat ride underneath them. Ouzoud Falls is also the second tallest waterfall in Africa, so it’s definitely a sight to see.

The falls are made up of a collection of several waterfalls that empty into the El-Abid river gorge and are surrounded by picturesque mountain scenery.

There are many different tour companies that offer day trips from Marrakech to Ouzoud Falls, so it’s easy to find one that fits your budget and schedule. This tour , for example, includes transportation to and from Marrakech, a local guide, and all entrance fees for only $25 USD per person.

The tour will last about 10 hours, where you’ll be transported from Marrakech to the Cascades d’Ouzoud (Ouzoud Falls) for a day of exploring, wildlife spotting, and swimming. The tour includes all entrance fees and a local guide, so it’s a great value for the money.

This tour is also a really popular one, so booking online in advance is recommended to save your spot.

So, if you’re looking for a cool (literally) day trip from Marrakech, Ouzoud Falls is a great option. And at only $25 USD, it’s definitely worth it.

24. Splash around at the Aqua waterpark

oasira marrakech

Oasira Marrakech is the first waterpark in Marrakech, and it’s the perfect place to spend a hot day.

The waterpark has slides, pools, a lazy river, and even a wave pool. This park is equipped with 8 different pools, 20 attractions, 17 different waterslides to explore. And if that’s not enough to cool you off, there’s also a snow park inside the waterpark!

One of their famed attractions is the AquaRoc, a rock climbing wall course and the first-ever climbing wall in Africa! The rock climbing wall is 5 meters high with 3 different routes to choose from, and when you fall off the rock, you fall directly into the water!

There’s a swimming lane near the rock for family and friends to watch and enjoy.

Oasira even has an indoor heated swimming pool and jacuzzi for those looking for a more relaxed experience. The 4 on-site restaurants will make sure you’re never hungry, and there’s even a waterpark shop to buy souvenirs.

The gardens at Oasira are also beautiful, with palm trees and flowers lining the paths.

Oasira Marrakech is located about 15 minutes from Marrakech city center by car, and it’s open every day from 10am to 6pm. General admission tickets for the waterpark start at $27 USD for adults and $17 USD for children, which includes access to all the rides and attractions.

This day pass ticket with transportation grants you access to the park for a day, and also includes pick up and drop off from your hotel in Marrakech. All tickets include access to all of the attractions, pools, and waterslides, as well as use of locker rooms, showers, and towels.

25. Try traditional mint tea in a tea room

Not to be dramatic, but Moroccan tea was some of the best tea I’ve tasted in my life.

And what’s even better than Moroccan tea? Drinking it in a traditional Moroccan tea room.

marrakech crazy tourist

Tea is such an important part of Moroccan culture, and it’s customary to drink it several times a day. Tea rooms are found all over the city, and they’re the perfect place to relax, people watch, and escape the heat.

The best part about drinking tea in Morocco is that it’s always served with mint, and it’s pretty much always delicious. If you’re not a fan of mint, don’t worry – you can always ask for your tea without mint. But I would definitely recommend trying it at least once!

Tea rooms are usually very casual, and you can stay for as long or as short as you want. It’s common to see people reading, working on their laptops, or even taking a nap in the tea room. And don’t worry, they won’t kick you out!

Drinking tea is a great way to experience Moroccan culture, and it’s something that you can do for free (or very cheaply). So next time you need a break from sightseeing, head to a tea room and enjoy some mint tea.

One of my favorite tea rooms we visited in Marrakech was the Chichaoua Tearoom. This tea room was recommended to us by our riad owner, and it did not disappoint! The tea room was beautiful, with traditional Moroccan decor and a cozy atmosphere, and had a speakeasy kinda feel to it.

We ordered mint tea and sat for hours people watching and chatting with the friendly staff. It was a nice way to take a break from the chaos of the Marrakech medina.

If you’re looking for a more upscale tea room experience, head to Jardin Majorelle. This tea room is located in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea and some dessert. The tea room has a lovely outdoor patio with views of the garden, and the inside is just as beautiful.

In addition to traditional mint tea, they also serve a variety of other teas, as well as coffee, juices, and cocktails. And if you’re feeling hungry, they have a menu of light snacks and desserts.

Where to stay in Marrakech

marrakech crazy tourist

There are a lot of accommodation options in Marrakech, from luxury riads to budget-friendly hostels. Depending on your budget and the type of trip experience you’re looking for, you’ll definitely be able to find the type of stay that fits you.

Before you choose your accommodation, it’s important to know what part of the city you want to stay in. Marrakech is separated into two main areas – the Medina and the Ville Nouvelle.

The Medina is the old city, and it’s where you’ll find most of the historical sites, markets, and restaurants.

The Ville Nouvelle (New City) is the newer part of town, and it’s more modern with wider streets and Western-style hotels and restaurants.

Marrakech Old City vs Ville Nouvelle

If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, the Medina is definitely the place to stay. This is where you’ll find most of the traditional riads, and it’s the perfect place to get lost in the winding streets and experience the true culture of Marrakech.

If you’re on a budget, there are several hostels located in the Medina that offer dorm beds for around $10 per night. These are great for solo travelers or those on a tight budget, and they’re a great way to meet other travelers.

If you’re looking for a more modern experience, the Ville Nouvelle is the place to stay.

This is where you’ll find most of the Western-style hotels and restaurants, as well as some of the city’s best nightlife. The downside to staying in the Ville Nouvelle is that it’s not as authentically Moroccan as the Medina.

But if you’re looking for a more comfortable stay with easier access to nightlife and restaurants, the Ville Nouvelle is definitely the way to go.

Rodamon Riad Marrakech Hostel – ($)

marrakech crazy tourist

Rodamon Riad Marrakech is a hostel located in the heart of the Medina, and it’s a great option for solo travelers or those on a tight budget.

It’s traditionally decorated with colorful Moroccan tiles that line the floors and walls of the hostel, and is equipped with a rooftop terrace and bar that provides panoramic views of the entire city. A bed in a shared dorm at this hostel starts at $26 USD per night.

You can check availability and up-to-date rates for your desired dates on Hostelworld or Booking.com

Riad du Ciel – ($$)

marrakech crazy tourist

This traditional Riad is located in the Medina, and it’s just a short walk away from all of the major sites. The Riad du Ciel has a rooftop terrace with views of the city, as well as an indoor pool and hammam, sauna, and massage services that are offered at an additional price.

All rooms feature tiled floors and traditional Moroccan style decor, air-conditioning, and a private bathroom with a shower. A continental breakfast is served to guests here every morning and is included in the room price.

A double room at this Riad starts at $115 USD per night. You can check availability for this hotel on Booking.com .

Cesar Resort & Spa – ($$$)

marrakech crazy tourist

This luxury 5-star hotel features 3 swimming pools, including one on the rooftop of the property overlooking the Atlas mountains.

The Cesar Resort & Spa also has a spa with a variety of massage and beauty treatments, as well as a fitness center and a kids club. You can enjoy both international and traditional Moroccan cuisine at their on-site restaurant.

The hotel rooms are all decorated in a modern style, and they come equipped with marble floors, air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, an Espresso Crema coffee machine, and private bathroom with toiletries.

A standard double room at this hotel starts at $165 USD per night. You can check availability and up-to-date rates on Booking.com .

Thanks for reading!

marrakech crazy tourist

I hope this list of things to do in Marrakech has been helpful in planning your trip! This ancient city is so much more than just a tourist destination – it’s a place where you can really immerse yourself in the culture and experience the true spirit of Morocco.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these Marrakech activities, so just pick a few that sound fun to you and start exploring!

If you enjoyed this post about things to do in Marrakech, check out these related reads:
Top 9 Solo Female Travel Tips from Black Solo Travelers 14 Mistakes to AVOID in Zanzibar Is Solo Travel Lonely? How to Combat Homesickness while Abroad

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Hi, I’m Tiana – founder of and author here at Where Tiana Travels. I’m a 20-something with a love for all things travel, photography, and food. I have been living abroad for the past 5 years and solo traveling the globe in my free time. I created this blog to share my travel stories and inspire other women to go out and see the world. Read more about me here!

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

22 Best Things to Do in Marrakech, Morocco

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: September 20, 2023

Marrakech truly epitomizes the exotic. Often referred to as the “Red City” due to its vibrant pink-hued walls, Marrakech is an enchanting fusion of ancient traditions and modern flair. Nestled at the foot of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in Morocco, this city brims with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and architectural marvels. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler returning for more, here’s a curated list of the best things to do in Marrakech that promises a journey like no other. Dive deep into the heart of Moroccan culture and uncover the treasures that lie within this mesmerizing metropolis.

Table of Contents

Top Things To Do In Marrakech

things to do in marrakech map

Marrakech is the fourth-largest Moroccan city and was founded in 1062 AD. It still feels as if time has stood still. Visiting Marrakech city is like a dream. In the Medina old town, you’ll be dodging snake charmers while gazing in awe at blacksmiths at work. You will be dazzled by acrobats at the main square of Djemaa El Fnaa and Berber Dancers will entertain you as you fantasize about ancient caravans traveling to Timbuktu. So are you ready to explore Marrakech? Let’s go.

1. Get Lost In The Medina

best things to do in marrakech medina

Visiting The Medina is one of the most exciting things to do in Marrakech. A Medina is the old part of the city surrounded by stone walls and it is bustling with activity. This Medina at Night tour is a great way to get a sense of the energy of the city in a safe environment. Nighttime is the best time to visit Jemaa el Fna as the food stalls light up and locals come out to shop. Your guided tour will share insights into history, culture and traditions offering an excellent introduction to the city.

We couldn’t wait to explore the old city and get lost in the Medina. We stayed in a Riad in the heart of the Medina and had the privilege of spending a lot in this ancient walled part of Marrakech. In the Medina, you’ll discover a maze of alleyways and markets selling everything from carpets and lamps to mint tea and fresh dates. Forget the modern world and lose yourself inside.

Tips for visiting the Medina and shopping at the Markets

Don’t fret about taking a wrong turn, each one will take you on a great adventure. Part of the fun is getting lost in the Medina.

  • Don’t buy the first trinket that you see. Get a feel for prices by bartering and walking away.
  • This is a great way to find out if you are getting scammed or getting a deal. If people let you walk away, you have bargained too low.
  • But if you don’t barter, you could end up paying a hefty fee for a piece of junk.
  • See our Guide to Bartering like a pro

2. Watch the Sun Set over Djemaa El-Fnaa

things to do in marrakech djemmaa el fnaa

If you ask a local what to do in Marrakech, chances are they will tell you to start off at the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. It’s a giant square filled with food stalls and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Grab a spot at one of the rooftop bars to watch the sun go down. There is a minimum cover charge for rooftops around the square but it is minimal and definitely worth it.

For the cost of a beer, you can enjoy the view and watch the chaos from a quiet spot above. Afterward, you must stroll through the stalls for dinner and tea. There are street entertainers from snake charmers to musicians dancing in the square. It is chaotic and full of aromas that ignite the senses. It is a delight to visit and the Moroccan food is to die for.

Expert tips for Djemaa el Fna

  • Go to the rooftop to watch the sunset.
  • Watch for pickpockets they are everywhere.
  • Don’t let someone force a snake or other exotic animal onto you. They may be interesting or cute, but they will demand money.
  • You will have to pay the street performers for a photo.

This was one of our favorite places to visit in Marrakech, not only for the view but because you can really get a feel for the hustle and bustle of the city without being right in it.

3. Shop In The Souks

things to do in marrakech souks

The Souks of Marrakech are simply another word for a marketplace. The Medina has many souks within its walls and they are located directly off the main square of Marrakech. It is here that you truly feel that you have stepped into traditional Morocco. This maze of covered markets weaving through narrow alleyways can be overwhelming. The labyrinth is filled with shops and stalls selling everything under the sun.

There are different types of souks that are connected and lead from the Square, Souk Place des Épices (Spice Souk) is dedicated to everything spice and Souk Semmarine is the largest of the Marrakech Souks.

Wandering a Souk with a Local Guide is an excellent way to explore the souks without getting lost and avoiding stress. Especially if it is your first visit to Marrakech. We often ask our guide what a good and fair price is to pay for the souvenir we are looking for.

Things to Remember when visiting the Souks of Marrakech

  • Vendors can be aggressive and even follow you around. But they are very friendly.
  • Negotiate hard. They expect it.
  • Shop around. Some things are genuinely handmade and some are imported from China.
  • If you are offered tea they are expecting you to buy. So only accept if you are serious about shopping there.
  • If you don’t like to haggle check out the Ensemble Artisanal. Fixed-priced items at a little higher prices.
  • You can watch artisans at work, dodge gypsies, and even grab a quick bite on the run.
  • You have to keep your wits about you though as vendors are aggressive and are hard-pressed to take no for an answer.

4. Visit A Hammam

things to do in marrakech hammam

If you want to experience the truly exotic, a visit to a Hammam is a must. Hammams are a massage and steam bath. Prepare to leave all inhibitions at the door because you are in for the most intimate, painful, awkward massage of your life. But when you sit back, relax and let it happen, it’s also one of the coolest and relaxing experiences you’ll ever have and you’ll want to keep coming back for more!

You will be naked in a hammam. The treatment starts in a steam bath and then the masseuse will come and get you to start the program. You will start with a vigorous scrub with a rough soap and then the fun begins with a massage consisiting of contortions, twists, turns, and a beating.

Private Tour

A great introduction to Marrakech is to book a private guided tour where you’ll begin in Djemaa El Fena to soak in the atmosphere of buskers and snake charmers before heading into the lively markets where you’ll search for spices, and traditional food and peak into the leather shops. You’ll also have a choice to visit the Bahia Palace or Badii Palace and a stop at the Saadian Tombs and Menara Gardens before visiting the Koutoubia mosque which is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. This tour has easy cancellation with a full refund if canceled within 24 hours of trip.

5. Stay In A Riad

things to do in marrakech riad

If you are a couple and want to stay somewhere romantic in Marrakech, we thought we’d start off by booking your trip to Marrakech . When planning your accommodation, a stay in a traditional Riad is a truly authentic experience. We recommend Riad el Cadi.

Chances are your Riyad will be located in the Medina and this is where you want to stay when visiting Marrakech. A modern city is the same almost anywhere, but staying in the ancient walled city is where you will feel the energy and history resonate deep inside.

What is a Riad?

things to do in marrakech riad stay

A Riad is a tall house with a courtyard in the center of the building. Usually, it has a soaker or full pool in its center where you can escape from the heat and a rooftop terrace to take in the sunsets. All Riyads are not created equal so choose wisely.

  • You can book through an apartment rental company and stay in your own private Riyad complete with a kitchen, swimming pool, and rooftop deck.
  • Or you can book a boutique stay at a hotel type Riad where large palaces have been converted to luxury hotels. We experienced both kinds and love each one equally. If you have a few days, why not split it up and stay in both!

Recommended Places to Stay in Marrakech

  • Luxury: Riad Dar Anika :  a Beautiful rooftop terrace with a courtyard pool and attached spa.
  • Mid Range: Riad Asna: It has a pool, breakfast included and has free WIFI.
  • Budget: Riad Sapphire: Located in the medina, with breakfast included, a large pool, and a beautiful rooftop terrace.

6. Take A Cooking Class

things to do in marrakech cooking class

Moroccan food is up there as our favourite cuisine on earth. It can be overwhelming when visiting a new city and culture to figure out the menu and food, so a cooking class is a great way to get an introduction and one of the best things to do in Marrakech.

We took a cooking class at Riyad El Cadi with a local chef and it was so much fun. We had hands-on training in making Chicken Tagine and traditional Moroccan sauces. If you’ve ever wondered why Moroccan food is more expensive than other middle east and Asian countries, it’s because it takes so long to prepare. Everything is done by hand with fresh ingredients like plum tomatoes, olives, nuts and herbs, and spices.

Chef Hassan meticulously prepared 5 Moroccan Salads and two main hot dishes over the course of three hours. We then enjoyed a private candlelit dinner complete with wine and drinks by the fire. Warning! Do not eat before this tour!

Tips for eating in Marrakech

things to do in marrakech morrocan food

Meals take a long time to prepare so give yourself time to enjoy them. Wash your hands before eating your meal if a bucket or sink is provided. Always eat only with your right hand. Read more: Delicious Moroccan Food to Eat in Morocco or At Home

Most establishments will only accept cash so have it on hand, especially when eating at street vendors or food stalls, so always have small bills on hand.

Morocco is a dry country meaning that alcohol consumption is limited. Most places will not serve alcohol, but if you want it visitors can get it, it is just pricier than usual. Alcohol can only be purchased at licensed hotels, restaurants, and in major supermarkets in tourist areas. Read: Etiquette in the Middle East- Travel for Men and Women

Food Tours in Marrakech

things to do in marrakech street food

Another popular food experience in Marrakech is with Souk Cuisine. Souk Cuisine immerses you in Marrakech culture beginning with shopping for fresh local ingredients in the souk before going back to a traditional riad for a cooking class. This full-day experience has become one of the most popular things to do in Marrakech. They even offer full food experiences for up to five days.

  • A Taste of Marrakech: Evening Food Tour + Dinner – This tour takes you through the markets to sample treats from food stalls before enjoying a sit down meal in Djemaa El Fna.
  • Marrakech Walking Tour for Foodies – Take this walking tour to enjoy the scents and flavours of Morrocan cuisine. Try handmade couscous and honeyed pastries, fresh smoothies, and freshly prepared desserts.

7. Visit The Saadian Tombs

things to do in marrakech saaddian tombs

The Saadian Tombs are one of the most visited sights in the city (the lines ups are there to prove it) and thus one of the not to miss things to do in Marrakech. But Saadian tombs are worth visiting for their glorious splendor.

Built by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour ed-Dhabi, these tombs are grand, containing a 12-pillar mausoleum.  After the death of Al-Mansour, the following Sultan walled up the magnificent mausoleum in the 1600s. It wasn’t re-discovered again until 1917. It can be quite busy but no matter how many people are there it always seems so peaceful. Marvel at the beautiful mosaics and marble work or have fun just watching the stray cats jumping around the mausoleum.

  • Rue de La Kasbah, Marrakesh Hours:
  •  8 AM – 4 PM Daily
  • A tour of Saadian Tombs are often combined with a walking tour of Marrakech. Get your skip the line tickets in advance here.

8. Koutoubia Mosque

things to do in marrakech koutoubai mosque

It’s hard to miss the Koutoubia Mosque with its tall minaret standing tall over the Medina. What is even more magnificent is that it is the oldest of the three great Almohad minarets remaining in the world! The mosque is not open to non-muslims, but we did walk around it and explore the walls. 

This is a great place to photograph at night or at sunset as the sun actually sets behind the mosque with palm trees and lively streets dazzling in the golden hue.

9. Take a Tour of the Bahia Palace

things to do in marrakech bahia palace

We booked a tour with Get Your Guide t o the Bahia Palace and had a pleasant day strolling the gardens of this palace. Built in the late 19th century it is a quiet escape from the city as you explore the 160 rooms admiring Morrocan architecture.

You will weave through the maze of rooms built as a riad that includes a mosque, Koranic school, harem, hammam, and stables. Finish off at the Gardens of the Bahia Palace.

10. Jardin Majorelle

things to do in marrakech le jardin majorelle

One of the most popular things to do in Marrakech is to visit the enchanting gardens of Jardin Marjorelle. Thanks to the fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent Jardin Marjroelle was saved from destruction. The botanical gardens are a quiet escape filled with exotic plants and trees. The gardens were designed by French painter, Jaques Majorelle in 1922 who planted exotic plants from around the world. Today it spans 9000 square meters and houses Art Deco and Moorish designs, water ponds and fountains.

Combine two of the most popular things to do in Marrakech with this tour takes you to Majorelle Garden to explore its garden paths, cactus gardens and beautiful landscapes before continuing to Palmeraei to enjoy a camel ride through the palms.

11. Dar Si Said Museum

things to do in marrakech dar Si Said Museum

Also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, Dar Si Said Museum is the oldest museum in Marrakech that focuses on Moroccan carpets. The architecture is very similar to the Bahai Palace but on a smaller scale. Plus, you’ll see fewer crowds here too. Make sure to go visit the courtyard with a fountain surrounded by tiles, mosaics, and beautifully carved doors. It has recently been renovated and is definitely worth a visit.

Opening Hours: Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm; closed on Tuesdays

A full day tour is a great way to include this into your Marrakech itinerary. Learn of the Red City’s history beginning at Koutoubia Mosque. You’ll see traditional crafts and carpets as you wander the streets before heading to Bahia Palace. Stop at the Saadian Tombes and get lost in the souks. It includes a traditional Moroccan lunch and a visit to Dar Si Saïd Museum situated in the Alaouite-style palace of the 19th century

12. The Ruins of El Badi Palace

things to do in marrakech el badi palaace

Another palace that you should visit in Marrakech is El Badi Palace. Built by the Sultan Ahmed el Mansour in the 16th century, the vast grounds offer a glimpse into what life was like at the height of the city’s glory. The palace was once an epitome of luxury, with its intricate stuccowork, shimmering tiles, and vast gardens. However, today, it stands predominantly as ruins, bearing witness to the passage of time and the intrigues of history. During its time, it was considered the 8th wonder of the world.

These ruins, though a shadow of the palace’s former magnificence, offer visitors a hauntingly beautiful glimpse into its past. The sunken gardens, the remnants of ornate walls, and the reflection pools all echo tales of a bygone era of extravagance.

This Tour is an excellent way to see two of Marrakech’s best palaces . Follow your expert guide on a guided walking tour from the medina of Marrakech to the Bahia Palace. With the guide you’ll have skip-the-line tickets to skip right in front of the crowds. This tour includes entry to the Sultan Ahmed El Mansour’s 16th-century Grand al Badi Palace and the option of adding the Saadian Tombs.

13. Ben Youssef Madrassa

ben youssef madrasa what to do in marrakech

A madrassa is a former educational institution and the Ben Youssef Madrasa was the largest Islamic school in Morocco. Walking through the doors feels as if you have stepped back in time and you can picture the students walking its halls and sleeping in the dorms surrounding the courtyard.

14. Visit a Tannery

marrakech things to do tanner

Tanneries have been around for a thousand yes and visiting is one of the highlights of traveling in Morocco. Situated in the Bab Debbagh quarter, the tanneries in Marrakech, although smaller in comparison to Fez, offer a fascinating glimpse into the traditional methods of leather production. Here, craftsmen have been employing age-old techniques for centuries.

The process starts with soaking raw hides in limestone vats to soften them, followed by pigeon poop baths, which further soften and cleanse the hides. Afterward, the leather is dyed using natural pigments, ranging from poppy flowers for reds to indigo for blues. Visitors to Marrakech’s tanneries can observe this intricate process from nearby terraces, offering panoramic views of the dye pits, and are often greeted with fresh mint leaves to mask the strong odor.

I don’t know of any tours that take you to the Tanneries, but there is no shortage of guides offering to do so. Make sure you use an accredited guide with badges to take you. Be sure to ask to take photos and be prepared for the smell.

15. Visit the Jewish Quarter

what to do in marrakech Jewish quarter

The Mellah (or Jewish Quarter) dates back to Marrakech and has undergone major renovations since 2016. It has now become one of the main tourist attractions in the city housing Morocco’s largest synagogue Slat Al Azama and the largest Jewish Cemetery in Morroco.

A good way to explore the Jewish Quarter is to take a private city tour . This tour includes not only a visit through the Jewish Quarter, but Jardin Majorell, the botanical garden once owned by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, the Berber Museum to learn more of Moroccan culture, The New City that has become the hub of modern Marrakech, and other Marrakech tourist attractions.

16. Dar el-Bacha Palace

placs to visit in marrakech dar el bacha palace

One of the Marrakech Medina’s finest examples of a traditional riad is the Dar El Bacha Palace. It was built for Pacha Thami El Glaoui who ruled Marrakech for 44 years until 1956. Today it has been turned into the Museum of Confluences and one of its most interesting displays is a 12th-century map and a well-preserved Hammam.

Arrive at the stunning Moulay El Yazid Mosque then see the Bab Agnaou, one of the 19 gates of Marrakech and the main entrance to the Royal Kasbah. Finally, wander through the fascinating labyrinths of the city’s most vibrant and colorful open-air marketplace. Wander through bazaars full of charm and character, stalls packed with mysterious potions, colorful piles of spices, exquisite rugs, and much more. The combination of sounds, sights, and smells are enough to leave even the most hardened of travelers feeling completely mesmerized.

17. Meet The Locals

marrakech things to do visit with the locals

A visit to any city must include a visit with the locals. Moroccans are very hospitable people and you may find yourself invited in for tea on more than one occasion.

When visiting a household be sure to bring a gift of figs, dates or pastries, remove your shoes, and when they bring around a basin filled with water, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap. And then enjoy sweet delicious tea!

Some useful phrases to help you interact with the locals.

  • Greetings =  Salaam Alaikum means ‘peace be with you’
  • Thank you =  Choukran
  • You’re welcome  = aafwan
  • Yes =  naäam
  • No  = laa (example No Thank you = choukran la)
  • Please  = min faDlik
  • Excuse me  = alaaffw

18. Gueliz – Modern Marrakech

Not every tourist experience needs to take place in the Old Town, there is plenty of modern life in Marrakech as well. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Medina, make your way to Gueliz to enjoy air conditioned shopping malls, bars, cafes and some of the best restaurants in the city.

While the historic part of the city is always the top tourist draw, we enjoy going into the new city to get a feel for real life in Marrakech.

19. Best Rooftop Bars in Marrakech

places to visit in marrakech rooftop bars

One of our favourite things in any city is to sit on a terrace to take in the sunset and the energy of the city. Marrakech has many rooftop bars that offer just that. There are several rooftop patios situated around the main square where you can watch the chaos below as you enjoy a beer from the terrace. Most are free to enter as long as you order food and drink.

Some of the best rooftop bars include L’Amazigh Rooftop a quieter option from the Medina, Nomad located in the Rahba Kedima Spice Square, M Rooftop located at the top of Medina Heritage, Cafe des Espice and Kabana, both in the heart of the Medina.

Day Trips from Marrakech

20. see the dunes.

day trips from marrakech sand dunes

The Sahara Desert is just a short drive from the city center and a visit to Marrakech would not be complete without exploring the dunes. We chose to see it by dune buggy and it was a blast. Bounce your way through palm groves and rock gardens and Berber villages and see a quiet way of living where people tend their sheep and farms.

The landscape is beautiful and it’s a nice change of pace to leave the frenzy of the city for the day. Book your Quad Experience here!

Address:  5 Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco Opening Hours:  8AM – 6PM Daily, Closed Friday

21. The Atlas Mountains and Agafay Desert

day trips from marrakech camel safari

One of the best day trips from Marrakech is to visit the Atlas Mountains. This tour lets you explore the Atlas Mountains and the Agafay Desert in one trip. This guided tour starts with a drive to the Atlas Mountains where you’ll stop at a traditional village for a camel ride and to meet the local Berber people.

Enjoy mint tea and learn how argan oil is made by pressing the argan nut. Continue on to see the terraced fields of Tamatert and then enjoy a traditional Moroccan Meal. IT is then on to the Atlas Mountains where you’ll pass through the stone desert, an oasis, the brown Plateaus and admire the surrounding Agafay Desert.

22. Mountain Biking

day trips from marrakech mountain biking

If you want a bit more adventure, this Mountain biking tour in the Atlas Mountains is a day trip from Marrakech to remember. Take a mountain biking tour through Berber villages while admiring the countryside from dirt roads and bike trails. All gear is provided for your ride to ride to Tizi n’ Tamatert pass that includes lunch, mint tea, and the largest Berber Village in the Imlil valley, Aremd village.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Floating gracefully above the ancient city of Marrakech in a hot air balloon offers an unparalleled vantage point, unlike any other. As the sun begins to paint the sky with hues of amber and gold, the vast landscape unfolds below, revealing the contrast between the bustling medina, the expansive palm groves, and the majestic Atlas Mountains standing sentinel in the distance.

The stillness of the morning air, interrupted only by the occasional roar of the balloon’s burners, provides a serene backdrop to the vast tapestry of Marrakech’s terracotta buildings and verdant farmlands below. It’s a moment of transcendence, where time seems to stand still, allowing one to drink in the sheer beauty of Marrakech from a bird’s-eye view. A hot air balloon ride here is not just an adventure but a poetic encounter with the heart of Mor

Where to stay in Marrakech

where to stay in marrakech riad

If it is your first time in Marrakech, we highly recommend staying in a Riad. Riads are traditional houses that have interior courtyards creating a quiet oasis within the city. They usually have a plunge pool or fountain in the entrance and rooftop terraces for extraordinary views.

Riad El Cadi is a beautiful riad spread over 6 houses with gardens, courtyards, traditional Berber art, and a rooftop terrace. This luxury property has a pool, restaurant, free WiFi, and spa.

This Luxury Riad is recently renovated and located near the city center in the Dar El Bacha district. It combines modern luxury with traditional char. Rooms overlook a central courtyard with a fountain.

Movenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi – is located in the city center just outside the Medina and close to the international airport. We love Movenpick hotels and this one in Marrakech has a well-being center offering yoga, swimming, three restaurants, and a bar. It is surrounded by gardens creating a quiet setting.

Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa and Hotel – Located just outside the city center of the Medina, this luxury hotel is surrounded by a garden and fountains creating a tranquil setting. There are three pools, three restaurants, nearby bars, and a Turkish Bath.

Aqua Fun Club 475 Water Parks – Families will love this all-inclusive accommodation 15 minutes from the city center. There seems to be many water parks popping up outside Marrakech and this one is located on 10 acres of land surrounded by shady olive trees overlooking the Atlas Mountains. Check it out on TripAdvisor

Marrakech Travel Tips

things to do in marrakech video travel tips

I can guarantee that we missed a lot on this list of things to do in Marrakech. After all, we were only there a little over a week but we did manage to fit as much as we could in.

Tips for visiting Marrakech

  • Morocco is a Muslim country and it is important to respect the local cultures and customs. See our etiquette travel tips for the Middle East. 
  • Women should wear light breathable fabrics, long pants, and long sleeves. Trust me, this is more comfortable than shorts and a T-shirt in the Moroccan Heat.
  • Try the Mint Tea, it is delicious!
  • Avoid the Medina at night – like any big city, dark alleyways are best avoided in the dark.

magnet for travelers and history buffs alike, Marrakech offers a myriad of unforgettable experiences, from the bustling souks with their myriad of colors and fragrances to the serene gardens that offer respite from the desert sun.

A place where the ancient city meets the modern world and where French and Arabic are spoken evenly. There are many remarkable things to do in Marrakech that will set your vacation apart from any other. And here are some of the top things to do in Marrakech that will set that vacation apart.

Whenever you visit a city or destination, it takes weeks, even months to truly explore. Do you have any more suggestions on things that you must do when visiting Marrakech?

  • 5 Things to do in Morocco
  • Scammed in Morocco – A Tale of Two Carpets
  • Delicious Moroccan Food to Eat in Morocco or At Home
  • Hammam Spa Tips – Our Surreal Moroccan Massage Experience

15 Stunning Photos to Inspire You to visit Morocco

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Book Your Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner. We have used them for years and have found that they have the best flight deals.

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor.

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Safety Wing - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Book Your Activities: Looking for walking tours, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more? Then we recommend Get Your Guide.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

You May Also Like

Traditional Moroccan Food to Eat in Morocco or At Home

Traditional Moroccan Food to Eat in Morocco or At Home

Hammam Spa Tips – Our Surreal Moroccan Massage Experience

Hammam Spa Tips – Our Surreal Moroccan Massage Experience

15 Stunning Photos to Inspire You to visit Morocco

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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17 thoughts on “22 Best Things to Do in Marrakech, Morocco”

The best place I have ever been to , the country is just fabulous

Marrakech is really a city of cultural, artistic, traditional and natural diversity. Today, its heritage comes back to its history and its legends and even its art.

I believe that Marrakech is among the best cities in the world.

Morocco is a good and nice country

Thank you for reporting and not editorializing. I throughly enjoyed this article!

I travelled to morocco last year and it was one of the best life experience I have. I love the country and especially Marrakech.

Going to Morocco next year so this was a good guide to read. I like the idea of going to a rooftop to watch the sunset at the Medina! And the taking of a local cooking class! Will definitely consider that.

Fifty five years ago, I travelled as a newlywed bride from New England to Marrakech….the cultural shock was a delightful shock! Since then I have returned to Morocco 11 times, exploring the entire County as well as returning to enchanting Marrakech

I would love to return to Marrakech and stay in a riyadh. I can see from all the photos you have in here, they’re all great! Yes, in Marrakech there are many things to visit and see. Especially the moroccan hospitality and the charming city.

I have yet to visit this place. It looks like an old city where everything looks natural and relaxing. I cannot wait to go there.

Marrackech is remarkable. It’s a city that truly transports you back in time and while you are there you feel as if you need to keep pinching yourself. It’s just that cool.

Yes, in Marrakech there are many things to visit and see. Especially the moroccan hospitality and the charming city, you can find them everywhere. Very welcome to Marrakech

Well said! The Moroccan hospitality is wonderful. We made many friends and enjoyed a lot of tea with welcoming hosts.

It seems you guys had a blast on your week-long adventure! I can see from all the photos you have in here, they’re all great! I especially loved the Jemaa El Fnaa.. it looks so enchanting, and cold.

I would love to return to Marrakech and stay in a riyadh. I certainly got lost in the medina!

Suze | LuxuryColumnist

great thank you

Rudderless Travel

Best Things To Do In Marrakech: The Ultimate 24-Hour Tour Guide

things to do in marrakech

Marrakech offers bright colours, loud music, the taste of exotic food, the smell of herbs and spices, and the softness of silk and leather goods. Among the most wonderful and sophisticated places across the globe, a 24-hour – things to do in Marrakech tour, is a perfect way to highlight the rich culture. A place that first caught my eye after watching The Amazing Race.

Planning an overnight short trip or mini-break from  Casablanca  to Marrakech, even if only for 24 hours, was doable. There are many experiences Marrakech, and Morocco as a whole, has to offer – so, at the very least, I would be able to scratch the surface. 

From the beautiful Riad-type accommodations, daytime to nighttime activities, shopping in the old Medina, food escapades, and a lot more, I will be your Marrakech tour guide…for 24 hours at least

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more in-depth stories and interviews.

BEST TIME TO VISIT MARRAKECH

Morocco as a whole sees quite cold winters and scorching hot summers. So if you’re hoping to miss the snow and frost, but don’t want to feel like you’re melting into your seat either, the shoulder seasons are best for travel. 

So for the ideal trip to Morocco, and at least a day in Marrakech, try to plan your trip around March to May (spring) or September to November (fall).

MARRAKECH THINGS TO DO IN 24 HOURS

One day in Marrakech is enough if you know where all the best spots are. And thankfully I’ve figured that out so that you don’t have to. 

So, what is there to do in Marrakech? This list contains the must-sees in the city for those who have limited time to enjoy the sights and scenes.

DISCOVER JEMAA EL-FNAA

What mesmerized me the most about Marrakech – besides the mazes of the medina – was Jemaa el-Fnaa.

Everything from dancing cobras, acrobats, monkeys, snakes, live music, pop-up outdoor restaurants and so much more are available. 

See how the local folks provide entertainment for the tourists who are visiting. The stories are real and you will see the snake charmers charm their cobras in harmless ways. These charmers are thought to have protection from ‘Baraka,’ which is a type of divine magic and blessing rolled into one.

After a night out here you’ll be glad to be back in your riad.

Also, as a side note: Keep lots of change with you. Every time you take a picture of a snake, a monkey, the street bands, the acrobats etc; someone will be approaching you for change.

marrakech crazy tourist

BROWSE THROUGH MEDINA MARKET

I personally love markets. Markets are a great place to get fully immersed in a culture. Markets have local food; fruits, vegetables, fish/seafood, meats, spices, hand-made goods, traditional goods, etc. Plus you get exposed to the language, the customs, and the sights, sounds, and smells.

The Marrakech Medina does not disappoint. From the rugs, carpets and leather goods to the silver, spices and/or hash (if you’re into that type of thing) all top quality. It’s a great chance to pick one-of-a-kind souvenirs for yourself or your friends/family.

We picked up several small leather wallets and Morrocan shoe keychains for our friends and family, a silver ring for Gordana, a traditional curved knife for myself and a traditional silver teapot.

Side note: The fresh mint tea is so good in Morocco we bought the teapot so we can recreate that experience every time we make fresh mint tea.

marrakech crazy tourist

VISIT THE MARRAKECH MUSEUM

This museum is open every day from 9 am to 12 pm and again from 3 pm to 6 pm. It’s a great place to discover the beauty of Andalusian architecture and traditional Morrocan pottery, weapons, and other important items. 

A stop here offers a fantastic look into Morrocan life in the 19th century and beyond. Spending some time here will give you a great feel for the city you’re about to explore.

marrakech crazy tourist

SATISFY YOUR TASTE BUDS BACK AT JEMAA EL-FNAA

Your 24 hour Marrakech tour guide would not be complete if I didn’t tell you about the delectable bounty being offered at the Jemaa el-Fna food stalls.  The taste of exotic food  can be found all around you as the afternoon approaches – the location transforms into a huge open-air food section.

You can choose from a variety of foods, which may be new to your eye and taste. From salads and kebabs to snails, sheep heads (eye in) 

I stuck with traditional salads and kebabs. Yeah I know I’m a wimp but sheep’s head…not really my thing.

marrakech crazy tourist

STROLL THROUGH JARDIN MAJORELLE

If you’re wanting more beautiful places to see in Marrakech, Jardin Majorelle is an absolute must. This  2.5-acre botanical garden  took French Orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle over 40 years to complete.

In 1980, Yves Saint Laurent saved the gardens from property developers. When the French fashion designer died, his ashes were scattered in the gardens. 

The gardens are beautiful and offer a peaceful spot for anyone to stroll through and enjoy the views.

marrakech crazy tourist

DISCOVER BAHIA PALACE

This palace is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things to see in Marrakech. It was built between 1859 and 1900 in two stages. It was first started by grand vizier of Alaouite sultan Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman, Si Musa. Then his son, Si Ba Ahmed ibn Musa completed the project. 

Today you can visit the gorgeous palace and its 150 rooms that lead out to patios and gardens. Although the rooms have no furnishings in them, there is still the decor on the ceilings and walls to enjoy.

marrakech crazy tourist

TOUR THE SAADIAN TOMBS

Located on the south of the side of the Kasbah Mosque, you’ll find the Saadian Tombs. These sepulchres and mausoleums are where the remains of important figures from the Saadi Dynasty were laid to rest. 

Book a guided tour well in advance for the best experience. With a guide, you’ll learn all about the important history of the tombs.

marrakech crazy tourist

KOUTOUBIA MOSQUE

This is the largest mosque in Marrakech, and it’s over 900 years old. If you have the time, this is a real Marrakech must-see. 

You’ll find the mosque opposite Jemaa el-Fna and although non-muslims may not enter, it can be admired from the outside. There are stunning gardens around the mosque where visitors can spend time as well. The most impressive sight, though, is the 226ft (69m) high  minaret .

marrakech crazy tourist

END THE DAY WITH DINNER AT CAFE CLOCK

Hands down the best way to witness gorgeous sunsets and sunrises over the beautiful desert oasis.  Cafe Clock  is highly recommended by almost anyone who knows Marrakech well. It’s the perfect place to end your short but stimulating trip to the city. 

This rooftop bar is one of the best places to go in Marrakech for a hearty meal, refreshing drink, and spectacular view of the sunset and city below. The restaurant is bright and vibey, there are cooking classes offered, and there is plenty of space to relax after a busy day.

marrakech crazy tourist

HOW TO GET AROUND MARRAKECH

Marrakech has busy and narrow streets, with lots of motorcycles and bicycles zipping in and out of the alleys. Some roads are not wide enough for cars, so the most efficient way to get around the city is on foot.

If you do get tired, look for the petits taxis and grands taxis that can give you a lift to your next destination. Alternatively, you can take the bus, although these don’t have very strict schedules. 

There are also calèches – horse-drawn carriages that will take you for relaxing rides through the city.

IS MARRAKECH SAFE?

For the most part, Marrakech is a very safe city for tourists. Foreigners are respected in the city, and the Morrocan government works hard to portray the country as one of the safest destinations to visit. 

There is some petty crime, which is almost unavoidable in any busy city, but the risks are lower than in many crime-ridden countries. And if you take steps to stay safe you shouldn’t have much of an issue. 

As with any city in the world, though, it’s best to stay vigilant while you’re out and about.  Listen to my podcast here  for tips on how to stay safe.

marrakech crazy tourist

WHERE TO STAY IN MARRAKECH

An oasis in the middle of chaos.

Normally I would include a link to the Airbnb or hotel I stayed in towards the end of the post. However, accommodation in a traditional riad is very much a part of the overall experience. So my Marrakech tour guide must start with my riad.

BEST HOTELS IN MARRAKECH (WHICH RIADS TO BOOK)

To get the best out of your trip, it may help to stay overnight so that you can get an early start to your day in Marrakech. For some great accommodation options in the city, here are some top hotel choices for your trip.

Located near all the excitement of Marrakech’s Medina,  Riad Danka  is a homely oasis. The small yet well-run accommodation has an attentive team to look after guests and make your stay comfortable and memorable. 

You can take advantage of the hammam and massage room for some Morrocan relaxation. There’s also a pool and a rooftop garden to enjoy when you aren’t out exploring or spending time in your rustic room that has everything you need.

RIAD DAR ANIKA

The staff at  Riad Dar Anika  goes above and beyond for their guests. You’ll be welcomed warmly and given everything you need for your visit. And at the same time, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning accommodation and all it offers. 

There’s a peaceful rooftop garden, a jacuzzi, and the riad is within walking distance of all the best things to do in Marrakech. 

RIAD LE SECRET DE ZORAIDA

If you’re in Marrakech for a romantic getaway,  Riad Le Secret De Zoraida  is ideal. The rooms all have lovely personal touches like fruits and water – and rose petals! Spend some time in the jacuzzi, enjoy a scrumptious Morrocan meal, and then head out for a short trip to enjoy the nearby Marrakech attractions.

marrakech crazy tourist

WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKECH IN A DAY

One day in Marrakech may seem too short, but if you plan it right, it’s very doable. It’s best to pick your accommodation, organize which transport option works best for you, and then schedule your Marrakech itinerary.

Then get a good night’s rest so that you can fully enjoy all the top things to do in Marrakech in the 24 hours that you have. As well as all of the delicious food on offer in the markets and the cafes.

marrakech crazy tourist

marrakech crazy tourist

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Slow, affordable full-time travel

Marrakesh: Colorful, Crowded, and Just a Little Crazy

Goods for sale in Marrakesh

Last Updated on: 19th February 2023, 08:01 am

When Steve and I were planning our three-month Morocco trip, we decided against a long stay in Marrakesh. Much of what we read spoke of how overwhelming it can be. But we didn’t want to miss it, so we decided to spend four nights in this legendary city.

The articles we read were right; Marrakesh is intense.

Here are our experiences while visiting Marrakesh in January 2023, along with some helpful hints.

All money is in U.S. dollars.

Medina – the old part of a city. It is usually walled. Marrakesh’s medina is over 1,000 years old, and the streets are narrow. For that reason, cars cannot easily drive on them, although we did see a few cars carefully navigating the crowds. Here is more information about the Marrakesh medina .

Riad (or ryad) – a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an indoor garden and courtyard. Riads used to be homes for the well-to-do and are now used as guest houses. You can learn more about riads here .

Souk – an Arab market, marketplace, or bazaar. Souks can be inside or outside of the medina. Learn more about souks here .

Getting There

We visited Marrakesh while staying in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Trains run from the two Rabat train stations, Rabat Ville and Rabat Agdal, many times each day on a direct route that takes less than four hours.

A second-class ticket costs less than $20 per person as of this writing. This will get you a standard front-facing seat. We opted to go first-class since the ticket was just a few dollars more.

It is easy to order tickets online at the Moroccan Railway website . This is preferable to buying them at the station on the day of travel as the lines are often long. I caution you against using Rail Ninja. As we found out when we used them in Hungary, they add a significant upcharge.

The only downside of the trip, thanks to my sister, was that I couldn’t get the song “Marrakesh Express” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash out of my head. You can hear the song and read about how it came about here . Now you, too, can have it stuck in your head (the video may not be available in all locations).

Arriving in Marrakesh

The first thing I noticed as we approached Marrakesh was the color of the buildings. After an overdose of white buildings in Tangier and Rabat and the omnipresent blue in Chefchaouen, I found the warm terracotta of the Marrakesh buildings a welcome change.

Early morning in Jemaa el Fna

The Marrakesh train station (Gare de Marrakech) is in the new part of the city, in a neighborhood called Gueliz. It is only about a ten-minute drive to the outskirts of the medina.

Two photos of the Marrakesh train station

Because of the medina’s narrow roads, our taxi dropped us off near the entrance of the medina, and we had about a ten-minute walk to our riad.

Finding Our Riad

To get an authentic Marrakesh experience, we decided to stay in a riad. We booked a four-night stay at Riad Caesar , which like most riads, is in the medina.

Fortunately, Google maps worked its magic and led us the right way. But at first, we weren’t sure it was the right way. After weaving through crowds along narrow streets lined with shops, we found ourselves on a quiet, run-down street.

An alley in the Marrakesh medina

There weren’t any signs, and only a few doors had numbers, so we struggled to find our riad. To make matters worse, sewer work was being done, so the street smelled like, you guessed it, sewage.

Surely this couldn’t be where our riad was. But it was.

Into Another World

Once we entered the riad and the door closed on the unpleasantness, we found ourselves in a magical place. Because riads are built without exterior windows, there wasn’t any street noise, just a charming courtyard with the requisite water feature.

Courtyard at Riad Caesar in Marrakesh

This was our second riad stay; the first was in Chefchaouen. In both cases, the rooms were comfortable and had adequate heat.

Because riads are small, you get personal attention. The smaller number of rooms also means that they can be individually decorated.

However, there were a few drawbacks. Neither riad had tea and coffee fixings in the rooms and breakfast wasn’t served until 8:30. And in both riads, the breakfast area was unheated. Being January, it was cold.

Like hotels, riads are available at all price levels. We found the prices similar to hotels.

Find out more about what staying in a riad is like here .

Souking It All In

Our first activity was to stroll the medina, particularly the souks. Steve loves wandering through markets, me, not so much. But how could I resist the chance to experience the Marrakesh souks? Although it may seem like one big souk, there are actually several in the medina as explained in this Marrakesh Souk Guide by Continent Hop.

This wasn’t our first time in a Moroccan souk, but it was the most intense. There is no such thing as window shopping in a souk. The moment you dare to look at a product, the vendor pops up at your side. He will not only try to sell you what you were looking at but start pulling things from his booth.

All I could think of as we wandered the souks was that the sellers should learn to read their customers. If I could check out the merchandise uninterrupted, I would be more likely to buy something. The way the sellers act causes me to walk through the souks avoiding all eye contact lest I be targeted.

Moroccan babouche

Three Gardens

Steve and I saw three gardens in Marrakesh: Jardin Majorelle, Anima Garden, and Le Jardin Secret. I loved Jardin Majorelle, liked Anima Garden, and wasn’t impressed with Le Jardin Secret.

Steve was disappointed because of the lack of flowers, but that was to be expected in late January. In addition, these gardens are full of plants that aren’t known for showy flowers, such as palms and cacti.

Jardin Majorelle

Hands down, Jardin Majorelle was my favorite place in Marrakesh.

Four photos of Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh

Judging by the crowds waiting to enter the garden, Jardin Majorelle appears to be one of the most popular attractions in Marrakech. I chose not to purchase online tickets because I expected it to be like most other gardens we’ve been to: not very crowded. Boy, was I wrong.

We were surprised to find a long line when we arrived. At first, our line moved at an acceptable pace, then it stopped. After a while, I went to the front to see why the line wasn’t moving.

A guard told me that they have to control the number of people who can enter at a given time, so we all had to wait until enough people exited the garden to go in.

We purchased online tickets for a few hours later, got lunch, and walked in at our scheduled time. If you go to Jardin Majorelle, you won’t have this problem. As of January 30, 2023, all tickets for the garden must be purchased online.

French artist Jacques Majorelle designed Jardin Majorelle when he and his wife lived on the property from the 1920s to the 1950s. The cubist villa was built in the 1930s.

When he and his wife divorced in the 1950s, he was forced to sell the property. It fell into disrepair over the next three decades. In the 1980s, Yves Saint-Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge, purchased the property and restored it.

I loved walking along the paths where the green of the plants is punctuated with yellow, light blue, and dark blue accents, with a bit of red thrown in. The dark blue is known as Majorelle Blue, a color trademarked by Jacques Majorelle.

Check out “Magical Majorelle in Marrakesh, Morocco” by Exploration Vacation to learn more about this garden.

Anima Garden

Anima Garden was different from Jardin Majorelle but no less interesting. Austrian multimedia artist Andre Heller designed this garden. It opened in 2016.

The garden is a 40-minute drive from the Koutoubia Mosque (which is not far from the medina). Shuttle service is included in the ticket price.

Anima Garden was far less crowded than Jardin Majorelle. Many times Steve and I were alone. But what makes the garden unique are Heller’s statues placed throughout the space.

Two photos of artwork in Anima Garden

Find out more in this article by MarocMama .

Le Jardin Secret

Unlike the first two gardens, Le Jardin Secret is in the medina. And it is not a secret. There was a huge sign in front of it, and it was busy.

Le Jardin Secret is on the grounds of a 400-year-old riad. The garden is divided into two parts, an exotic garden and a traditional Islamic garden.

There is an ornate gazebo, a tower, a restaurant, and an exhibition center. Perhaps the most interesting of all is that you can stay in Riad Jardin Secret . And for any artists reading this, they offer an artist residency.

The gazebo in Le Jardin Secret

Two Palaces

In Marrakesh, we toured two palaces: the Bahia Palace and El Badi Palace.

Bahia Palace

Surprisingly, the Bahia Palace is less than 200 years old. It was built for Si Moussa, a former slave who rose through the ranks of the royal government. The palace is set on two acres in the medina and has 150 rooms.

A courtyard in the Bahia Palace in Marrakesh

The Arabic word “bahia” translates to brilliance or beauty. And this palace certainly lives up to its name. Here you can enjoy exquisite mosaics, paintings, and stuccos. The downside is that there isn’t any furniture in the rooms. Reconstructing the rooms as they were during the palace’s heyday would make the palace more interesting.

We visited the palace midday, and it was mobbed. If you want to go when it’s less crowded and are more ambitious than us, consider getting there when it opens at 8:00 am.

El Badi Palace

Unlike the Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace is a ruin. It was built for Sultan Ahmad Al-Mansur in the late 1500s. The name means “incomparable.” Judging by the video shown at the palace, it was indeed incomparable.

Unfortunately, in the years after Sultan Al-Mansur’s death in 1603, the palace was stripped of its valuable materials. Only the ruins you see today were left standing.

Four photos of El Badi Palace

One Incredible Restaurant

Steve and I didn’t arrive at our riad until late afternoon, and we were famished. Our host recommended a restaurant in the main square, Jemaa el Fna. It served traditional Moroccan dishes, with many tangine and couscous options. Neither of us like these dishes very much, but we had to eat.

We hadn’t had many great meals during our first six weeks in Morocco. We chalked this one up to one more disappointing meal and accepted that we would have to endure so-so meals during our time in Marrakesh.

Then we found Mythe. We were walking through the medina on our way back to our riad when we noticed an attractive entrance to a restaurant along with a comprehensive menu. This alone was unique. The medina isn’t known for sophistication.

We tried Mythe the next day, and we loved it. The food was fresh, beautifully presented, and reasonably priced.

Salad and musicians at Mythe Restaurant, Marrakesh

We ate our remaining meals there. Why risk another disappointment when we knew where to get food we enjoyed?

Other Places We Visited

Ben youssef madrasa.

The Ben Youssef Madrasa is considered to be one of the most important historical buildings in Marrakesh. This college for Islamic instruction was built in the mid-sixteenth century and operated until 1960. The madrasa could accommodate up to 800 students at a time.

Tourists often come here to admire the architecture. In addition to the mosaics one would expect, the madrasa is beautifully decorated with intricately carved stucco and wood.

Four views inside the Ben Youssef Madrasa

We didn’t see any written information in the madrasa. Like the Bahia Palace, I think it could benefit from including period furnishings.

House of Photography

On our last day in Marrakesh, Steve wanted to stroll the souks (again). I decided to check out the House of Photography instead.

Inside the House of Photography in Marrakesh

The House of Photography is a small museum whose goal is to show the diversity of Morocco through photography, postcards, newspapers, and documentaries. I think they hit the mark.

Everything was explained well, and English was prevalent. I particularly enjoyed the film “Landscapes and Faces in the High Atlas” by Daniel Chicault. In this 1957 film, Chicault traveled through various mountain villages to learn how the people of the High Atlas Mountains lived.

How Crowded Is Marrakesh?

It’s pretty crowded, as you can see in this photo:

A crowd of people in a medina

Our first taste of Marrakesh’s intensity was when our taxi dropped us off near the main square, Jemaa el Fna. We walked past a line of horse-drawn carriages and into the square. The word chaotic does not do it justice. Vendors were everywhere, all yelling to get the attention of the passersby. A few of the famed snake charmers played flutes. People walked in every direction, and motorcycles and motorbikes zoomed through the crowd as quickly as possible without killing anyone.

Dates: January 21, 2023 to January 25, 2023 Number of days: 4 Total cost for two people: $750 Cost per day for two people: $188

Cost breakdown: Lodging with breakfast: $340 Admission fees: $120 Food: $180 Transportation: $110

Admission fees included three gardens, two palaces, and two museums.

Final Thoughts and Tips

Locals may expect money for (often unsolicited) help – There are many Moroccans who will gladly help with minor issues, but some of them expect money for the simplest courtesies. Since you cannot tell who is being helpful and who is looking to profit, it is best not to accept unsolicited help unless you are willing to pay for it.

When Steve and I were looking for our riad, a young man asked what we were looking for. We told him the name of our riad. He walked down the alley a bit, returned, and told us it was a few doors down. Then he asked for money by walking alongside us while rubbing his fingers together.

We were hungry and tired, so we were in no mood to stop and start digging around for cash. Better luck next time, fella.

Some locals are persistent. We have learned that we have to be firm to the point of rudeness since a simple “no thank you” doesn’t work.

Be prepared to haggle in the souks – Never accept a vendor’s first offer. It will generally be higher than the item is worth, as the vendors expect you to haggle. Be prepared to walk away if you can’t reach an agreement, but don’t be surprised if the vendor runs after you.

Here are some haggling tips from Travel Talk.

There are a lot of beggars – This was true everywhere we went in Morocco. Sometimes they ask for money, but often they simply hold out their hand. These beggars can be of any age. We’ve seen many kids who reflexively hold out their hands for money as they pass us on the street.

We choose not to give to street beggars. We would rather give money to a respected charity.

Coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth is prevalent – Covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough is very uncommon in Morocco. It appears to be a cultural norm, although I couldn’t find any information about it. After going through the pandemic, we can’t understand why this practice continues.

Is it Marrakesh or Marrakech? – English speakers generally use the Marrakesh spelling, while Marrakech is the French way. The official languages in Morocco are Arabic and Berber, but French is also widely spoken. Most signs are in both Arabic and French.

There is another side to Marrakesh – Except for Jardin Majorelle and Anima Garden, everything we did was in the medina. There is a whole other side of Marrakesh we didn’t even touch on, the area called Gueliz (also spelled Guiliez).

You can read about the modern side of Marrakesh in “ The New Town of Guiliez ” by Marrakech Riad and in “Beyond the Medina: The Modern Side of Marrakech” by MarocMama.

Until Next Time

Marrakesh was one of the most unique places Steve and I have been. While it can be a little crazy, I think it is a must-see if you visit Morocco.

Have you been to Marrakesh? What did you think about it? Drop us a note in the comments section below. Steve and I love hearing from our readers.

Happy traveling, Linda

Featured image by Zakariae Daoui on Unsplash.com

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CrazyTravelista

Why I Have a Love/Hate Relationship with Morocco: Highlights & Lowlights

by Crazy Travelista | Nov 6, 2016 | Africa , Morocco |

I hate you. No, I really love you. Ok, now I hate you again. I’m so torn. Ugh Morocco, you drive me crazy! I just can’t make up my mind about you.

Now that I’m gone I have a clear head to reflect on you.

Morocco was a tough pill to swallow, especially traveling solo as a female. I have never been harassed so hard and aggressively in my life. I thought I had thick skin, but damn! This trip really tested my boundaries and I often questioned if traveling solo in Morocco was actually a good idea or if it was just plain stupid.

My recent trip to Morocco included half solo travel and the other half with friends. I traveled to Fez, Rabat, Chefchaouen, and briefly in Marrakech solo and then my bff Rachel and her bf Ryan joined me in Marrakech, Essaouira, and the Sahara desert.

I never imagined visiting Morocco would cause so much stress on me. I cried 3 times during my trip (and I’m so not a cryer). It was probably the most emotionally challenging place I had ever visited. I enjoyed my experience, but let’s just say I had never been so happy to see my friends in my entire life when they finally arrived.

Visiting Morocco

Here are the highlights and lowlights of my experience in each Moroccan city:

My introduction to Morocco started with Fez, probably not the best first impression I must say. I’ve heard mixed reviews about Fez, you either love or hate it…with the majority not fans of it.

visiting Morocco Fez

Well, I hated Fez. I’ve never been harassed so much in my life. The store owners were the most persistent sales people I have ever met . If I went in and didn’t buy something, most of them got angry and made me very uncomfortable. A few times, they even grabbed me by the arms. Super aggressive and NOT cool.

Not only that, the city smelled really bad and was extremely dirty. I   may get some backlash for saying that, but thats’s my honest observation. The rest of Morocco wasn’t in that condition, just this city.

I think my negative experience started within my first 5 minutes in the medina when I saw some chickens being killed and it scarred me for life. I know that’s life and eat chicken myself, so I’m not trying to be hypocritical here.

But this was different….

I saw this man grab the chicken by the neck, from the backside so its face was visible for everyone to see, and then he took a knife and slowly slit its throat. He didn’t chop it off quickly…he slit it SLOWLY. Like in the scene from Game of Thrones during the red wedding where Caitlin Stark’s throat was slashed. Just like that with all the blood gushing out. 

I literally cried and had to leave. I couldn’t eat chicken after that for awhile. I mean, why did he have to kill it in such a brutal way? It was tragic. That picture will never leave my mind. Never. 

Honestly, you couldn’t pay me to go back to Fez. But I understand everyone’s experience is different and some may like the madness. It just wasn’t for me, and that’s ok. Never again Fez. Never again.

On the bright side: I did buy an awesome leather bag that I will use as my new camera bag, so something good did come out of visiting.

Rabat was such a breath of fresh air after Fez. The capital of Morocco surprisingly had lots of character and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was more calm and less hectic than Fez, which I really appreciated.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BL6qWTwDsM3/?taken-by=crazytravelista

However, my trip to Rabat started off on a bad note as well. For the first time ever, I got totally abandoned by my Airbnb host. Stuff happens and I had to book another place last minute. I only had one day in Rabat and this misfortune took almost half my day trying to figure everything out.

What started off on the wrong foot ended up being okay and I really enjoyed Rabat.

Rock the Kasbah

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLmXG6QjwNl/?taken-by=crazytravelista

If you have time to do only one thing in Rabat, I recommend heading over to the The Kasbah of the Udayas . The walk up to it is a photo treat in itself as the tiny streets are painted bright blue and are so adorable. I felt like I was back in Chefchaouen!

From the Kasbah you can see the surfers riding the waves below and the backdrop is absolutely gorgeous!

Where to Eat in Rabat:

Le Dhow Boat Restaurant – I usually don’t like tourist places, but this was an exception. Only 3 restaurants came up on google maps as being walkable and this was one of them. The funky decorations and the location on the water with a great view of the Kasbah was worth it alone.

Fun fact: the boat was constructed in India and took 2 years to build. It was then lugged all the way over to Morocco. Such a cool story and a great atmosphere.

Oh, and they had wine. All the wine. Wine solves all problems. I ended the day in a happy place!

Side note:   wine is super tricky to find in a “dry” country. 

Chefchaouen (Blue City)

Ahhhh Chefchaouen (insert bulging heart eyes emoji here). I could have stayed here forever.♥

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLnujAnjJIM/?taken-by=crazytravelista

The blue city is often called “ The Blue Pearl of Morocco ”, and that it definitely is!

There are 2 main theories on why the city is blue: to protect from mosquitos/heat and the latter as a spiritual symbol. It was believed that Jewish refugees started painting the city blue to symbolise the sky and heaven.

Whichever theory is true, it’s such a spectacularly beautiful place to see!

Blue city, Morocco

Chefchaouen was my favourite city in all of Morocco, without a doubt, hands-down . It was also where I got harassed the least and felt the safest. I even felt ok wandering the blue alleys alone after dark.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE :  20 Photos of Chefchaouen that Prove it Might be the Most Photogenic City in the World

There isn’t much to do in Chefchaouen, but the magic lies in just wandering around and experiencing the bright blue colors. I couldn’t stop taking photos and it’s one of the most photogenic cities I have ever seen, if not the most photogenic!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLqLk5fjXvy/?

It’s a little (okay maybe a lot) out of the way but SO worth it! I took the CTM tourist bus from Fez and it took 5 hours. Don’t miss this unique city! I have never seen anything quite like it!

Where to Eat in Chefchaouen:

Restaurant Morisco – This one is in the main square, but that doesn’t mean it’s overpriced or super touristy. What to Try :   Tahliya (Goat meat tajine with honey, raisins, and almonds). This was the BEST meal I had in all of Morocco. The meat was super tender and the mixture of sweet and nutty blended perfectly. YUM!

Molin’arte -I randomly went into this one as it was near my riad. The food was tasty and the place was so inviting and cozy. And the fruit juices were extremely good!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLrIS0ujjuX/?taken-by=crazytravelista

I really liked Essaouira . It was a very relaxed seaside town with great local fresh fish! Don’t go there without eating fish!

You can walk through the markets and watch them bringing in the fish straight from the nets. There are many restaurants near the fishing area where you can pick your own fish and have them cook it. It is priced based on weight.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLv-mlyDMCQ/?taken-by=crazytravelista

Make sure they tell you the price of it before you agree to cook it. We paid around $36 for 3 people for 3 sea basses, and lots of calamari and squid. It was super fresh and not “fishy” at all, just how I like it!

Essaouira is also one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones! The big scene where Khaleesi obtained her unsullied army happened right there in the fortress walls near the fishing area! Surprisingly there were NO signs advertising GOT….which may be a good thing since there weren’t many tourists! #score

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLstISNDgsc/?taken-by=crazytravelista

For a good sunset : head to Taros rooftop. It’s kinda touristy but they serve alcohol and the views can’t be beat! We highly enjoyed it. Did I mention they have wine? THEY HAVE WINE!

For brekkie/brunch : Yoo

Fresh juices and frozen yogurt parfaits. Healthy, yummy, and in a cute little secluded square.

For dinner : Tiskala

The ambiance of this place can’t be beat. It’s super cozy, dimly lit, with separate little seating areas and comfy couches. The food was pretty good, but I wouldn’t say awesome. But the ambiance won us over and we went back twice!

Ohhh Marrakech, where do I begin? Marrakech is hectic AF! That’s the best way to describe it. There is SO much going on at all times and it’s very fast paced.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLtvUCijaHd/?taken-by=crazytravelista

You’ll see snake charmers, street food vendors, various performers, monkeys with chains tied to their necks (poor things), henna artists, and so much   more. You name it. Marrakech has got it.

The Souks of Marrakech

Marrakech has the best souks in all of Morocco, hands-down. It was the best shopping and I highly regretted buying a bunch of stuff beforehand in other cities.

visiting Morocco

I found the same items for a fraction of the price in Marrakech. Marrakech was my last stop on the trip so it was hard to hold out! Wait til Marrakech to do your shopping! Just do.

Specialty items : leather goods, pashmina scarfs, sandals, carpets, spices, dried fruits, argon oil, tea sets, hats, etc.

Ahhh Marrakech had such unique things! If I hadn’t taken a RyanAir flight with already overflowing luggage, I would have bought SO much more! I wanted it ALL!! I would go back to Marrakech solely for the shopping!

Don’t miss : Fruit juices. The fruit juice stands were abundant in the main squares. Starting at 4 dirham ($.40), we had about 2-3 juices a day! They were so refreshing and so good!

Where to eat in Marrakech if you get sick of Tajines:

Henna Art Cafe for fresh juices, a comfy rooftop, and affordable/unique dishes.

Earth Cafe for healthy veg/vegan options.

Nomad for hearty and flavorful food (also the great rooftop views!).

Note : most restaurants on this trip were picked by my bff Rachel, as she is the foodie in the group and does all the research, so I definitely can’t take credit for it. Thanks wifey!

If you’re not opposed to getting severely harassed/haggled and have a strong stomach, street food is a cheap option.

What to do in Marrakech:

  • shop til you drop in the souks.
  • don’t miss tasting the fruit juices.
  • drink mint tea. As much as you can. Everywhere.
  • entertainment galore in Jamaa el Fna square.
  • visit Ben Yousseff Madrasa for beautiful architecture and an inside look into a former traditional Moroccan school
  • visit Majorelle Jardin outside the medina . It was beautifully decorated and had some really cool plant life (especially the cacti)! A taxi from the medina should not cost more than 50 dirham!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMCLVHFjLBo/?taken-by=crazytravelista

What I didn’t like about Marrakech:

The monkeys on chains for entertainment and the pushy/rude vendors.

When we walked down the food vendor “aisle”, each vendor would aggressively step in front of us so we couldn’t move and shoved a menu in our faces. All we wanted to do was take a look at options, but that was impossible to do when they literally blocked us off from seeing anything else. 

I have an issue with personal space and I get really defensive when someone impinges on that, especially if they touch me. A few times, I just wanted them to back the fuck off. Is that too much to ask?

We were even called derogatory names when we didn’t want to eat at certain food cart vendors. They thought we were British and were bad mouthing British people. One yelled at me to go back to my country. Is that really necessary? Not a delightful experience at all.

Sahara desert

https://www.instagram.com/p/BL1OmtIjgzx/?taken-by=crazytravelista

You can’t go to Morocco and skip the Sahara desert . I feel like this is THE quintessential thing to do in Morocco. But keep in mind that it is extremely far! As in, most your time will be spent driving. It’s 9-10 hours from Marrakech. It’s painful but the Sahara desert totally is worth it!

Despite our shitty tour company, riding camels in the Sahara desert during sunrise and sunset and laying on the sand viewing the Milky Way was one of my best travel moments yet! Nothing can beat that. We also got to stop in Ait Ben Haddou , another GOT filming location, which we were super excited about!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLwhhA0j0D5/?taken-by=crazytravelista

Learn from my mistake : there are several ways to book Sahara tours..online, through your riad or hostel, or on the streets of the medina from various vendors.

Booking in advance online is usually twice as much. It’s cheaper to book when you arrive through your riad/hostel or street vendors. We booked through our riad for €92 for 3days/2nights.

Our riad was great, however, this tour they offered was awful! The accommodation were extremely low budget, the food was complete shit, and our tour guide was terrible/kinda a dick. And worst of all, they didn’t accommodate my gluten allergy like they promised. All they had was bread and a cake for breakfast with no other options, so I went completely without breakfast, watching everyone else eat, leaving me in tears one day because I was starving/hangry.

If you book on arrival, make sure to get ALL the details and have them show you pictures of the accommodations. If I could do it again, I would have paid more to have a better quality tour for sure!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BL0vTx0jvJl/?taken-by=crazytravelista

Would I Return to Morocco?

I have such mixed emotions when it comes to visiting Morocco . I don’t  like to say never, but I honestly don’t see myself returning to Morocco any time in the near future. I had a crazy time and I got to travel with my bff and her bf for most of the trip so that made it extra special.

It’s definitely not one of my favorite places I’ve visited, but I’m so glad I went because I liked to be shocked and surprised. And that was 100% accomplished! But by the end of it, I was definitely ready to leave and return to calmness, cleanliness, and lack of daily harassment.

I saw some wild and new things, I experienced gazing under the stars in the Sahara desert, seeing the Milky Way, riding camels dressed like Princess Jasmine, drank way too much green tea, walked the maze like streets of the heavenly blue city, was forced into a quick marriage with a local Berber man with a ceremony while visiting a Berber village (joking but it was funny…he even had a quick ceremony in the presence of all our tour members #awkward), bought some unique souvenirs, and experienced a culture so different than what I have ever seen.

Morocco was hard on me, but it’s such an interesting country with so much to experience. I was always on the edge of my seat, my senses were forced into overdrive, and my boundaries were constantly being tested.  Morocco is hectic, it’s crazy, it’s dynamic, and at some times shocking, but it’s such a vibrant place you will surely never forget!

If you could only visit 2 places in Morocco, I would definitely say the Sahara desert and Chefchaoen . These 2 places were the highlights of my trip!

Morocco is a 3rd world country, so go in expecting lower standards than you’re used to and you wont be disappointed. If you like madness, you will love Morocco.

Although I’m in no rush to get back, I would definitely recommend anyone to go and visit, Morocco is a must! Weird to hear after reading this, huh? Can you feel the dichotomy here ? 

Morocco surely gave me thicker skin and now I feel like I can take on anywhere! Bring it on world, bring it on!

Have you been to Morocco? Have you had similar experiences, or completely the opposite? Let’s discuss!

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COMMENTS

  1. 25 Best Things to Do in Marrakesh (Morocco)

    Souk Sebbaghine, the dyers' souk, is a photographer's dream with its strands of wool in bright colours drying overhead. You will be expected to haggle, but through this act it's worth bearing in mind that all traders want to make a sale. Recommended tour: Marrakech: 3-Hour Colorful Souks Tour. 3. Koutoubia Mosque.

  2. 15 Best Day Trips from Marrakech

    From deserts and waterfalls to Berber villages and rocky valleys, there are many day trips to take from Marrakech. 1. Ouzoud Falls. Source: Alberto Loyo / shutterstock. Ouzoud Falls. The Ouzoud Falls are an incredibly impressive set of waterfalls that plunge from high cliffs far down into a huge basin.

  3. 15 Best Places to Visit in Morocco

    2. Marrakech. Source: flickr. Marrakech. Ah, Marrakech: the quintessential medina town of the Moroccan Maghreb. The onetime piece de resistance in the crown of the Almoravid dynasty, it sits sparkling in hues of ochre and beige stone beneath the scintillating tips of the Atlas Mountains.

  4. The 17 best things to do in Marrakech

    2. Souk Semmarine. Souk Semmarine is the Bond St of Marrakech's central souks, lined with carpets, cut brass lanterns, leatherwork and babouche. Dive in and get lost in the tangle of alleys ...

  5. 28 Incredible Things to Do in Marrakech, Morocco

    The open-air market and square is a popular meeting point for locals and one of the top free things to do in Marrakech. Throughout the day, the market is a hub of activity, noise, aromas and visual stimulation. Wander, again, with the aim of getting lost to find snake charmers around the corner, flanked by fortune tellers and street eats.

  6. 15 Ultimate Marrakesh Experiences: Top Things To Do On a Visit to

    Riad Les Nuits de Marrakech: ... Every tourist sight, Medina alley and Marrakesh park have one thing in common: innocent little cats struggling for survival on the city streets. Cats are sacred in Islam, mostly due to the love shown for them by the Prophet Muhammad, but they seemed to be more just tolerated than revered in Marrakesh. ...

  7. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Marrakech (2024)

    By 267helip. Tickets for Casablanca, Fez and Tangier are sold by the entrance to the tracks. See ways to experience (4) 12. Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech. 2,162. Speciality Museums. Chic museum dedicated to a fashion icon's legacy, featuring curated exhibits of garments, jewelry, and a tranquil garden.

  8. 16 Really Useful Tips for Visiting Marrakech

    Morocco's pink city can be incredibly overwhelming, and whilst you can absolutely visit without having done the research, knowing what to expect or some top travel tips for Marrakech can make your visit all that more enjoyable. So here they are - 16 really useful tips for visiting Marrakech. (even more useful for first time visitors)

  9. 15 best things to do Marrakesh

    Crazy and chaotic Marrakesh is the full to the brim of things to do and is the perfect destination for a long weekend. The eclectic mix of a distinctly Middle Eastern culture, a close proximity to Europe and a touch of Africa in everything it does makes the vibrant Marrakesh an amazing city break option with an abundance of must see sights and things to do.

  10. Marrakech: 18 Things To Do in this Magical City

    Marrakech is the most popular tourist destination in Morocco and for good reason. You could spend 4-5 days exploring the historic sights and wandering the winding souks of Marrakech. ... There are dozens of restaurants surrounding the Jemaa el-Fnaa offering terraces with stunning views of the crazy scene below. Grab a front table at least an ...

  11. 11 completely unique things to do in Marrakech

    This ksar (fortified village) has been around since the 11th century and has recently become a favorite film location. Just a few of the 20+ films include Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, AD The Bible, The Mummy and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Aït Ben Haddon - Ouarzazate - Ali Baba filming location Morocco.

  12. A Quick Marrakech Itinerary

    La Sultana Spa, Marrakech. A Great Place For Culture Vultures In Marrakech. Venture into the medina to Riad Yima, artist Hassan Hajjaj's boutique gallery and tearoom. Nicknamed the 'Andy Warhol of Marrakech', Hassan's unique style blends east and west, with an astute sense of humour. As you explore the colourful riad you'll find ...

  13. 15 Unique Hidden Gems in Marrakech & Alternative Places to Visit

    Riad Kbour & Chou - hidden in the northwestern corner of Medina, has a spa and rooftop. Riad Azawan - alternative riad for low budget with everything of the highest standard. Anya & Spa Riad - luxurious riad on a mid-budget with Instagram-worthy pool and Berber-style rooms. Unusual Activities in Marrakech:

  14. 15 Best Morocco Tours

    10. A Taste of Marrakech Food Tour and Dinner. Marrakech's markets are known for amazing local fruits, vegetables, and ingredients, most of which are rare and exotic by western standards. Particularly popular are the dried fruit and nuts that are staples in Moroccan cooking.

  15. 17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Marrakesh

    1. Shop the Medina Souks. A colorful rug shop in a medina souk. For many visitors, Marrakesh's labyrinthine medina (old city) district is the town's star attraction. The narrow alleyways are a kaleidoscope of colors, scents, and sounds and are bound to be the sightseeing highlight of your trip.

  16. 25 ICONIC Things to Do in Marrakech (Don't Miss #15!)

    Photo: Le Jardin de Majorelle. The Jardin de Majorelle (or the Majorelle Gardens) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marrakech.. The gardens were created by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1922s. They feature a stunning array of plants and flowers, as well as a labyrinth of intertwining alleys and hallways, bold-colored buildings, and a beautiful blue-and-yellow Art Deco ...

  17. 22 Best Things to do in Marrakech

    1. Get Lost In The Medina. Visiting The Medina is one of the most exciting things to do in Marrakech. A Medina is the old part of the city surrounded by stone walls and it is bustling with activity. This Medina at Night tour is a great way to get a sense of the energy of the city in a safe environment.

  18. Best Things To Do In Marrakech: The Ultimate 24-Hour Tour Guide

    MARRAKECH THINGS TO DO IN 24 HOURS. DISCOVER JEMAA EL-FNAA. BROWSE THROUGH MEDINA MARKET. VISIT THE MARRAKECH MUSEUM. SATISFY YOUR TASTE BUDS BACK AT JEMAA EL-FNAA. STROLL THROUGH JARDIN MAJORELLE. DISCOVER BAHIA PALACE. TOUR THE SAADIAN TOMBS. KOUTOUBIA MOSQUE.

  19. 23 Best Things to Do in Marrakech & Surroundings

    Arguably the most beautiful palace in Marrakech, the wonderful Bahia Palace is one of the city's best tourist attractions. This palace, whose name means "Palace of the Favourite", was built by two powerful grand viziers - Si Moussa, a former slave who had risen to become a vizier, and his son Ba Ahmed at the end of the 19th century.

  20. Marrakesh: Colorful, Crowded, and Just a Little Crazy

    You can read about the modern side of Marrakesh in "The New Town of Guiliez" by Marrakech Riad and in "Beyond the Medina: The Modern Side of Marrakech" by MarocMama. Until Next Time. Marrakesh was one of the most unique places Steve and I have been. While it can be a little crazy, I think it is a must-see if you visit Morocco.

  21. My experience in Marrakech as a solo traveler : r/solotravel

    My experience in Marrakech as a solo traveler. I was in Marrakech a week ago by myself and my impression was that it was a great city. I was in the old city about 30 minutes from Jemaa El Fna. The food is amazing, the people are friendly, and it has an overall good vibe. I highly recommend the ATV/Quad tours, hot air balloon rides and the day ...

  22. Marrakech

    My recent trip to Morocco included half solo travel and the other half with friends. I traveled to Fez, Rabat, Chefchaouen, and briefly in Marrakech solo and then my bff Rachel and her bf Ryan joined me in Marrakech, Essaouira, and the Sahara desert. I never imagined visiting Morocco would cause so much stress on me.

  23. r/travel on Reddit: Visiting Marrakech for 6 days, any recommendations

    No merci and keep walking. YSL/ Jardin Marjorelle - is good and pretty but again crazy crowded today. Jardin Secret - small private garden very peaceful and fairly empty. A day trip to Essaouira w tour- not cheap but worth it - 2.5 hours away - this trip is 1400dhr for driver/lunch and 600dhr for great tour guide while there or about $200 total ...