14 things to do in Marrakech

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Marrakech is the fourth largest city in the Kingdom of Morocco, and there is much to do in and around this vivid city. You can do everything quickly in two-day city trip or stay a bit longer and discover the neighborhood around.

  • Days needed: 2 to 5 days
  • Hostel: Rodamon Riad Marrakech Hostel or Riad Dia
  • Hotel: Riad Be Marrakech, Riad l’Oiseau du Paradis or Riad Kasbah & Spa

When you go to Marrakech you have to be aware that there are many scams, so watch out for them. People will try to guide you or give you the direction, but they will ask money in return. The same with taking pictures. Ask permission to take pictures but some will ask money afterwards so make sure you set a price in front. If you want to learn more about Morocco, you can read the blog What to know about Morocco.

Tip: stay in a riad which is typically from Morocco. Make sure you book a while in advance, because many riads are fully booked months in advance.

The many markets in the Medina

It’s best you wander around in the Medina. There are many things you must visit inside the walls which I will discuss below, but it’s best to get lost and enjoy the views.

Tip: drink or eat something at a rooftop bar. For dinner it’s best to make a reservation. Some nice rooftop bars are Kabana, Café des Epices, Nomad Restaurant and Zeitoun café.

The crowded Jamaa el Fna Square

Jamaa el Fna square is the heart of the Medina, and you will be amazed by all the things you will see here. People try to sell souvenirs and they can be quite pushy. Walking around here is a challenge because you will see and hear a lot.

There are even many people with animals like snakes, monkeys, etc. and they are saying you can take pictures, but you must pay afterwards. It’s advised not to do this, because most of the animals are abused.

I recommend you go to a bar with a rooftop and observe the whole square. You will see how they treat the animals, and you see how they scam tourists.

Tip: drink something at Le Grand Balcon du Café Glacier with the best view over the square. It’s touristic but worth the view!

Tip: visit this square at least once during the day and once during the evening, because it’s a different vibe.

Bargaining in the Souks

When visiting Marrakech this means you must visit souks. It’s like a maze with many different shops so perfect to buy some souvenirs. If you are planning to buy something, make sure you bargain with the seller, never pay the full price! You can easily get 50% off the price, sometimes even more.

Get lost in the Souks and enjoy the smells of the spices, the colors of the souvenirs and the sound of the people bargaining around you. It can happen that you get lost and end up in a tannery if they guide you, watch out because they will ask money afterwards!

The people will try to lure you in their shop and there will be people saying a road is closed or people that want to help you to find the right direction. Don’t fall for it because they will ask money afterwards. Ignore these people, they just want money.  

Tip: ask the price in different shops to get an idea and buy it where it’s cheaper. Then try to do 50% off the price or more if you’re good in bargaining.

The old Islamic school Ben Youssef

Ben Youssef was a madrasa which means school in Arabic. It was an Islamic school, and it was once the biggest and most important one in North-Africa, 900 students could attend.

Tip: go early in the morning before the crowd arrives.

Walk around the Koutoubia

The Koutoubia is a mosque and it’s the largest mosque of Marrakech. The minaret is 77 meters high which makes this beautiful architecture impossible to ignore. Only Muslims are allowed to enter this mosque, but you should walk around it and wander around the gardens.

Wandering in Jardin Majorelle

This is a botanical garden with many beautiful, big plants. It was bought by the fashion designers Yves Saint Laurent in 1980. In this garden you will see many different plants which makes this a nice place to walk around and relax.

Tip: make sure to be there at opening hour because it gets crowded. If you go at 8 am you can be lucky to have this place all to yourself.

Impressive Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace is an impressive palace from the 19th century. It’s one of the most important monuments of Morocco so definitely worth a visit. You can only visit a part of the palace but it’s worth the visit.

The ruins of Badi Palace

This place is beautiful to wander around the ruins of a palace. The palace was designed to show off the Sultan’s wealth and power. In 1603 the palace was neglected after the death of al-Mansur and that’s why it’s in ruins now.

The Saadien’s Tombs

This place is a historic royal burial place. It dates back to the time of the Saadian dynasty. This complex is worth to wander around and watch some beautiful Moroccan architecture from the Saadian period.

Walking around the Menara Gardens

The Menara gardens is a public garden that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. It’s lovely to walk around, have a pic nick and enjoy the views. You will have views over the Atlas Mountains here.

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains

When you stay for a long time in Marrakech you must go hiking in the Atlas Mountains. It’s only around 2 hours away by private transfer from Marrakech and worth to go.

Aït Benhaddou is an ancient village in the Atlas Mountains that you should visit. It’s a UNESCO site and worth to go. You can visit this place and afterwards go for a little hike.

You can find many day hike tours on Get Your Guide or you can go hiking on your own. There are also multiple day hikes available on the natural Adventure.

If you decide to hike on your own, I recommend buying a trekking guide with maps in it so you can prepare your own hike.

Tip: make sure to wear layers because it can get cold even during summer. In the winter you can even go skiing in the Atlas Mountains.

Hot air balloon with views over the Atlas Mountains

This is a unique experience to go with a hot air balloon up in the air and have the most amazing views over the Moroccan landscape. It used to be cheaper to go on a hot air balloon (we paid 80 euros p.p.), but now the prices are quite high. Still, it’s an experience that you will never forget.

There are many different offers online, so I suggest you look around on Google and read some reviews. You can then decide which offer matches your needs the most.

Adventures in the Sahara desert

When you visit Morocco, you must visit the Sahara Desert. Discovering the sand dunes and enjoy the stars during the night. If you want to visit the desert, you need to know it takes around 8 hours to get there so you need to stay overnight and there is much to discover in this area.

It’s best to do a 3- or 4-day tour to the Sahara Desert or even longer if you have the time. It is possible to go there by yourself, but you need to prepare a lot in front. It’s best to avoid the summer months (July and August) because it gets too hot to visit the desert. In the winter it can get really cold so preparation is key here.

Relaxing with a hammam

Hammam is a bathhouse with different rooms. There are dry rooms and steamed rooms to clean your body. In the past most people didn’t have a shower, so they went to this bath houses to clean themselves. They are separated for men and women, but nowadays you can find them mixed for couples.

There is a public steam room, but they offer many more services like massages and stuff. People come together in these places to bathe and relax.

The Mouassine Hammam is the oldest public bathhouse in Marrakech. Here there are separate entrances for women and men. For couples Les Bains de Marrakech is perfect but make sure you book ahead. If you want more luxury, then you can go to La Mamounia which is way more expensive but really impressive.

When you visit Marrakech the best thing you can do is get lost and enjoy the beauty. Don’t be scared to get lost because you will find your way back again (I hope).

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