Marrakech is very often the first city visited in Morocco. A key step in a stay in Morocco, visiting Marrakech can take a day for the fastest, a week for those who spend their entire stay there. So what to do in Marrakech?
In this post entirely devoted to the red city, we will discuss together everything you need to know before visiting Marrakech. What to do in Marrakech, where to stay in the red city, how to get there or how to get there.
Also, we will see the possible activities in Marrakech as well as the possible excursions from the ocher city. Indeed, if you stay a week in Marrakech, you will have plenty of time to make one or two excursions outside the city after visiting Marrakech.
Various tours and activities!
Marrakech, also spelled Marrakesh (مراكش in Arabic), being the most touristic city in Morocco, beyond the monuments and places of interest to visit, there are also many activities there. Cooking classes, hammam, day trips outside Marrakech, there is really plenty to do in Marrakech… Visiting Marrakech is not easy, there are so many things to do that it is essential to do choices when preparing for his trip.
Before going into detail on what to see and do in Marrakech, let’s start with a quick summary for those who don’t know the city at all. To start with a short summary, here is what to do in Marrakech:
- visit places of interest in Marrakech such as the Bahia Palace or the Majorelle Garden
- stroll through the alleys of the medina
- stock up on handicrafts (and negotiate!)
- feast in the many good addresses of Marrakech
- fly over the surroundings of Marrakech by hot air balloon (reservation here)
- live the hammam experience in Marrakech
- day trips outside Marrakech such as Ouzoud waterfalls or Essaouira
- longer trips to the desert for example (more info here)
In the rest of this guide to visit Marrakech, I will tell you a little more about the different things to see or do in Marrakech. If you are wondering what to do in Marrakech for a week and you have a doubt about the possibility of taking care of it for such a period, you will see that you will have to make choices rather 😉
Later, towards the end of this post, I give you some planning ideas for your stay. Indeed, we often wonder what to do in Marrakech over 5 days or over a week. It is not necessarily easy to build a realistic schedule, without wanting to see too much at the risk of replacing the visit to Marrakech with a quick overview of the region …
Now let’s take a closer look at these different topics to help you prepare for your visit to Marrakech.
Visit Marrakech: Places Of Interest To See / Things To Do
Beyond the activities to do in Marrakech and possible excursions outside the city, there are many places of interest to visit in Marrakech.
In this part of the guide, we will discuss in detail the visit of Marrakech itself and the places of interest not to be missed. If you are planning to visit Marrakech for the first time, it is very likely that you know only 2 or 3 of these places of interest. Indeed, if you are asked what to do in Marakech, you should probably answer visiting the medina and Jemaa el Fna square. And yet, Marrakech is not just about these 2 visits. Focus on the places of interest in Marrakech that you absolutely must visit.
Stroll In The Streets Of The Medina Of Marrakech
Impossible to tell you what to do in Marrakech without mentioning the medina of the red city. This is certainly one of the things to prioritize in Marrakech: walking around the medina without any real purpose. Getting lost in the alleys and especially getting away from the streets closest to Jemaa el Fna square.
By moving away, you will discover districts of the medina which are much less touristy. Sometimes residential, sometimes with shops for the inhabitants of the medina.
To visit Marrakech is also to discover these less touristy and more authentic districts. Let’s be clear, the most touristy streets in the medina no longer represent Morocco at all: strong pressure on tourists to push shopping, a succession of shops selling products only to tourists, …
Later in this guide to Marrakech, I am talking about a paper guide that lists several walks to do in Marrakech, on foot in the medina. Also don’t hesitate to eat in small restaurants outside tourist areas. You will eat there for a few dirhams and it is often much better than on Jemaa el Fna square 😉
Place Jemaa El Fna (The Main Square)
If you ask someone what to do in Marrakech, Morocco, chances are they will answer you first: see Jemaa el Fna square. Besides, this is for me really the place to see in Marrakech, the place that stands out clearly and that you do not find in other cities of Morocco.
The best time to go to Jemaa el Fna square is for me in the late afternoon and evening. This is when there is most activity in the square.
Eating in the evening at the stands in Jemaa el Fna square is not essential in my opinion. The prices are quite high and the quality is not there. If you do, know that it will be a priority for the experience and not for the quality of the meal 😉 The exception perhaps for the pepper snail stands. If you like, it’s a delight!
In short, visiting Marrakech necessarily goes through Jemaa el Fna square. Besides, it alone justifies visiting the city, if only for a shortstop during a road trip in Morocco.
This 19th century palace is part of the visits to do in Marrakech in my opinion. It is one of the most visited places of interest in the city.
By visiting this palace, you will be able to discover magnificent rooms where you can see all the know-how of Moroccan craftsmanship: calligraphy, zellige, stucco, … We also cross magnificent patios with orange trees. Allow an hour to 1:30 to visit the Bahia Palace. It is located south of the Medina of Marrakech but can be easily reached on foot.
There is a charge to enter the palace.
The Majorelle Garden is probably the most visited place in the city with the Jemaa el Fna square. Besides, if you want to avoid a long, very long queue, I recommend that you get there early in the morning, arriving at the opening (8am) or within half an hour.
Photogenic, very famous, it seems difficult to visit Marrakech without going to see this garden with your own eyes …
In the middle of the day, the queue is impressive. If you visit Marrakech, there are so many things to see or do that it will be a shame to waste an hour waiting … The entry costs 70 Dh.
Allow an hour for the visit and the many photo stops of this flagship place of tourism in Marrakech. The Majorelle garden, which covers 8,000 square meters, brings together more than 300 species. There is also an art deco villa and a museum (supplement of 30 Dh) dedicated to the history of the Berbers.
Overview of the surroundings of Marrakech by hot air balloon
If your budget allows it and you wonder what to do in Marrakech, a hot air balloon flight is surely one of the best ideas …
The flight over the surroundings of Marrakech in a hot air balloon costs around 200 euros (online booking here). This flight is done at sunrise and it is guaranteed to take full miracles … The balloon flight is done over the vast desert plains near Marrakech and you can see the Atlas mountains in the distance.
If you have at least 4/5 days to visit Marrakech and your budget allows it, I really recommend you to live this experience.
El Badi Palace, Another Visit To Marrakech
El Badi Palace is one of the places of interest of tourism . However, it is not necessarily the visit that I recommend as a priority. Certainly the visit is nice but if you are pressed for time and you plan to visit Marrakech over 2 days (or even 3), there are in my opinion other places of interest to prioritize.
El Badi Palace is located to the south of the medina, near the royal palace and the Saadian tombs. The visit is chargeable (10 Dh of memory). It will not take you more than 30 to 45 minutes. Built in the 16th century, it is not very well preserved and rather gives the impression of visiting ruins …
The Menara gardens are a little out of the way but are worth a visit. Located behind the Hivernage district, the easiest way is to get there by taxi from the center of Marrakech.
A pleasant place where you can take beautiful walks among the olive trees. The best known place is the water basin where there is a pavilion. If you plan to visit Marrakech and want to take a quiet stroll away from the bustle of the city, this is the place to choose!
Visit Marrakech: The Saadian Tombs
The visit to the Saadian tombs is interesting in my opinion. Paid visit, 70 Dh. The wait is also quite long and potentially in full sun!
These tombs date from the time of Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Saadi (16th century). They are perfectly preserved and maintained. Again, we can observe the refinement of Moroccan decorations with magnificent zelliges and stucco on impressive surfaces.
The tombs are located in a pleasant garden (even if there are people). We also find the tombs of servants and soldiers of the Sultan.
Koutoubia Mosque and Lalla Hasna Park
Koutoubia is one of the symbols of the city of Marrakech. You cannot visit Marrakech without seeing the imposing minaret of the Koutoubia mosque. It can be seen from many places in the city.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to visit the mosque for non-Muslims. In this case, you will have to content yourself with a walk around the mosque.
Behind the mosque, opposite Jemaa el Fna square, is Lalla Hasna park. I recommend you go there. It is a pleasant (free) park, with many orange trees, fountains and a magnificent view of the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque.
If you were wondering what to do , I recommend adding this park to your list of things to see or do.
Medersa Ben Youssef In The Heart Of The Medina
In the heart of the medina, a stone’s throw from the eponymous mosque, is the Ben Youssef medersa. It is the most beautiful Koranic school in the city of Marrakech. A must visit if you do not pass by other cities of the kingdom.
The entry is chargeable (10 Dh of memory). Medersa in Morocco are often very beautiful and this one is no exception. A peaceful, beautiful and very photogenic place.
The visit to the madrassa will take you between 20 and 45 minutes. It is possible to go upstairs, as often in the madrasahs.
Qoubba Almoravide From Marrakech
The Almoravid qoubba is located right next to the Ben Youssef mosque, still in the medina of Marrakech. If you plan to visit Marrakech and you are interested in history and monuments, this is a place of interest to see!
This small Almoravid complex was used for ablutions before entering the Ben Youssef Mosque. The neighboring mosque was demolished and rebuilt. However, the Kouba dates from the Almoravid era (12th century). It is one of the oldest historical places in this beautiful city.
This place of interest can be visited very quickly. Allow 10 minutes. A visit to combine with the madrasa mentioned just before.
Visit the Tanneries
Last place of interest mentioned here, the tanneries. If you pass by Fez during your stay in Morocco, I recommend that you skip the tanneries, less interesting.
However, if you plan to visit it and you do not have the possibility of going to the north of the country, the tanneries remain a place of interest to visit in the medina. They are located at the eastern end of the medina, the old city of Marrakech.
Visiting Marrakech is also …
I have cited here the main places of interest of tourism in the red city. However, if you had to mention everything that you can see or do, the list could be longer …
I have listed here the main places that I recommend. If you are wondering what to do and you plan to visit it over 4 days or 5 days, you should already have plenty to keep you busy. Certain choices will certainly have to be made. Especially if you plan to do one or two-day trips outside the city.
For the additional places that I could have cited here, we can note:
palm grove of Marrakech which no longer has much charm because it is invaded by many hotels. To see beautiful palm groves, you have to go to the south of Morocco, like in Skoura for example
Dar Si Said museum
the ramparts and numerous doors (bab) which surround the medina
the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter
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