The captivating city of Marrakech is the tourist centre of Morocco. Bustling souks, vibrant squares, ancient monuments, and delicious street food are just some of the things you can expect to add to your Marrakech itinerary. It’s an excellent place to be introduced to North African culture as there’s enough tourist infrastructure here to make travel relatively uncomplicated, while there’s still an authentic and real flavour to the city.
In this list, we’ll take a look at the best places to visit in Marrakech. With our extensive list, you’ll be able to make a plan for your holiday which means you won’t miss any of the best landmarks in Marrakech! First of all though, let’s take a quick look at the best places to stay in Marrakech.
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Marrakech:
There is no better place to stay than the Medina if you are visiting the city for the first time. A series of winding alleys and narrow streets, the Medina is the heart and soul of historic Marrakech.
- See historic and contemporary works of art at the Musee Dar Si Said
- Enjoy a moment of peace as you visit Mosque Koutoubia, the largest mosque in Marrakech
- Take a seat on a rooftop patio and savour a glass of traditional Moroccan mint tea
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Marrakech!
#1 – Jemaa el-Fnaa – A great place in Marrakech if you love to shop
Why it’s awesome: Where to even start with why Jemaa el-Fnaa is awesome? The central square of Marrakech’s Medina District is the heart of everything that happens in this buzzing city. No matter what time of year you go, it’ll be a vibrant feast for the senses. Listen to the flutes of snake charmers, smell the spices on the street food, and see all the twinkling lights. You’ll probably hear a lot too – mostly of people getting your attention to check out their stall! Jemaa El-Fna is not to be missed off any Marrakech itinerary!
What to do there: When it comes to food, you’ll find some of the best places to eat in Marrakech in this square. And they’re just little street food stands! Try orange juice, lamb kebabs, and perhaps buy a few spices to take home. This particular square also inspired UNESCO to create Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, so don’t miss hearing a poem or a tale from a storyteller! The souks off the square and in the Medina District are a great place to pick up souvenirs too.
#2 – Jardin Majorelle – A beautiful and scenic place to check out in Marrakech
Why it’s awesome: If you’ve found Jemaa el-Fna a little overwhelming and hectic, then make the next stop on your Marrakech itinerary the Jardin Majorelle. These botanical gardens are the exact opposite to the hectic souks, and you can relax to your heart’s content. Designed by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, these botanical gardens are packed with hundreds of different species of cacti! The highlight though is the art deco house in the centre. The blue tiled building is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Marrakech and will bag you a few new Instagram followers!
What to do there: Get lost in the depths of the garden. Wander down the narrow paths, listen to the bubbling of the little streams, and stay in the shade out of the hot Moroccan sun! Once you feel you’ve spent enough time in the garden, you should definitely duck into the gorgeous blue house that was Majorelle’s painting studio. It’s now home to a museum dedicated to Berber artistry – a real Marrakech must see!
#3 – Koutoubia Mosque – One of the most important religious places to see in Marrakech
Why it’s awesome: Mosques are an important part of Moroccan culture, and the Koutoubia Mosque might be the most important one of all. Non-Muslims are not allowed in the mosque itself, so you may think it a little strange that we’ve included it on a list of the best places to visit in Marrakech. That’s because there’s nothing stopping you from admiring the architecture from outside. The 12th-century minaret is visible from every direction, and it’s an intricate example of Almohad architecture, which you can see across North Africa and even in Spain.
What to do there: As we’ve already pointed out, it’s not possible to go into the mosque unless you’re Muslim. However, it’s a good place to admire the beautiful and intricate architecture. Also, you can listen out for the call to prayer which happens 5 times a day, adding another layer to the atmosphere here. There’s plenty of stuff to do around the mosque, so don’t be put off visiting if you’re not able to go inside. It is after all one of the most important landmarks in Marrakech!
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#4 – Saadian Tombs
Why it’s awesome: This unusual tourist attraction is the final resting place of members of the Saadian Dynasty. Although they ruled in the 16th and 17th centuries, the 66 tombs of this burial ground remained undiscovered until the early 20th century! The ruler Al-Mansour rests here, as do his close family members. One of the most atmospheric attractions in Marrakech, the mausoleums of the Saadian Tombs are set in an overgrown garden in the Medina District.
What to do there: When visiting the Saadian tombs, make sure to keep an eye out for traditional Arabic calligraphy, colourful tiles, and intricate carvings. The tombs aren’t far from the city centre, but they’re peaceful and quiet, and a perfect antidote to the souks and Jemaa el-Fna square! They’ve been beautifully restored and preserved and it’s no wonder that there one of the most famous places in Marrakech!
#5 – Bahia Palace – A great place to see in Marrakech if you love architecture
Why it’s awesome: Bahia means brilliance, and that’s certainly applicable to this late 19th-century palace. It’s another place where you can easily escape the hustle and bustle of the city, swapping buzzing streets and vibrant souks for tranquil courtyards and wide-open airy rooms. You can really get an idea of the opulent lives that those who lived in the palace lived from the colourful tiled rooms and intricate iron features. Don’t miss the Grand Courtyard or the salons of the Haram area!
What to do there: You can easily spend half a day wandering through the Bahia Palace, and you’re bound to be astounded at every turn. If you have a chance to spend some time sitting and relaxing on your visit to the palace, why not do it in the courtyard of the Grand Riad? This lovely area is adorned with citrus trees and banana-leaf plants. It’s the perfect place to disconnect from the world in one of the most famous landmarks in Marrakech!
#6 – Madrassa Ben Youssef
Why it’s awesome: In case you still haven’t realised, Marrakech really is a fantastic place if you’re an architecture lover. The Madrassa Ben Youssef dates back to 1565 and was built by the Saadians. Yes, they’re the same people that have the beautiful tombs – also on our list of the best places to visit in Marrakech! The Madrassa is the largest Islamic theology school in the whole of Morocco, but it’s the architecture that will really take your breath away. From students’ cells (the Madrassa can house 900 pupils) to intricate Islamic courtyards, you’ll find plenty of spots to marvel at.
What to do there: Although the small Islamic courtyards and corridors through the Madrassa are certainly worth a look, the main attraction here is the central courtyard. It’s decorated with Kufic inscriptions, zellige tiling, and stalactite ceilings, all coming together to result in a beautiful place to spend a few minutes or even hours! It may be more than 6 centuries old, but this medieval Madrassa is more popular than ever, and should have earned a spot on your Marrakech itinerary!
#7 – ANIMA
Why it’s awesome: ANIMA isn’t the easiest place to find, but it’s definitely worth the visit. Located around a 35 minute drive south-east of the city centre, this artist’s private garden can be reached by a free shuttle from the city’s Medina. So not only is it beautiful but is a great activity to do for cheap in Morocco. The garden is a stark contrast to the desert surrounding it, with cacti, roses, and lush greenery that form this unusual garden. This fantastical place was designed by artist André Heller but includes works by iconic artists like Picasso too!
What to do there: Spend a few hours here to escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech and immerse yourself into the worlds of nature and art. It’s almost like a treasure hunt spotting the artwork that dots the gardens, and even after a couple of laps, you’ll still be spotting paintings and sculptures that you didn’t catch the first time round! After you’ve spent enough time relaxing in the garden, you can head to the small on-site museum and café. After taking a look at the exhibits, enjoy a calming and comforting peppermint tea, the drink of choice here!
#8 – Marrakech Tanneries
Why it’s awesome: The Marrakech Tanneries may not be as big as those in Fez, but they’re an excellent way to see how the products that end in the souks get their colour! You may not find the smell too agreeable, but it’s worth putting up with to see the plethora of coloured dyes that shoes, jackets, and all sorts of traditional products get their colours from. Guides will often try to entice you into the tanneries, and if you go with one, you’ll be expected to give a tip.
What to do there: First of all, we’d recommend going to the tanneries early in the morning. This is the busiest time for the workers, but it’s not yet jam-packed with tourists, so you might be able to get talking to someone about their work and learn a few interesting things. If you want to get some great photos of the tanneries, enter one of the leather workshops to get a bird’s eye view. In the same way, as you’d be expected if you choose a guide, you’ll have to pay a tip. It’ll be worth it for shots of one of the most famous landmarks in Marrakech though!
#9 – Cactus Thiemann – An unknown (but awesome) place to see in Marrakech
Why it’s awesome: Located to the north of Marrakech, Cactus Thiemann doesn’t really do a lot of marketing. In fact, the only reason you’d know you were there is if you spot the sign on a fence that says “cacti”. However, it’s definitely worth a visit to this cool spot – it’s the largest cactus farm in Africa! Originally started by a German who had come over to buy plants from the Jardin Majorelle, Hans Thiemann returned to the city permanently in the 1960s. At the farm, there are over 150 different varieties of cacti, including a 26 foot tall elephant cactus!
What to do there: Take a walk through this cool attraction and spot as many of the 150+ varieties of cacti that you can. The garden is now a research facility but it’s also a great place to admire the lunar landscapes that surround Marrakech. Should you fancy adding a guided tour of Cactus Thiemann to your Marrakech itinerary, you can arrange that by email. There are plans to add a café to the farm in the near future too, so that will be a nice place to relax!
#10 – Toubkal National Park – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Marrakech
Why it’s awesome: Although it’s 57km south of the city, it’s definitely worth adding Toubkal National Park to your Marrakech itinerary as it’s the most popular national park in Morocco. It’s best to visit this stunning place during the summer, as snow can make a lot of activities impossible during the winter. This is one of the best places in Marrakech for outdoor enthusiasts!
What to do there: The real star of the national park is Djebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in not only Morocco but the whole of North Africa. You can go to the national park for the day, but if you’re really hardcore, why not consider a multi-day hike? There are several options, and if the altitude and height is a bit much for you, then the Aremd Circuit is a great alternative. You’ll still get some awesome views on this pretty route that takes in several country villages. If you do this on your own, you’re likely to be welcomed into the homes of local people for a plate of tagine and some peppermint tea!
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So, that concludes our list of the best places to visit in Marrakech. We hope you’ve found our extensive list useful and informative, and that you’ve got a clearer idea of how to see Marrakech!
There’s so much to see in Marrakech that you might think that a long weekend or a short break isn’t enough time! However, we’ve made sure to include enough places to visit in Marrakech in 3 days so that you won’t find yourself short of things to do.
We hope that our list has not only helped you to plan your trip, but also to get an idea of how to enjoy Marrakech like a local. The atmosphere may be a little intense and overwhelming at first, but with an open mind and thirst for travelling, you’re sure to have a great time when you travel to Marrakech!
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