Do you like history? Do you like haggling? Then you’re going to LOVE Marrakech! This place is awash with historical sites and maze-like markets that’ll have you transported back to the Middle Ages.
Naturally, there are so many things to do in Marrakech. It’s a popular tourist spot and for good reason: the markets, the mosques, the food, the people, the energy, the crafts. It’s a shopaholics’ dream and a great place to get lost in a fantasy of camel rides and vistas of the Atlas Mountains.
What you may not know so much about, away from the tourist favourites, are the unique things to do in Marrakech. So we thought we’d help you out with an epic guide to some of the best activities that money can buy – and even some of the top stuff to see and do in the city that won’t cost you a penny!
- Top Things to Do in Marrakech
- Unusual Things to Do in Marrakech
- Things to Do in Marrakech at Night
- Where to Stay in Marrakech
- Romantic Things to Do in Marrakech
- Best Free Things to Do in Marrakech
- Best Things to Do in Marrakech with Kids
- Other Unmissable Things to Do in Marrakech
- Day Trips from Marrakech
- 3 Day Marrakech Itinerary
Top Things to Do in Marrakech
1. Discover all the amazing local food
Are you a foodie or just plain greedy? Then you’re going to love what you can eat here. One of THE most essential things to do in Marrakech, bracing yourself for a food odyssey of the city and digging deep into all the Moroccan cuisine you can uncover here is going to be one heck of a ride. Anything counts and basically everything can be found in the city’s UNREAL food stalls.
Whether you’re sitting sipping mint tea, gorging yourself on a Bedouin breakfast, trying b’silla (pigeon pie with egg and almonds), tucking into a spot of snail soup, or doing an Anthony Bourdain and eating sheep heads, there is quite literally something for everyone. For dessert? Chebakia – fried sesame cookie (a Ramadan fave). Wash it all down with freshly squeezed orange juice, naturally. There are so many options that taking a Marrakesh food tour is a great idea.
2. Delve into the different souks of the Old Medina Market
Marrakech wouldn’t be Marrakech without its mental markets. The best of the best can be found in the Old Medina, the centre for trade in the city that’s been there for centuries. The souks (or markets) here seem to blend into each other through an insane spider web of alleys, lanes and narrow streets. Easily one of the best things to do in Marrakech.
Here you’ll find spices, oil, souvenirs, leather and a whole load of other stuff in a veritable assault of the senses. Get ready to be talked to – a lot. Remember to be polite though (no thank you, non merci, etc), and if you do feel like buying something: HAGGLE! It’s not just a tourist thing here – haggling is the way of life in the souks of the Old Medina. Go low! Oh, and be ready to get proper lost for a few hours.
3. Unwind in a Hammam
Get scrubbed, massaged, pampered and otherwise relaxify yourself in a traditional Moroccan setting with a hammam. “What’s that?” we hear you cry. It’s a traditional Ottoman Turkish bath that involves being rubbed down with argon oil from the Moroccan coast, being scrubbed with savon noire (black soap) and sweating it all out in the steam bath.
This is one of the best things to do in Marrakech and a great way to get away from the sometimes mental cityscape and take a moment to decompress. Head to one of the hammams in the Old Medina for a definitively old-world experience; getting there is half the charm.
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
For more Places to Stay, check out our full Marrakech Neighborhood Guide!
4. Enjoy the exotic plants at Jardin Majorelle
This stunner of a place in Marrakech is one for the Insta-lovers, architecture hounds and people who just want to enjoy a bit of space in a slice of nature. Spread across 2.5 acres, the Jardin Majorelle is the 20-year-long passion project of Jacques Majorelle, a French ‘Orientalist’ artist.
One of our favourite bits here (and almost certainly yours too) is the cactus collection; one of the best hipster things to do in Marrakech would simply be to stroll the spiky succulents and take notes. There’s also a cool Cubist-style villa here, as well as an Islamic Art Museum and even a Berber Museum. It’s a pretty educational place.
5. Cross the Atlas Mountains
Just outside the city of Marrakech itself are the storied Atlas Mountains. The home of Berber people for centuries upon centuries, this mountain range is awash with stunning landscapes, hiking galore, and even some awesome road trips to be had. Getting out to lap it all up away from the hustle and bustle of the city has got to be one of the best outdoors-y things to do in Marrakech.
One of the Atlas Mountain’s prime spots is the 2,260-metres-high pass of Tizi n’Tichka, complete with some pretty astounding views we have to say. One of the highlights round here is the UNESCO-inscribed Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, an ighrem (fortified village) that literally looks like something from another world. Awesome.
6. Grab a mint tea in the city’s main square
Basically the place to be in the Old Medina, Jemaa el-Fnaa square isn’t just the heart of the old town, but the heart of Marrakech itself. Meaning something like “gathering place” not much has changed here in centuries and centuries. Though getting into the nitty-gritty of the square can be fun, watching it all from above is one of the best things to do in Marrakech.
There are cafes and eateries on the upper floors of the buildings lining the square; head to a worthy-looking spot up narrow stairs past other establishments, order mint tea (sweet and refreshing) and watch the endless bustle unfold below. The entire Jemaa el-Fnaa is a UNESCO listed happening! It is an integral stop on any self respecting Marrakech itinerary.
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7. Unearth the city’s hidden gems
There’s nobody who knows Marrakech more than the people who actually LIVE in Marrakech. They live there, after all, and no amount of searching is going to make you an overnight expert on the city. Pair up with a local by looking online, organising a tour, or asking at your accommodation and get to grips with the city.
Probably the best un-touristy thing you can do in Marrakech, getting a local to show you around means 1) getting to see local spots and hidden gems safely, and 2) learning about the city from someone who knows about it (not just you and a guidebook for company).
8. Be in awe of the beauty of Bahia Palace
Bahia means “brilliance” in Arabic and, well, visiting the Bahia Palace you can see why this stunner of a building got given the name. It’s 20 acres of ornate carvings, sumptuous courtyards and beautifully tiled fountains. The sometime home of the Moroccan Royal Family, the palace is mostly open to the public.
The palace was built in 1860 with the big ambition to be the greatest palace of its time. It’s not a bad job, we can’t lie. Soaking up the Moorish architecture of the palace, a 150-roomed, well-preserved piece of decorative history, is one of the best things to do in Marrakech. It’s an amazing place to wander around for an hour or so.
9. Take a trip to see Berber Villages
Marrakech, and all of Morocco, is often all too simply reduced to easy signifiers like “Arabic” or “Islamic”, but there’s a whole other culture at work in this part of the world that makes the country what it is: Berber. These desert-dwelling people traditionally live worlds away from the rush of the city, so for one of the best day trips from Marrakech you should think about heading to a Berber village to see what life is like for this fascinating culture. It’s a great way to learn more about ALL the people who make Morocco what it is today.
The village of Tanaghmeilt, with the nearby Ouzoud Falls, is a good place to start. Head onwards to the rice terraces of Tamatert; expect family meals and homely vibes.
10. Be amazed by Almoravid Koubba
History buffs interested in knowing just what is the oldest monument in Marrakech should make a beeline for Almoravid Koubba. This blocky building dates back to the 12th century and is named after the Almoravid Dynasty. Weirdly it was only re-discovered in 1948. Now everyone can see its marvels.
What’s so special about it? It’s cool. And seeing its beauty (for real) is one of the best things to do in Marrakech. It features one of the oldest known inscriptions Maghrebi Arabic script in North Africa. The interior is, like, monument goals: geometric patterns, marble, cedarwood. Just look up to see just HOW insane those carvings are.
Unusual Things to Do in Marrakech
11. Take a break in an enchanted garden
For one of the most unusual things to do in Marrakech, you should take yourself to a botanic garden – with a difference. The ANIMA Gardens are where you’ll find space to not only have a little stroll in nature, a break from the heat with its cooling, shady pathways and pavillions, complete with views of snow-capped mountains.
But wait, there’s more! Dotted around the scenic spot is a bizarre selection of artwork from a load of different (and very famous) artists. We’re talking Rodin. We’re talking Picasso. We’re even talking Keith Haring! If you’re a fan of art, a fan of greenery, or love a bit of both, we’d recommend spending a day here i n this unique place in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains.
12. Brush up on your Arabic
Why not teach yourself a bit of Arabic whilst you’re here? Sure, it’s not the most run-of-the-mill thing to do in Marrakech – even though you should AT LEAST know a customary shukran (thank you) and merhaba (hello) – but if you’re a language nut, or just a curious sort of person, this is a great shout. Research classes and teachers then get book yourself a lesson!
It’s a great, non-touristy thing to do in Marrakech. We mean, how more non-touristy can you get than being able to turn stuff down in the souk with a Jedi-like wave of the hand and a polite refusal said in Arabic? Exactly. Not only that but people will appreciate you learning their language and it’ll maybe even help you catch buses and stuff like that. Learning Arabic in Marrakesh is a great thing to do, and a life skill!
13. Learn about leatherwork in the Medina
You may be wondering why there’s so much leather in the markets and souks of Marrakech’s Old Medina. You may even think it’s just tourist stuff, imported souvenirs from China or somewhere else. But no: leather is a definitively Moroccan speciality and nowhere in the country is more known for its leather production than this city.
One of the most unique things to do in Marrakech would be to actually get to grips with the leather trade, learn about how it’s made (spoiler alert: involves urine) and even MAKE your own pair of traditional leather slippers called babouche. It’s possible: just find a search for a reputed workshop and realise your footwear dreams!
14. Climb the highest peak in Northern Africa
This city can seem at times to be all markets, mosques and monuments, but the amount of nature-y things to do in Marrakech is a pleasant surprise – especially if you’re a keen fan of the great outdoors. One of the most, if not THE most adventurous thing to do in Marrakech, we would say anyway, would be to climb Mount Toubkal.
At 4,167 metres above sea level, this is North Africa’s highest mountain. It’s not for the faint-hearted or amateur hikers out there: this one’s for experienced, fit travellers. The best way to tackle this absolute beast is to travel to the village of Imlil and then strike out early morning for the start of a 4-day trek that starts in the stunning Mizane Valley.
Safety in Marrakech
Where do we start on the safety in Marrakech? Although for the most part, this awesome city is yours for the taking, it’s definitely known as a place that’s pretty rife with scams.
E.g. there’s the old “I know you from the hotel!” scam, where you’re then led to some sort of store (a carpet shop usually). These sorts of things are more annoying than actually dangerous, however. Pickpockets can be MORE annoying, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings especially in the sometimes thick crowds of the souks. Or wear a money belt!
Female travellers should be aware that there can be a level of hassle from local guys. It’s probably best to dress more modestly, or if you’re by yourself consider getting a guide to take you around the Medina area. You’ll get a lot less hassle this way (and learn stuff along the way).
Other than that, and maybe a little bit of trouble with taxi drivers, Marrakech is fairly safe. You may be wondering about terrorist attacks, but that sort of thing shouldn’t stop you – unless there’s a big warning, of course. Have a look at the Morocco Safety Guide before you fly.
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Things to Do in Marrakech at Night
15. Have dinner in a caidal tent
Hospitality is a big deal in Morocco. Getting treated basically like some sort of roving royalty is par for the course here, so for one of the best things to do in Marrakech at night you can aim to replicate that hospitality by taking yourself to the insane Chez Ali. This place is ridiculous.
It’s not un-touristy, but it’s also NOT a tourist trap. This is like… medieval Morocco at its most gaudy and showy and its super fun. Think Cirque du Soleil in the desert. There’s horsemanship shows, fireworks, belly-dancing, all sorts of madness, but to top it all off… the food. THE FOOD, people! There’s so much to eat. We challenge you to finish everything.
Bonus: it’s super affordable, making it one of the best cheap things to do in Morroco.
16. Discover the city’s sights at night
Marrakech is packed with sights. That much is true. What isn’t a great load of fun is traipsing around the city in the daytime. The heat can be particularly horrific whilst the sun’s still out, so we’d recommend seeing it all at night. That’s right. And not only will it be much, MUCH cooler than in the day, but – because of that – this is when basically all of the city’s inhabitants come out to play.
There’s street food, impromptu restaurants, friends meeting up, tourists, performers, and sights like the Koutoubia Mosque are illuminated. Jemaa el-Fnaa, for example, is even more alive than in the day. So, yeah: one of the best things to do in Marrakech at night is to simply… see Marrakech at night!
17. Try your luck at the Casino de Marrakech
For a bit more of a glitzy side to Marrakech away from the dusty streets of the Medina, head to the Casino de Marrakech. You may not be much of a gambler but there’s more to it than slot machines and card tables. It’s one of the more… high-end things to do in the city, but we’d also say it’s one of the best things to do in Marrakech at night.
Dating back to 1952, this casino was the first to be opened in Morocco and is still one of only a select few to be found in the whole country; the decor here is old-school glam (hello Instagrammers). You’ll need some cash: the bars, restaurants and even the nightclub here are pricey. Otherwise, if you know your baccarat from your black jack, come for the Casino Royale vibes.
Where to Stay in Marrakech
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Marrakech.
Best Hostel in Marrakech: Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge
This family-run lodging is the best hostel in Marrakech. Located just two minutes from Jemaa el-Fna Square, this hostel is at the heart of Marrakech.
Bright and colorful, it features clean and comfortable private rooms and dorms as well as all the necessary amenities for a great stay in Morocco.
Best Airbnb in Marrakech: Beautiful home with a lot of space
Riad Barbmar is a renovated traditional Moroccan riad in the Marrakech Medina. A riad is a type of traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. It accommodates up to eight guests in four bedrooms. Regardless of whether you are 1 traveller or a group of 2-8 people, you will have the private use of the entire house and will not share with other guests. The indoor pool is perfect for cooling off after sightseeing. The third floor roof terrace is a great space for socialising with family and friends. The upper terrace on the fourth floor is shaded and ideal for outdoor meals. From there you look over the entire Medina.
Best Riad in Marrakech: Riad Sindibad Hotel Marrakech
This hotel is an excellent base for your time in Marrakech. Located at the centre of the city, this four-star palace is close to Marrakech’s top attractions.
Boasting just five rooms, it combines modern amenities with classic charm, and each room features a private bathroom, cable/satellite channels, and a flat-screen TV.
Best Hotel for Families in Marrakech: Kech Boutique Hotel & Spa
Kech Boutique Hotel & Spa is a modern and delightful hotel in the Agdal neighborhood near Chrifia, our pick for the best neighborhood in Marrakech for families.
This hotel offers a range of amenities and wellness features, like a spa and pool. It’s an ideal base for exploring Marrakech, and then cooling off in the swimming pool when the days get too hot.
Enjoy a range of wellness features and modern amenities at this four-star hotel.
Romantic Things to Do in Marrakech
18. Soak up the landscape from the sky in a hot air balloon
Nothing quite says couple goals than witnessing a landscape from a hot air balloon. We’re not sure why, but it just does (admit it, it’s romantic). So what better romantic thing to do in Marrakech is there to do than hopping in a hot air balloon for two, and seeing the utter beauty of the countryside from up high? And at sunrise, no less!
It’s pretty awesome: the views are immense. And, actually, the difference between the urban and the rural, as well as contrasting lush green of irrigated oases and parched deserts, is pretty damn cool. We don’t say this much, but it would be an unforgettable experience. We mean, how could you forget getting up THAT early (just kidding)? Take a hot air baloon in Marrakesh for an unforgettable experience.
19. See the sun set over the Agafay Desert
Along with sunrise hot air balloon rides, sunsets are definitely couples’ territory. Easily one of the most dramatic sunsets you could see is one over the desert and you’re in luck because there’s plenty of desert to be found near Marrakech. Namely, we’re talking the Agafay Desert, around 30 kilometres south of the city (drive, take a quad bike, arrange a tour, etc.). A sunset here turns the sand a gleaming gold, the dunes and hills throw stunning shadows all the while.
Basically, taking a desert tour is possibly THE best thing to do in Marrakech for couples. Wildflowers bloom in summer in autumn for extra beauty points.
Do You Need Travel Insurance?
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Best Free Things to Do in Marrakech
20. Marvel at ornate mausoleums from the Saadi Dynasty
Backstory: The Saadi Dynasty ruled all of Morocco from 1549 to 1659. These guys weren’t quibblers when it came to luxury and, this being the good old days, that also means the afterlife. Their decidedly opulent mausoleums can be found close to Jemaa el-Fnaa, down a narrow alleyway, till you reach some gardens, and boom: you’re there (don’t use that as directions – you’ll definitely get lost, so use Google Maps).
There are other mausoleums and tombs in this area, but the Saadian tombs are the main event. The one to Sultan Ahmed el Mansour is particularly gorgeous (yes, gorgeous). They were covered in overgrowth until people decided they were important again in 1917.
21. Be wowed by the size of Koutoubia Mosque
Located in the southwest of the Old Medina is the very famous Koutoubia Mosque. It’s one of the largest mosque in Morocco, and the oldest AND tallest building in Marrakech; needless to say it’s more than just a little impressive. With no entrance fee to stop you from getting up close to the mosque, or into the gardens (though non-Muslims aren’t allowed actually inside), it’s one of the best free things to do in Marrakech. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Marrakech, too – we mean, you can see the huge minaret from 18 MILES away.
It’s a literal landmark in more way than one: Koutobia Mosque translates to “booksellers’ mosque”, owing to the book stores that used to be located here
22. Stroll around the Place des Ferblantiers
Now onto one of the more un-touristy things to do in Marrakech: Place des Ferblantiers or “Iron-workers’ Square”. Set in the old Jewish Quarter, there’s an eternal market going on here at all hours, but it’s often overlooked in favour of Jemaa el-Fnaa, obviously. It has a much more local feeling to it and, as you might have been able to tell from the name, there’s a lot of crafts and handiworks made out of metal going on here. It’s only about 15 minutes from Jemaa el-Fnaa but feels much more tranquil: a thing to do in Marrakech that’s slightly off the beaten track.
Pick a rooftop terrace for a cold drink and a great view of local life.
Books to Read in Marrakech
Here are some of my favorite books books to read in Morocco:
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A House in Fez – This comical light-read details Suzanna Clarke’s experience of buying a rundown Moroccan riad in Fez with her husband in a mission to restore it to its former glory.
The Secret Son – This is about a poor boy, Youssef, raised by his mother in the slums of Casablanca. With big dreams of living another life, Youssef discovers his presumed dead father is actually alive, and very wealthy.
Lords of the Atlas – This is one of the best books set in Morocco, which documents the extraordinary story of the Glaoui brothers reign over the red city and kasbahs to the south during a feudal fiefdom in southern Morocco.
Best Things to Do in Marrakech with Kids
23. Cool off at the waterpark
What’s that? Marrakech has a waterpark? Yes, yes it does. It’s called Oasiria and it’s easily one of the best things to do in Marrakech with kids. The name doesn’t oversell it: it really IS like an oasis and makes for the perfect way to beat the desert heat of Marrakech. Fling yourself down some slides, bob around in the wave pool, splash around and generally get that core body temperature back to something like normal. It’s super clean, well looked after and is a more chilled experience than you’d imagine. You can even rent a private hut for the day (affordable).
Perfect if you’ve got teenagers or young kids, as opposed to toddlers.
24. Ride an real life camel
The ship of the desert, camels are properly old school and basically the most iconic way to get around the searing sands. Letting your kids have a ride on a camel will be a pretty memorable experience and a good way for them to get to grips with life here. Because chances are they won’t be having mint tea or haggling all that much, will they? So a camel ride makes total sense when it comes to lapping up some culture for children.
One of the best things to do in Marrakech with kids in tow, riding a camel is best done in places like Palmeraie Oasis – complete with palms, villages and places to stop off for an orange juice. Photo opportunities abound with this unmissable thing to do in Morocco.
Other Unmissable Things to Do in Marrakech
25. Learn how to make tagine with a local
Tagine is one of the most quintessentially Moroccan dishes – and it’s also quite easily one of the tastiest. What could be better than stewing meat and vegetables in a well-spiced sauce for hours and hours, making everything succulent and tender? Answer: not much. If you’re the cooking type, or you’re a bit of a foodie, learning how to make a tagine would be a very cool thing to do in Marrakech.
There are classes you can take that even whisk you round the market beforehand, picking up all the ingredients you’ll need, such as saffron from Taliouine, olives from Meknes, and lemons from Fez. Learn to make Tagine and bring the taste of Marrakech home with you.
26. Discover the highlands of Lala Takerkoust
If the heat of the city is getting to you and you feel like doing something a little… different, then one of the best things to do near Marrakech is to take yourself to Lala Takerkoust. About 30 minutes from the city, this town is much cooler than the city, but that’s not the best bit.
It’s got a lake, and around that lake are places to sit in the shade, lounge around, and generally relax. One of many lakeside eateries provide the perfect vantage point to soak up views of the Atlas Mountains (or bring a picnic). It’s calm and very chill – unless you feel like getting your swim on!
27. Take an Arabic calligraphy class
Speaking Arabic is one thing, but writing it? That takes some serious skill. This language can be written beautifully – IF you know-how. Possibly one of the more un-touristy things to do in Marrakech, it’s possible to learn how to write this very pretty language with one of any number of Arabic calligraphy classes that take place around the city. Many of them will let you take your own work of art home with you, so make sure you listen to the teacher.
28. Hit the water on a wake board
For one of the best outdoors-y things to do in Marrakech, you’ll have to head out of the city a bit. If you’re a person who loves wakeboarding or in fact anything that’s exciting or related to anything remotely adventure sports-based, head to Waky Marrakech.
It’s a cablepark for wakeboarding (and wakeskating) but it’s even got sunbeds and a bar that serves up some pretty great food. This makes it a great place to hang out for the day and one of the coolest things to do in Marrakech. Sounds super chill!
29. Head to the beach
But if the artificiality of a cable park just won’t cut it, it’s time to head to the beach. Journey to Essaouira on the coast for hands-down the best day trip from Marrakech – especially if you’re a fan of the beach. Here’s where you can lounge around on the sand, splash around in the sea and enjoy the beach vibes here. It ain’t just about the beach though: this city is pretty nice as well. It’s known for its argon oil, which is that stuff that makes your hair super shiny. Pick some up off the local Berber ladies (don’t forget to haggle) at Moulay el Hassan Square. Fresh fish lunch is a must-eat here, too.
30. Learn about the history of the city at the Marrakech Museum
There’s a lot of outside stuff to do in Marrakech, but what about when it clouds over and finally starts to rain? Not fun. At times like this, one of the best things to do in Marrakech when it rains is to shelter from the storm at the Marrakech Museum. Part of the Dar Menebhi Palace, this museum hosts a TON of fine art from around the world in a very, very grand setting. Art lovers and history fans alike will rejoice in the sheer culture that’s on offer here. Archaeology, ethnography, and art are all represented here – on top of the amazing architecture of the building itself.
31. Go and get henna at the Henna Art Cafe
Coffee and henna: what a mix. If you don’t know what henna is, that’s ok! It’s a traditional paste that’s used to stain women’s hands and feet with intricate patterns and designs, usually for special occasions like weddings. In Morocco, as in a fair few other countries, it’s part and parcel of life. At the Henna Art Cafe, not only can you dine on healthy-sounding salads and a handful of Moroccan dishes, but you can get some henna yourself! It’s one of the more hipster things to do in Marrakech, definitely a great, GREAT place to eat. Don’t miss out!
32. Get snap happy at the largest cactus farm in Africa
If you’re into cacti, then you’re going to literally love this. Yes, whilst heading to a cactus farm might not be one of the most essential things to do in Marrakesh, we think it’s probably one of the most hipster things to do in Marrakech. So, if you’re like us and your house is full of the spiky succulents, you should make the trip to the actual largest cactus farm in the WHOLE OF AFRICA (what a claim!?).
Whilst we can’t attest to the truth of the matter about being the biggest in the whole of the continent, we can tell you this place is literally quite simply line upon line of the prickly plants: 150 different species of them to be exact. Rumour has it there will be a cafe here in the future to have a chill in, too.
33. Glimpse the amazing architecture at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum
Minimal architectural design and couture fashion join forces in one of the most unique things to do in Marrakesh. The simply amazing Yves Saint Laurent Museum is a bastion of simplistic chic that will either have you completely wowed, or appropriately yawning. Dedicated to the life and work of French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his particular love affair with all things Moroccan, there’s displays of sketches, clothes and items showcasing how the city inspired him.
Even if fashion isn’t particularly your thing, it’s hard not to be just a little inspired by seeing the creative process behind YSL’s designs, and then reflect on all of the creativity over an ice tea in the courtyard.
34. See the symmetrical beauty of the Ben Youssef Madrassa
Symmetrical and simply stunning, the Ben Youssef Madrasa is a MUST visit when you’re in Marrakesh. An essential thing to do in Marrakesh, the Madrassa was an Islamic school for more than four centuries but is now a place for visitors to come and gape in awe and all of those tiny tiles and charming courtyards. Think marble pillars, ornamental motifs and amazing archways. This place is so beautiful that it will make you leave with wild ideas of turning your house into some sort of Moroccan paradise. Seriously.
35. Take a moment of reflection at Miara Cemetery
The largest Jewish cemetery in Morocco, the Miara Cemetery is a place to take a moment out of the rush of the city and reflect. Dating back to the 16th century, the graveyard is an important part of the city’s history. The Jewish community once numbered 31,000, but today only a few thousand Jewish residents remain. Tucked away behind an old wooden door, there’s some pretty distinct tombstones and layers of history to uncover, some of the tombs are from people who fled during the Spanish Inquisition. An off the beaten track thing to do in Marrakech.
Day Trips from Marrakech
Marrakech is a mad, hectic, exciting city to explore – but it can get a bit much. Especially if you’re not used to all the crowds and haggling. The best way to get out, take a breather, and actually see more of Morocco than its most popular tourist destination, is to take a day trip from Marrakech to some other awesome place. Here’s a couple of good’uns for you to consider.
Spend the day exploring Casablanca
Arguably more famous in name than Marrakech, Casablanca is a delight of Golden Age Hollywood and other colonial tidbits. It’s just a two and a half hour drive from Marrakech, but still, you should make sure you get up as early as possible to make the most of this coastal city. It’s a port town with Moorish architecture somehow blending seamlessly with its French Art Deco buildings, too.
It’s also home to massive Hassan II Mosque, home to a 210-meter minaret – complete with lasers that point directly at Mecca, obviously. Pretty insane if you ask us, but definitely worth a visit. Snap a selfie and try to get the whole minaret in, though you might have to get pretty low to do that.
Here is also where you’ll find the famous Rick’s Bar. With its’ tinkling piano and vintage cocktails you’ll feel like you’re in the 1942 film, also called Casablanca. Even if you haven’t seen the classic film the timeless (if a little colonial) elegance of the bar is enough to get mentally transported to a different era.
Get your ski on at Oukaïmeden
Skiing? In Morocco? Yes, that’s right. The high altitude Oukaïmeden (between 2,600 and 3,200 metres above sea level) is one of the country’s premiere ski resorts and is a mere two hours by car from Marrakech. You could be hitting the slopes in the day and then returning to the heat of the city for a well deserved warm-up; seriously, it gets cold here, so pack thermals!
We never thought we’d say that when talking about a day trip from Marrakech, but there you go. It’s a great place to go skiing, but it is pretty freezing. Take some lessons or simply rent and spend the day carving it up.
Even if it’s too early (or too late) for the snow, it’s still a picturesque place to come to soak up some mountainous scenery – complete with glassy alpine lakes and vistas of the High Atlases. In fact, in the warmer months this spot is renowned for its bouldering and hiking opportunities. Just make sure to come prepared if you’re planning to get really adventurous.
3 Day Marrakech Itinerary
There are loads of things to do in Marrakech, and a ton of day trips from Marrakech to think about, so many that it can be difficult to figure out just where on your schedule you’re supposed to put them. Well, don’t worry, because that’s where we come in. Our 3 day Marrakech itinerary will solve your timing problems and help your trip go without a hitch.
Start your time in Marrakech by paying a visit to the quintessential Moorish beauty that is the Bahia Palace. Doubtle,ss this extraordinary gem gets busy in the middle of the day, so we’d really recommend getting there for around 9 or 10am – especially if you want your Insta gallery and photo memories to be free of tourists.
Once you’re done lapping up the stunning gardens and ornate architecture of the palace, make a beeline for Jemaa el-Fnaa. This is the city’s main square and is pretty much an unmissable thing to do in Marrakech. It’s very lively in the daytime (but even more so at night). Head for snacks and a mint tea overlooking the square from on high at Argana.
Write your memoirs, watch the world go by, enjoy some food, and wait until night falls. You’ll see an instant difference in the amount of people filling up the buzz of the square. Head into the Medina and shop for late night bargains, head back to the square and try any manner of street food that’s now packed into this awesome public space. Take a taxi back to your digs for a well-earned rest.
After all the intense time in the Medina yesterday, we’d say it’s already time for a bit of a breather. Get yourself away from the frenetic city streets to the mountains, where you’ll be seeing some Berber villages. Tanaghmeilt is a cool place to wander around, Tamatert has amazing rice terraces, and there’s even the very pretty Ouzoud Falls. Hop on a tour that’ll take you to all three (and more) for ease.
After this day trip from Marrakech, you’ll probably be pretty pooped out. That’s where a visit to a hammam comes into play. These traditional sauna-slash-baths are the original wellness centres of the world. One place to go for this is ClickSpa, a more modern venture that feels a bit more comfortable for both men and women.
So now that you’re suitably relaxed it’s time to throw yourself into it once more with a trip to the madly brilliant, or brilliantly mad, Chez Ali. Part medieval show, part dinner fit for royalty, and fully magnificent, you should expect nothing but cheesy fun at this place. It’s even great for kids.
You can either take a 20 minute taxi ride straight from the spa or go back to your hotel to freshen up before you decide to rock up at Chez Ali. Horse shows, belly dancing, plentiful plates of food – quite bizarre, but quite fun at the same time.
Start off your final day in this Moroccan city with a visit to the once hidden mausoleum that is the Saadian Tombs. Definitely go early (you have to queue otherwise, and that can take a while) to fully enjoy this tucked away treat of culture. This small place is, true to its Moorish heritage, a beautiful spot.
Tip: do some research before you go because there’s no English guide. Unfortunate, but if you know a little bit you’ll be able to appreciate a lot more other than saying “it’s pretty”. Nearby Koutoubia Mosque is just over a 10-minute stroll from the tombs and is yet another astounding piece of Moorish architecture.
This ancient feat of engineering is almost 1000 years old and is, still to this day, the tallest building in Marrakech. This is one of the best things to do in Marrakech when it’s hot because there are a lot of shady spots to cool off in, too. Only the gardens are open to tourists at this still-working mosque.
For more modern history, take a bus (20 minutes) or a taxi (13 minutes), or walk (30 minutes) to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Here you’ll get to learn all about the famous designer; here you’ll also be in the vicinity of Jardins Majorelle, an Art Deco marvel. Once you’ve had your fill, finish off in style at the colonial-era Grand Café de la Poste, a 20-minute walk away. Amazing, amazing food here.
More Great Resources
Everybody knows about Marrakech, but not many people get to see the REAL Marrakech. There are a ton of amazing things to do in Marrakech – so many that your itinerary is going to be totally stacked for the entire time you’re here. And they’re not all IN the city either; heading just a short distance away from the city you can find a world of mountain passes, Berber villages, oases and other unmissable spots that make this such a cool, comprehensive destination. Be prepared to haggle, don’t be afraid to venture into the mad markets, and get stuck into the magic of Marrakech.
If you’re travelling across Morocco, check out our Best Hostels in Morocco guide!
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