Must-see Activities and Places in and Around Marrakech
If you don’t know what to do in Marrakech in 4 days, here is an article that will help you organize your trip! I have just returned from 4 days in Marrakech on Tour and I will be able to tell you about the activities to do and not to miss
Good weather and a temperature between 20 and 25 degrees in December, what more could you ask for? What is certain is that Marrakech is a pleasant city all year round. This is my third visit to this wonderful city and I can’t get enough of it. But what are the things to do in Marrakech?
In this article, you will find the things to discover in the city, the essential activities to do around Marrakech, but also some advice to prepare your trip with serenity.
On the agenda of this article
- The must-see places in the city
- Walk around the Jemma El Fna square
- What to do in Marrakech: visit the Medina and the souks of course!
- Take a walk in the Majorelle Garden
- Visit the Koranic school Medersa Ben Youssef
- Admire the Koutoubia Mosque
- What to do in Marrakech: discover the Bahia Palace!
- See the El Badi Palace
- Activities not to be missed in Marrakech!
- Test a hammam
- Discover the Museum of Marrakech
- See the Saadian tombs
- Relax on a rooftop
- Visit the Menara Gardens
- Sleep in a riad
- Unique experiences around Marrakech
- Visit the Ouzoud waterfalls
- Go on a desert safari
- Explore the Atlas Mountains
- How to get to and around Marrakech?
- Where to sleep in Marrakech?
The must-see places in the city
Flights to Marrakech are getting cheaper and cheaper! So I jumped at the chance to discover this city in December to get some sun! Marrakech is not a small city and you might be surprised by all the activities to do in Marrakech. Although the destination is more and more touristy, it still has a soul and a unique culture 😉 Here is an overview of the activities to discover in Marrakech.
Walk around the Jemma El Fna square
A veritable open-air theatre, in the heart of Marrakech, the Jemma El Fna square is a site not to be missed! Among the districts of Marrakech, it is here that you will find street vendors, snake charmers, pressed fruit juice stands, street vendors, several souks and many panoramic terraces
Be careful though, it is not impossible that you come across dishonest people exploiting monkeys to make money! Don’t participate in ape slavery by taking a picture with a baboon on your head.
It is from the height that you will best discover the Jemma El Fna square. I advise you to choose a panoramic terrace and taste the authentic Moroccan tea for the occasion One of the best times of the day to admire this superb place is of course at sunset. In the evening, life on the square continues with many groups and activities to immerse you in a unique atmosphere!
What to do in Marrakech: visit the Medina and the souks of course!
Impossible to go to Marrakech and not visit at least one of its souks! In the souk of the Medina, one of the most beautiful in the Maghreb, you will find more than 40,000 artisans, selling fabrics, spices, jewellery, food and other objects of all kinds! Lose yourself in the maze of streets in these souks! If you don’t know what to bring back from Marrakech, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of ideas for gifts and souvenirs to bring back from your trip
And if you are looking for where to eat in Marrakech, you will also find what you are looking for in the souks! In particular, you can taste the pastilla with pigeon, tajine and other couscous. Do not hesitate to taste the local pastries on the stands of the souks of the medina! A real treat
Take a walk in the Majorelle Garden
Moment of relaxation and awakening of the senses, the Majorelle Garden is one of the most visited places in Morocco. It was the French painter Jacques Majorelle who created this garden in the heart of the red city. Nevertheless, the bluish-coloured garden owes its current fame to fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent who bought the garden in the 1990s in order to restore it.
Today, it is open to the public and you can wander around freely, rest on a bench or simply study the exotic trees and plants from all over the world. This place is very pleasant, calm and relaxing.
If you want to discover the garden as part of an activity, you can book a half-day excursion during which you will visit the Majorelle garden and learn how to ride a camel at the Palmeraie Departing from your hotel , you will explore the paths, fountains and cactus gardens of the famous Majorelle garden, you will learn more about the origins of exotic plants and you will be able to listen to the 15 species of birds that live there. Then, you will go to the Palmeraie of Marrakech to learn how to ride a camel and you will walk among the palm trees: an unforgettable experience!
Visit the Koranic school Medersa Ben Youssef
This old school built on the foundations of the old Medersa in 1570 by the Saadians is a real architectural gem. The school located in the heart of the Medina was, for more than 400 years, a welcoming home for all students thirsty for knowledge in theology.
You will have the opportunity to visit the inner courtyard of the Medersa Ben Youssef, but also the old student rooms. There are more than 130 of them and they made it possible to accommodate students not originally from Marrakech. The walls are engraved, sculpted, it’s really very beautiful!
It is the ideal place to admire all the beauty and dexterity of Arab-Andalusian art. For me it’s a very interesting visit not to be missed if you don’t know what to do in Marrakech.
Admire the Koutoubia Mosque
The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech and certainly the most impressive! Less than 200 meters from the Jemaa El Fna square, you cannot miss it. It is one of the essentials of Marrakech and it is an emblematic monument of the red city.
Completed in 1196, the building very representative of Almohad art. Unfortunately, you cannot visit the interior without a guide or if you are not a Muslim because it is an active place of worship still active! Nevertheless, you can still admire its ocher-colored facade at sunset: a true marvel of architecture
If you can, I recommend booking a guided tour in advance. Indeed, with a guide you will not only be able to enter the mosque, but you will also have a lot of information and anecdotes about this historic place! From €60 per person, you can enjoy a 3-hour guided tour of Marrakech, including a visit to the Koutoubia mosque as well as the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs and the Jemaa El Fna square. Transport is by air-conditioned vehicle with departure and return to the hotel
What to do in Marrakech: discover the Bahia Palace!
This beautifully decorated palace is not to be missed during your stay in Marrakech. The Bahia Palace is in truth an old residence made up of a group of houses. You will find a riad there, but also a small courtyard, a large marble courtyard called “cour d’honneur” as well as a second, slightly larger riad. Visiting this place is very pleasant and allows you to discover the beauty of typical Moroccan art.
As explained earlier in the article, the best option to visit this place is to opt for the 3-hour guided tour including the Koutoubia Mosque and the Bahia Palace
See the El Badi Palace
This second palace is a very old palace of which there remains today only an immense interior courtyard invaded by gardens of orange trees and surrounded by high walls. It is in this emblematic place that Jamel Debbouze’s Marrakech du Rire festival takes place!
There is not much left of the palace, so I advise you to go and see the Bahia Palace as a priority, nevertheless the history of the El Badi Palace is still very interesting and you will not waste your time if you decide to visit this historical place
Activities not to be missed in Marrakech!
Apart from the essential activities and places, you will find other experiences to do during your stay in Marrakech. Even if in 4 days in Marrakech it will surely not be possible to try them all, here is a list of additional activities
Test a hammam
How to visit Marrakech and not try a hammam? If you are looking for an essential activity to do in the city, the hammam is really a very different experience from a spa as we know them back home. Indeed, unlike European spas, hammams are made for washing! If you decide to try the experiment, you should therefore know that you will be washed from head to toe! Hot water, body scrub with black soap, massage: in short, you will come out clean as a whistle!
If you are not very modest, you can try a local and public hammam. You will therefore benefit from care in the company of other people. In any case, I highly recommend this activity! It’s a unique experience to do if you don’t know what to do in Marrakech during your stay
Discover the Museum of Marrakech
Do you want to admire one of the most beautiful architectures in the city? Go to the Marrakech Museum where you will learn more about the history of Marrakech. The museum is housed in the Dar Mnebhi Palace, a magnificent example of classic Andalusian architecture. Definitely worth a visit just for the interior decoration. Another great activity to discover if you don’t know what to do in Marrakech.
See the Saadian tombs
The Saadian tombs are among the most visited sites in Marrakech. Located right next to the Kasbah mosque, the Saadian tombs are one of the only vestiges of the great Saadian dynasty which reigned over Marrakech between 1524 and 1659. The tombs were discovered in 1917 and were opened to the public the same year .
The tombs are open to the public and you have the option of visiting them on your own or on a guided tour. In particular, you can get a combined ticket for a guided tour of the El Badi and Bahia tombs and palaces, which will allow you to explore these cult places during your stay. The visit to the tombs is not very long, it lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.
Relax on a rooftop
There is no shortage of restaurants and cafes all around the Jemaa El Fna square! You can admire the extent of the square and take the opportunity to drink Moroccan tea or eat some specialties such as tajine! And if your riad has a rooftop, it’s also a great opportunity to read a book or enjoy the sunset.
The atmosphere is very serene and calm with very often the mountains in the background. Something to create a magical and unique atmosphere! What more could you ask for when visiting Marrakech?
Visit the Menara Gardens
If you want to get out of the old town, why not explore the gardens of La Ménara? With more than forty varieties of olive trees, the Menara is a real oasis that will transport you far from the hustle and bustle of the city. A 45-minute walk from Jamma El Fna Square, you can stroll there and feel the calm and serenity that such a place provides
You will also see a large rectangular basin in the middle of the garden, around which you can walk paths, with the landscape of the magnificent century-old olive trees and the High Atlas mountains. Whether you are with your family, as a couple, with friends or alone, visiting the gardens is always a pleasure if you are looking for a bit of calm!
Sleep in a riad
Forget big hotels and big hotel chains! If you come to Marrakech, I advise you to find accommodation in the very heart of the Medina. You will find many riads, each more sumptuous than the other. It is a typical accommodation that you have to discover in Marrakech
If you decide to stay in an establishment of this type, you will live an authentic experience in the old red city. In particular, you can stroll in the evening in the alleys of the Medina and discover the good restaurants in the area!
The riads in Marrakech are traditional houses with interior courtyards in which you will often find gardens or swimming pools. For my part, I have already had the chance to stay in a riad and I had a great time! If you only come to Marrakech for a few days, don’t miss the experience of a riad
You will find a wide price range depending on the riads, the standard of the establishment and its location in the city. If you want to know more about riads and want a good address, I advise you to read my article Authentic Riad in Marrakech.
Unique experiences around Marrakech
If you come to visit Marrakech and stay there for several days, I can only recommend that you get out of the city and discover these experiences that you don’t necessarily think of but which are simply incredible! Personally, these experiences marked me during my second stay in Marrakech when I ventured outside the city, for day trips, or even a few days
So if you don’t know what to do during your stay in Marrakech, you will inevitably find what you are looking for in this selection of unique activities to do around Marrakech!
Visit the Ouzoud waterfalls
This excursion is affordable and really enjoyable whether you are a couple, family or solo. For around $20 per person, you leave Marrakech for a day trip to discover the picturesque Berber villages and towns of the Grand Atlas.
The journey is relatively long (about 3 hours to go and 3 hours to return) but the Ouzoud waterfalls near Marrakech are really worth the detour! The place is heavenly and you can even swim in the Al Abid River. For a day, you will be able to escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech
However, I recommend that you book this excursion online, because on the spot in Marrakech, it can happen that people sell you the activity with an unofficial guide. By booking in advance on the internet, you will not have this risk. For the price, the activity is definitely worth it!
The only recommendations I can give you are to bring your sunscreen, comfortable shoes, a bathing suit and of course your camera. We don’t often think about this activity when we visit Marrakech, yet I recommend it without hesitation!
Go on a desert safari
If you spend several days in Morocco, you will surely want to discover the desert of Marrakech! Highly recommend going on a 3 day desert tour! It’s a really unusual activity to do at least once in your life! Departing from the city of Marrakech, you will travel to Merzouga, near the border with Algeria.
For $120 per person, you will first spend one night in a hotel, then one night in a Bedouin camp, in the heart of the Erg Chebbi dunes. During these 3 intense days, you will notably be able to explore the magnificent landscapes of the Dades gorges, the kasbahs and Ouarzazate. You will also have the opportunity to go on camel rides and above all to admire breathtaking sunrises and sunsets!
If you have time and you don’t know what to do in Marrakech, this is an exceptional excursion to do around the city!
Explore the Atlas Mountains
The Atlas is a mountain range that extends over Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. 2,500 kilometers long, the massif forms a barrier between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara, in the northwest of the African continent. On the Moroccan part, the mountains are divided into 3 main massifs: the Anti, the Middle and the High Atlas, and the more adventurous often come to climb the Djebel Toubkal, the highest peak culminating at 4,167 meters.
The Atlas Mountains are among the must-sees to visit in the region! From the city of Marrakech, you can see them in particular, and depending on the season, you can even see snow less than 100 kilometers from Marrakech! It’s still a surprising sight that we don’t necessarily expect
Moreover, if you come to Marrakech between January and March, you can put on your skis to hurtle down the slopes of Oukaïmeden in the High Atlas! Skiing in Marrakech is a rather unusual activity, isn’t it?
How to get to and around Marrakech?
The most common and convenient way to get to Marrakech is of course by plane. There are regular routes (often direct flights) from several cities in France to Marrakech-Menara Airport, the second largest airport in the country. Of course the prices vary according to the airlines and according to the season.
It is also possible to come to Marrakech by train, by bus, or even by car for the bravest, but as you can imagine, the journey will be very long! If you have time and want to discover the landscapes of Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco, you can choose one of these three options. Moreover, if you go to Marrakech during a road trip in Morocco, do not hesitate to consult my article on this subject to know my good plans!
Regarding travel once in town, Marrakech can easily be visited on foot. Moreover, in the Medina, the alleys are so narrow that you cannot drive around! You can reach the main attractions of the city on foot without worry.
And if your hotel is relatively far from the city center, you can get there by taxi, the journeys are not very expensive. Otherwise you can also take the bus, although it is not really the means of transport most used by visitors to Marrakech.
Where to sleep in Marrakech?
If you are looking for where to sleep in Marrakech, you will not be disappointed because the options in terms of accommodation are very numerous! As in all large cities, you can choose between accommodation of all types, from small hotels to large five-star hotels.
In my opinion, the most worthwhile alternative is to stay in a riad! You will be able to be in total immersion in Moroccan culture Indeed, as said before, sleeping in a riad is really an experience to live! These homes with open-air patios are simply superb! Here are some addresses that I recommend and which should, I hope, meet your expectations
Hôtel Racine is located a 5-minute drive from Jamaâ El Fna Square and a 5-minute walk from the Marrakech Plaza shopping centre. With an outdoor swimming pool and a beautiful terrace, you can also enjoy a gym and a restaurant. The rooms are sober and bright and are all equipped with a television. The 3-star establishment also has a hairdressing salon, a hammam and a spa and wellness centre. For one night, count about 60 €, breakfast included
BED SQUARE Hostel is located in the heart of Marrakech, 500 meters from Djemaa El Fna Square and less than 1 km from Koutoubia Mosque. This bed and breakfast offers comfortable and affordable accommodation with a terrace and a continental breakfast served each morning. Several sites of interest are nearby such as the Mouassine Museum and the Bahia Palace. If you want to stay in this establishment, count about 50$ per night.
Riad L’Evidence is an establishment offering typical Moroccan accommodation with air conditioning, located 850 meters from the Secret Garden and the Boucharouite Museum. Featuring a bar, a restaurant, a terrace and a shared lounge, this guest house serves a continental or halal breakfast every morning. You can take advantage of its prime location and discover the Jemaa el-Fna square 350 meters away and the Mouassine museum 650 meters away. Count around 75 $ per night, breakfast included.
That’s all for this article on what to do in Marrakech! If you have other ideas for activities to do in the city or around, you can leave a comment. A little tip for your stay in Marrakech: remember to get an internet package for your phone if your operator does not already offer you an international package. If you are looking for a SIM card for Morocco, I advise you to go to holafly.com which offers SIM cards with data for Morocco
And if my article made you want to discover the region but you don’t know when to go to Marrakech, don’t hesitate to consult my article to better prepare your.
Read more- The Best Places to Stay in Agadir