This post is all about things to do in Marrakech.
There’s no way to fully prepare for the experience of visiting Marrakech. No matter how many guides you’ll still be shocked and overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of this city.
This guide to the top things to do in Marrakech will help you prepare for some of the sensory-overload you’re about to experience. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time for relaxation and lots of mint tea breaks. You’ll thank me later!
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Things to do in Marrakech
1. Get Lost in the Medina
The part of Marrakech that you see all over Instagram is the Medina, or old town. This walled part of Marrakech is home to the city’s riads, souks, and famous main square. My favorite way to explore the Medina is just to wander around and get a little lost.
Admire all of the colorful stores, interesting smells, and grab a cup of mint tea at a cafe when you need a little break.
2. Shop at the Souks
Another fun thing to do in Marrakech is to shop at the souks. The souks basically just the marketplace inside of the Medina walls. You’ll find tons of lanterns, rugs, leather goods, textiles, and spices in the souks.
Be aware that if you’re looking to do some shopping, you’re going to have to learn how to bargain. This is a part of the culture and store owners expect it so don’t feel bad asking for a lower price. Just make sure you’re being respectful and still offering what the product is worth.
3. Explore Jamaa El Fnaa Square
Jamaa El Fnaa Square is the heart of the Marrakech Medina. It’s a whole experience of its own. You’ll see juice stands, snake charmers, flute players, and other entertainers here.
This is a great place to truly experience Moroccan culture but be aware — pickpockets are very common in the square so watch your belongings closely.
Responsible travel tip: please do NOT pay to take pictures with the animals. These animals are kidnapped and abused and taking pictures with them only enables this horrible practice to continue.
4. Stay in a Traditional Riad
Marrakech is one of the most exhausting places I’ve ever been. It’s beautiful but it is absolute sensory overload. I highly recommend having somewhere to stay that is as relaxing as possible so you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Luckily, the best places to stay in Marrakech are traditional riads. Riads look like plain buildings from the outside but on the inside you’ll find stunning architecture with a pool or courtyard in the center.
It is such a peaceful experience and one I absolutely recommend.
I’ve linked some top rated riads in marrakech here.
5. Dine On a Rooftop
Rooftop dining is very common in Marrakech. This was by far one of my favorite things to do in Marrakech because it’s a little escape from the buzzing activity of the Medina below. Plus Moroccan food is delicious!
Some of our favorite rooftop restaurants in Marrakech:
Atay Cafe ($$)
Cafe Kif Kif ($$)
6. Tour The Maison de la Photographie
The Maison de la Photographie is the perfect rainy day activity in Marrakech. This museum is home to some gorgeous photography, with some shots dating back to over 150 years ago.
This museum is a great way to get a glimpse into some of Marrakech’s traditions and people over the past century and a half. End your museum visit with a mint tea on the rooftop for the perfect afternoon.
The museum is open from 10am-6pm daily and costs 50 dirham (about $5.40).
7. Explore Bahia Palace
Bahia palace is one of the top things to do in Marrakech. This beautiful palace was built in the late 19th century and is one of the best-preserved historical sights in the city.
Wander around and enjoy the stunning design, peaceful gardens, and pretty tiled floors.
The palace is open daily from 9am-5pm and the entrance fee is 70 dirham ($7.50).
8. Camp in the Agafay Desert
If you have limited time in Morocco and can’t make it to the Sahara, the Agafay Desert is an alternate option.
This ‘Desert’ is actually made up of stones instead of sand so it’s definitely not the same as a trip to the Sahara. But you can camp out in luxury tents and say hi to some cutie camels here so it’s a close second!
The most popular camp is the Scarabeo Luxury camp. This camp is absolutely gorgeous but it was a bit out of our price range at the time.
We found a cheaper option but I’m not going to share the name here because I wouldn’t recommend it. However, there are tons luxury camps in the Agafay desert so you have options!
9. Visit a Tannery
This is something we didn’t actually do when we were in Marrakech but it was highly recommended. The tanneries in Morocco are comprised of hundreds of large pots of dye, used to color leather.
Be aware that these tanneries have a very strong smell. You can purchase some mint from a local to help cover the smell or bring along a scarf to cover your nose.
Travel tip: Be wary of locals in the Medina offering to take you on a tannery tour. They will likely either take you to a friend’s shop and force you to buy things or guide you to a tannery and demand money for their services. It’s best to either book a tour in advance or visit the tanneries independently.
10. Ben Youssef Madrasa
Ben Youssef Madrasa is a former Islamic college located in Marrakech. The Madrasa is one of the most stunning buildings in the city and definitely a must-see. You’ll find intricate mosaic tiles, columns, sculptures, and stuccoes.
The building was closed for renovations in 2018 so unfortunately I was not able to visit during my time in Marrakech. Ben Youssef Madrasa was scheduled to reopen sometime in 2020 so be sure to check before your trip to see if it will be open.
When it reopens, it will likely be open daily from 9am-5pm. The entrance fee was 60 dirham (about $5) prior to closing so expect to pay a similar price.
11. Drink Moroccan Mint Tea
Normally I wouldn’t include a beverage as a thing to do in a new destination but Moroccan Mint Tea is an experience you can’t miss out on! We stopped for mint tea at least once a day because it’s the perfect midday pick-me-up.
For the best experience, grab a mint tea on a patio with a view and just watch the world go by.
12. Visit Jardin Majorelle
The Jardin Majorelle is one of the top tourist attractions in Marrakech.
This gorgeous blue house and botanical gardens were originally owned by Jaques Majorelle, who was the inventor of this deep shade of blue, called ‘Majorelle blue’. Later, the house was bought by Yves St Laurent, who restored the house and gardens.
You’ll find gorgeous exotic plants, stunning architecture, and vivid colors all around the garden and house. It’s a perfect picture spot!
The gardens cost 70 dirham (around $7.50) and the museum entrance fee is 30 dirham (around $3). The house and gardens are open from 8am-5:30pm every day.
13. Relax at a Hammam
A hammam is a traditional spa that usually involves a rub down, hot steam, and a massage. The perfect way to relax after a long day exploring the Medina.
You will find plenty of Hammams dotted around the city. Most of these are small local spas and will cost around 50-150 dirham ($5-15) for a treatment. If you’re looking for something a little bit more catered to tourists, look into Royal Mansour or the Four Seasons Spa. These will be closer to western spa price ranges.
14. Admire the Koutoubia Mosque
The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech. This beautiful salmon-hued building can be seen from pretty much anywhere in the Medina.
You will not be able to enter the Koutoubia Mosque, as only Muslims are allowed to enter, but you can wander the grounds outside and enjoy the exterior architecture.
Another great spot to admire the Koutoubia Mosque is from the rooftop at Cafe KifKif.
As long as you stay somewhere in the Medina, getting around Marrakech is very easy. You can walk to almost all of the main tourist sights or take a quick taxi ride if your destination is outside of the old city walls. Ask your accommodation to book a taxi for you to make things easier.
Where to Stay in Marrakech
I absolutely recommend staying in a riad during your trip to Marrakech. There are riads for every single budget and it’s a great way to experience local culture and traditions.
Here are the top rated riads in Marrakech.
This post was all about the top things to do in Marrakech.
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