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15 Things To Do in Marrakesh

Updated: May 30, 2020

If you are planning your trip to Marrakesh, or just wondering what you could do in Marrakesh then this is the guide for your!

Here are 15 awesome things to do in Marrakesh ( and little suggestions and where to stay and what to eat!)



 

Marrakesh is one of the pearls of North Africa and the second biggest city of Morocco.

This is a city that has a unique vibe: at first it may result very chaotic and noisy, but after a while you realise there is no other city like it, it is a whirlwind of colours, smells, flavours, traditions and music all in one single place.


 

1. Get lost in the old Medina




"Medina" means literally "the old city", The Medina of Marrakesh is a labyrinth of lanes, which can be less than 1 metre wide, it is an highly populated historic urban centre where you can come into contact with the true colours, smells and people of Marrakesh.

Historical palaces, mosques, streets markets selling traditional food, souks and secret rooftop terraces are just some of the wonderful things you can discover wandering in the Medina!


2. Let Jemaa el-Fna Square atmosphere become an extraordinary experience





Jemaa el-Fna Square is recognised UNESCO World Heritage site, and this is why:

The square is one of a kind, not for being a square, it is actually a very common place, but for its atmosphere, especially at night!

Thousand of different smells, thousands of people having a good time, thousands of street food trucks will make your time there an unforgettable memory.

In the morning it is not such a special place, just a common square with very few souvenir stalls and some tooth seller (I know... I only saw this in Morocco), there are also ladies making henna tattoes, but when the sun goes down the magic takes place: The tradition music echoes through the entire city, lots and lots of people dancing around dance performers, and.. food, food everywhere!


We have spent every single night of our trip in Marrakesh having dinner in this square, it is such a pleasant atmosphere! Any attempt of describing it won't do it justice, make sure to live the true essence of this square because you will miss it once you leave Marrakesh!


P.S. For a lovely view over the Jema el-Fna Square we suggest "Zeitoun Cafe" where you get amazing food and an incredibly good avocado smoothie!

3. Have a stroll around the Koutoubia Mosque



The Koutoubia Mosque is the biggest Mosque of Marrakesh, make sure to have a good stroll from Jema el-Fna to the Mosque and visit the Koutoubia Gardens during the afternoon as the place is very relaxing especially when is time of the muezzin prayer call (Adhaan), even if we are not of muslim religion this is something very special and emotional.


P.S. For a stunning view of the Koutoubia Mosque we visited a little lovely Cafe, which super recommended, "Cafe Kif-Kif", we had a full lunch of traditional 'vegetarian cous cous' and 'poulet au citron', staff was very welcoming, food very tasty and the small terrace has a stunning view!


4. Enjoy traditional flavours


And here we are... Food! Traditional food is a big thing in Morocco!

If you're heading to Morocco, know that you're in for a gastronomical (re)treat!

Moroccan food ranks high on lists of the world's best cuisines and is well worth exploring.

We made a list of the 5 dishes you should try when in Morocco (you won't be disappointed, trust me!).

Read our guide: Delicious dishes you must try in Morocco!



5. Visit the Saadian Tombs




The Saadian Tombs is the Royal Necropolis located on south side of the city.

If you are staying just 1 or 2 days it might be not worth the visit as there are plenty of other beautiful places to see, but it is a nice place that if you are staying longer you might decide to go and explore.

It is a small museum with beautiful decorations and amazing architecture but the main attraction is one small room with the tombs.


P.S. There is no much informations and descriptions given inside the museum, so it might be better to get a guide if you are interested in knowing more about its history.


6. Fasion-relax at Jardin le Majorelle



The Majorelle Garden is a stunning botanical garden owned by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, who saved it from being replaced by an hotel in 1980.


" We were seduced by this oasis where colours used by Matisse were mixed with those of nature"

Fun fact: Majorelle Blue is a clear, intense, fresh blue. In 1924 the artist Jacques Majorelle inagurated his largest art work the Majorelle Garden and painted the garden walls, fountains, features and villa this very intense shade of blue, for which he trademarked the name Majorelle Blue.


We walked from the Medina to Majorelle garden, it takes about 40 minutes, when we arrived there was not much queue, you can purchase the ticket at the entrance, and once you enter the place is full of cactus, and tropical trees, a nice pathway brings you all around the garden complex, revealing lily ponds, fountains and beautiful yellow and blue painted buildings.

At the end of the path there is a beautiful garden restaurant, but it is quite expensive, we just took a picture from the outside: shot and go!


7. Bargain in the Souks





"Souks" are outdoor markets in Muslim countries, especially in North Africa and the Middle East, the Arabic word is a loan from Aramaic "šūqā" (“street, market”).

The souks of Marrakech are the largest in Morocco and famous globally as some of the most exotic marketplaces to shop in the world.

Bargain in Morocco is not seen as taking advantage, it is culture, vendors love to have a sit with you, offering you a traditional mint tea and bargain about the price! It may seem a little weird the first times, but it is a must do experience in Marrakesh.

Vendors will start with very high prices and then almost half it at the end, but be aware that if you show interest in bargaining and the negotiation goes on, when you finally reach an agreement it is not nice to leave it and not purchase anything.

For first-time visitors it can be an intimidating experience: we are here to make it a little bit easier Read our guide: How to Navigate Marrakesh Souks


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

Location: In the Medina, close to Jema el -Fna Square

Opening Times: Usually open by 10.00 am, start to shut down around 19.30. Souks close to the square stay open until the food stalls close down around 23.30.



8. Look for all things spices


Spices in Marrakesh are everywhere! One of the most common souvenirs purchased from tourists are spices, they are very traditional, colourful and attiring and we, also, could not resist to buy some of them!

Souks are full of common and more uncommon spices and they looks so beautiful as vendors display them nicely on their counters, the smell of these spices will guide you all along the souk in the search of your favourite ones.


9. Get an Henna Tattoo




Henna ,(Lawsonia inermis), is a flowering plant used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather and wool.

In Jema el-Fna Square you will often see ladies ready to make a henna tattoo for you, I (Daniela) got one on my hand and it lasted about a week, they have a catalogue with all the pictures of tattoo design previously made, chose the one you like the most and in about 5/10 minutes you will have the design on you hands. The henna tattoo has to dry before you can peel the bits off. It is a nice little thing to do when in Marrakesh!


10. Visit the El Badi Palace




"Palais El Badi" is a ruined historical palace, it was where Sultan Ahmad Al-Mansur used to receive his guests. It was built using some of the most expensive materials of the time: gold, onyx and italian marble.

Today it is an open air museum, use your imagination to feel the atmosphere, the pictures and videos on site will help you with this, describing you how beautiful it was long time ago.

It is not as good as Bahia Palace but it is still worth a visit: we suggest to see El Badi Palace first and then the Bahia Palace, this way you will not feel disappointed when visiting El Badi.


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

Location: Ksibat Nhass, south of the Medina, close to the Saadian Tombs.

Opening times: every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (may be subject to changes or closures during royal visits and other events).

Entrance fee: 10 Moroccan dirham.


11. Pour yourself a traditional Mint Tea



Drinking tea in Morocco is a very much loved tradition it signifies friendship and hospitality.

There are many stories on how Mint Tea appeared in Morocco: some say that Berbers imported this tradition from Asia, some others claim that it was the Arabs who introduced it in Morocco or maybe the Queen Victoria who offered tea to a Moroccan representatives who they brought back this tradition to the country. But in any case, whenever and however it arrived in Morocco, it made its way to be one of the best moroccan traditions.

Boiling water and fresh mint leaves with a lot of sugar make the perfect moroccan drink, but everything is in the gesture: Holding the teapot in height, pour the tea in the glass, and let it make bubbles to let all the ingredients mix well together.



12. Marvel at Bahia Palace



Bahia means "brilliance", the palace was built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time, this is clear looking at the patterns and materials used in the construction.


The biggest attraction is the decor of walls and ceiling, a classic example of Moorish architecture and zellin tiles. The Bahia Palace is definitely a must see place in Marrakesh!


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:


Location: along Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid, southeast of the Medina and close to Mellah quarter.

Opening times: every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (may be subject to changes or closures during royal visits and other events).

Entrance fee: 70 Moroccan Dirham.


13. Admire the colourful patterns



We love colours, but we love patterns even more! Islamic art is all about colourful patterns, they could be monochrome or of many different colours.

Everywhere you go there is some nice patterned tile that catches you eye!

Patterned tiles are specific of moroccan tradition: Zellige is an ornamental Moroccan handicraft technique of tilework. In Arabic, zellige means “little polished stone” and is similar to the "azulejo" a practice based in Spain and Portugal.

This technique involves assembling differently coloured and shaped pieces of gloss coated terracotta tiles to form geometric patterns that can repeat endlessly to form a wall or floor design.

A little bit of history on this:

When this craft tradition appeared in Morocco, the tiles used were mainly of brown and white colours. In the 14th century, the highest level of perfection and sophistication in decoration flourished. At that time zellige were used for almost all available type of architecture, from palaces, fountains, and baths to patios and tombs.


14. Stay in a beautiful Riad



Hotel or Riad? Definetely a Riad!

Wondering why you should stay in a Riad during your holiday in Marrakesh?

Riads are where the true experience of a moroccan stay is revealed. They are colourful, home of amazing architetcure, full of patterned tiles and plants, staying in a riad will make you feel immerse in the moroccan culture!

One of the major components of most riads is the large courtyard in the centre with an open ceiling. Smaller riads usually have a fountain in the middle, and larger riads will most likely have a nice swimming pool in the courtyard for its guests to relax in. The riad's courtyard is the perfect place to rest and relax after a full day of walking around the chaotic city of Marrakesh!




15. Adventure awaits: Day trips from Marrakesh



Ideally you will want to dedicate about 3 or 4 days to explore the city of Marrakesh, but if you stay a little longer there are some beautiful 1 day trips you could decide to take to discover a little bit more of Morocco.


Read our guide: 5 Amazing Day Trips from Marrakesh!


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