Top 10 excursions from Marrakech
Top 10 excursions from Marrakech: Marrakech has a lot to offer, but don’t make the mistake of forgetting the surrounding area: here are some worthwhile excursions.
Marrakech has many places to discover and enjoy, but to immerse yourself in Moroccan life and get an idea of the country’s nature and landscape when you return from your trip, it’s advisable to get out of the city and take an excursion.
Tour of the Medina with a local guide
Marrakech’s Medina is the central area of the city, where social, economic and commercial life takes place. It is surrounded by long adobe walls and narrow, busy streets and has been declared a World Heritage Site.
With this description, it’s easy to guess that a guided tour of this area is a must during your trip to get to know the main corners of modern Marrakech. The main value of this guided tour of the Medina in English is not in the sights you will visit, but in the guidance of the local guide who will accompany the group during the tour. Their experience and knowledge of Marrakech and its way of life is an attraction you won’t have access to on your own.
The Bahia Palace.
The Saadian Tombs.
The Kutubia minaret.
Yamaa el-Fna square.
Guided tour of Marrakech
Top 10 excursions from Marrakech: On this private guided tour of Marrakech in English, lasting around three hours, you will visit the Koutoubia Mosque and the Bahia Palace, and see some of the most emblematic locations in Marrakech, including the Koutobia Mosque, the Jewish neighborhood known as the “Mellah,” the Saadian tombs, and Bab Agnou, one of the 19 gates that served as the entryway to the city’s walled enclosure.
Together with an expert guide, you’ll stroll through the city’s alleyways and learn about Marrakech’s history and culture. You’ll also have time to relax and explore the city on your own.
Private day tour of Marrakech
For those who love sightseeing, this is the best option. On this private tour of Marrakech, the guide dedicates himself exclusively to one traveller and his companions, and not to an organized group.
It’s the most complete way to get to know the city of Marrakech because, in addition to the personalized service, it’s one of the longest tours: 7 to 9 hours touring the city and its attractions. The length of the tour allows several aspects to be covered. There is a part of the tour that will focus on more “traditional” tourism, i.e. you will visit the city’s most important monuments and learn about their history and why they are so important (please note that entrance fees to these monuments are not included in the price of the visit).
Afterwards, the guide will take you around the different stalls in the souk, where you can talk to the traders and craftsmen and learn more about their profession and way of life. Lastly, the guide will discuss Arab customs and culture throughout the tour.
The Ben Youssef Mosque
The Almoravid dome
Jamaa el-Fna square
The Saadian tombs
The Jewish quarter
The Bahia Palace
The Kutubia minaret
Stroll through the souks of Marrakech
The main focus of this tour of Marrakech’s souks is the stalls and the souk and the handicrafts and items on sale: ceramics, paintings, leather, tea, carpets, clothes, jewelry, spices, etc.
However, three hours is plenty of time and you will also see other, less commercial parts of the Medina and, most importantly, have time to talk to your local guide about the things that catch your eye. You’ll meet your guide in Jamaa el-Fna Square. If you’re wondering which is the best day to book this tour, let me tell you that it doesn’t matter: the center of Marrakech is a constant weekend. You have the possibility of choosing the private tour option, so that the guide is dedicated only to you and your travel companions.
Why I like this tour
Top 10 excursions from Marrakech: The heart of Marrakech is undoubtedly in the souk and its stalls selling spices, food, leather, handicrafts, cosmetics and so on. Strolling through the souk is about keeping an eye on every corner, not because you’re necessarily looking for something, but because you feel there are thousands of objects looking for you to tell their story.
Each spice has its own purpose, each craftsman has his own technique, each painter has his own favorite corner of the city and each color has its own meaning.
For this reason, of all the tours I took during my visit, my favorite was the one that took me “shopping” in the Medina. A word of advice: haggling is an art in Marrakech, so don’t be put off by high prices or shopkeepers’ complaints.
Gastronomic tour of Marrakech
Food is one of the great attractions of this city, but although it may seem otherwise, it’s not always easy to find good food during your visit. So if you like trying new things and experimenting with flavors, I recommend this guided gastronomic tour to get to know the local specialties.
The most important thing to know if you’re interested in Moroccan food in general and Marrakech food in particular is that, in this culture, eating and drinking is not just a formality, but a way of life, a way of sharing customs and socializing. On this tour, the guide, as well as offering some tastings (remember that you won’t be sitting down to eat, but the idea is to try different foods and flavors), will impart to you the authentic significance of Moroccan cuisine and traditional dishes.
Typical dishes from Marrakech
Tajines (meat and vegetables simmered and seasoned)
Mechoui (soft-cooked lamb)
Tanjia (lamb stew with spices and candied lemons and cooked for hours)
Kaab el-ghazal (croissants filled with almond paste and flavored with orange blossom water)
Visit to the Agafay desert and the Atlas Mountains:
Top 10 excursions from Marrakech: The main attraction of this day trip is a detailed visit to the Agafay desert, a desert near Marrakech (very popular for camel rides like the ones included in the tour) where the argan oil-producing plants are found (if you can, I suggest buying a bottle because it is typically more expensive in other countries). and not always pure). The price of the tour also includes drinks, a guide, transportation from the hotel, a camel ride and, for an additional cost, lunch.
The Agafay Desert
The Atlas Mountains
The Atlas waterfalls
The Imlil Valley
The valley of Asni
The Amizmiz valley
Excursion to Ouarzazate and Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou:
Known as the “gateway to the Sahara Desert“, Ouarzazate is a city 200 kilometers from Marrakech, surrounded by fortified spaces of Berber origin known as kasbahs. If that doesn’t ring a bell, the names of the movies filmed in this clay village, Ait Ban Haddou, such as:
Star Wars, The Mummy, Gladiator, Laurence of Arabia, or Alexander the Great. The tour to Ouarzazate and Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic, can take around twelve hours (the site is around 4.5 hours from Marrakech) and you will have the option of hiring a guide and lunch for a supplement.
Excursion to the Ourika Valley:
The Ourika Valley is one of the most beautiful areas in Morocco, both for the attractiveness of its landscape and for the peace and tranquillity of the region.
If you’re looking for an excursion where you can disconnect and go at your own pace and learn a little more about the way of life of the locals, this is one of your best options. During your visit to the Ourika Valley, you’ll go on a group hike through the areas with the best views in the region and then walk through the village at your own pace. Lunch is not included, nor is the local guide (although you can hire his services for an additional three euros); the tour consists of a transfer from your hotel in Marrakech in an air-conditioned vehicle with capacity for around 15 people.
Excursion to the Ouzoud waterfalls:
Top 10 excursions from Marrakech: The Ouzoud waterfalls are one of the longest day trips (a total of around 10 hours). The scenery is about a three-hour drive from Marrakech, but the spectacle you’ll see when you arrive is well worth it. Set in a landscape of arid hills, these are the highest waterfalls in North Africa, and this excursion will allow you to walk around them, relax on their banks or observe the monkeys that live in the area.
The Ouzoud waterfalls are one of Morocco’s main mountain attractions and this plan is designed so that you can explore them at your own pace. The starting point and return point will be your hotel in Marrakech and you can bring your own lunch (I recommend it) or buy something in the local cafés.
Excursion to Essaouira:
Essaouira is a fishing village far from the mountainous landscape and deserts, but it is still one of the most popular excursions from Marrakech.
This town, known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic”, is ideal for a day out from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, to taste its excellent fish and, if you’re spending more than one day, to do some of the hiking trails that leave from there. If you want to find out more about this excursion to Essaouira, check out this other article on Excursions to Essaouira from Marrakech.
Practical information on guided tours of Marrakech:
Beware of unofficial guides in the Medina:
It is common for locals (usually children) to approach you as you walk through the souk and ask to “show” you around in exchange for a tip. These guides are not specialized and all they will do is take you on a tour of the souk without explaining anything to you.
In fact, sometimes this can even be a bit risky, as the “tour” is far from the safe tourist area. Be aware of this and be wary of such offers (better safe than sorry) and book your tour in advance to avoid disappointment or deception.
Make the most of your guided tour:
Take the opportunity offered by the guided tour to ask your guide questions; whether or not you are obliged to accept mint tea if offered, the best way to dress, how to greet the locals, how to behave at sacred sites, etc.
If you are interested in excursions in Marrakech:
Top 10 excursions from Marrakech: The finest aspect of city tours led by guides, at least for me, is getting to spend a few hours living like a local and seeing more than just the major attractions, but have the information I need to understand and put them into context. If you’re looking for a similar feeling, I recommend choosing a camel ride, where you’ll have contact with the Berbers who live in villages in the desert. Here you can read my guide to Camel Rides in Marrakech.