Top 10 things to do and visit in Marrakech

Top 10 things to do and visit in Marrakech

Top 10 things to do and visit in Marrakech

1. Stroll through the Medina and souks:

Top 10 things Marrakech: The Medina is the historic heart of Marrakech. Established almost 1,000 years ago, it boasts some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. Surrounded by immense walls, the Medina is home to riads (traditional houses), palaces and numerous monuments. This is also where you can stroll through the souks!

There are all kinds of souks in the Medina: spice souks, craft souks, leather souks and more. These places are definitely worth the detour, for the atmosphere alone! But be advised—the souks might not be for you if you’re uncomfortable being approached! The merchants are very friendly, but can sometimes be a little too insistent…

Marrakech’s historic center is very easy to visit on foot. If you’d like to find out more about the city’s history, you can opt for a guided tour of the historic center. Prices for these tours are low, and there’s even a great free tour that we’ve listed below. It’s a great way to learn more about the history of the city and this very authentic district.

2. Spend an evening on Place Jemaa-el-Fna:

If you’re looking for something to do in Marrakech in the evening, the Place Jemaa el-Fna is the place for you! As soon as night falls, Marrakech’s main square is transformed into a bustling place! Merchants mingle with visitors and… animals! You’ll come across snake charmers and trainers with their little monkeys. It’s all very touristy, but the atmosphere is truly unique.

We recommend arriving at the square at the end of the day, as the sun is setting. This is when the place comes alive, and the colors of the buildings are magnified by the last light of day.

It’s easy to find something to eat. The square is surrounded by restaurants with terraces. Some of these terraces are located high up, giving you a great view of the whole square and its bustle, without necessarily mingling with the crowds. It’s also possible to sample a variety of dishes cooked on site and offered in small stalls.

3. Visit the Jardin Majorelle and the Musée Berbère:

One of Morocco‘s most popular tourist destinations is the Jardin Majorelle! It was created by French painter Jacques Majorelle, who took almost 40 years to complete his “work”. The garden contrasts sharply with the rest of the city, and at times feels like a tableau vivant. The colors of the buildings and earthenware mingle with the exotic plants, giving the whole an enchanting charm. A lovely museum dedicated to the Berber people is located right next to the garden, and is also well worth a visit!

The Jardin Majorelle is not huge, but you should allow at least 1 hour for a leisurely stroll.

Right next to the garden is the Musée Berbère, one of Marrakech’s finest museums. It is possible to book combined tickets with the garden to enjoy this visit at a reduced price. The museum is entirely dedicated to the Berber people, the oldest in North Africa. You’ll find a wealth of objects presenting their history, culture and beliefs (religious artifacts, clothing, jewelry, musical instruments, etc.). There are also maps showing the main tribes and where they settled. It’s an interesting way to understand Morocco’s history through its largest and most famous ethnic group.

4. Admire the Koutoubia Mosque:

Top 10 things Marrakech: The Koutoubia Mosque was built in the 12th century, in the heart of the Medina. With its 77-meter-high minaret and sober yet elegant architecture, it is today considered the symbol of Marrakech. Its impressive dimensions can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers in the main prayer hall.

The mosque is close to Jemaa-el-Fna Square. So you can easily visit both sites on the same outing. Please note, however, that it is not possible to visit the interior of the building, as access is reserved exclusively for worshippers. You’ll have to be content with admiring its beauty from the outside, while respecting local customs. Many worshippers come to the foot of the mosque during prayers, so it’s best not to be a nuisance.

5. Take an excursion around Marrakech:

The area around Marrakech is brimming with natural sites, each more beautiful than the last. In less than 3 hours’ drive, you can discover the Atlas mountains and their Berber villages, the Ourika valley and the magnificent Ouzoud waterfalls!

There are two ways to discover the area around Marrakech. If you’re planning a road Morocco tours, all you have to do is rent your own vehicle for several days and arrange accommodation at the various sites you wish to visit. This is what we did on our first trip, and we really enjoyed it. However, this option is recommended for drivers with a minimum of experience (some roads are rocky and traffic is sometimes heavy in the cities, with traffic regulations not always respected).

If you prefer to stay in Marrakech, or are short of time, you can also opt for a day trip (or longer). In this case, a driver-guide will pick you up at your hotel and bring you back at the end of the day. There are many different formulas, for one or more days, in groups or with a private driver. Prices are generally very low, and this is undoubtedly the easiest way to visit Marrakech’s surroundings. We tested 2 excursions during a second stay in Marrakech and found the formula interesting (see links below).

Ouzoud waterfalls:

These impressive waterfalls are located 150 km from Marrakech. With a total height of 110 meters, they are set in the heart of a verdant, oasis-like gorge. It’s a superb natural site, calm and unspoilt. You can bathe at the foot of the waterfalls, take a boat trip and see the wild monkeys that live in this environment.

Essaouira :

This port city is protected by ramparts built in the 18th century. It boasts a beautiful Medina and charming beaches offering a wide range of water sports (surfing, wakeboarding, etc.). If you’d like to spend a few days in Essaouira, take a look at this lovely article by our friend Camille on her own blog.

Ouarzazate: this beautiful town lies in the Atlas Mountains. Famous films such as Gladiator, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, The Mummy and Prince of Persia were shot here.

Atlas Mountains & Valleys (Ourika, Asni…):

Top 10 things Marrakech: These mountains are home to North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal (4,167 meters). Here you’ll find bucolic landscapes (rivers, waterfalls, etc.), traditional Berber villages and magnificent panoramic views.

For the adventurous, you can also visit this magnificent desert, undoubtedly one of Morocco’s most beautiful natural sites. You can spend a night in the middle of the sand dunes and take a camel ride in a setting worthy of a thousand and one nights! You’ll need to allow at least 2 or 3 days, as the desert is still a long way from Marrakech. Along the way, you can visit Ouarzazate and the Tinghir oasis.

6. Enjoy Moroccan gastronomy and cook with the locals:

Top 10 things Marrakech: Among the best known cuisines in the world is Moroccan food! We invite you to visit small restaurants to sample local specialties such as tajine, méchoui or the famous couscous. In fact, couscous is one of our favorite dishes (I’m being a bit subjective here, but I have to admit it’s excellent!). To learn all the subtleties of this renowned cuisine, you can take part in a cooking class or go on a gourmet tour to discover local specialties.

In addition to traditional dishes, be sure to share a mint tea! Just the way the tea is served is an experience in itself (we’ll let you discover). To enjoy it, you can go to a “salon de thé” or a restaurant (or get lucky and share the moment with locals you’ve met on the spot!).

If you’d like to take advantage of your stay in Marrakech to bring home some new recipes, you can also take part in a cooking class. Various activities are available to help you discover the subtleties of Moroccan cuisine. We recommend one of the most popular courses in Marrakech below.

You can also take part in a gourmet guided tour of the markets and souks. You’ll learn to recognize and use the different spices and taste delicious local specialties.

7. Ride a camel or quad bike in the Palmeraie:

Marrakech’s Palmeraie is both a natural and urban area. It is home to thousands of palm trees, as well as numerous houses, both inhabited and under construction. There’s nothing like a camel or quad ride to discover this area!  In the midst of an exotic scenery, these unusual activities are truly enjoyable!

The camel rides are fairly short (allow between 30 minutes and 2 hours for most tours). Which is just as well, because it’s admittedly not very comfortable! Nevertheless, it’s one of those “cliché” activities that we recommend you try at least once in your life. It’s also an ideal activity if you’re wondering what to do in Marrakech with children.

If you don’t want to ride a camel, you can also take a quad bike through the palm grove. The scenery is more beautiful and varied (you cover more ground), and we had a lot of fun driving at full speed over this desert area. The experience remains less original than the camel ride, however, if you’re looking for something truly “local”.

If you want to try out both activities, there are tours that combine quad biking and camel riding, with the option of adding a hammam session. These tours are well organized and allow you to combine activities without wasting time. Finally, it’s also possible to take these rides to other locations, such as the Atlas Mountains.

8. Relax in Marrakech’s hammams:

Top 10 things Marrakech: Marrakech’s hammams are very popular with locals and now also with tourists. They are part of the local culture, and offer a real moment of relaxation to all their visitors. Decorated in pure Oriental style, these establishments feature a variety of baths and wet rooms, as well as massage parlors.

We don’t have any specific advice on hammams, other than to make the most of them. It’s a very popular activity with Moroccans, so it’s worth trying it out in Marrakech. Despite the heat outside, one session really helps you relax and enjoy the rest of your stay. So don’t hesitate to indulge in this little relaxation break, you won’t regret it :).

9. Visit the Saadian tombs:

This site is home to the tombs of many Saadians, an Arab dynasty that ruled Morocco over 350 years ago. These tombs date from the late 16th century, but were only discovered in 1917! The site is admirably preserved and regularly dazzles visitors with its beauty and rich architecture.

The tombs are close to other major sites such as Jemaa-el-Fna Square, the Koutoubia Mosque and the Bahia Palace. So don’t miss out on a visit, especially as admission is very inexpensive (no reservations possible, just pay on the spot)!

10. Spend the night in a Riad (traditional house):

Top 10 things Marrakech: We rarely rank accommodations in our top 10, but riads are totally part of the local culture! Riads are traditional houses typical of Morocco. They are built around a central patio, and are generally 1 to 4 storeys high (each floor with balconies facing the patio). Rather than opting for a traditional hotel, why not give them a try?

Obviously, we weren’t able to try out all the Riads in Marrakech… To find the best establishments, we invite you to follow the selection made on, the reference site for booking hotel rooms (it’s the site we use for all our trips). This selection is based on feedback from hundreds of customers, with average scores of at least 9 out of 10 and reasonable prices. Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed if you spend several days in one of these Riads!

Beware, these are the most popular establishments! We therefore advise you to book them as soon as possible, just after your plane ticket. Knowing where you’ll be staying will also help you organize your activities, including hotel pick-up.

Other things to do in Marrakech:

Top 10 things Marrakech: Hot-air balloon flight at sunrise: Despite our Top 10 activities, you’re still wondering what to do in Marrakech? This incredible experience is sure to please! As the sun rises, you’ll take to the skies to admire Marrakech’s surroundings from a hot-air balloon. The absolute silence of the sky, the calm of the tour and the landscapes you’ll see will leave you with deep memories!

Paragliding in the Atlas Mountains: this superb activity allows you to enjoy the magnificent natural landscapes around Marrakech while living a thrilling experience! Return transportation from Marrakech is included with this package.

Tyroliennes in the mountains: a superb course of tyroliennes, suspension bridges and abseiling descents has been laid out in the Atlas Mountains. With transportation available from Marrakech, having an exciting day of exploration is made simple.

Fantasia Chez Ali (dinner and show): this sightseeing show is inspired by the tales of the Arabian Nights. It features numerous horsemen and acrobats. It’s one of Marrakech’s most popular attractions.

Pottery workshop: an original way to learn the techniques of a traditional Moroccan craftsman.

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