What to see and do in Marrakech in October?
Not sure when to go to Marrakech? With its moderate temperatures, October is an excellent time to discover the Red City and the surrounding region. You’ll be able to stroll through Marrakesh’s neighborhoods, take a trip to the desert and do whatever else you fancy at this time of year 🙂 In the following lines, I’ll tell you about Marrakesh’s climate in autumn and take you on a tour of the best things to see and do in Marrakesh in October.
Marrakech’s climate in October
There’s no bad time to visit Marrakech, as conditions are pleasant all year round. However, October is one of those months when the climate is really ideal for visiting this city! Although the sun can still shine in the middle of the day, it’s much cooler than a few weeks ago, and you won’t have to worry about a heatwave
But there’s still plenty of sunshine, and the days are still long. What’s more, the heat is already very pleasant early in the morning and continues even into the evening. So October really is the perfect time to make the most of a stay in Marrakech, and to enjoy a wide range of activities, even at night.
The average temperature in Marrakech in October is around 25 degrees, already 3 degrees cooler than the previous month, and more than 5 degrees warmer than the following month. Precipitation is almost non-existent, with an average of just one rainy episode in the whole month.
In October in Marrakech, the sun rises between 7.15 and 7.50 am, and sets between 6.40 and 7.15 pm. Days become shorter as the month progresses, lasting between 10.50 and 11.50 am.
In terms of climate, October is without doubt (along with May) the best month of the year to visit Marrakech. The heart of autumn has everything you need to make the most of your stay, with plenty of sightseeing and discoveries.
Tourist numbers at this time of year
Tourist numbers are another important criterion for choosing the right time to travel. In October, the number of tourists decreases a little, although there are still quite a few visitors. Marrakech is a very popular city, and you shouldn’t expect to be able to discover it in peace and quiet. However, October is still a much quieter period than the Easter or New Year vacations.
What to see and do in Marrakech in October?
Whether it’s October or any other time of the year, during a stay in Marrakech, a number of emblematic sites await you. These are mainly located in the Medina, the historic heart of the city. Here are a few must-see places that you really shouldn’t miss on your trip to Marrakech:
The Bahia Palace
A sumptuous 19th-century palace covering almost 8 hectares in the south-east of the medina, close to many of Marrakech’s other historic sites. A symbol of luxury, this Moorish-style edifice is one of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations. It was built at the request of the Grand Vizier of Sultan Hassan I, known for his wealth and power. For €20 per person, you can learn more about the rich history of this place on a guided tour of the Palais de la Bahia.
The Majorelle Garden
The city’s most famous garden, home to a beautiful Cubist villa with blue walls (the famous Majorelle blue, named after its founder, the painter Jacques Majorelle). The garden features plants from all over the world: bamboos, palms, cacti, jasmine… In 1980, the park was bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who undertook extensive restoration work. It now houses a museum and mausoleum dedicated to the couturier.
Marrakech’s other emblematic garden, with its centuries-old olive trees and huge pool fed by water from the Atlas Mountains. It’s a favorite with locals, who come here to cool off in midsummer, but it’s an extremely pleasant place to be all year round.
El Badi Palace
Construction of this palace began in 1594, and it was once the greatest symbol of the power of the Saadian dynasty. Today, this vast complex next to the old Jewish quarter is home to numerous vestiges (including impressive walls where storks have taken up residence) as well as a large esplanade with ponds and numerous orange trees.
The Saadian Tombs
Marrakech’s other great testimony to the Saadian dynasty. Rediscovered in 1917, this necropolis houses royal tombs in several richly decorated burial chambers, the most important of which is the Hall of Twelve Columns. You can discover Marrakech’s two Saadian sites and learn much about their rich history on a guided tour of the ruins of the Palais El Badi and the necropolis.
Jemaa el Fna Square
Jemaa El Fna Square is the city’s most famous square, and a true symbol of Morocco the world over. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a place like no other, where you can experience a truly unique atmosphere. If you’re looking for a place to eat in Marrakech, this is the place to go for a coffee or to enjoy a speciality in a restaurant. You can also have your fortune told by a fortune teller, admire snake charmers, acrobats and other street performers, and if you don’t know what to bring back from a trip to Marrakech, this is where you’ll find it!
October is a particularly good time to enjoy the atmosphere of this square and the shows it offers, since the mild daytime and evening temperatures will allow you to discover its many faces.
The souks of Marrakech
The souks of Marrakech, home to tens of thousands of artisans, are considered the finest in the Maghreb. You’ll discover them as you stroll through the narrow streets of the Medina. It’s the perfect place to find a souvenir to bring back from your trip: leather goods, clothes, jewelry… but you can also find spices and all the local specialties.
In all, some 40,000 artisans work in this labyrinth that stretches through the historic center. Each souk has its own speciality:
The Cherratine souk is home to leather workers,
The Smata souk is nicknamed the “babouche souk”,
The Ahiak souk is home to numerous clothing stalls,
The Attatine souk is a food market where you can find spices from all over the world,
The Dhabia souk is devoted to jewelry,
Souk Zrabia is a souvenir market where you’ll find all kinds of objects.
An excursion into the Marrakech desert is an iconic activity during a stay in the Red City. And during the month of October, the average temperature in the desert is around 25 degrees, so the period is considered ideal!
The Merzouga desert
The most popular part of the Moroccan Sahara, lies over 500 km from the city. From Marrakech, you can discover it on a 3-day Sahara tour. You’ll be taken care of from start to finish, visiting Aït-Ben-Haddou, the Tinghir oasis, the Toudra gorges and Ouarzazate. You’ll take a camel ride through the dunes, enjoy sandboarding and spend a night in a desert camp.
If you don’t have several days to devote to desert exploration, you can take a day trip to the Agafay desert, less than 50 km from the city. During this outing, you can contemplate the Atlas mountains, the Kik plateau and the rocky Agafay desert, and discover the local culture by visiting traditional Moroccan villages.
Marrakech in October: take part in the date festival!
If you’re in Morocco in October and fancy a real immersion in the local culture, Erfoud is the place to be. Here, every year from mid-October onwards, we celebrate the harvest of dates, an exotic fruit much prized in Morocco.
The great Erfoud date festival is a 3-day event. The Salon International des Dattes du Maroc is organized on this occasion. You’ll be able to see exhibitions and taste many varieties of dates, as well as attend folk dance performances and traditional music concerts. On the last day of the event, you can also watch a dromedary competition in the Merzouga dunes!
The Atlas Toukbal Ultra Trail
The UTAT is a major race organized every year since 2009 during the month of October. This sporting event, which brings together professionals and amateurs, starts from the Oukaïmeden ski resort. Several types of race are organized for the occasion, ranging from a short trail to a 105 km ultra-marathon, with a vertical drop of over 7,000 meters. This event is considered to be the toughest trail in Africa!
For more information on how to take part or attend this exceptional sporting event, please visit the official Atlas Trail website.
That’s it for this article on Marrakech in October! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that it’s inspired you to visit the city at this time of year. If you’re looking for something even more unusual to do during your stay, check out my articles on quad biking in the Marrakech desert or hot-air ballooning in Marrakech! And if you’re thinking of visiting Marrakech in November instead, you can see what to expect in terms of climate and activities!