What to see & do in Marrakech

What to see & do in Marrakech

What to see & do in Marrakech

What to see & do in Marrakech: Marrakech is one of Morocco‘s most visited and popular cities. It’s famous for the hustle and bustle of its medina, for its fortified medieval city center with its labyrinthine alleyways and souks, for its luxurious palaces and lush gardens.

If you’re planning a trip to Marrakech and are looking for the best things to do and see in this city, then this guide is for you!

Top things to see and do in Marrakech

We’re going to share with you our top 15 must-see places to visit during your Morocco Tours!

The souks

These traditional markets are home to a huge range of Moroccan handicrafts. You’ll discover all kinds of goods: carpets, leather goods, spices, fabrics, jewelry, teapots, traditional garments and more.

The Semmarine souk is the largest of them all, offering a wide choice of goods. The Place des Epices souk is also worth a visit: here you’ll find merchants selling all kinds of spices, from those you know to those you’re about to discover.

Marrakech’s souks are the perfect place to take a souvenir home with you. However, we recommend that you bring out your negotiating skills, as prices can sometimes be exaggerated for tourists.

Jemaa el-Fna Square

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jemaa el-Fna Square is above all Marrakech’s most famous square. Located in the heart of the medina, it’s a lively meeting place, day and night!

Here you’ll find a huge market with countless food stalls, street performances, henna tattoos and snake charmers.

While it can be fun to wander through the maze of this square, we also suggest you watch all this life teeming from above, from the terrace of a building around Jemaa el-Fna.

Koutoubia Mosque

Marrakech’s typical architecture is protected by ancient local laws, which stipulate that no building may be taller than a palm tree.

It is undoubtedly this ruling that makes the Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century in the heart of the medina, a tourist attraction and landmark that we urge you not to miss!

It’s one of the largest mosques in Morocco, and its minaret can be seen from up to 30 kilometers away.

At the same time, and as is often the case with religious sites in this country, non-Muslims are forbidden to enter… However, there’s nothing to stop you from approaching the mosque to savor its architectural design, or to walk through the gardens.

The Majorelle garden

This botanical garden was created by Jacques Majorelle, a French Orientalist artist, in 1923, and took almost 40 years to develop.

Its facilities are home to a botanical garden where all vegetation has its place, highlighting the presence of palms, cacti and bamboo. In addition to water lily ponds and intense blue paint, it offers an exquisite, timeless design!

Quite simply, it’s one of Marrakech’s most famous and popular attractions, which is why we urge you to take a stroll!

Yves Saint Laurent Museum

The French couturier loved spending time in Marrakech so much that he bought the Majorelle Gardens in 1980 (mentioned above).

Opened next to the gardens in 2017, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the French fashion designer and his particular love of all things Moroccan.

It exhibits sketches, clothes and objects spanning his 40-year career that show how the city inspired him.

The museum’s collection is housed in one of the city’s most striking buildings, alongside a magnificent garden café, bookshop, temporary exhibition hall and auditorium.

The Dome of the Almoravids

What to see & do in Marrakech: If you’re a traveler looking for historical monuments to discover, we’d like to suggest a visit to the Dôme des Almoravides.

Dating from the 12th century, it’s quite simply the oldest recorded building in Marrakech! Despite its advanced age, most visitors don’t give it much thought, as it’s half-hidden by the buildings that surround it.

Its proximity to the Ben Youssef mosque opposite is explained by the fact that it originally provided a space for ablutions in preparation for prayer, and also gave the city one of its first sources of drinking water.

Ben Youssef medersa

This former 16th-century Islamic school is a fascinating example of Moroccan architecture.

To fully appreciate its beauty, we invite you to stroll through its arcaded courtyard, admire its majolica tiles and, if you arrive early enough, enjoy the silence…

A word of advice: don’t forget to go up to the upper part of the medersa to admire the rooms that once housed the students: decorated with engravings, mosaics and woodwork, they are a masterly example of how detail and elegance can be combined.

This place is so beautiful that it would be a real shame to miss it during your stay in Marrakech!

Bahia Palace

“Bahia” means “shining” in Arabic, and a visit to this palace will show you why the building was so named! It was built in 1860 with the ambition of being the largest of its time. With no fewer than 160 rooms and 3 hectares of gardens, it’s no small palace!

Every room and courtyard is decorated with mosaics, marble, sculptures and elaborate, colorful paintings.

Soaking up the palace’s Moorish architecture is truly one of the best things we recommend you do in Marrakech.

The House of Photography

Marrakech’s Maison de la Photographie is housed in a three-storey riad. It exhibits the collection of old Moroccan photographs by Patrick Menac’h and Marrakshi Hamid Mergani.

In addition to their beauty, their photographs inform visitors about Morocco’s landscapes and the way of life of its inhabitants between 1870 and 1950.

We highly recommend a visit here, as it allows you to immerse yourself in Morocco’s local traditions and customs.

The rooftop café is also one of the highest in the medina, and undoubtedly offers one of the best views in town, so make the most of it!

The Marrakech Museum

Just to the right of the medersa is the Musée de Marrakech. If you’re keen to learn a little more about Moroccan culture and the city you’re visiting, we highly recommend a visit here!

With its uniquely-designed hanging lamp and generously-sized central courtyard, all kinds of traditional objects are on display: jewelry, ironwork, ceramics, embroidery…

Something for everyone! Art lovers and history buffs will be delighted by the culture on display.

Archaeology, ethnography and art are all represented here, in addition of course to the stunning design of the building itself.

Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan gastronomy is characterized by its richness, taste and diversity, as it has interacted with other cuisines (Mediterranean, Berber, Arabic, European, etc.) over the years.

First of all, it’s almost impossible to miss the unmissable Moroccan mint tea! Then there are the main dishes that make up a large part of the Moroccan identity: tajine (vegetable and poultry or meat stew), couscous (durum wheat with vegetables, olive oil and meat), pastilla (pie prepared with chicken or seafood), then the desserts, including chebakia (fried sesame cookie), msemen (flaky pancake)… and so many more!

Ask for these delicacies in restaurants or find them in markets.

El Badiî Palace

Immediately after its construction in the 16th century, El Badiî was a monumental display of the sultans’ wealth, built with gold, onyx and Italian marble (some of the most expensive materials of the time).

After the fall of the Saadian dynasty, it underwent a period of brutal decline, with the next sultan stripping it of its decorations for use in the construction of his own palace in Meknes.

The El Badiî Palace may be a ruin today, but we suggest you visit it all the same, as it offers a fascinating insight into the power and wealth of past Moroccan dynasties.

The Saadian tombs

What to see & do in Marrakech: Not far from the El Badiî Palace, we’d like to encourage you to visit the Saadian Tombs. This remarkable site is the final resting place of Sultan Ahmed al Mansour (the same man who built El Badiî) and almost 200 of his relatives.

It was virtually forgotten until 1917, when aerial photographs revealed what his successor had chosen to hide…

We invite you to stroll through and admire the Italian marble, pure gold gilding and intricate mosaics that adorn this splendid place.

Menara Gardens

Dominated mainly by a large artificial lake and surrounded by gardens and a pavilion, we highly recommend a visit to the Menara Gardens, as it’s an ideal way to take a break after a busy day of sightseeing!

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get there on foot, as it’s on the outskirts of Marrakech.

You’ll have no choice but to take a cab, which shouldn’t cost more than 10 dirhams (1 euro!).

In our humble opinion, this botanical garden is well worth a visit for the beauty of its pavilion, its large expanse of water… and the Atlas mountain range in the background!

A hammam

Hammams are a traditional Moroccan experience. There’s no shortage of choice, as you’ll find one in practically every district of the city.

You can simply go there for the public baths, and also for a small extra charge to have a massage, relax in a spa, exfoliate your skin and enjoy the benefits of scrubs and masks.

Going to a hammam is one of the best things we recommend you do in Marrakech, and a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and take a moment to decompress.

Below are some of the best hammam addresses we’ve selected for you.

Sightseeing around Marrakech

What to see & do in Marrakech: Feel like visiting the area around Marrakech? Discover our selection of the best places to visit near Marrakech.

Thiemann cactus farm

If you love cacti, then we highly recommend a visit to this place! This botanical garden is dedicated to thorny plants, and is the largest cactus farm in Africa, with no fewer than 150 different species.

You can even take a guided tour of the premises to learn a little more about the plants of all kinds that are present.

ANIMA Botanical Garden

Another botanical garden? Yes, but I promise it’s different from the Thiemann cactus farm!

Designed by artist André Heller, this one-hectare haven of greenery presents visitors with a luxuriant array of delightful, colorful plants, including original sculptures in keeping with their setting.

The Agafay desert

Three quarters of an hour from Marrakech lies the Agafay desert. It’s an excellent alternative if you don’t have time to visit the Sahara Desert (which would be a 9-hour drive and through the mountains)!

The desert is characterized by rough, dry, rocky soil, not sand dunes as you might imagine, but that doesn’t make it any less picturesque.

Climbing Mount Toubkal

If you’re feeling adventurous at heart, we urge you to climb Mount Toubkal: at 4167 meters, it’s the highest mountain in North Africa!

However, this experience is perhaps best reserved for the most seasoned hikers.

The best way to tackle this peak is to head for the village of Imlil, then set off early in the morning for the start of a 4-day trek that begins in the magnificent Mizane valley.

Essaouira beaches

What to see & do in Marrakech: Staying in Marrakech for your vacation, you’ll have the chance (if you leave early) to head to Essaouira, a town on Morocco’s Atlantic coast known for its bustling port, its medina and, of course, its great sandy beaches!

You’ll be able to lounge by the water’s edge, swim in the ocean and even try your hand at windsurfing, surfing and even kitesurfing!

What to do in Marrakech when it rains?

The Marrakech Museum

It doesn’t often rain in Marrakech, but if it does, you’ve got to find something to do under cover! For this, we highly recommend a visit to the Musée de Marrakech: not far from the city’s medina, this museum, part of the Dar Menebhi palace, houses sublime pieces of traditional Moroccan craftsmanship, in a grandiose setting!

Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Less than a 30-minute walk from the Marrakech museum, we now invite you to visit the museum dedicated to the life and art of French couturier Yves Saint Laurent, who loved to draw inspiration for his work from this Moroccan city. The creative process of this fashion genius is showcased in a museum of contemporary architecture.

The Bahia Palace

What to see & do in Marrakech: When it rains in Marrakech, we strongly recommend a visit to the Bahia Palace. This gigantic site boasts no fewer than 160 rooms, numerous courtyards and around 3 hectares of gardens. Its colorful mosaics, marble sculptures and elaborate paintings are well worth admiring!

The Ben Youssef medersa

Do the raindrops keep falling while you’re visiting Marrakech? In that case, we recommend a sheltered visit to the Ben Youssef medersa (just opposite the Musée de Marrakech): this former school, built in the 16th century, will amaze you with its bright, richly decorated patio and its upper section, which housed no less than a thousand students!

A hammam

On rainy days, one of the most pleasant activities we now suggest is simply to pamper yourself in one of Marrakech’s many hammams. There’s no better way to unwind after a long day of sightseeing than with a massage, a spa treatment or a dip in the public baths! (If you don’t know where to go, you’ll find 3 hammam addresses below)

Address: Route Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakech 40000, Morocco (Hammam de la Rose); Bab Agnaou, 2 Derb Sedra, Marrakech 40000, Morocco (Bains de Marrakech); 14, Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakech, Morocco (Hammam Ziani)

What to do in Marrakech as a couple?

The Majorelle Garden

What to see & do in Marrakech: What could be more romantic than strolling the paths of a garden? The Majorelle garden we suggest here is home to palm trees and cacti, as well as magnificent flowers in warm, shimmering colors. It also boasts a stretch of water and an Art Deco-style house in intense navy blue.

The Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace is a vast, richly decorated 19th-century palace. At the time it was imagined, it was destined to be the largest and most beautiful palace of its time. “Bahia” means “brilliant” in Arabic, and after a stroll through its spacious, gigantic courtyards and rooms, it’s easy to see why the place is so named!

A hammam

Pampering yourself in a hammam is the perfect activity for a romantic getaway in Marrakech. After a long day of sightseeing, massages, scrubs, exfoliating masks and a dip in the public baths are the order of the day in these havens of peace and well-being! Here are a few good addresses for hammams in Marrakech.

Address: Route Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakech 40000, Morocco (Hammam de la Rose); Bab Agnaou, 2 Derb Sedra, Marrakech 40000, Morocco (Bains de Marrakech); 14, Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakech, Morocco (Hammam Ziani)

The medina

What to see & do in Marrakech: If you and your loved one would like to get a taste of the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, we recommend you lose yourself in the narrow streets of the medina, the heart of the old town. You’ll also find a lively market selling local foods and traditional Moroccan art.

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