Are you going on a city trip to Marrakech soon? What a great city that is! In Morocco’s nicest city you can imagine yourself in the fairytale of A Thousand and One Nights. It’s only a four hour flight to enter a completely different world. A world full of colours, smells and sounds you didn’t know before. Here you will definitely enjoy it. Marrakech is sometimes an overwhelming, almost indomitable city that is becoming increasingly hipper: boutique hotels (riads) and trendy restaurants are springing up like mushrooms. A city you have to experience for once. Are you still looking for fun things to do? Here are my tips: these are the 10 best things to do in Marrakech !
Discover the red city :
Marrakech is also called ‘the red city’ and as soon as you set foot here you understand why. Large parts of the city are built with red clay, a colour reminiscent of terracotta. With palm trees and a clear blue sky, this is a beautiful sight. During the short drive from the airport to the city centre, you can see the city come to life.
Marrakech is also surprisingly compact. You come on foot and all the way, interspersed with a taxi ride. Keep in mind the heat: the sun always shines here. The most special buildings and sights can all be found in the medina. It is the old centre and also the beating heart of the city. Your first steps into the medina feel uncomfortable; it is crowded and noisy. But soon you will see the charm of it. Not to mention, many tourists start their tours from Marrakech to the Sahara desert, it is the best and the highlight of Morocco tours because of the camel ride and the camping at the Berber tents.
1 : Moroccan tea in a rooftop bar :
In Marrakech you will find a lot of rooftop bars, some of them a bit hipper and with more beautiful views than the others. The real splendour of Marrakech is not to be found on the street but behind closed doors and right on top of the roof. And of course in this city you drink tea (mint tea), like the Moroccans do themselves. The locals drink mint tea with a lot of sugar, but ask them if they want to serve the sugar loose and you can dose it yourself. Go for a rooftop bar in the Medina, pop down on a soft pillow and enjoy the view!
2: Buy a Moroccan rug for your home :
If you dive into the streets of the Medina, the first thing you notice is all those little shops that sell stuff with beautiful colours. Moroccans love colour and certainly the interior at home. Everywhere you look you see beautiful handmade rugs for your home and soon you know you want one for your home. Haggling is a sport here and it’s part of the job when you buy something, but without such a special handmade rug you don’t have to go home. By the way, if you buy a very large handmade Moroccan rug that doesn’t fit in your suitcase, they will just send it to you, that’s quite normal here.
3: Evening on Djemaa el Fna :
From the end of the afternoon Djemaa el Fna is the place to be in Marrakech, it is the central square in the middle of the old part of town. Street artists and market vendors gather here and provide the best open air theatre you will ever see. Some try to make money selling orange juice, argan oil, dentures or wooden toys with fake snakes, others pull out their best magic tricks, get angled for a free bottle of cola or get posed with a snake or monkey. But whatever all these people think they can make money on, they all do it with Moroccan passion. Full of devotion. It’s an impressive spectacle that you can entertain yourself for hours just by looking at it.
4: Walk through the colourful Jardin Majorelle :
This special garden in Marrakech is a true explosion of colour. The French painter Majorelle once bought land in Marrakech and created a beautiful garden with plants from all over the world. Later the house and garden were taken over by Yves Saint Laurent and for years it has been a public garden where you can walk through to enjoy the plants and the colours. In the main residence of Jardin Majorelle you will also find a small but impressive Berber museum where you can admire traditional Berber clothing, jewellery and other antique items.
5: Visit the Bahia Palace :
Former Palais de la Bahia has more than 150 different rooms and looks like a maze. Some of the rooms are public and you can walk through them. In the Bahia Palace you look out of your eyes: gigantic ceilings with handmade carvings and everywhere that colourful mosaic you see everywhere in Morocco. For 10 Dirham (1 euro) you can walk through the palace and the palace gardens and that is really worth it. Palais de la Bahia is a popular attraction in Marrakech so you have to prepare yourself for crowds. If you go a bit early in the morning, it is still relatively quiet.
6: Stroll over the souks in the Medina :
Handmade leather bags and purses, colourful crockery, silver teapots, clothes and pillows for the couch: a walk over the souk in the Medina is going to cost you money. Not because the sellers will do everything they can to make you buy something in their shop, but because you will find beautiful things here. But look carefully and not for the first thing you see going, because there is certainly a difference in quality. And here too: haggle! It’s a game, but it’s part of the game. By the way, the Medina is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage and is fantastic to walk through. Don’t try to follow a route, but getting lost is the best thing you can do here, because it will take you to the most special places.
7: Taste Moroccan cuisine on the streets :
In Morocco people eat and drink more than just mint tea and couscous and the best way to taste Moroccan cuisine is on the streets. On and around Djemaa el Fna, for example, you can buy typical Moroccan specialities: Harira (soup), snails, marinated olives, skewers with lamb and much more. Travelling certainly also involves enriching your taste and the Moroccan kitchen uses lots of delicious herbs to make delicious dishes, such as saffron, with which they make the most delicious tajines. You can taste the real Morocco on the streets and you don’t want to miss it!
8: Go for a camel ride in Agafay :
Agafay is considered as a desert, it’s almost about 20km from the center of Marrakech. You can get there by hiring a grand taxi or a travel agency in Marrakech. Then, you will find many camps who offer what they call by Marrakech camel trips, they will take you on a ride then if you are interested they would take you to spend the night in a camp.
9: Visit the Saadian Tombs :
In Moroccan culture, it is customary not to indicate on the grave of a deceased person who is buried, this is done in
This culture does not allow it. So you cannot see who is lying at a grave, and yet the Tombs of the Saädieden, where the former Sultan and his family are buried, are worthwhile. The Saadian Tombs are so different from the cemeteries we know. Here you can see the famous Moroccan mosaic again and that is worth taking a look!
10: Get lost in Ben Youssef Madrassa :
The largest mosque in the Medina is the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque, an impressive structure with green shimmering stones. Just behind it is Ben Youssef Madrassa, an old Islamic school. It was once the largest Islamic school in the region and students came from all over the world to study Koranic science here. In 1962 the school closed for good but you can visit it daily. Especially the architecture and the colourful mosaics are a feast for the eyes. If you go upstairs, you can get lost in the narrow corridors and small rooms.
Useful Marrakech tips :
Did you feel like going on a city trip to Marrakech? Then it’s a good idea to take a look at this list of Marrakech tips!
Spending the night in Marrakech :
The best place to spend the night in Marrakech is in a riad, preferably in the medina. Riads are traditional Moroccan houses with an inner garden, which are totally unrecognisable on the outside. As soon as you walk through the door, it’s like stepping into a fairy tale. The hustle and bustle of the city seems miles away with one step and the romance meets you. The often atmospheric furnishings, candles, incense and mysterious atmosphere complete that.
Going out :
Discover Marrakech’s vibrant nightlife in the Hivernage district, where you’ll find most hotels and lounge bars. Here you will also find Marrakech’s Pacha, the largest disco in Africa.
On your bucket list :
An Oriental hamam is not to be missed in Marrakech, a traditional bathhouse where you can come for a relaxing steam bath and possibly a massage. After a real Moroccan hamam treatment you will feel like you have been reborn. Hamam de la Rose and Le Bains de Marrakech are known as the best.
Best travel time for Marrakech :
Spring or autumn are the best seasons for this city trip. The sun shines all year round, but in spring and autumn the temperature is most pleasant to see and do a lot.
Doing outside the city :
Three quarters of an hour’s drive away is the Ourika Valley, a breathtaking place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. In this valley it is a lot cooler. There are plenty of picnics along the waterfront and you can make beautiful hikes to waterfalls and see the Toubkal. With an altitude of 4,165 metres, it is the highest mountain in North Africa.
Practical tips :
I would also like to give you some practical tips to prepare you for a city trip to Marrakech.
The ideal trip duration is four days, then you have plenty of time to explore the city at your leisure.
Arabic and French are spoken.
Transportation in the city is simple: most things can be done on foot and for everything further away you can take a taxi.
What you should definitely taste is Moroccan mint tea: very sweet but so good!
From Eindhoven and Amsterdam you can fly to Marrakech (flight time four hours).
The best thing is to book a hotel or accommodation in the medina, in the old city. There you will experience the real Moroccan life. Choose a riad, a traditional Moroccan house with a courtyard.
Above all, Mrrakech is an ideal city where to start your trips around Morocco. Therefore, put light, cotton clothes in your suitcase. Go for covering clothes, out of respect for local customs.