10 best things to do in Marrakech

Marrakech morocco best 10 things to do

Although it is not the capital of the country, Marrakech has managed to become the most visited city in Morocco. It can therefore easily be called the capital of Moroccan tourism.

The morocco red city, as they call it because of the buildings made mainly of copper clay, will further reveal a commercial part of Morocco. A place where trade and negotiations prevail.

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This doesn’t mean that you can’t have authentic experiences in Marrakech. You will certainly discover well-preserved traditions, special dishes, beautiful places, and hospitable people.

In this guide, you will discover the 10 best things to do in Marrakech, to make your trip to Morocco the best possible. Not forgetting that most of them are free activities in Marrakech.

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The 10 best things to do in Marrakech

1. Stay in a riad

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The riads are really special because most of them are family businesses and are hundreds of years old. They are authentic Moroccan houses, available for tourists who book them.

The beautiful riads of Marrakech are like oases in the desert. From the outside, everything seems insipid and perhaps even unpleasant to the eye. But the inside will surprise you with a multitude of colors and textures.

The houses are part of the same color palette with shades of sand, but inside, there is an explosion of colors and ornaments.

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Some combine oriental style with European patterns, while others are extremely modern and unstoppable. You will find riads with a swimming pool in the middle of the inner courtyard, decorated with lush vegetation and all kinds of traditional objects that will make you feel part of oriental history.

We suggest the riad Dar Pamela, located in the heart of the medina and only 5 minutes walk from the Jemaa El-Fnaa square.

It is a riad with a beautiful courtyard, but no swimming pool, and whose rooms are dimly lit. This is why I recommend you to consult the suggestions below:

 

The most beautiful riads in Marrakech, according to your budget

low budget: Riad Naya, Riad dar El Arsa
average budget : Riad Adika, Ryad El Borj
luxury: Dar Diaf, Royal Mansour Marrakech

2. Try Moroccan cuisine

In general, I consider myself a big fan of Morocco Arabic dishes. I love all their combinations of rice, spices, and sauces!

But things are a bit different when it comes to Moroccan cuisine. Although it is very varied and can be enjoyed by many, it is not one of my favorites.

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I admit that I haven’t tried everything you can try, but that’s also because most of it is prepared with a lot of meat, and I don’t eat too much.

However, I recommend that you do not leave Marrakech until you have tried at least some of the traditional dishes. Trying Moroccan cuisine is one of the best things to do in Marrakech.

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The most popular dishes are tagine, couscous, zaalouk, harira, sheep’s head, pigeon pie (a big NO for me) and kefta.

To fully enjoy a perfect gastronomic experience in Marrakech, it is preferable to make a night visit of the street kitchen or a tasting visit of 3 hours and a half.

3. Visit of the Majorelle Garden

One of the most beautiful places in Marrakech is undoubtedly the famous botanical garden Jardin Majorelle

Located away from the chaos and bustle of Marrakech’s central square, the Jardin Majorelle is like an oasis that welcomes you with lush vegetation and shades of bright blue.

Not just any blue, but the Majorelle blue. Name taken from the creator of the garden, the French painter Jacques Majorelle. It took the artist more than 40 years to reach the final shape of this wonderful sanctuary.

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A little later, the destiny of the garden was taken over by the famous creator Yves Saint Laurent. He pledged to continue to maintain and improve one of the most beautiful places in Marrakech.

The Jardin Majorelle does not occupy an extremely vast space, but on its surface lives more than 135 species of plants from many corners of the world.

The center of the garden is occupied by a house with ArtDeco influences, dominated by the blue Majorelle mentioned above. The Majorelle Garden is not one of the free things to do in Marrakech, but it is certainly one of the best.

Program:

October 1April 30: 8am – 5:30pm

May 1September 30: 8am – 6pm

During Ramadan: 9am – 5pm

-Address: Rue Yves Saint Laurent

Price: 70 Dhs

4. Admire the Koutoubia Mosque

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The largest and most popular mosque in Marrakech watches over the city, right next to the Jemaa El-Fnaa square. With an age of over 800 years and a minaret 77 meters high, the Koutoubia mosque is an impressive and easy to spot tourist attraction.

 

Although Muslims are not allowed to enter, the mosque can be seen and admired from the outside. Its name has several variations, two of which are the Kutubiya Mosque and Jami ‘al-Kutubiyah. Although they vary, they all mean the same thing: the mosque of the booksellers. The reason is simple: the streets around it are full of these booksellers. Even today, you can still see a few stalls there.

The Koutoubia mosque must be checked on the list of the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech. Admire it on your own or discover it during a 3-hour visit that will take you to several popular places in Marrakech.

5. Getting lost in the medina

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Are you looking for a place to get lost, in the true sense of the word? Then the medina of Marrakech is the answer to your search. Or, any medina in any city in Morocco.

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The medina is a world of all kinds of flavors, colors, narrow winding streets, street vendors, spices, leather goods and aromatic mint, used in the preparation of delicious Moroccan tea. You cannot visit Marrakech without exploring the medina

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For all these qualities, the medina of Marrakech has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

Like the medina of Fez, it is well delimited by high walls, several hundred years old. More precisely, they date from the 12th century. The walls extend over a length of 18 km and are divided by 20 huge gates.

If you want to stay in a riad, you must know that they are inside the medina and that it is a real challenge to bring your luggage to the accommodation.

Make sure in advance that you know exactly where you will be staying in the maze of the medina and try to find transportation to arrive in time.

6. Getting to Jemaa El-Fnaa Square by day and night

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Whether you’re a fan of urban chaos or not, Jemaa el-Fna square can’t be missing on the list of the best things to do in Marrakech

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Because it is practically the heart of the city, the area where artisans, vendors, tourists, locals, peacocks, snakes, monkeys meet, and the list goes on.

I didn’t exaggerate when I added the exotic animals to the list above. You can really find them at the market of Jemaa el-Fnaa and, unfortunately, they are exploited for money.

If you don’t want to encourage these practices, then avoid photographing them or even looking at them. This is a tactic they use so that they can later ask you for money for the photo taken.

During the day, the market is relatively quiet. I, therefore, recommend you to take a tour and then relax in a nearby café or go admire the Koutoubia mosque.

Everything changes completely at nightfall, and only then will you really understand why it is considered one of the craziest places in Morocco.

They open all the stalls with traditional products, natural juices of oranges and pomegranates, stalls with meat, spices, and it will be a lot of noise, dancers, shows, oriental rhythms. Everything you can think of.

Beware! For animal lovers, it will not be very pleasant to walk among the tables with sacrificed goat heads, ready to be cooked.

Thus, to avoid situations that can make you sad, avoid the center of the medina and go only to places where you will find souvenirs, merchandise and spices.

7. Shopping for souvenirs and spices

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Shopping in Marrakech, on the stalls of the Jemaa El-Fnaa, is a very special experience. You must respect two rules: don’t make lists at home and be ready to negotiate.

Negotiation is a talent that comes with practice. Don’t be embarrassed to do it because it is a normal and popular custom among Moroccans. This is one of the best tips for visiting Marrakech.

Whatever you want to buy, if there is no fixed price written on it, then you are free to negotiate. But don’t expect it to be very cheap.

Sellers will try to use their persuasive skills to sell at the price they want.

What can you find in Jemaa El-Fnaa’s souvenir stores? Colorful textiles and clothing, ceramics, jewelry, leather shoes, lanterns, slippers, magnets, scarves, handbags, soaps, etc.

Thus, the simplest question with a shorter answer would have been: what do you not find in Marrakech to do your shopping?

 

 

8. Day trip to Ait-Ben-Haddou

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kasbah ait benhaddou Ouarzazate

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Visiting Ait-Ben-Haddou is one of the best things to do around Marrakech.

The distance between the city and Ait-Ben-Haddou, a fortified village listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 3 and a half hours by road. One day is therefore enough to visit the famous ruins of the province of Ouarzazate.

You can’t miss this place if you visit Morocco because you will have an impressive view and you will be able to admire closely a place where many successful film productions were made.

Among the most famous are Lawrance of Arabia, The Gladiator, Jesus of Nazareth, The Mummy, Game of Thrones and the famous Brazilian series Clone.

9. Day trip to Ouzoud waterfall

Waterfall at the Ras Elma spring in the town of Chefchaouen in northern Morocco

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Formed on the river El-Abid, 160 km from Marrakech, in the Atlas Mountains, is a corner of paradise. An astonishing place that is hard to believe that it can be located in the aridity of Morocco.

day trip from marrakech to ouzoud waterfalls

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It is the second-highest waterfall in Africa, a splendid waterfall that forms a landscape that you can not miss.

Add the Ouzoud waterfall to your list of the best things to do in Marrakech. Or the things to do in the surroundings of Marrakech.

The visit of the waterfall is free and if you wish to see it as part of an organized tour, you can opt for a 10-hour tour, with pick-up at the hotel where you are staying.

10. Living in a hammam

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A hammam cannot be missing in the list of the best experiences to try in Marrakech. Moroccans have been going to the hammam for hundreds of years, and they say it helps them purify their body and soul.

The ritual is even more frequent before Friday prayer, the most important in the Muslim world. It consists of three phases:

phase 1 – the hot hammam, in which your pores will dilate
phase 2 – washing with black soap with olive oil, using an abrasive glove; hot water is used
phase 3 – cold water washing and argan oil massage

The best time to visit Marrakech

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> It is best to avoid the summer and winter months if you want to visit Marrakech. The best times for your trip to Marrakech are March-May and September-November.

 

How to get around Marrakech

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> The main tourist attractions of Marrakech are located near Jemaa El-Fnaa. It is therefore very easy to move around on foot and get to all the places that interest you.

> Another way to travel long distances is to take a cab. In general, the price of a ride is negotiable.

 

> Avoid public transportation in Marrakech and especially horse-drawn carriages.

> You can also reach the most beautiful places in Marrakech thanks to an organized tour with a local guide.

 

Is Marrakech safe?

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View of Bou Tharar village – Morocco, the Valley of Roses

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It’s a fairly safe city, but make sure you don’t walk alone in dark places and don’t carry valuables.

> You should also be very careful when buying something of value. There are many scammers in Marrakech

> I do not necessarily recommend visiting Marrakech as a single woman. Try to have at least one travel partner.

> Wear decent clothing that can keep you away from insistent looks and biased comments.

 

 

 

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