A visit to Morocco isn’t complete without staying in Marrakech for a few days. The medina of the red city charms almost every traveler with her beautiful chaos while staying in a riad eases their body and mind. The combination of those two aspects make Marrakech a delight to visit and we haven’t even spoken about the stunning tourist attractions and restaurant scene.
We carefully selected some of the best things to do in Marrakech and crafted them into this handy guide.
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#1 Finding your way through the medina
Are you one of those persons that loves to get lost wandering unknown places? A medina can be a maze and will definitely confuse you where to go. With thousands of narrow streets and handcrafted stalls that all look the same, you will have a big chance of getting lost. But to be honest, it’s really great to feel the vibe and see what’s going on in the medina of Marrakech. To be sure you will find your way back, download and have Maps.me prepared to save the day.
#2 Take some time off in a Riad
Ever wanted to stay in a riad? This is your chance. In the heart of the medina of Marrakech you will find a lot of them. Once you are inside a riad al the chaos of the medina is gone and your body and mind will instantly come to ease. You can find good affordable riads on booking.com. Most riads include a spa, hammam and offer all kind of massage treatments. We really enjoyed our stay at the Riad Baba Ali.
#3 Walk around the Koutoubia Mosque
The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in the city and is located on walking distance of the Djemaa El Fna town square. It is one of the things you can’t miss when walking around Marrakech. You can even use it as a recognition point while strolling through the souks of the medina. A thing that can come in handy is that you know it’s not accessible for non Muslims. But your walk along the gardens in front of the mosque will be quite satisfying instead.
#4 Hangout at some of the trendy restaurants
When it comes to food Marrakech will most definitely stimulate your senses. Traditional dishes and high quality Fusion restaurants make Marrakech a unique travel destination for foodies.
One of those traditional dishes in Morocco is tagine, a dish that is slowly cooked in a clay cooking pot. This signature dish is prepared with veggies, beef, chicken or lamb depending on your preference. One thing is for sure, it is packed with lovely herbs and spices and you can order the dish at almost every corner.
A place that you probably already know is NOMAD. A trendy restaurant with rooftop view in the heart of the medina that serves traditional dishes with a modern twist. Because of the high interest it is recommended to book a table in advance.
Le Jardin Marrakech
Le Jardin really set the tone for us. When arriving at the restaurant you escape the chaotic medina and enter a garden of calm. The cozy atmosphere and inspiring fusion dishes make this restaurant a trendy, hip and intimate hotspot.
The contrast between the lively city and trendy hotspots make Marrakech the perfect destination for foodies and like minded travelers.
#5 the Saadian Tombs
If you walk around the Saadian tombs you can see how much beauty and detail they put in every room. The amount of money that went in this architectural piece must have been immense. When you walk in the garden of the tombs you get invited to calm down and be fully present in the moment. But that is only when you visit the tombs early in the morning or late in the afternoon. To enter the tombs you must pay an entrance fee of 65 Dirham.
Opening hours: 9AM - 17PM
#6 the ruins of El Badi Palace
On the edge of the southern part of the Marrakech Medina you will find a palace that took 25 years to build. And if you walk amongst the ruins of the El Badi Palace you understand why. The size of the palace is unbelievable and it is hard to believe it can be found inside a city like Marrakech. There is always something satisfying about exploring ruins and walking between these huge walls confirms that once again.
Keep in mind that a visit to the El Badi Palace can quickly add up to a trip of two-three hours. But as one of Marrakech's most famous tourist attractions this should fit in your itinerary just fine. The entrance fee to the El Badi Palace is 10 Dirham and the location makes it easy to combine with a visit to the Saadian Tombs.
Opening hours: 9AM - 17PM
#7 explore the Bahia Palace
The Bahia Palace is one of the masterpieces of Moroccan architecture. Bahia Palace meaning brilliance in Arabic is a must-see historical museum in the middle of the medina. With a surface of 8000 square meters and around 160 rooms it was intend to be one of the most impressive palaces in Marrakech. It costs only 10 Dirham to enter and have a look in this beautifully decorated piece of architecture.
Opening hours: 9AM - 17PM
#8 the botanical gardens of Le Jardin Majorelle
Although the botanical gardens and resting place of Yves Saint Laurent contain plants from five continents, don’t expect an oasis of calm. Le Jardin Majorelle is one of busiest tourist attractions of Marrakech, nevertheless it is a lust for the eye. The iconic blue buildings in contrast to the garden make an attractive scene.
Try to plan your visit as soon as the doors open or you will have to find yourself a corner where you can enjoy the calm among thousands of other tourists. If you want to enter the garden it cost you 70 Dirham and 30 extra if you want to visit the Yves Saint Laurent Museum.
Opening hours: 9AM - 18PM
#9 Have a look at Djemaa El Fna
The famous Djemaa El Fna is the heart of the medina and will be the starting point when exploring the medina. At the town square you will see different forms of entertainment and there is always something going on.
During the day this place is not that overwhelming yet, but when the sun sets it turns into a cheerful but chaotic site. Musicians playing their instruments, restaurants opening their buffet and artists try to grab your arm to put on a henna tattoo. On your first day in Marrakech this can be quite overwhelming so prepare yourself.
Not our favorite place, because they will do almost everything to get the money out of your pocket. They even have monkeys chained to do tricks. We used it only as starting point when entering the medina.
#10 Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa
Once the largest Islamic College with around 900 students at its peak. When you walk your way from the crowded souks in to the Madrasa you immediately feel a sense of calm. With mind blowing Traditional Moroccan Architecture this is one of the most instagrammable places of Marrakech.
This one was really high on our bucket list, but when we arrived at the entrance we found out that they are currently closed because of renovation.
Re-opening: at the end of 2019.