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Here Are the Best Things to Do in Marrakech (37 of them!)

Colourful hanging carpets, whiffs of spice as you walk through the souk (market), and camels elegantly crossing sand dunes is what comes to mind when you think of Morocco.

But that would be just another touristy day that anyone can do. We want you to taste Morocco for what it really is, in its detail. That’s why we’re handing you on a silver plate the best things to do in one of its most culture-intense cities, Marrakech.

1. Medina

The first thing you have to do in Marrakech is put on your comfortable shoes and head to the Medina. Walk under the archways and through its alleys, and absorb the life around you. Take in the browns of the stone the city was built with, the sound of locals talking to each other, the aromas splurging out of the food stalls…

A word of warning though: keep an eye out for cars and horse carts, they’re everywhere!

2. Djemaa El-Fna

Follow the old city walls of the Medina to get to the main square, Djemaa El-Fna. If you’re there during the day, try a fresh orange or grapefruit juice from one of the carts.

At night, as the temperature cools down, people start sprouting out from everywhere and the square fires into a vivid atmosphere.

Sit at one of the shared tables and eat a Harira, a pea, lamb and pasta soup. This is the same soup Moroccans eat for breakfast to break their fast and celebrate the end of Ramadan.

oranges

3. Hat for the Heat

If the heat starts getting to you, look for women selling straw hats. You’ll bless the few dollars you pay for it as it blocks the direct sunlight from your head. Is is important to dress appropriately when visiting Morocco to ensure that you feel comfortable.

4. Saadian Tombs

These tombs were discovered in 1917 and subsequently restored, but date back to the same era of Ahmad al-Mansur.

When visiting, admire cedar wood, stuccowork and Carrara marble decorating the tombs of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty, who came from the valley of the Draa River.

There are three rooms to go through with twelve columns, but what’s interesting is just outside is a garden with the graves of various soldiers and servants.

5. Marrakech Museum

This classical Andalusian-style house, Dar Menebhi Palace, was renovated and converted into a museum in 1997. Walk around the fountains in the central courtyard, admire the mosaics, carvings and tile work around you, then head towards the exhibits – pottery, coins, historical books – from every period of Moroccan history, Islamic, Berber and Moroccan.

6. Souks

Once your belly is nice and full and your head covered, head to one of the endless labyrinths that surround Djemaa El-Fna. You’ll find countless souks where you can buy leather, spices beautifully decorated in huge colourful cones, the local shoes – babouches. But probably the most hypnotising thing to do in a souk is walk into a carpet house. Be ready to have various carpets flung open in front of you, until you fall in love with one.

babouches

7. Barter

Of course, once you decide to buy any item in the souk, you’ll need to barter. Here are a couple of hints:

• Start by greeting the shop owners when you walk in: ‘Salam alek um’, to which they’ll reply ‘Alek um salam’. A little friendliness never hurt negotiations.
• Remember, it’s always a 3-step process. They’ll give you a price, you give them another, and it’ll always be somewhere in between the two. Keep that in mind when shooting your price – don’t say what you’d really pay, but a little under.

8. Walking Tours

There’s no better way to get to know a place than to walk around it. You have the time to look around, hear what’s around, and smell what’s around. It’s a fully sensual experience that you can take up on your own. However, in places as rich in culture and history as Marrakech, a walking tour with a local guide will dive you into much deeper layers than you’d imagine.

9. The Mellah

Also known as the Jewish quarter, the Mellah isn’t a souk but is probably the best place in the Medina to buy fabric.

10. Have Tailormade Clothes Made

Find a tailor, tell them what you’d like made, be advised on how much fabric you need, then go to buy it in the souk. Doing this will save you from the fabric seller overselling unneeded lengths.

A jilab with a touch of your own style is a great idea for a souvenir to take back home.

11. Visit a Riad and Have a Mint Tea

When you feel like a break, stop at one of the old aristocratic houses usually turned into a boutique hotel, a Riad. Ask for a mint tea and enjoy watching the ritual of the tea, as the waiter pours it three times until it reaches the perfect foam on top.

mint tea

12. Rue Bab Agnao

For a calmer atmosphere, head on a 5-minute walk to the entrance of the Kasbah district, the Rue Bab Agnao, which is the most impressive of the Medina’s entrances, with less hustle and bustle and better-kept streets.

Once there, visit the Royal Palace, the former El-Badi Palace, and the Saadian Tombs.

13. El Badi Palace

Built in 1578 by the Arab Sultan, Ahmad al-Mansur, from the money of a substantial ransom paid after the Battle of the Three Kings by the Portuguese, this now-ruined palace has turned into a must-see for anyone visiting Marrakech. Make sure you get there before 4pm to have time to enjoy it before closing time at 5pm.

14. Jardin Majorelle

Created in the 1920s and 30s by the French expatriate Jacque Majorelle, this 12-acre botanical garden sprinkled with brightly painted walls and plant holders also houses the Islamic Art Museum, the archaeological museum of Marrakech.

15. Bahia Palace

When Si Moussa, the grand vizier of the sultan built this palace at the end of the 19th century, he meant it to be the greatest palace of its time. Named after one of his wives in the harem, the rooms intended for the concubines surround the central basin.

16. Boucharouite Museum

This museum holds interesting Berber boucharouites, rugs made out of rugs, and a gallery with Moroccan popular art including painted doors. If you feel like eating something light, head upstairs to the terrace.

17. Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret

This mosque and minaret have welcomed visitors of Marrakech with their overpowering height for close to a thousand years. The name comes from the Arabic ‘bookseller’, which is interesting because it dates to the 1200s when books were still unknown in the Christian world.

morocco

18. Cyber Park, Arsat Moulay Abdeslam

Good place to just sit in the shade to have a break from all the sightseeing and enjoy some free wifi.

19. Dar Si Said

A beautiful museum that oozes nostalgia in every little corner. It mixes old with new in such a way you can see items that were used in the old Hispano-Moorish times, which you can still see in use on the streets of Marrakech simply by walking out of the same museum.

20. Smoke a Shisha

You’ll know when you’re near it. The sweet aroma of the flavoured tobacco will drag you in as if under hypnosis. Just go with it, sit down and let the assistants bring the coal for your Shisha, then just watch as it bubbles and it starts vaporising for you to enjoy. You might not be a smoker, but what you’re doing with this is experiencing an ancient communal ritual, once exclusive to the higher class.

21. Take a Belly Dance Class

Why not? Go on, go get those muscles a good stretch and find out what fun belly dance can be. Don’t take yourself too seriously, simply enjoy the moment and the wisdom of the celebration of the woman’s femininity in all its shapes and forms. After all, everyone in class will probably never ever see you again. Just go for it!

22. Food Tasting

There are tours for food tasting too, but the best thing to do in Marrakech is to walk around the city and follow the best aromas for the best food. Sometimes they’ll be coming from a street vendor cart, other times they’ll come from a small, local eating joint, and sometimes out of lush restaurants. Take your pick! Just try not to end up in someone’s private kitchen.

23. Rahba Kedima Square

A quieter souk. You’ll find souvenirs, spices, and carpets, but what’s most intriguing are the dried up plants and animals!

spices

24. Photography Museum of Marrakech

You’ll find more than 8,000 photographs ranging from 1870 to 1950, including an exhibition of hundreds of old photographs and projection of the very first film recorded in High-Atlas colour, ‘Landscapes and Faces of the High-Atlas’, produced in 1957 by Daniel Chicault.

25. Musee Tiskiwin

Compared to other museums, the Tiskiwin might look small but it’s well-organised and contains insightful information about the history of Marrakech and its region, including artefacts from past centuries that will make you look at the city with fresh eyes.

26. Mouassine Museum

If you like old buildings, this is a museum you shouldn’t miss. It’s split into parts, one used by the family and the other open to guests. The most amazing feature of this house is that the plaster was taken off and its original bright colours were restored back to vivid life.

27. Get Lost

Once you plunge into this addictive shopping spree, you’re sure to look up at a certain point and realise you’re lost. Here’s what you have to do – find a narrow door that signals a rooftop café, walk up its winding steps, and from there you’ll be able to (more or less) locate yourself.

marrakech

28. Look for Local Delicacies

Here are some of our favourite dishes we highly recommend you sample:

Moroccan crepe for breakfast, tagine of sardine balls, liver in onion sauce, roasted lamb and of course you have to try some bakery items!

29. Try an Avocado & Date Smoothie

Maybe the most curious refreshment you can get in Marrakech is the avocado and date smoothie.

30. Farmhouse cooking tour

As days go by and you feast on makouda, kefta, zaalouk, cous cous and b’stilla you might end up thinking how you’d miss this food back home. Well, there’s a way to prevent that – learn how to cook some Moroccan dishes, so you can make them back home. Ask around for the best cooking course or tour.

That’s not all. If you fancy stepping out of Marrakech for a while, you can find other fun, active things to enjoy. Here are some:

31. Horse Riding

Visiting the Atlas Mountains while riding on a horse, past Berber villages, and soaking in the landscape of all shades of brown is definitely worth some time away from the city.

32. Palm Grove, Sunset & Camel Ride

The only thing to top that is riding on a camel in Palm Grove, just half an hour out of Marrakech and walking into the sunset as if you were in a postcard or movie.

desert

33. Quad Bike Safari

If riding on the back of animals isn’t your idea of fun, then maybe riding on a four-wheeler might be. Just put on your helmet and ride the sand, through wild palm groves.

34. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Then again, it might be the sky you’re aiming for. Well, nothing in Marrakech is impossible. Book yourself a hot air balloon ride and feel the excitement of elevating away from the ground and going swiftly up, up, up into the sky.

35. Oasiria Water Park

The gardens and pools of the water park are a great idea for a relaxed day away from the heat of the streets, but also a fun place to entertain kids.

36. Get a Flag Beer

Trying the flag beer of every country is a must. In Morocco, you’ll find Casablanca Beer in most of the touristy places. Snap that bottle open; it’s time to freshen up from the heat.

37. Visit a Hammam

Let’s face it, holidaying can be tiring. The good news? In Marrakech, there are various hammams, what we know as a spa. You’ll find varying prices and qualities, but whichever you choose make sure to get a nice scrub, especially to your well deserving feet, then soak into a beautiful massage.

That was our top 37 things to do in Marrakech. Is there something that you love to do in Marrakech that we’ve missed out? Let us know, we always love to hear about your experiences and holidays in Marrakech.

Need any more reasons to visit Marrakech? Get that suitcase ready and, whatever happens in Morocco, remember the 2 magic words: Mashi Muskhi (No problem!)

For more inspiration contact Epic Morocco today and discover more about the enigmatic city of Marrakech and book your trip. 

37 Awesome Things to Do in Marvellous Morocco

Morocco is one of the most magical places in the world. From the traditional riads that take you back in time, to the intricate carpets hanging in every market. From the multi-coloured madness exploding in the tanneries of Fes to those forgotten villages hidden in the Atlas Mountains, everything about Morocco is captivating. Wherever you go in this world of frenzied hawkers, exotic snake charmers and smiling Berbers, you’ll find yourself being taken by surprise. And whether you find the pace exciting or a little bit overwhelming at times, we can all agree one thing: there’s no place like Morocco.

Here are 37 awesome things to do while you’re here…

Stay in a traditional Moroccan riad

Traditional riads are like a gateway into medieval Morocco and staying in one can be a truly fantastic experience. Defined by their traditional architecture, their ornate interiors and lavish application of mosaic, and their incredible courtyard gardens, a luxury riad stopover is a bucket list must. Luxury seekers won’t want to miss this.

Eat snails on the cheap

Snails have long been a luxurious French delicacy but in Morocco, you can get this tasty snack at a fraction of the price. For a few dirhams, you can have a piping hot bowl of snail soup – a popular local delicacy.

Ride a camel

It’s almost an obligatory activity in Morocco, not only because it’s such a fun way to get around and explore your surroundings, but also because these animals are such treasured creatures here.  The story of man and camel in the Sahara goes back thousands of years, and camels have long been a symbol of wealth for rural Moroccan families. Camel ride prices start from around 300 dirhams for 30 minutes.

Visit the Musee du Patrimoine Amazigh d’Agadir

Amazigh is the correct name for the Berbers and this hidden gem in Agadir is a must if you want to learn more about Berber history. The Musee du Patrimoine Amazigh d’Agadir is one of the few museums dedicated to Berber artefacts and it opens between 9:30am and 5:30pm Monday to Saturday.

Visit the tanneries in Fes

If you don’t mind the smell, head to the tanneries in Fes. Leather making is a big industry in Morocco and tanneries open up their premises to the public so that people can get a glimpse into the world behind dyeing and treating leather. Images of the tanneries have made countless travel books, magazine features and coffee table hardbacks, so it’s one of the iconic tourist attractions on your Morocco holiday not to be missed.

Visit the Saadian Tombs

The Saadian Tombs in Marrakech date back to the time of the Saadi Dynasty during the 1500s and early 1600s. They were discovered in 1917 and were later restored, and now the tombs are open daily to visitors from 9am to 4:45pm. Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour ed-Dahbi spared no expense on his tomb and this can be seen from the tomb’s incredible and intricately-designed interiors.

Camp in the Sahara Desert

Take a tour of the Moroccan sand dunes and then camp under the stars at one of the Berber style campsites. This is a great thing to do with the kids! Luxury camps offer private family tents and have great bathroom facilities plus there will be plenty of activities including guided walks, cooking classes and stargazing.

Stay in a traditional Berber lodge

There are a number of hotels in the Atlas Mountains but we definitely recommend staying overnight in a traditional Berber lodge for the full Berber experience – the more rustic the better! Berber hospitality is second to none, so you’ll find the Berber community most welcoming.

Find secret restaurants in the back streets of Fes

Unlike Marrakech, Fes’ restaurants are hidden, which if you ask us, is all a part of the charm. Many are tucked away in the backstreets of the city and if you book a table, set off in good time in case you find yourself lost in the labyrinth of winding roads and walkways.

Check out the architecture in Casablanca

If you love colonial architecture and European art deco, be sure to come to the elegant port city of Casablanca and don’t miss the Casablanca Cathedral, the Hassan II Mosque and the Maârif arrondissement.

Sunbathe in Agadir

Agadir has some of the best beaches in Morocco and if you’re travelling with kids, this resort is a great place to come. Whilst most of the beaches are public, some beachfront hotels offer a private beach area which is ideal for sunbathing. The sea is warm and this is very much a family friendly holiday spot.

Nibble on crumbed liver

Moroccans are big believers in nose-to-tail eating. Absolutely nothing is wasted when it comes to meat and one of the many delicacies you can try is the street-eat of crumbed liver, a fried liver snack. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can sample cow’s udders, tongue or tripe.

Eat a Tagine

Known for its complex yet mild flavours and unique preparation/cooking style, the national dish of tagine is not to be missed. Although packed with fragrance and warming aromas, this dish is not spicy so it’s suitable for kids too.

Buy fresh olives from the market

Eat and shop like a local.  Moroccans love to snack on fresh olives and you’ll see so many varieties in the souks including pink olives, green olives, black olives and purple olives.

Check out the Musée Tiskiwin

For Moroccan art and locally-made crafts such as baskets, jewellery and accessories or carpets, head over to the Musée Tiskiwin on Rue de la Bahia in Marrakech. The house was owned by Dutch anthropologist, Bert Flint, who collected North African art from the Sahara Desert, different areas of Morocco, Mali and beyond.

Dine on a rooftop in Marrakech

Rooftop dining is the best way to experience Marrakech at night. When you’ve been battling large crowds in the bazaars and busy squares, there’s nothing more rewarding than a luxury feast and an ice cold drink on a rooftop restaurant such as Le Foundouk or Terrasse des Epices.

Shop for souvenirs

Before you finish your tour of Morocco, make sure you’ve dedicated a little time to shopping for souvenirs. Some great things you’ll be able to find include leather goods, inlaid wooden boxes and trinkets, hand-crafted jewellery and Moroccan lanterns.

Go Inside El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace is a ruined palace in Marrakech, dating back to the 1500s and took five years to build. It was commissioned by the Arab Saadian sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. It opens from 8 am to 5 pm daily and guests can walk around inside.

Get a henna tattoo

Henna tattoos are a safe and painless way of inking the skin, and skilled henna artists usually line the streets of tourist areas offering both traditional and modern designs. Henna lasts for up to three weeks on the skin and it makes a fantastic semi-permanent souvenir.

Take a day trip to the Atlas Mountains

Day trips to the Atlas Mountains are great for getting out of the city. Day tours leave from central Marrakech and you will enter a whole new world as you start to climb up and up and the scenery changes from the desert of the Agafay to the juniper-encrusted slopes of the high mountains.

Haggle in the Marrakech souk

No trip to Morocco is complete without some good old-fashioned haggling. The famous souks of Marrakech are the perfect shopping spots to put your bartering skills to the test. Moroccans can hold their own when it comes to negotiation, so be ready to put up a fight! And remember, if someone says you haggle like a Berber, that’s a compliment.

Els souks by Jordi Marsol

Trek to the peak of Jebel Toubkal

Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa and it stands at 4,167 metres. An ascent to the top is a strenuous uphill climb and in winter you will need crampons and ice axes (available to hire). This is a real challenge but well within your grasp if you are reasonably fit. Set off is at around 4.30 am so you can watch dawn break over the mountains

Visit the Museum of Photography and Visual Arts

Marrakech has a thriving art scene with the Biennale attracting international artists. The Museum of Photography and Visual Arts is one of the galleries at the heart of it. There are usually a couple of exhibitions on at any one time so it’s definitely worth a visit whilst you’re here.

See Jemaa el-Fnaa by day

Marrakech’s main square is a sensation and it acts as a meeting point, a cultural hub, and the heart and soul of the city. Come here in the day and be confronted by the snake charmers, “lucky lucky” men, orange juice vendors and hassling hawkers.

Snake Charmer by Kevin Gessner

Go shopping for leather

Morocco is famed for its amazing leather and you can get awesome leather goods such as handbags and purses, leather belts and leather moccasins/slippers at very affordable prices. Leather goods are handcrafted and totally unique – never factory made! 

Watch a belly dancing show

Marrakech socialites will probably tell you that the era of belly dancers in restaurants is “so over”. But they would be wrong. There are lots or places that feature belly dancers, entertainers and live music over dinner.

Get a scrub down at a traditional Hammam

Getting a body scrub and massage in a traditional Hammam spa is an interesting experience. You’ll feel totally refreshed and invigorated afterwards and your skin will be as soft as the proverbial baby’s bottom.

Drink Moroccan mint tea

Mint tea is the drink of choice here. It is a green tea prepared with mint leaves and sugar. The pouring of the tea is done from a height of at least 12 inches – this is done to create a foam. If there is no foam when you pour, it means that the tea is not ready and should be poured back into the teapot to steep a little longer.

Drink a Flag beer

You’ve not experienced Morocco until you’ve had an ice cold Flag beer. Another regional beer to try is Casa Beer which is the official beer of Casablanca.

Attend the Timitar Music Festival

If you love music, be sure to check out the Timitar Festival which takes place every year. More than 500,000 people attend to see the 40+ artists perform on stage and the music ranges from Amazigh traditional music and music from the Maghreb to modern day rap, jazz and hip hop.

Go to the Kasbah of the Udayas

One of Rabat’s top tourist sights, the Kasbah of the Udayas is well worth a visit if you’re interested in World Heritage Sites and history. This old Islamic city dates back to the Almohads and visitors will feel like they’ve travelled back in time as they walk around inside the city walls.

Rabat – Kasbah of the Udayas by Andrzej Wójtowicz

Raft down the Ahansel River

In search of an extreme adventure? River rafting down the Ahansel River is made for adrenaline junkies. The continuous white water varies from steep rapids to big wave trains – perfect if you’re looking for a physical challenge.

Go cycling in Souss-Massa National Park

Souss-Massa National Park sits along the Atlantic coast of Morocco and the best way to explore it is on two wheels if you ask us! You can hire a bike from various rental shops in nearby Agadir or you can book to go cycling with a guided group.

Have Bessara for breakfast

Skip the toast and pancakes and opt for a traditional Berber brekkie. Bessara is a hearty bean soup which will keep you fuelled up until lunchtime. The perfect breakfast food if you’re setting off to climb the Atlas Mountains.

See Jemaa el-Fnaa by night

By night, you’ll get to see a complete flipside to Jemaa el Fna square. Hawkers and snake charmers disappear as the square fills with back to back stalls selling tasty street food. As soon as the sun goes down and the daytime heat disperses, the locals all come out to meet with friends and family and this is when you’ll see the square at its liveliest.

DSC_7093 by Vincent Poulissen

Hit the nightclubs in Agadir

As one of Morocco’s most tourist-friendly destinations, Agadir has a thriving club scene.  You will find a number of English pubs and modern bars but look hard enough and you may even stumble across some cool underground venues!

Take 5 in the Majorelle Gardens

Need to get away from the hustle and bustle of Jemaa el Fna? Take five minutes to chill out in the stunning Majorelle Gardens on Rue Yves St Laurent. This 12-acre botanical site was designed by Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and it offers a peaceful retreat away from the crowded streets.

 

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