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WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKECH is one of the first destinations I wrote about on this blog, 4 years ago. 

Visiting Marrakech for an extended weekend We spent a romantic weekend there in a beautiful riad and to be honest we didn’t see much of the city! After a second weekend in Marrakech that was much more productive, it was time to share with you a more complete article on places to visit and things to do in Marrakech!

Visiting Marrakech is above all discovering a colorful city, a vibrant atmosphere! There is an incredible effervescence! The noises, the smells, the flavors … you feel caught in a real sensory whirlwind! It’s the promise of a total change of scenery less than 3 hours from Paris.

But visiting Marrakech is also about discovering its cultural richness, its emblematic monuments, and varied landscapes, between the ochre streets of the medina, the palm groves, or the Atlas Mountains! There are many things to see and do in Marrakech but the surroundings also reserve some nice surprises! That’s why, depending on the time you have to visit Marrakech, I also encourage you to explore the surroundings or at least take a day trip to discover them! Not to mention, Marrakech is the best place where to start your Morocco desert tours. For example, you can find the best 3 days desert tour from Marrakech to Fes or other tour itineraries to the desert.

What to do in Marrakech? The must-sees

There are really many things to do in Marrakech! You will find many places of interest to visit in the city but also very nice activities to do in and around Marrakech… Whether you come for a weekend or to spend a week, it is impossible to get bored in the red city!

Here are, according to me, the places to visit and the things not to be missed in Marrakech during a short stay (between 2 and 4 days there).

The Majorelle garden

The medina of Marrakech

The Jemaa el Fna square

The souks

The Bahia Palace

The Koutoubia Mosque

The Ben-Youssef Medersa

Taste the Moroccan cuisine

Relax in the Hamman

Fly over Marrakech in a hot air balloon

I’ll give you the details of all these visits and activities in the rest of this article as well as some additional ideas of things to do in Marrakech, if you stay longer or if it’s not your first stay in the city!

WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKECH? Places to visit

The medina of Marrakech

The first thing to do in Marrakech is to walk in the heart of the medina! The medina is the historical center of Marrakech. This old city, almost a thousand years old, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find all kinds of shops, palaces, and many riads! I can only advise you to get lost in this labyrinth of alleys full of life, with ochre-colored walls! Real treasures are hiding there!

My advice :

Get away from the Place Jemaa el Fna and the souks to find the traditional Marrakech and authentic neighborhood life.

Beware of the rabble-rousers that are rampant in the medina. Classically, seeing you a little lost (it can not be otherwise in the medina  ), they will offer to help you find your way and take the opportunity to take you to their brother’s, cousin’s or uncle’s store! Nothing very bad but there is a good chance that you will cross the city long, wide and across without ever reaching your destination if you start to follow them!

The Majorelle Garden

The Majorelle Garden is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech! It is, in any case, the one I preferred! A real breath of fresh air in a Marrakech that can be stifling!

This exceptional place was created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. He fell in love with Marrakech in the 1920s and built his Art Deco style studio there, which he painted blue the famous Majorelle blue. All around, he created a magnificent botanical garden with plants and rare species that he brought back from his travels.

The walk through the 300 species of plants (cactus, yucca, water lilies, jasmine, palm trees, bamboo, bougainvillea…), ponds, and fountains is very pleasant. It’s really a must-visit in Marrakech!

My advice

Go there preferably in the morning! The Majorelle garden is very popular and there can be a long queue!

The Jemaa el Fna square

Another must-see in Marrakech: the famous Jemaa el Fna square! A place praised everywhere for its folklore: water sellers in costume, henna tattoo artists, snake charmers…

Personally, I advise you to visit it at night for its street food stands! You will be able to taste a real Moroccan cuisine, simple and delicious… Don’t hesitate to ask the locals to help you choose among the dozens of stalls (they are not all equal). At the square, if you are traveling somewhere else you can find here many other travel agencies that offer tours around Morocco to the desert or anywhere else.

The souks

North of the Jemaa el Fna square, you will find the souks of Marrakech! It’s a place to see for its very particular atmosphere but it’s also the perfect place to find souvenirs to bring back! Berber carpets, lanterns, babouches, tajines, and a thousand other wonders are hidden on these crowded stalls! But before buying, don’t forget to bargain!

If you want to get an eyeful, don’t miss the dyers’ souk (= Sebbaghine souk) with its multicolored wool bundles drying in the middle of the alleys!

The Bahia Palace

Visiting Marrakech also means discovering its ancient palaces! One of the most beautiful is certainly the Bahia Palace! This palace is a real masterpiece! It is not less than 8 hectares, but only a part of it is open to the public, the current sovereign of Morocco still receiving his important guests there! You can visit some rooms, but also beautiful courtyards, patios, and gardens, and discover the finesse of Islamic art, including the work of mosaics, calligraphy, marquetry, stucco …

The Koutoubia Mosque

Located right next to the Jemaa el Fna square, the Koutoubia is one of the symbols of Marrakech. Its minaret, nearly 80 meters high, is visible from almost everywhere in the city! It is besides a good point of reference if you get lost in the medina or in the souks 😉 For the small history, I found that it resembled much the Giralda of Seville and I learned then that it had indeed been used as a model for the construction of this one! It is obviously possible to enter the mosque only if you are Muslim. Otherwise, I advise you to take a little tour of the gardens around!

The Medersa Ben-Youssef

The Medersa Ben Youssef is another interesting visit to make in Marrakech. It is a Koranic school located in the heart of the medina, in the district of Mouassine. It is a magnificent example of Arab-Andalusian architecture! The courtyard, the prayer room, and the patio are particularly worth a look! Floors, ceilings, bases, columns… are richly decorated! A real jewel!

The palm grove of Marrakech

The Palmeraie is another popular visit in Marrakech! It is a large natural area with no less than 100,000 palm trees, where the must-do activity is camel riding or quad biking. There is also one of the most beautiful golf courses in Marrakech, the PalmGolf Resort, whose green offers a breathtaking view of the Atlas Mountains. A classic of Marrakech sightseeing tours… There’s not much point in visiting it except to enjoy one of these activities.

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