Top 10 Things to Do in Marrakech

Mosquée de la Koutoubia

Top 10 Things to Do in Marrakech

As a former imperial city with an ever-changing set of rulers, Marrakech is a hodgepodge of different cultures that have left their stamp on the city. Centuries later and Marrakech is still one of Morocco’s most important cultural and economic centers.

 

Because of its complex cultural identity, Morocco’s “Red City” has seemingly endless activities for all ages, with mosques, bazaars and gardens being among some of the most popular things to do.

 

Though you could spend weeks wandering one of the nation’s largest cities, the top 10 essential things to do in Marrakech are:

 

  1. Visit Marrakech’s thriving cultural center, Jemaa el-Fna square

Jemaa el-Fna square is located in the heart of Marrakech’s old city and is home to one of its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which is considered one of the most important cultural and historical places within the “Ocher City.”

 

The square attracts thousands of tourists each year because of its intricate architecture and fascinating examples of life from a seemingly distant time: alluring snake charmers, elaborate henna tattoos and dazzling acrobatic shows.

 

As the cool morning turns to scorching midday, the snake charmers leave and are replaced by traditional Berber and Arabic storytellers, Chleuh dancing-boys and time-honored medicine peddlers.

 

As the sun sets, you can sip tea or coffee at one of the rooftop restaurants that overlook the hustle and bustle of the square. And when night falls, Jemaa el-Fna comes alive with food vendors, who whip up some sizzling Moroccan specialties. Don’t forget to enjoy the salads and grilled meats at unbeatable prices.

 

Despite its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, admission to Jemaa el-Fna square is free.

 

  1. Escape the dusty cobbled streets at the Majorelle Gardens

Vibrant cacti and tall palm trees may seem like an arid, desert mirage. However, the greenery is no trick  — it is one of Morocco’s beloved gardens.

 

It took French artist Jacque Majorelle over 40 years to complete one of the nation’s most visited  gardens and tourist sites, Majorelle Gardens, whose tall and cool foliage attracts visitors from far and wide.

 

The garden is home to over 300 species of botanical plants that grow amidst the magical place with bright blue walls. For art lovers, there is a small gallery housed inside the gardens.

Beyond art and an escape from Marrakech’s dusty streets, the garden’s also attracts fashion designers and lovers from around the world because Yves Saint Laurent rescued Majorelle Gardens from extinction over 30 years ago. Now his ashes are scattered throughout the garden, which now has a museum dedicated to him (Berber Museum).

 

The Berber Museum, which is dedicated to educating its visitors about Berber heritage and culture, is divided into three sections that show how Berber’s make both practical and ceremonial items from raw materials, fine jewels and artistic expression. Expect to see items like clothing, weaponry, jewelery and ornamental wood carvings.

 

Admission to the garden is 70 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$7) and 30 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$3) for the museum.

 

  1. Explore the Sahara Desert from the back of a camel

One of the most picturesque ways to explore Marrakech is by traveling in a traditional convoy of camels.

 

Though camels were once known as “desert ship” because of the ease that they gracefully carried supplies and people through the pink desert sands, they are now a highlight for most visitors who want a taste for nomadic Berber lifestyle.

 

There are several camel ride options are offered on Weekech. Go have a look you because will love our selection!

 

  1. Learn about Marrakech’s unique history at one of its world-renowned museums

Beyond Marrakech’s famous nightlife and Jemaa el Fenais, the city is rich in culture and history.

 

Marrakech is home to dozens of museums that cover everything from history to art, which can make deciding which ones to go to difficult. And though you can’t really go wrong, some of the best museums are:

 

Museum of Marrakech (Marrakech Museum)

The Museum of Marrakech — an archaeology, ethnography, history and art museum — is located in one of the city’s former imperial palaces and a place of historical importance. It was once the private residence of Morocco’s defense minister and later used as a girls school before being restored to its current state as a museum.

 

Visitors can enjoy artwork and artifacts from both the present and past — including pottery, calligraphy, old gravestones, coins, paintings, clothing and historic documents.

 

Admission is 50 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$5).

 

Dar Si Said

Transport yourself into the life of a wealthy Marrakshi from an era long gone at Dar Si Said. Located in a former imperial palace, the sprawling grounds are worth a visit to the museum alone.

 

While admiring the tilework and carvings that adorn floors, ceilings, walls, and doors, take in the inner courtyard’s ornamental fountain. Make sure you observe the city from above on one of the elegant balconies or pretend you’re at an exquisite party in one various grand rooms.

 

Beyond its stunning architecture, you’ll be able to see rugs, musical instruments, jewelery, kaftans, weapons, leather goods and pottery.

 

Admission is 10 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$1).

 

Maison de la Photographie

Maison de la Photographie is a joint collaboration between a Marrakshi and Parisien, which is home to old photographs that will transport you back to Morocco and Moroccan life in the 1870s through the 1960s.

 

While there, you can also see original glass negatives from the High Atlas regions, old documents, magazines, postcards and a rare color documentary filmed in Morocco during the late 1950s.

 

Admission is 40 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$4).

 

  1. Refine your bartering skills in the Souks

A trip to Marrakech is incomplete without visiting one of the souks — a must for tourists of any age.

 

Souks are traditional markets and bazaars that sell a variety of goods and are often found in medinas, which are walled or fortified cities in North Africa. Marrakech is home to both local souks that sell spices and household items and tourist souks that sell souvenirs to bring back home.

 

You will find everything from carpets and leather works to lamps, kaftans, dried fruits and Berber (traditional North African) spices. Explore the labyrinth of alleyways and courtyards, while admiring silver jewelry, ironwork and more.

 

And don’t forget to bargain with the merchants for the best prices.

 

  1. Take some time to learn about Marrakech’s unique history outside of a museum

Beyond its Jemaa el-Fna square, Marrakech is home to dozens of historically important UNESCO World Heritage Sites that highlight the city’s grand and, at times, tumultuous history.

 

Though Marrakech is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites (including Jemaa el-Fna), some of the top ones to visit if you are on limited time are:

 

Mosquée Koutoubia (Koutoubia Mosque)

Koutoubia Mosque is the largest — and often considered grandest — mosque in Marrakech, if not all of Morocco.

 

It was built toward the start of the second millennium and later developed into an identical complex of mosques after it was discovered that the original didn’t perfectly align toward Mecca.

 

Entry to the actual mosque is not permitted to non-Muslims and admission to the surrounding area is free.

 

Saadian Tombs

Saadian Tombs are the tombs of Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour Dhahbi, who spared no expense on his final resting place.

 

The tombs are a mausoleum complex that houses al-Mansour, some of the most important princes, at least 170 of his chancellors and wives and his mother’s mausoleum. The grand mausoleums are filled with imported Italian marble and gilded decorative plasterwork to commemorate Al Mansour’s rule.

 

However, the complex is now a hidden treasure and can only be accessed by a small passage in the Kasbah Mosque because Alawite Sultan Moulay Ismail, who ruled Marrakech decades later, hid the Saadian Tombs behind a wall to help diminish his predecessor’s former power.

 

Admission is 10 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$1).

 

Palais El Badi (El Badi Palace)

The El Badi Palace is the former palace complex of Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour Dhahbi, which was solely created to “celebrate the victory over the Portuguese army.”

 

Though many consider it a jewel of Islamic art, it was heavily influenced by Spanish architectural styles.

 

Anymore, the only thing that remains from the grand palace are the giant esplanade carved gardens that are lined with orange trees and enclosed by high, fortress walls.

 

Admission is 10 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$1).

 

Palais Bahia (Bahia Palace)

Bahia Palace is the 19th century palace of Si Moussa, the chamberlain of Sultan Hassan I of Morocco. At the time, it was considered one of Morocco’s most luxurious palaces.

 

The complex is considered one of Morocco’s masterpiece architectural sites and a major cultural and heritage monument.

 

It is home to various Arab-Andalusian concerts and art exhibitions, and the Moroccan royal family is known to occasionally stay there in private quarters when an important event draws them to Marrakech.

 

Admission is 10 Moroccan dirhams (approximately USD$1).

 

  1. Escape the chaos of city life and venture into the Ourika Valley

The Ourika Valley is just a short drive out of Marrakech and is nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

 

Stores and traditional Berber houses are scattered along the mountain passes and sell handmade wares — including Argan oil, carpets and cooking pots. However, prices are often higher than in town or at the souks.

If it isn’t snowing, you can take a walk in the Valley or stop for a tagine — vegetables or meat cooked in a pointed pot — at one of the traditional cafes. Getting to them may involve crossing a rope-and-wood bridge that spans the deep Ourika River.

 

  1. Unwind after a long day of exploring Marrakech’s narrow streets in a Hammam

A hammam is a traditional Moroccan public bathhouse, though it could be described as more of a ritualistic experience.

 

Though luxury spas have opened to cater toward the influx of tourists, hammams remain a popular and affordable alternative for tourists and locals alike.

 

The experience is similar to a Turkish bath, where you sit in a hot steam bath that is separated by genders. From there, you are taken to another room, where someone helps bathe you with scorching water and then leads you to another steam room. The experience is finished with a full body exfoliation and massage.

 

Prices vary depending on services and location. However, some of the best deals are found within the medina.

 

  1. Finish your night with a drink on one of Marrakech’s infamous rooftop bars

Marrakech is the type of city that is best seen from its rooftops. With hundreds of restraints and bars perched on the highest levels of buildings, grabbing a drink is the best way to unwind after a long day of exploring the winding and narrow streets.

 

As the sun starts to set, head over to the medina for the best views of the sunset or, during the winter, of the surrounding Atlas Mountains.

 

Marrakech is full of rooftop terraces that offer different ambiances and drink and food selections.

 

  1. Rest your head at one of the city’s Riads

Riads are traditional Moroccan houses or palaces that have courtyards with pools and/or interior gardens in them.

 

Riads are popular places to stay because of their stunning architect, affordable beauty and glimpses of life from bygone days.

 

Weekech offers a selection of riads to stay in while in Marrakech. Go have a look you because will won’t want to miss out!

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

WhatsApp chat WhatsApp