Things to do in Marrakech: Top Activities for a Memorable Trip

Things to do in Marrakech

Marrakech, a mesmerising city in Morocco, offers a vibrant blend of colours, tastes, and experiences that is simply irresistible. The city’s rich culture and history, combined with its bustling markets, delicious cuisine, and stunning architecture make it an unforgettable destination for travellers seeking adventure and discovery.

The heart of Marrakech lies in its captivating medina, a labyrinth of alleys filled with hidden treasures waiting to be explored. The iconic Jemaa el-Fnaa square is a lively hub of activity, where locals and tourists alike can immerse themselves in the city’s unique atmosphere. From visiting historical sites like the stunning Bahia Palace to wandering through the enchanting Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech promises a delightful array of experiences for every visitor.

Whether it’s a cultural exploration through museums and architectural wonders or the thrill of haggling for bargains at vibrant souks, Marrakech has something to offer everyone. This magical city truly is a feast for the senses and a treasure trove of unforgettable moments.

Exploring the Medina

The Medina of Marrakech is a treasure trove of history and culture in the heart of the city. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Medina is the original walled settlement around which the rest of Marrakech was built. It features a maze of narrow streets and magical souks, with cobblestone paths traversed by pedestrians and donkey carts. This historical district is famous for its rich architectural beauty and captivating atmosphere, making it the perfect place for visitors to explore and experience North Africa.

Medina of Marrakech

Historic Landmarks

Within the Medina, you’ll find an array of stunning historic landmarks. Its monumental walls, dating back to the medieval times, enclose ancient palaces, mosques, and museums that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Marrakech. Visitors can wander through the serpentine alleys, discovering the many traditional marketplaces called souks, where they can shop for authentic Moroccan goods and crafts.


The architectural beauty of the Medina is unmatched, and it is a showcase of diverse styles, influenced by the various dynasties that have ruled throughout the centuries. From intricately carved wooden doors to ornate ceramic tilework called zellige, the Medina is a delight for those with a deep appreciation for design and craftsmanship. Along with traditional Moroccan architectural elements, you’ll find several examples of Andalusian and Berber influences, blending to create a unique atmosphere.

Koutoubia Mosque

One of the most iconic landmarks in the Medina is the Koutoubia Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Marrakech. Built in the 12th century, its splendid minaret towers over the city, serving as an excellent landmark for navigation. The mosque’s exterior displays fine examples of Almohad architecture, featuring intricate carvings and bold geometric patterns. Although only Muslims are allowed to enter the mosque, visitors can still admire its beauty from the outside and stroll through the surrounding gardens.

Exploring the Medina is undoubtedly a highlight for anyone visiting Marrakech. With its incredible history, awe-inspiring architecture, and the mesmerising Koutoubia Mosque, there is no shortage of experiences waiting for travellers within these ancient walls.

Visiting Palaces

Marrakech, often known as the Red City, is famous for its stunning palaces, showcasing unique architecture and rich cultural heritage.

Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace is a masterpiece built in the late 19th century and now serves as the epitome of Marrakech’s culture. The architecture of this beautiful palace is truly awe-inspiring, featuring intricately carved cedarwood and impressive courtyards adorned with stunning mosaics. Visitors to Bahia Palace can explore the various chambers and courtyards, admiring the elegant stuccowork and vibrant tiles that tell the story of Morocco’s past.

A few highlights to look out for when visiting Bahia Palace:

  • Luxurious marble-paved courtyards
  • Colourful gardens surrounding the palace
  • Unique blend of Moroccan and Andalusian architecture

Bahia Palace

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace is another must-see when visiting Marrakech. Built during the Saadian Dynasty, the palace was once a magnificent representation of the wealth and power of the Saadian rulers. While El Badi Palace now lies mainly in ruins, visitors can still appreciate the grandeur of this historic site.

As you wander through the palace, take note of the following features:

  • Large central courtyard with sunken pools
  • Remnants of frescoes on the walls
  • Partially preserved architecture offering a glimpse into the past

El Badi Palace

Visiting these two palaces in Marrakech offers a fascinating insight into the city’s history and the opulence of the region’s past rulers. Be sure not to miss these architectural gems during your trip to the Red City.

Iconic Gardens

Marrakech is known for its stunning gardens that provide a calming oasis amidst the city’s vibrancy. In this section, we will explore two of the most iconic gardens in Marrakech: Jardin Majorelle and Le Jardin Secret.

Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle, a masterpiece created by French painter Jacques Majorelle, is a must-visit garden in Marrakech. It was acquired and renovated by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980s, further adding to its allure. The garden showcases an exquisite combination of exotic plants, bold colours, and unique architectural elements. Majorelle Garden features more than 300 species of plants from around the world, along with fountains, pools, and charming pathways, making it an ideal spot to unwind and admire nature’s beauty.

One of the garden’s highlights is the striking blue villa, known as Villa Oasis, which was Jacques Majorelle’s former residence. The bold cobalt blue that adorns the villa and various garden elements has come to be known as “Majorelle Blue,” named after the garden’s creator.

Le Jardin Secret

Le Jardin Secret, located in the heart of Marrakech’s Medina, is another enchanting garden that is worth exploring. This hidden gem boasts an intriguing history, dating back to the Saadian Dynasty. Restored to its original glory, Le Jardin Secret serves as a serene escape from the bustling streets of the Medina.

The garden is divided into two distinct areas: the Exotic Garden and the Islamic Garden. The Exotic Garden showcases a diverse collection of plants from various parts of the globe, illustrating the exchange of cultures during Marrakech’s golden age. The Islamic Garden, on the other hand, reflects the quintessential features of traditional Moroccan gardens, with its symmetrical design, water features, and fragrant plants. Both sections offer visitors a chance to appreciate the intricate beauty of Marrakech’s gardening tradition and the rich history of the city.

Experiencing the Souks

Marrakech is home to some of the most vibrant and lively souks in the world. A visit to these bustling markets offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture.


The Marrakech souks are a treasure trove of unique and beautiful items, perfect for finding that special souvenir or gift. You’ll find an array of products such as colourful carpets, exquisite crafts, intricate jewellery, and stunning textiles. Some of the renowned souks to explore include souk haddadine, souk cherratin, and souk smata.

While wandering through the labyrinthine alleyways, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Carpets: Moroccan carpets are highly prized for their quality and craftsmanship. Look for traditional patterns and vibrant colours.
  • Crafts: The souks are overflowing with handmade crafts, including pottery, leather goods, and ornate lanterns.
  • Textiles: Fine textiles are in abundance, perfect for selecting a beautiful scarf or intricately embroidered garment.

Moroccan Carpets


Haggling is an integral part of the shopping experience in Moroccan souks. It’s customary to negotiate the price of an item with the seller, who will likely quote a higher initial price. Here are some tips for successful haggling:

  1. Research prices: Familiarise yourself with local prices and the value of items before entering the souk.
  2. Remain friendly: Keep the tone light and jovial when negotiating a price, as this can help establish rapport with the seller.
  3. Be prepared to walk away: If you’re not satisfied with the price, calmly express your appreciation for their time and start to leave. Sellers may be more inclined to offer a better deal to avoid losing the sale.


The souks in Marrakech showcase the exceptional skills of Moroccan artisans who continue to practise traditional methods for creating beautiful wares. Witnessing the craft of these talented individuals is truly mesmerising and offers a unique insight into the vibrant culture that permeates the city.

Some notable crafts to observe in the souks include:

  • Metalwork: Souk Haddadine specialises in metalwork, where skilled artisans create intricate designs on brass and copper items.
  • Leather: Souk Cherratin is known for its high-quality leather goods, showcasing the expertise of local leatherworkers.
  • Shoes: Souk Smata is the go-to place for traditional Moroccan slippers, known as babouches, which are crafted with incredible skill by the area’s shoemakers.

Visiting the Marrakech souks is a captivating experience that should not be missed on a trip to this enchanting city. Dive into the lively atmosphere, marvel at the exceptional craftsmanship, and immerse yourself in the art of haggling as you explore these fascinating markets.

Museums and Art

Marrakech offers a rich variety of museums and art galleries for visitors to explore. In this section, we will discuss the Marrakech Museum, Musée Yves Saint Laurent, and Dar Si Said Museum.

Marrakech Museum

The Marrakech Museum, located in the heart of the Medina in a former 19th-century palace, is an exquisite destination for art lovers. This museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional Moroccan art as well as archaeological artefacts. The museum is also known for its intricate architecture, with stunning zellij tilework and delicate plaster carvings adorning the walls and ceilings.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent

The Musée Yves Saint Laurent is a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts, dedicated to the life and work of the iconic French designer. This museum not only presents an impressive array of Yves Saint Laurent’s creations but also features:

  • Rotating exhibitions from the designer’s forty-year career
  • A library and resource centre about fashion and design
  • A beautiful garden inspired by YSL’s personal love of Marrakech

Dar Si Said Museum

Dar Si Said Museum, also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, is an excellent place to discover the richness of Marrakech’s artistic heritage. Housed in a historic 19th-century palace, the museum features exhibitions on:

  • Traditional Moroccan craftsmanship, such as wood carving, zellij tilework, and ceramics
  • Ancient artefacts, including jewellery, weapons, and pottery
  • Temporary exhibits showcasing contemporary Moroccan artists

The Dar Si Said Museum also offers visitors glimpses of the beautiful architecture and design of the palace in which it is situated. As you stroll through these museums and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Marrakech’s art scene, you’ll be amazed by the depth and variety that this city offers.

Cultural Exploration

Historic Mellah

Marrakech is a city steeped in history, and one of the best ways to explore its rich cultural heritage is by visiting the Historic Mellah, also known as the Jewish Quarter. Located in the heart of the city, the Mellah was established in the 16th century as a separate area for Jewish residents. Today, it offers a glimpse into the lives of Jewish Moroccans and their contributions to the city’s history. Make sure to visit the beautiful synagogues, the Jewish cemetery, and the Miaara as you explore this fascinating neighbourhood.

Hammam Experience

A trip to Marrakech wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the traditional Moroccan Hammam. These public bathhouses are a vital part of Moroccan culture and offer a unique way to relax and rejuvenate. A visit to a Hammam typically includes a steam bath, exfoliating body scrub, and a massage. There are several Hammams throughout Marrakech, ranging from simple, local options to more luxurious spa-like establishments. Remember to pack a swimsuit and towel, and immerse yourself in this ancient Moroccan ritual.

Tasting Moroccan Cuisine

Marrakech is a food lover’s paradise. The city’s vibrant food scene boasts a wide array of delicious dishes and flavours that showcase the best of Moroccan cuisine. Start by exploring the Medina, where you’ll find food stalls and markets offering colourful vegetables, fragrant spices, and freshly baked khobz (Moroccan bread). Make sure to try the national dish, couscous, which can be found in various forms throughout the city. Pair your meal with a refreshing glass of traditional mint tea for the ultimate Moroccan dining experience.

For a more hands-on experience, consider participating in a Moroccan cooking class. Many local chefs offer classes that introduce travellers to the ingredients, techniques, and customs of Moroccan cooking. With the guidance of a skilled instructor, you can learn to prepare famous dishes such as tagine and pastilla in an authentic and friendly setting.

In Marrakech, the city’s rich cultural heritage can be experienced through its historical sites, traditional rites, and mouth-watering cuisine. So get ready to lose yourself in the enchanting city, and create unforgettable memories in the process.

Day Trips from Marrakech

Marrakech offers a variety of exciting day trips for tourists who want to explore the beauty of Morocco. In this section, we will focus on two popular options: the Atlas Mountains and camel rides.

Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains, specifically the High Atlas Mountains, are a breathtaking sight that should not be missed during a trip to Marrakech. These mountains offer numerous opportunities for hiking, trekking, and exploring traditional Berber villages.

Imlil, located in the High Atlas Mountains, is a famous spot for mountain walks and serves as a base for those who wish to conquer the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal. The picturesque Amazigh villages in this region are also great for those looking for a cultural experience.

For tourists not keen on hiking, the Ourika Valley offers a more relaxed option for appreciating the majestic mountains. A visit to the waterfalls at Ouzoud Falls is highly recommended, as they are an incredibly impressive sight, with water cascading from high cliffs into a large basin.

Camel Rides

A camel ride is a quintessential Moroccan experience that visitors should not miss. There are various locations near Marrakech, such as the Marrakech Palmeraie and Jidar Riad, where tourists can enjoy this unique activity. Riding on the back of a camel through the desert or along the sandy beaches provides an unforgettable perspective of the landscapes that make Morocco so enchanting.

While on a camel ride, be sure to explore other nearby attractions, such as the Majorelle Garden, a peaceful oasis adorned with beautiful plants, surrounded by cobalt blue pathways and vibrant tiles.

In conclusion, a day trip to the Atlas Mountains or a thrilling camel ride are both excellent options for tourists looking for unique and unforgettable experiences during their Marrakech adventure.

Practical Information


Marrakech is well connected by various modes of transportation. The city’s Menara Airport is situated just a short distance from the city centre, making it convenient for travellers to reach their accommodations. Upon arrival, visitors can opt for a taxi from the airport or explore available public transportation options. Marrakech is also a pedestrian-friendly city, allowing travellers to explore its vibrant streets and landmarks on foot.

Walking tours are a popular way to discover Marrakech’s historic sites, bustling souks, and hidden gems. Exploring the city by foot allows for a more intimate experience, giving visitors the chance to observe locals going about their daily routines and immerse themselves in the culture.


Marrakech offers various accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. One of the most unique and authentic options is staying in a traditional riad. A riad is a Moroccan-style guesthouse, complete with intricately carved stucco and courtyards. Staying at a riad offers a unique opportunity to experience Moroccan hospitality and architecture while enjoying modern amenities.

Some practical tips for booking accommodation in Marrakech include:

  • Book in advance to secure the best prices and availability, particularly during peak travel seasons.
  • Research the location and proximity of your selected accommodation to key attractions, as this can greatly impact your overall experience.
  • Plan for the heat as Marrakech can get very hot during the summer months. Ensure your accommodation has adequate facilities such as air conditioning or fans to keep you cool and comfortable during your stay.

In conclusion, Marrakech offers a wide range of transportation and accommodation options to cater to all travellers. From exploring the city on foot to experiencing the charm of traditional riads, visitors are sure to enjoy their time in this vibrant Moroccan city.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some unusual activities in Marrakech?

Marrakech is full of unique experiences, some of which might not be on typical tourist itineraries. For instance, visiting the Souk Sebbaghine, the dyers’ souk, offers a colourful experience where you can witness strands of wool in vibrant hues drying overhead. Alternatively, you can embark on a photography tour that highlights Marrakech’s architectural marvels, or explore the city’s culinary delights on a guided food tour.

Can you recommend child-friendly attractions?

Marrakech has numerous attractions suitable for children. An excellent choice is the Marjorelle Garden, a vibrant and enchanting space designed by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. Other options include horse carriage rides through the city, camel riding on the outskirts, and visiting the many parks and gardens scattered around Marrakech.

Is Marrakech safe to visit?

Marrakech is generally considered safe for tourists, although it is always important to exercise caution and common sense when travelling. Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded markets and streets. Be cautious when navigating through the maze-like souks and narrow alleys, as it is easy to get lost.

Are there any free places to explore?

There are several free or low-cost attractions that you can enjoy in Marrakech. The Koutoubia Mosque, with its stunning architecture, can be admired from the outside (non-Muslims are not allowed to enter). You can also visit the various markets, or souks, while window shopping and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere can be an exhilarating experience in itself. The city offers many public gardens and parks that are perfect for strolls and picnics, allowing you to enjoy Marrakech’s natural beauty without spending a penny.

What is the ideal duration of stay in Marrakech?

The ideal duration of a stay in Marrakech varies based on individual preferences and travel plans. A short trip of 2-4 days should be enough to explore the key sights, shopping areas, and taste the local cuisine. However, a longer stay of a week or more allows for a comprehensive exploration of the city and its surroundings, as well as day trips to nearby attractions such as the Atlas Mountains or the coastal city of Essaouira.

What are the popular shopping areas?

Marrakech is renowned for its bustling markets, or souks, which are ideal for purchasing traditional Moroccan souvenirs, handicrafts, and textiles. Some of the most popular shopping areas include the Medina, where you’ll find everything from colourful pottery to intricately woven textiles, and Gueliz, the city’s modern district, which offers an excellent mix of traditional and contemporary shopping experiences. Don’t forget that haggling is an essential part of the shopping experience, so be prepared to barter for the best deals!