Morocco is a country rich in culture and history, and there is no better place to experience it than Marrakech. This vibrant city is full of life, and there is always something to see or do. If you’re looking for the best things to do in Marrakech, then look no further! This blog post will guide you through everything from the must-visit sights, the best places to eat, where to stay and the top things to do in Marrakech.
Marrakech has something to offer for every type of traveller. For adventure travellers, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. For those who want to relax, there are plenty of spas and hammams to enjoy. And for the foodies, countless restaurants and cafes serving up delicious Moroccan cuisine. It’s the perfect place for a weekend break – see my 3-day itinerary for Marrakech here – and a great place to start a Morocco road trip!
Marrakech is the capital of Morocco and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Travellers come from near and far to visit everything the city has to offer: from the bustling markets and souks, to the stunning architecture and historical landmarks. With so much on offer, it can be tough to know where to start. To help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Marrakech (and added a few unusual things to do in Marrakech too!)
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The best things to do in Marrakech...
1. Watch the sunset over Al Jemaa el-Fna Square from Café Du France
This is THE spot for the best sunset in Marrakech, and with good reason. Café du France is the only cafe with a rooftop that faces directly west, so nothing is obstructing your view of the sunset as it dips behind the square. The square comes alive at night with food stalls, snake charmers and fire-eaters, so it’s the perfect spot to watch the sun go down and experience the true vibrancy of Marrakech.
After wandering through the souks and the main square, grab a drink, grab a seat and watch the magic of sunset unfold. Arrive early if you want a good seat, as this is one the best things to do in Marrakech, and you won’t want to miss it.
2. Take a tour of Ben Youssef Madrasa
This is high on my Morocco bucket list as it’s one of the top things to do in Marrakech. Ben Youssef Madrasa is a former Islamic school built in the 14th century it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece with its intricate carvings, mosaics and stucco work.
It’s been closed for renovation since November 2018, and many travellers have been long-awaiting its re-opening. I visited just days after the grand re-opening in early May 2022, and it looked absolutely spectacular. If you a fan of design and architecture, this is an absolute must-do in Marrakech.
3. Admire the biggest mosque in Morocco: the Koutoubia
The Koutoubia has become a symbol of Marrakech and is one of the best places to visit in Morocco. It’s the largest mosque in the country, and its tower can be seen from almost all points of the city. It was built in the 12th century, and its exterior is covered in intricate carvings.
The mosque is not open to non-muslims, but it’s still worth admiring from the outside. It’s located in the heart of the old city and just a short walk from the Jemaa.
4. Take a stroll through hidden gardens: Jardin de Majorelle & Le Jardin Secret
Marrakech is a busy, built-up city, and when you’re seeing it from the rooftops, it’s hard even to get a glimpse of any green areas but, much like the Riads, there are some gardens hidden amongst the city walls that offer tourists a green-haven right in the middle of the city.
One of the gardens is so hidden that it’s been called “The Secret Garden”, Le Jardin Secret in French. In the age of Google maps, it’s pretty easy to find. It’s located on 121 Rue Mouassine, Marrakesh 40030, Morocco and it’s open from 8 am to 6 pm every day and only costs 80 dirhams (£7) to visit.
Taking an early morning or late afternoon stroll in Le Jardin Secret may be one of the best things to do in Marrakech, but there is one other garden that is also a must-visit, Jardin Majorelle.
Le Jardin de Majorelle has become iconic and an absolute must-do in Marrakech. It is a stunning 2-acre botanical garden that French artist created, Jacques Majorelle over 40 years. It’s now owned by Yves Saint Laurent and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marrakech, with over 650,000 visitors annually.
The garden is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm and costs just 70 dirhams (£6) for entry.
5. Have drinks and dinner on a rooftop bar
As one of the biggest cities in Morocco, Marrakech’s nightlife has got a buzz to it. An absolute must-do in Marrakech is to have dinner and drinks in at least one of their many rooftop bars. There are plenty to choose from, and all boast fantastic views and tasteful menus. You can find a list below of some of the best rooftop restaurants in Marrakech:
- Cafe des Epices
- L’Amazigh Rooftop
- Le 14
Café Des Épices & Nomad are particularly popular, so I recommend arriving early for dinner or booking a table beforehand.
6. Take a cooking class at Souk Cousins
Moroccan Cuisine is loved worldwide. It’s a combination of sweet, savoury, spicy and fresh flavours that will tantalise your taste buds. If you want to learn how to make some of the most iconic dishes, then taking a cooking class at Souk Cousins is an absolute must-do in Marrakech.
Souk Cousins is a women’s cooperative located in the heart of the souks, just off the square. They offer a range of different cooking classes that teach you how to make classic dishes such as:
- Harira soup
- Mint tea
The classes cost around 630 dirhams (£50) and can take up to 14 people per class.
7. Have a signature Hammam massage
Hammam is a traditional Moroccan bathhouse and spa. It’s an experience that you shouldn’t miss out on whilst in Morocco as it’s one of the best things to do in Morocco.
At a Hammam, you can expect to have your whole body exfoliated, scrubbed and then massaged with black soap. This is all done in a steam room which opens up your pores and relaxes your muscles.
Afterwards, you’ll feel like a new person. It’s the perfect way to relax after a busy day of exploring Marrakech. Hammam can cost anywhere between £12-230 (the latter being the most luxurious spa, situated in the Royal Mansur). But on average, you can expect to pay £20-60 for a public Hammam experience.
There are plenty of Hammam spas to choose from, but some of the best include:
- 1572 Mouassine hammam (the oldest in Marrakech)
- Hammam de la Rose
- Le Bain Bleu
- La Maison Arabe
- Les Bains de Marrakech
- Les Bains de Tarabel
8. Have afternoon tea & swim at La Mamounia
Marrakech is a popular destination for both budget and luxury travellers. There are quite a few world-known hotels and Michelin star restaurants. One of the fanciest hotels is La Mamounia. It’s famous for its afternoon tea which is often served in its beautiful gardens.
If you’re looking for a treat, then La Mamounia should definitely be on your list of things to do in Marrakech. Afternoon tea starts from 390 dirhams (£33) per person and includes a selection of finger sandwiches, pastries, scones and tea.
If you want to make a day of it, you can also use their pool for an additional 200 dirhams (£17).
Even if afternoon tea isn’t your cup of tea (pun intended), its design is truly stunning, and you can explore the hotel and grounds without paying for a service. It’s one of the best places to visit in Marrakech and definitely worth a visit.
9. Take an afternoon to enjoy your Riad and relax
This is an easy one and often overlooked. Stay in your Riad for an afternoon and relax. Most Riads in Marrakech have stunning rooftops and/or pools that were made for travellers to enjoy. It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on some sleep, top up on your tan, read a book or just take in the views.
If your Riad doesn’t have a pool or rooftop, then simply enjoy the peace and quiet of your room. It will be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.
Here is a list of some of the most popular Riads to stay in in Marrakech:
- Riad Spice
- Riad Be
- 72 Riad Living
- P’titi Habibi
- La Sultana Marrakech
- Riad Yasmine
- Riad Idra
10. Take a tour of a giant cactus farm at Cactus Thiemann
This is one of the unusual things to do in Marrakech and not one you’ll find in too many guides online. I only came across this as I was looking for a photoshoot location for a brand, and I came across Cactus Thiemann.
Cactus Thiemann is a large cactus farm located about 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Marrakech. They have over 10,000 cacti and succulents which makes for a great photo opportunity or somewhere to explore if you love plants.
The garden is open to visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm, with the last access being at 2 pm.
11. Visit the Palaces: Bahia Palace & El Badii-Ksibat Nhass Palace
There are a few different palaces that you can visit in Marrakech, but the most popular ones are the Bahia Palace and El Badii-Ksibat Nhass Palace.
The Bahia Palace is often described as a ‘jewel of Moroccan architecture and it’s easy to see why. The interiors are beautifully decorated with intricate tiles, wood carvings and stained glass. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Marrakech.
El Badii-Ksibat Nhass Palace is a little less known, but it’s definitely worth a visit. It was built in the 16th century and served as the home of the sultan Ahmed el Mansour. The palace is in ruins, but it’s still an impressive sight. It’s located just outside the walls of the old city, and it’s free to enter.
12. Wander around the New City: Gueliz Neighbourhood
Gueliz is the new city of Marrakech, a great contrast to the old city. It’s filled with high-rise buildings, large squares, shops and restaurants. It’s definitely worth spending an afternoon exploring Gueliz.
Some of the best things to do in Gueliz include:
- Wander around the large squares, Place du 16 Novembre and Place Abdel Moumen
- Visit the Marrakech Museum
- Shop in the modern shopping malls
- Eat in one of the many international restaurants
For those wanting a bit of a break from the Medina and looking to experience the newer parts of the city, Gueliz is a must-do in Marrakech.
13. Spend the night at a Desert Camp in Agafay Desert
If you’re looking for a unique experience, then spending the night at a desert camp in the Agafay Desert should definitely be on your list of things to do in Marrakech.
This is THE most fun thing to do in Marrakech and one of the best things to do in Morocco. It’s technically outside of Marrakech, but it’s only a 45min drive from the city centre, so it still counts!
Travellers come from near and far to spend a night in a traditional desert camp. It’s the perfect opportunity to disconnect from technology and simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the desert.
There are a few different companies that desert camps, but I recommend opting for one further away from the city to get the whole experience. It will cost you around 1200 dirhams (£100) per person for a night in a desert camp, which includes dinner and breakfast.
This is by far one of the best things to do in Morocco, so definitely include it in your itinerary!
What are your favourite things to do in Marrakech?
Have you ever been to Marrakech? Anything you’d add to this Marrakech bucket list?
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