Marrakech is a city full of life, color, and culture. As one of the best places to visit in Morocco, Marrakech is high on many travellers’ bucket lists and with reason! There are so many things to do in Morocco that it can be hard to know where to start. This 3-day itinerary for Marrakech will help you make the most of your time in Marrakech and see the best that the city has to offer. And you can even make this part of a fantastic Morocco road trip itinerary!
Marrakech is the capital city of Morocco. The city has a rich history and culture and is a popular tourist destination. As one of the best places to visit in Morocco, there are many things to see and do in Marrakech including exploring the ancient Medina, visiting the beautiful Majorelle Gardens, bargaining for souvenirs in the markets, and even visiting a giant cactus farm!
Even though Marrakech is a relatively small city and most places to visit aren’t far apart so you can get a lot done in a short space of time without it feeling rushed, but only if you plan your days ahead. This is where this blog post comes in! In this blog post, you will find a detailed 3-day itinerary that will take you through the top things to do in Marrakech so you can make the most of your time during your visit.
How to get to Marrakech…
It’s very easy to get to Marrakech as Marrakech Menara airport is one of two of Morocco’s international airports. There are daily flights, if not more, flying to Marrakech Menara Airport from most European and UK airports. Just check Google Flights or Skyscanner to find flights from your nearest airport.
For those based in the UK (like I am), you can fly to Marrakech from Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and/or Heathrow airport. British Airways, Easyjet and Ryan Air are the only airlines that fly directly from London to Marrakech. The flight is only 3.5 hrs and costs between £85-£185 depending on the season you choose to travel. My flight cost me £100 with British Airways, flying out from Heathrow.
The best time to travel to Marrakech is in the shoulder season, from March to May and September to November. This is when the weather is warm but not too extreme. Summer temperatures can reach up to 40c in the city, which can make it a bit too hot and sweaty to be walking around the city. I visited in May and the weather was perfect, warm during the day but cooling off at night.
What to wear in Marrakech (for female travellers)…
Packing for a trip to a predominantly Islamic city is often tricky, especially for women. Even though Morocco has a lot of Western influence, 99% of the population is Muslim and strongly religious. Moroccan women dress conservatively and I would advise female travellers to do the same, especially when visiting historic landmarks and walking around in the Medina.
As a general rule, it’s always best to respect the country’s religion and culture. You’re there to experience how they live and learn about their culture after all!
If you’re a female traveller visiting Marrakech, I would recommend you pack outfits that cover your legs and shoulders. This could be a mixture of maxi skirts and dresses, flowy trousers, shawls, and short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts.
If you’re visiting closer to the summer months, focus on bringing clothes that cover you up but keep you cool! You’ll want light airy fabrics and loose-fitting clothes. And if you’re visiting closer to winter, you’ll want to cover up and keep warm anyway as the temperature does drop quite a bit!
Where to stay in Marrakech...
Marrakech is made up of two parts – the ancient Medina and the more modern Gueliz. The Medina is the walled city, which is where most of the historic landmarks are located and where you’ll find the best Souks (markets) – important for this Marrakech itinerary! This is also where most tourists stay as there are plenty of hotels, riads, Airbnbs and hostels to choose. Gueliz is the newer part of town and is where you’ll find most of the restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs. It’s a lot more modern than the Medina but still has a lot of character and is the historic heart of the city.
I would recommend staying in the Medina as it’s much more atmospheric and it’s also easier to get around to visit most of the attractions in the city.
If you do choose to stay in the Medina, you have to stay in a Riad! It’s basically a must-do in Marrakech as it’s an essential part of the experience. A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house that has been converted into a hotel. They often have a courtyard or garden in the centre, as well as rooftop pools, and are just so beautiful and serene. They are also typically very reasonably priced, especially considering the level of luxury you get.
I stayed in Dark Akal and it was lovely. It cost me around £100 per night for a double room with breakfast included. This Riad was on the upper mid-range side in terms of cost, but there are more affordable options available. I would just recommend you book early. Riads don’t have many rooms (typically around 6-12) so they do tend to fill up quickly, especially the affordable ones.
Airbnb is also a great option as there are plenty of lovely apartments and Riads you can book off their website too.
Now that we’ve gone through the basics of how to get there, what to wear and where to stay, it’s time to delve into this 3-day itinerary for Marrakech and the top things to do in Marrakech!
A 3-day Marrakech itinerary...
Day 1: Koutoubia, The Djemaa el-Fnaa Square & The Souks
For the first day of this Marrakech itinerary, let’s start with the number 1 tourist attraction and one of the top things to do in Marrakech: visit Djemaa el-Fnaa square. This will be your first stop after dropping your bags at your accommodation and checking into your room.
The Djemaa el-Fnaa square is a must do in Marrakech. It is a large square and marketplace in the city’s centre. It’s the heart of Marrakech. It’s full of stalls selling everything from souvenirs to spices, and you’ll also find a lot of snake charmers and monkey handlers (which I would avoid at all costs as it’s just not ethical).
To get to the square, you’ll have to navigate yourself through the maze that is the Medina.
Top tip: download the maps.me app and pin the locations you want to visit and your accommodation. Maps.me works offline and is more accurate than google maps. Google maps isn’t that trustworthy when it comes to the maze that is the Medina. See more useful travel apps here.
Follow the colours, smells, noise and flow of the traffic until you reach the iconic main square of Al Jemaa el-Fna Square.
If you’ve come intending to browse something in particular, like spices, leather goods, fabrics and cushions, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here. Just remember to haggle, as that’s part of the fun!
Do keep your eyes and ears out, though, as this spot is known for pickpocketing and gimmicks.
Walk across the square and make your way to the Koutoubia. Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech and it’s impossible to miss thanks to its towering minaret. The mosque was built in the 12th century but the minaret wasn’t added until the late 18th century. You’re not able to go inside as it’s a functioning mosque but you can admire the beautiful exterior.
At night, the square comes to life as food stalls set up shop and people congregate to eat and socialise, especially on the rooftops surrounding the square as the view you get of the city at sunset is one of the best in the city and has famously become not only one of the best things to do in Marrakech, but one of the best things to do in Morocco as it’s so epic.
Find yourself a seat on a rooftop — the best view is from Cafe du France or Cafe Argana. Get some drinks, and enjoy the hustle and bustle from afar until the sun goes down.
Even though both these cafes offer incredible views of the Square, the food isn’t as highly valued so make your way to another restaurant in the Medina for dinner. I would recommend any of the following:
Day 2: Ben Youssef Madrasa, Le Jardin Secret and a rooftop dinner
Start day two of your Marrakech itinerary early as this is the best time (i.e. quietest time) to explore the city and its best attractions.
I like to start my days by visiting what I’m most excited about. In this case, this was visiting Ben Yousseff Madrasa. In my eyes, this is one of the absolute best things to do in Marrakech
This is one of the largest madrasas in Morocco and was built in the 16th century. It’s ornate, grand and absolutely stunning. The best part? It’s finally open again!
Ben Yousseff Madrasa was closed off to the public for the past 3.5 years as it was undergoing renovations.
I visited just days after its official re-opening, and it did not disappoint! The tiles were impeccable, and the sun created beautiful shadows across the walls. If you’re a fan of architecture and design, this is an absolute must-do in Marrakech.
Like most things to do in Marrakech, visiting Ben Yousseff Madrasa shouldn’t take more than forty minutes to one hour. The best things to do in Marrakech are short visits and short distances away from each other, making it easy for travellers. This is why you can get so much done in a day here.
After spending the first hour of the morning touring the Madrasa, head to the House of Photography Museum, formally called the Maison de La Photographie, which is only a 4 mins walk from the entrance of Ben Yousseff and head straight to the building rooftop to catch a stunning panoramic view of the Medina while the rest of the city is still sleeplessly awaking.
Next on the list of things to do in Marrakech: visit Le Jardin Secret (a.k.a the Secret Garden), which, let’s be honest, is not so secret. But it is beautiful and worth a stroll around.
Le Jardin Secret is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm and you can’t book online. To visit the gardens, there is an entrance fee of 80 dirhams (£7). This fee is just to visit the gardens. You can pay an extra 40 dirhams (£3) extra to gain access to the tower, which offers stunning views of the garden and the city. I recommend doing both as it’s a great way to see the city from above, and it really isn’t a difference in price that will break the bank here, let’s be real. One of the many reasons Marrakech is a popular city and one of the best places to visit in Morocco is its affordability. And never at the expense of luxury!
After ticking off two of the best things to do in Marrakech in under 2 hours, head down to Nomad or Shtattoo rooftop restaurants for some lunch.
There are plentiful restaurant rooftop bars to choose from in Marrakech, and it wouldn’t be a trip to Marakesh without having at least one meal at a rooftop restaurant. The most popular rooftop restaurant bars are:
- Cafe des Epices (who call themselves the best cafe in Marrakech)
- L’Amazigh Rooftop
For the last half of the afternoon, make your way to Bahia Palace. Bahia Palace is a 19th-century palace that was built to be the largest and most beautiful palace of its time. It’s located in the Medina and only costs around £3 to enter. The entrance fee also includes access to the Museum of Moroccan Arts, which is located within the palace grounds.
If you feel like you want something more experiential instead, you could take a cooking class at Souk Cousine. This is a great way to learn about Moroccan cuisine and is one of the top things to do in Marrakech (especially as you get to what you make!).
In the evening, I would recommend heading to another one of the rooftop bars or restaurants for dinner and drinks with a view. After all, it wouldn’t be a trip to Marrakech or the ultimate Marrakech itinerary without making the most of the rooftop bars.
Day 3: YSL Musem and Jardim Majorelle, and Gueliz
Time to explore outside of the Medina after a day of being confined to its walls.
On day three of this Marrakech itinerary, I recommend renting a bicycle or taxiing to Jardin Majorelle. This is one of the best things to do in Marrakech, and for a good reason: it’s simply stunning!
Jardin Majorelle is a botanical garden that was created by French artist, Jacques Majorelle. The garden is home to over 300 species of plants and flowers, a cactus garden, and a stunning blue villa that’s now a museum dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent.
To avoid the crowds, make your way to Jardin Majorelle first thing in the morning. Jardin Majorelle is an absolute must-do in Marrakech. You can buy tickets online or in person, but to avoid queues, I’d recommend buying online as it’s become a very popular attraction in Morocco and has quickly become one of the top things to do in Marrakech.
If you’re a big YSL fan or interested in fashion, the YSL museum is just next door and worth a visit too. No photos are allowed inside, but you can photograph the beautiful conceptual building from the outside.
If you’re visiting later in the day when it’s busier, I would recommend getting there 2 hours before closing, so you have enough time to wander the gardens and not cut your time short at one of the best places to visit in Morocco.
Take the rest of the afternoon to explore a new side of Marrakech: the neighbourhood of Gueliz, which is often referred to as the New City.
Gueliz is much more modern than the Medina, with large French-style boulevards and European-style cafes and restaurants. It’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and it feels like you’re in a different world entirely.
Wander around, do some shopping, and have dinner before returning to your hotel.
If you’re not interested in visiting the ‘European’ part of Marrakech, here are some other options of things to do in Marrakech for your last afternoon in the city:
- Have tea at La Mamounia
- Admire the Koutoubia Mosque
- Have a Hamman
- Sit by the pool in your Riad and relax
- Visit Thieman large Cactus Farm
And there you have it! Your jam-packed 3-day itinerary for Marrakech, Morocco! I hope this has given you some inspiration for your trip, I’ve really tried to make this itinerary as easy and as diverse as possible but there is only so much you can do in three days; so if you don’t think it’s enough time, I would recommend adding an extra day or two to your trip (or why not make it into a road trip? You can check out my 10-day Morrocan road trip itinerary here!)
What are your favourite things to do in Marrakech?
Where are your favourite places to visit in Morocco? Anything you’d add to this Marrakech itinerary?
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