Marrakech is one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever been, and the biggest compliment I can give the city is that, having been there more than 10 times now, I’m still finding new things to do.
With that said, there are certain things that you simply MUST do when you go to Marrakech, and that’s why I’ve put this blog together: to ensure that you maximise your time in the great city, and see the best of what it has to offer!
1 Jemaa el-Fnaa
The Jemaa el-Fnaa marketplace is like the heartbeat of the city. Whether you visit during the day or at night, the sights, sounds and smells are remarkable.
With beautiful traditional street food vendors, entertainers, storytellers and dancing-boys, there’s something for everyone, and unsurprisingly, tourists flow to this place – as you should too!
2 Jardin Majorelle
The beautiful Jardin Majorelle, created by Jacques Majorelle, is a definite ‘must visit’ in Marrakech.
Over 40 years, Majorelle sculpted this remarkable garden, which has to be seen to believed. With 300+ plant species, the tranquil and peaceful nature of Jardin Majorelle makes it the perfect haven for tourists who need a break from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.
3 Take A Dip At A Hammam
These local bath houses are a key part of Moroccan culture, and after a long morning of ‘touristing’, there’s nothing like a visit to the hammam for a massage, a sauna and an ice-cold dip.
4 Koutobia Mosque
The Koutobia Mosque is the largest in the city, and for the locals is something of an epicentre of Marrakech.
Clearly the mosque is an integral part of Moroccan culture, and if you’re interested in a truly authentic experience, you can’t get much better than a visit to the Koutobia.
Built in the 12th century, the mosque is full of beauty and character, and regardless of your spiritual preferences, the architecture really is worth seeing.
If you do visit the Koutobia, it’s well worth a walk around – you’ll hear a call to prayer (if you’re there at the right time) and you’ll get a true grasp of the scale of the building, and the engineering prowess that went into its construction.
5 A Night In A Riad
You’ve probably seen pictures of a riad before, but pictures are nothing in comparison to actually being in one, and I recommend that everyone visiting Marrakech stays in one at some point.
What’s striking when you enter a riad is the contrast between being inside and outside; such is the calm and serenity that envelops you as soon as you cross the threshold and enter the peaceful courtyard.
6 Saadian Tombs
The Saadi dynasty ruled Morocco from 1549 to 1659, and the Saadian Tombs are the final resting place for many members of the dynasty.
The tombs were only rediscovered in 1917, and what a discovery it was!
Beautifully decorated with calligraphy, carvings and vibrant tiles, the tombs really are resting places fit for royalty, so if you want to soak up some genuine Morrocan history, then a visit to the Tombs is a must.
The production of clothes and bags is one of the things Marrakech is most famous for, and much of that work takes place in the tanneries to the northeast of the medina.
Head over there, and enjoy the solicitations from the various workers and salespeople, as well as seeing the people at work and maybe pick yourself up a bargain or two!
If you’re sitting there thinking that museums aren’t your thing, think again – Marrakech has plenty of museums that are far from boring.
My personal recommendations include The Marrakech Museum, Maison de la Photographie and the Dar si Said.
All three showcase different aspects of Moroccan culture, and all three are worthy of a visit.
If art galleries are more your cup of tea, you can find plenty of them in the new part of town.
Wherever you go in Morocco, souks are a key part of the fabric of the country, and, unsurprisingly, this is definitely the case in Marrakech.
Whether you’re after traditional Moroccan food, nick nacks, books, fabrics or spices, there’ll be a souk to meet your needs, so set aside a few hours and take a slow amble around the old part of the town – remember your wallet and your negotiation skills!
10 Ben Youssef Madrasa
This Quaranic school has been going since the 14th century, and used to be the largest in North Africa. Like most of Marrakech, the architecture is stunning, while the elaborately beautiful prayer halls and tiny student chambers are well worth a visit – make sure it’s on the list!
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