8 Great Things to See and Do in Marrakech

Marrakech sights

Here is a list of some of the best things to see and do on your visit to the Moroccan capital.  Let me know if I have missed anything out in my list of Marrakech sights in the comments!

Get lost in the Marrakech souqs

Wandering around in the Marrakech souqs is an essential Moroccan experience, so put away your map and dive in. You can find pretty much anything among the narrow alleyways and dead ends of the web-like maze: from spice shops to antiques to jewellery, there is something for everyone. Bartering is also part of the fun and you can find some real bargains if you look hard enough. There are a couple of places to escape to if you had enough of the labyrinth, such as Place Rahba Kedima – head up to the roof terrace of Place des Epices and enjoy an iced mint tea while overlooking the bustling square.

Location: Start from the Northern end of Djemaa el-Fna and work your way through the souqs, looking out for sights such as Museum of Marrakech and Ali Ben Youssef Medersa on your walk

Marrakech sights

Sample traditional Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is an eclectic mix of traditional Berber fare and influences from Europe and the Middle East, which combine to give it its unique flavours. Try the tagine, cooked in a clay pot of the same name or the fluffy granules of steamed couscous or the delicious tagine kefta. Pick a stall at the Djemaa el-Fna and people watch as you tuck into freshly grilled meat kebabs or for a more authentic experience, hover towards a stall with the most locals in the heart of the souqs. Wash it all down with a glass or five of the ubiquitous sweet mint tea. If you have come to Morocco for the food, you will not be disappointed.

Location: Everywhere. Read my posts on the top foods in Morocco and the best places to try them!

Moroccan Food
Brochettes at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech

  Discover the bustling Djemaa el-Fna

First time visitors to Djemaa el-Fna can understandably feel a little intimidated. It launches an assault on your senses, especially at night as street performers dance to the sound of doumbek drums, Barbary monkeys on leashes pose for photos with tourists and the smell of fresh orange juice fills the air. However, the largest city square in Africa never disappoints, so pull up a pew at one of the food stalls and watch it come alive around you. Then climb to one of the café terraces on the edge of the square and watch the crowds wander around below as the sound of the music fills the air long into the night.

Location: Djemaa el-Fna is the heart of the Marrakech medina. You can’t miss it!

Marrakech sights

Visit the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa

Take a break from wandering the alleyways of the medina and explore this 14th century college that features a grand courtyard with traditional mosaics and ornate arches, a marble mihrab (prayer niche) and a web of student living quarters on the second floor. Climb the stairs and peer out onto the courtyard through carved wooden windows and imagine the hundreds of students taking their lessons in the open air. Get here early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds of tourists.

Entrance: 50 dirhams but go for the combined ticket which includes entrance to Museum of Marrakech which is just 60 dirhams. 08:00-17:00 daily.

Location: Just off the Place Ben Youssef.

Marrakech sights

 Climb the ramparts of El Badi palace

The remains of a once-opulent El Badi Palace are well worth the visit during your time in Marrakech. Built in the 16th century, the palace was once home to Sultan Ahmed el-Mansour but today’s residents include the storks that nest on top of the palace’s walls and a few cats. Climb up to the ramparts to get a great view of the grounds and don’t miss the impressive minbar (prayer pulpit) from the 12th century which used to be housed in the nearby Koutoubia Mosque. There is also a museum and various temporary exhibitions on site.

Admission: 20 dirhams (including the minbar). 09:00-16:45pm daily

Location: From Place des Ferblantiers, go through an arch and turn right and follow the ramparts to the entrance.

Marrakech sights

Wander through the peaceful Bahia Palace

Originally built by a vizier (a high ranking Muslim official), the 19th century palace and gardens are a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the Marrakech medina. Wander through the beautifully decorated rooms, small interior gardens, courtyards complete with water features and check out its beautifully ornate doorways and windows.

Admission: 10 dirhams (£0.75/$1.10). 08:00-17:00 daily.  http://www.palais-bahia.com/en/

Location: At the southern end of Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, just a minute’s walk from Place des Ferblantiers and near the Jewish quarter.

Marrakech sights

Circle the Koutobia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque is the largest in the city, with its minaret towering over 70 metres above the Old City. Just a stone’s throw away from the Djemaa el-Fna, the mosque is an imposing sight and is one of the most famous attractions in the city. Take time to wander around its gardens and admire its 12th century architecture from all angles. The mosque was rebuilt after the initial building was found not be properly aligned with Mecca.

Admission: Non-muslims are not allowed inside the mosque but walking around its grounds is free.

Location: If you are around Djemaa el-Fna, you really can’t miss it. Look out for its minaret!

Marrakech sights

Stroll through the peaceful Jardin Majorelle

Outside the old city walls, hidden among one of the neighbourhoods of Ville Nouvelle (New Town) is a wonderful exotic garden, originally opened in 1947 but later acquired by famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Plants from all over the world from Mexican cacti to Japanese flowers grow side by side and visitors stride down spotless paths past bright yellow urns and across small brooks. There is also well-curated Berber Museum as well as a gallery, boutique and a café. Visit in the afternoon for the best photos.

Admission: Garden 70 dirhams, Museum 30 dirhams. http://jardinmajorelle.com/ang/

Location: Rue Yves Saint Laurent. It takes about 45 minutes to walk from Djemaa el-Fna so grab a good map or take a taxi.

Marrakech sights

13 thoughts on “8 Great Things to See and Do in Marrakech

  1. Angie (FeetDoTravel) says:

    We took a day trip to Marrakech from a week’s holiday in Agadir so didn’t have anywhere near enough time to truly submerge ourselves in the souk culture! Your description of the food and attack on your senses makes me wish we could have spent longer there – especially so we could sit on the terrace for the magnificent night-time views! Thanks for making me want to return for a better experience (plus we are wiser at haggling now!!)

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Angie, I actually had quite a few days in Marrakech so managed to really explore the souks and the surrounding areas properly. Definitely worth another visit in the future!

  2. David says:

    Digging the new look Lex. While Marrakech wasn’t my favourite stop in Morocco, you’ve covered the highlights there well. Jardin Majorelle was really peaceful and having a coffee at the cafe was nice. And definitely agree that a cafe terrace over Djemaa el-fns square at night is a must.

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Thanks David – I really didn’t expect the gardens to be so well maintained and Djemaa El-Fna is just so fascinating!

  3. Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) says:

    Great article on Marrakech. I had a chance to visit many years ago and after seeing your pictures and reading your highlights I’m sorry to have missed this experience. The nighttime experience at the square looks like a must. Great highlights and thanks for sharing!

  4. Barry says:

    The new look on the website looks great. Also, handy tips if you plan on visiting Marrakech – the food looks spot on! Mind you eating is normally my first stop when arriving in a new place 🙂

  5. Garth says:

    Would really like to visit Marrakech one day, and I’m sure we will! as I’ve heard all sorts of stories about this place! Great write up, looks like an adventure that you did really well. We had tagine recently in Brighton which was delicious! I bet the real thing is even better. I would love the photo ops for spices and goods,, but heard stall owners demand money for photos, did you come across that?

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Thanks Garth – Yeah I was pretty happy with my time in Marrakech! I certainly did have some pushback when trying to take photos but opportunities did come up. Friends who were actually shopping for something, unattended stalls and less relaxed locals – so just got to keep your camera to hand at all times!

  6. Lisa says:

    The new website is great, nicely streamlined! I have never been to Marrakech but I think I would enjoy it. I love trying foods from new places I visit and this looks delicious! The markets look like fun. Thanks for the tips.

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Thanks Lisa, that’s what I was going for! Marrakech is great to explore at your own pace. It’s crazy but fascinating at the same time!

  7. Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) says:

    What a fantastic post! Morocco has been on my Bucket List since I was a kid reading dad’s National Geographics. This list hits many of the things I’ve read about for years – and they look as awesome as I’ve imagined. Yep – definitely need to move this trip up a few notches. 🙂 -Rob

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Thanks Rob, Morocco definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s a beautiful country with so much to do and see. The variety of landscapes also took me by surprise!

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