20 Unforgettable Things To Do In Marrakech: Experience The Magic Of The Red City

The list of things to do in Marrakech is as enticing as the destination itself. Marrakech, known as the "Red City" due to its distinctive red sandstone buildings, captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression.

In Marrakech, you'll find a plethora of attractions that will transport you into a world rich in history and tradition.  In addition to its historical and cultural sites, Marrakech offers opportunities for adventure seekers, promising a rich tapestry of experiences that beckon to be explored.

Marrakech is a destination that combines ancient traditions with modern allure. This city promises an unforgettable journey where adventure and culture collide at every turn. So pack your bags and prepare to discover all that Marrakech has to offer - it's time to embark on an extraordinary adventure in the Red City!

  1. The Medina
  2. Bahia Palace
  3. Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens
  4. Jardin Majorelle
  5. Djemaa el-Fna Square
  6. Saadian Tombs
  7. Menara Gardens
  8. House Of Photography
  9. Hammam Bath
  10. El Badi Palace
  11. Ben Youssef Madrasa
  12. Dar Si Said Museum
  13. A Horse Ride Into the Rugged Landscape
  14. The Souks
  15. Traditional Moroccan Cuisine
  16. Palmeraie
  17. Atlas Mountains and Ourika Valley
  18. A Hot Air Balloon Ride
  19. A Riad Stay
  20. Essaouira.

Best Time To Visit Marrakech

According to metoffice.gov.uk, the best time to visit Marrakech is spring and autumn, with temperatures averaging 25-31°C. Visitors will enjoy 8-11 hours of sunshine throughout the day and an average of 11-37 mm rainfall.

  • The best months to plan a trip to the Red City are May and September. The weather is pleasant, allowing you to explore without much sweat. But you may have to deal with the crowds during holidays and school breaks.
  • The second best time to travel to Marrakech is the shoulder season, from October to late February. You still have wonderful weather with the added benefit of fewer tourists. It may be too cold for enjoying the beautiful riad rooftops in a light layer, but it’s perfect for venturing into the desserts.
  • June to August are the best months for cheaper fares and hotel deals. However, Marrakech is scorching during the summer. So, plan your activities around noon to cool down. The National Festival of Popular Arts also happens around this time.

1. The Medina

Lose Yourself in The Medina
Marrakech’s Medina retains its rustic charm that hasn’t been lost for centuries. Credit: Flavia Marele

The old city area (Medina) is a UNESCO World Heritage site (one of the nine in Morocco). A Medina is an ancient walled city, typically found in North Africa, known for its narrow, winding streets filled with bustling activity. Up until a century ago, people were living in these walled parts only.

You never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon in the maze-like streets—a charming courtyard, a picturesque riad, or a bustling market square. When you want a break, stopping by a rooftop cafe to view the panoramic view is not a bad idea. We also recommend giving Place des Epices - the Spice Market a visit.

CabinZero tips: Marrakech can be pretty hot, especially during the summer. Carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated. Wear a sun hat, sunglasses, and scarf to keep the heat and the sand at bay.

2. Bahia Palace

Marvel at the Bahia Palace
The Bahia Palace showcases traditional Moroccan craftsmanship and design elements. Photo by Olena Zn - stock.adobe.com

Built in the late 19th century, Bahia Palace is a 20-acre marvel of Moroccan and Islamic architecture. Its name, which translates to "brilliance" or "beautiful", perfectly encapsulates its grandeur. The complex is a collection of interconnected courtyards and gardens, which evoke a serene atmosphere. 

For a low entrance fee of Dh70 per person (around $7 or 5.5), you can admire all the intricate rooms, courtyards, tilework, and cedar ceilings up close. The highlight here is none other than Cour d'Honneur, the grand courtyard. The spectacular open space covers an area of 1,500m2 in Carrara marble and zelliges.

Enjoying the beauty and quiet of Bahia Palace is an unmissable thing to do in Marrakech. You can easily explore the whole place within an hour or two. While there’s no dress code, you should wear modesty clothing covering your shoulders and knees.

3. Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens

Explore the Majestic Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens
One can easily see the Koutoubia Mosque from almost any Marrakech rooftop. Photo by Kazu - stock.adobe.com

Located just southwest of the Medina stood the iconic Koutoubia Mosque. It’s close to Jemma el-Fnaa Square, another must-visit place in Marrakech (which we will introduce later).

One thing is for sure: the 12th-century mosque is hard to miss. It dominates the city's skyline with a 252-foot-high minaret adorned with four copper globes and intricate patterns. Anyone can see the towering iconic structure from as far as 15 miles away.

Sadly, only the Mulisms can enter the building as it is a place for daily prayer, religious ceremonies, and learning. However, visitors can still appreciate the grandeur of Islamic architecture from the outside, observing the detailed carvings and the harmonious proportions. 

Adjacent to the mosque, you'll find the peaceful gardens in Marrakech that surround it, offering a tranquil escape in the midst of the bustling city. The Koutoubia Gardens is the perfect Marrakech spot to relax after hours of dodging all the motorbikes and mule carts in the Medina’s alleyways.

4. Jardin Majorelle

Step into a Colourful Oasis at Jardin Majorelle
Jardin Majorelle is an oasis in the heart of Marrakech.

Morocco, in general, and Marrakech, in particular, have no shortage of podcast-perfect opportunities. In the 1920s, French painter Jacques Majorelle discovered Marrakech and was instantly captivated by its vibrant colours and life.

He channelled his love for the city into creating the Jardin Majorelle, a lush garden adorned with a special shade of vibrant blue, now known as "Majorelle Blue," named after him. Years later, the fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent took over the stewardship of this tranquil.

CabinZero tips: Tickets are available online only. Be sure to book well in advance.

When you are done taking in all the vivid landscaped and exotic plants, visit the Le Musée Berbère (Berber Museum) and Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The former gives you a glimpse into the creative bosom of the Berber people through over 600 objects. The latter is an excellent option for anyone interested in design or fashion.

5. Djemaa el-Fna Square

Indulge Your Senses at Djemaa el-Fna Square
Djemaa el-Fna is the main square and marketplace in Marrakech's Medina quarter. Photo by dietwalther - stock.adobe.com

If anything in Marrakech is a true feast for sense, it’s Djemaa el-Fna Square. The busiest square in Africa is anything but dull. In this triangular cultural space, you can find almost anything from orange juice vendors to souvenir shops and dentists.

The most fascinating thing about the square is how it slowly transforms well into the night. After 2 p.m., cars are banned, and bizarre sights gradually fill the space: snake charmers, monkey handlers, toothpullers, water sellers, storytellers, etc.

The attraction also becomes a huge open-air dining area filled with makeshift stalls. Remember to grab a seat where the locals are dining to avoid touristy places.

6. Saadian Tombs

Discover the Historical Saadian Tombs
Everything about Saadian Tombs is a magnificent piece of art.

For history buffs, a trip to the Saadian Tombs is one of the best things to do in Marrakech. The cemetery offers a glimpse of the Saadian dynasty that ruled Marrakech from 1524 to 1659. People also come to the lavish tomb complex for its intricate carvings, pure gold ceilings, and Italian Carrara marble.

The entrance fee is Dh60 ($6 or €5.5). It opens from 9 am to 5 pm daily. The whole place shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes to explore. However, you should factor in an additional 30 minutes for queuing and finding the entrance near the South side of Kasbah Mosque.

7. Menara Gardens

Take a Relaxing Stroll Through Menara Gardens
Menara Gardens is easily accessible via a short taxi ride from Jamaa El fnaa. Photo by Andre Manuel on Pexels

If you haven’t had your share of Jardin Majorelle, the Menara Gardens is another haven of tranquillity amid Marrakech's vibrant hustle and bustle. The gardens are home to expansive olive groves that offer a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll. Its serene ambience and beautiful settings provide a romantic setting for couples and a place for families to enjoy together. 

At the heart of the gardens stands the iconic Menara Pavilion, overlooking a large reflective pool. This pavilion is a popular spot for photography, with the Atlas Mountains providing a breathtaking backdrop, especially on clear days.

CabinZero tips: While Morocco is relatively relaxed for a Muslim country, don’t wear anything revealing or clingy (to your body curve). It's also a way to show respect to the locals and their traditions.

8. House Of Photography

Reviving The Past At the House Of Photography
The House Of Photography is another must-visit museum in Marrakech. DRAGANCESTIC, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Maison de la Photographie is where you'll find 10,000 photographs, glass plates, films, postcards, newspapers, etc. Even if you’re not a photographer or photo lover, this hidden gem in Marrakech is well worth your time.

At the entrance, there are postcards, magnets, and prints for sell as low as $2 or€ 2 each. When you enter, you are treated to three floors of  beautiful photos with stories to tell. They are simple, yet elegant and deeply moving, offering a glimpse into Morocco's life from 1879 to 1960.

The House of Photography is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission to the museum is 40 Moroccan dirhams ($5 or €3.7) per person. Children under 11 can enter for free. After exploring the exhibits, visitors can head to the museum’s cafe on the terrace, which offers a panoramic view of the Medina. 

9. Moroccan Hammam

Experience Traditional Moroccan Hammam
Hammam ranges from budget to luxury, public to private. Photo by philipus - stock.adbe.com

Wondering what is a Hammam? It is a traditional public bathhouse, a way for Moroccans to sit back, relax, and have a chat with each other. Some even go bathing weekly. More than just getting yourself in the water, the treatment includes being scrubbed in a steam room (and sometimes a massage). 

It is a vital part of Moroccan culture, offering a deep insight into the local customs and traditions related to cleanliness and relaxation. In fact, a Hammam is one of the five obligatory institutions for a Moroccan neighbourhood. We recommend opting for the local bath if you travel on a budget.

Here are some of the most popular Hammam in Marrakech:

  • Les Bains du Lotus
  • Les Bains D’Orient
  • The Heritage Spa
  • Riad Bindoo & Spa.

10. El Badi Palace

Explore the Ancient Ruins of El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace is one of the most beautiful places in Marrakech. Photo by atosan - stock.adobe.com

In the late 16th century, Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian dynasty decided to build a palace that would leave future generations in awe. And thus, El Badi, "The Incomparable", was born.

One of the palace's highlights is the sunken garden, adorned with orange trees and fragrant flowers. Within the palace complex, there is a museum that houses exhibits showcasing the history of the palace and the Saadian dynasty. Even if you've gone to the Bahia Palace, the El Badi Palace is well worth a visit for the history and stories alone.

11. Ben Youssef Madrasa

See How The Students Of The Past Studied At Ben Youssef Madrasa
Almost every corner of Ben Youssef Madrasa is an architectural delight. Photo by TMAX - stock.adobe.com

Ben Youssef Madrasa is a historic Islamic college over six centuries old. This splendid structure was once the largest Islamic theological school in North Africa and housed 900 students. Today, it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech. 

The Koranic School was closed for extensive renovation during the pandemic. Thankfully, it reopened in 2022, so everyone can now see how the students lived and studied through this living testimony of an age past.

12. Dar Si Said Museum

Discover Islamic Art at the Dar Si Said Museum
Come to Dar Si Said for a journey through the culture and history of Marrakech. C messier, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The oldest museum in the city is the best place in Marrakech to learn about its history through a display of carpets and rugs. Dar Si Said houses the National Museum of Moroccan Carpets and Weaving. It’s a smaller alternative to Bahia Palace, but the architecture and beauty are equally appealing.

Once you learn about the carpets, mosaics, fabrics, and clothes, you’ll get a big surprise: a great garden and many patios overlooking the city. The best part? The place is a hidden gem few know about yet, so you can leisurely explore the attraction without the crowds bothering you.

13. Explore On A Horseback

Cross Into The Rugged Landscape On A Horseback
A green and refreshing way to explore Marrakech. Ben Bender, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On getting around Marrakech, exploring on foot is the most popular choice since every attraction is within walking distance. You can also easily spot calèche (horse-drawn carriage) around Jemaa el-Fnaa and the Koutoubia Mosque. They cost around dh200-250 ($19-25 or £15.60-19.50).

An equally appealing choice is horseback riding. If lucky, you may visit the stables to greet your mount and see their living conditions beforehand. There’s nothing like traversing along the dunes, palms, rocky landscapes,  and streams on the back of the brave and healthy horses.

14. The Souks

Shop for Authentic Souvenirs at the Souks
Expect a sensory overload when you come to a Souk. Photo by Serenity-H - stock.adobe.com

A trip to Marrakech isn’t complete without paying a visit to souks (markets), one of the must-do activities in Morocco as a whole. The shopping experience is like no other. You may find the perfect souvenirs in the form of beautifully woven rugs, intricate ceramics, or colourful textiles. 

Haggling is a norm here, and getting a good deal is part of the fun and excitement of shopping in a Souk. If you have to choose one to visit, the most popular answer would be Souk Semmarine. The largest market of Morocco is next to Jemaa el-Fna and has been a hub for traders and merchants for the past 1,000 years. 

Fun fact: English and French are widely spoken in Marrakech. Morocco has historical ties with France, as it only gained independence from the nation in 1956. So, it’s unsurprising that French is a common language for education, trading, and everyday life here.

15. Sample Traditional Moroccan Cuisine

Sample Traditional Moroccan Cuisine
Find where many families gather. Lionel Leo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sampleing some traditional Moroccan cuisine at Medina's restaurants or street food stalls is a must-do thing in Marrakech. However, avoid any stalls that are full of tourists, especially at Djem al Fna. If you see any that have many Moroccans eating, you are on the right track.

Ordering some tangia (meat slow-cooked with herbs in an earthenware urn) is a good start. After this melt-in-your-mouth delicacy, be sure to have a try at the national dish of Morocco, Couscous (tiny steamed grains) and Harira (Moroccan Tomato, Lentil, and Chickpea Soup). Moroccan Mint Tea should also be on your list of things to eat and drink in Marrakech.

16. Palmeraie

Camel Ride Or Quad Biking In Palmeraie
Don a traditional cheich (protective scarf) and ride a camel for a perfect photo op. Photo by streetflash - stock.adobe.com

The Palmeraie, a vast palm grove on the outskirts of Marrakech, offers a tranquil escape from the city's hustle and bustle. With over 100,000 palm trees spread across 13,000 hectares, it's a haven for adventure seekers.

A camel, quad bike, or an ATV ride through the vast expanse of nothingness is a memory to last a lifetime. Even though there are mansions, hotels, and golf clubs around, the place retains its mystical charms.

17. Atlas Mountains and Ourika Valley

Visit Atlas Mountains and Ourika Valley
There’s nothing like sipping a mint cup with Ourika Valley and High Atlas Mountains in the background. Photo by Maleo Photography - stock.adobe.com

The Atlas Mountains are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a trip to Toubkal National Park to conquer Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. The blend of snow-capped summit with arid Moroccan landscape is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Ourika Valley is another must-see in the Moroccan High Atlas and about an hour's drive away from Marrakech. One of the valley's crowning jewels is the Setti Fatma Waterfalls. A series of cascading falls set against the backdrop of rugged cliffs, it's a sight that captivates every visitor. As you trek, visit a traditional Berber village and experience their warm hospitality firsthand.

Fun fact: Winston Churchill loved Marrakech. His favourite pastime is painting the beautiful views of the Atlas Mountains and enjoying a stay at the La Mamounia Hotel. He even recommended Marrakech to his friends, among whom was U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

18. A Hot Air Balloon Ride

Ride a Hot Air Balloon
A hot air balloon ride is a magical way to witness Marrakech from a bird's-eye view. Photo by Casa.da.Photo - stock.adobe.com

Do you want an incredible adventure in the air? Then, a hot air balloon ride is what you are looking for. As you ascend, the intricate patterns of the red city and the vast expanse of dessert unfold beneath you. The view is nothing short of breathtaking. On clear days, the distant silhouette of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains adds to the visual spectacle.

Many hot air balloon experiences in Marrakech are complemented by traditional touches. After landing, it's not uncommon to be treated to a classic Moroccan breakfast, complete with fresh bread, local jams, and, of course, the ubiquitous mint tea. The price varies from €170 to €680 per person, but anyone who has tried it all agrees on one thing: everything is worth it.

19. Staying In A Riad

Staying In A Riad Is A Must
When one thinks of where to stay in Marrakech, one thinks of a Riad. Photo by rigel on Unsplash

A trip to Marrakech is not complete without a night or two at a Riad. What’s so special about these historic homes? We are glad you asked; because they are the best way to feel the beat, the rhythm of the Marrakech itself. Hotels can be found worldwide, but riads are unique to Morocco.

These luxury guest houses were the places where wealthy merchants and traders used to call home. Riads are typically smaller than conventional hotels and often have a central courtyard adorned with a fountain and lush plants.

They are a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city. It's not uncommon for one to feel as though they're staying in a private home when spending a night in a Riad.

20. Day Trip to Essaouira

Day Trip to Essaouira
There are tons of different ways to enjoy Essaouira’s big beach. Photo by Peter Schulz on Unsplash

Essaouira is a charming coastal town with a nostalgic beauty that offers a refreshing contrast to the desert landscapes of inland Morocco. It’s here that you can enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean,  indulge in freshly caught seafood, or take a leisurely stroll on the beach. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at kitesurfing or windsurfing, as the town is known for its consistent winds.

Essaouira is about a 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Marrakech. A Supratours bus is the most popular method of transportation, which costs about €19-22 per person. The stop is just Southwest of Bab Marrakesh. The Supratours bus station in Essaouira is a 10-minute walk from the beach.

A Quality Backpack To Explore The Best The City Has To Offer

A Quality Backpack To Explore The Best The City Has To Offer
The one pack to bring with you to Marrakech, or anywhere in the world. Credit: Alexandra M

The airline’s restrictive carry-on requirement and a lack of fitting bags is arguably the all-time hot topic among travellers, seasoned or newbies. We’ve all been there. What if there’s a lightweight solution that allows you to carry all you want without worrying about such matters?

Enter the CabinZero Classic Backpack collection. Our best-selling backpack line is what will keep you going and travel beyond your wildest imagination. Besides the featherlight weight below 800g, the packs are made of 600D Polyester material that can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years of travel. And if that’s not enough, we got your back with a 25-year warranty.

Our Classic Backpacks are available in three capacities: 28L, 36L, and 44L. If you want something that can easily fit RyanAir and Spirit’s strict personal item size, opt for the 28L. Its 39 x 29,5 x 20 cm / 15.4 x 11.6 x 7.9 inches dimensions can comfortably be under the seat on almost all airlines.

Embrace The Vibrant Spirit Of Marrakech

The myriad of things to do in Marrakech offers travellers a unique blend of history, culture, and adventure. From wandering through ancient medinas to savouring local delicacies, the Red City promises an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

If you've enjoyed this guide or have personal recommendations from your own journey, please share this article and leave your comments below. Your insights will undoubtedly enrich the experience for future travellers to Marrakech.

Bao Tieu

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