What to do in Marrakech? 10 of The Best Tips and Attractions

In Marrakech, you immediately find yourself in a completely different world. You can instantly feel that you are on a different continent. There is something to see, taste, or experience everywhere, and your senses are stimulated from all directions. A city trip to Marrakech is more colorful than any other city trip. Are you curious about the best sights of Marrakech and what there is to do? We have been there several times and share our tips for the red city of Marrakech!

Tip: Book an airport pick-up in advance

If you are flying to Marrakech, it is recommended to book an airport pick-up in advance. Someone will be waiting for you at the airport with a name sign. This way, you can be sure that you won’t be scammed and you can head straight to your hotel without any hassle. The taxi will try to get as close as possible to your hotel in the medina. Sometimes you may have to walk the last part because the medina is partially car-free. A private transfer from the airport costs $9 per person and you can book it here.

marrakech to do

The medina of Marrakech

The old cities of Morocco all have a medina. This is the oldest part of the city and is usually surrounded by city walls. The medina is largely car-free and is the most vibrant part of the city. Most hotels and attractions in Marrakech are located within the medina walls, making everything within walking distance. If you are traveling by car in Morocco, you can park your car just outside the medina in one of the secure parking lots for about $22 per day.

What to do in Marrakech? The sights in a row

There is a lot to see and do in the Pearl of the Atlas. We have listed the most beautiful sights in Marrakech and our best tips below for an unforgettable city trip.

#1 Have a drink and enjoy delicious food at a rooftop bar

You can easily escape the crowded city of Marrakech by visiting one of the many rooftop bars. You can often find them in the heart of the busy medina, but once you’re up there, you’ll be in a delightful oasis of tranquility. Enjoy the sun, a drink, and some Moroccan delicacies while the sun slowly sets on the horizon. Our favorite rooftop bars are Nomad Restaurant, Cafe des Epices, L’mida, and Kabana. The first two are located opposite each other on a charming square, and at Kabana, you can also enjoy alcoholic drinks. During the day, you can usually walk in without a reservation, but if you want to sit here after 4:30 PM, it’s wise to book in advance.

#2 Experience a culture shock at Djemaa el Fna Square

Djemaa el Fna Square is both famous and infamous. In the evening, the square comes alive, it’s extremely crowded, and there’s something to see everywhere. Everyone wants to sell you something, and you’ll witness the strangest and sometimes unpleasant things. There are snake charmers on the ground with black cobras, and men with monkeys walking around, mostly for locals to take pictures with. Do not participate in these activities as it involves animal mistreatment. You can enjoy a cheap and delicious tajine or couscous at one of the many food stalls. They all sell almost the same dishes, but stall #1 Chez Aicha is the highest rated on Tripadvisor.

Tip: On Djemaa el Fna Square and actually throughout Marrakech, people might approach you wanting something from you or offering help, such as giving you directions. Never engage with them as it will always cost you money. It’s best to completely ignore them because if you politely decline, they will only continue to follow you.

Djemaa el Fna Square MarrakechDjemaa el Fna Square at night Marrakech

#3 Stroll through the Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace is a 19th-century palace covering a vast eight hectares. It is one of the masterpieces of Moroccan architecture and one of the most important monuments of Morocco’s cultural heritage. It was built on behalf of a father and son who wanted to showcase their power through this impressive structure. Si Moussa, who came from a slave family, eventually rose to the position of Grand Vizier under Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abd al Rahman, who ruled from 1859 to 1873. With the power and wealth he acquired, he had the Bahia Palace constructed.

#4 Wander among gigantic cacti at Jardin Majorelle

This botanical garden is the most colorful place in Marrakech. Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé purchased Jardin Majorelle in 1980. They brought various plants from their travels, establishing the foundation for the biodiverse garden it is today. Since 1999, new plant species have been added, increasing the total number from 135 to 300. You can also find the former studio of French artist Jacques Majorelle, who initially designed the garden in 1924. The majorelle blue studio has been transformed into a museum open to the public, dedicated to Berber culture, housing the personal Berber collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.

Tip: This is one of the most popular attractions in Marrakech, so we recommend going there at 8:00 AM. The first groups arrive at 8:30 AM, so you’ll have this incredibly beautiful place all to yourself. In this beautiful garden, you’ll also find a small café where you can enjoy a refreshing drink. The milk with dates and orange blossom or the Chantaco are recommended choices.

Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech studio of French artist Jacques Majorelle in Marrakech

#5 Endless shopping and bargaining in the souks

Marrakech is the perfect place to buy beautiful souvenirs and items for your home decor. Here, you can get an amazing kilim carpet, a leather bag, or a typical Moroccan zenza lamp at affordable prices. You’ll find small and large shops everywhere in the medina, but the real shopping paradise is the souks in Marrakech. These often covered labyrinths are filled with shops. Bargaining is necessary because you can often negotiate at least half of the asking price. Avoid buying from the first shop you encounter and compare prices carefully. Shopping in a souk is a unique experience and a must-do when visiting Marrakech!

Tip: While walking through the old city, you might encounter young boys telling you that the road you’re about to take is closed. ‘That road is closed’ is a common phrase you’ll hear. They hope that you’ll stop and ask for an alternative route, so they can guide you and then ask for money. It’s best to completely ignore them because even if road works are being carried out, roads in Marrakech are never closed.

Marrakech shopping tips

#6 Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa

A medersa is a Quranic school, and the Ben Youssef Madrasa was once the largest and most important one in North Africa, accommodating around 900 students. The Ben Youssef Madrasa was founded in the 14th century and is no longer in use today. The prayer hall is located alongside the large courtyard, adorned with the most impressive decorations. There are marble columns with decorative motifs of pine cones and palm trees, and the walls are adorned with Islamic calligraphy and mosaic work. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Morocco, and it’s worth visiting as early as possible to beat the large tourist crowds.

Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech

#7 Steam, scrub, and relax at a hammam

In the past, many people in Morocco didn’t have showers at home, so they would go to a hammam to wash themselves. These segregated bathhouses still exist in various sizes and styles. They are an integral part of Moroccan culture. From luxurious hammams resembling spas to traditional ones with simpler facilities. At the hammam, you’ll be showered from head to toe, vigorously scrubbed, steamed, and then covered in various oils. This is usually followed by a full-body massage accompanied by relaxing music. Afterwards, you’ll emerge feeling fresh and relaxed.

Hammam in Marrakech

#8 Sample spices at Rahba Kedima Square

Rahba Kedima Square is located in the midst of the souks and resembles a flea market. Women sit on the ground with piles of souvenirs, trying to sell them to tourists. On the square, you’ll also find several larger shops selling dozens of spices. Here, you can sample various spices and take home something delicious to cook with. This is how you bring the flavors of Moroccan cuisine into your own home!

#9 Visit the Koutoubia Mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech and has been a symbol of the city for over 1000 years. The 77-meter (252-feet) high minaret served as a model for the Giralda in Seville, which in turn became the inspiration for thousands of other churches in Europe. The mosque is only accessible to Muslims, but it is worth admiring from the outside. From Djemaa el Fna Square, you have a beautiful view of the minaret, and the surrounding gardens are a pleasant place to relax.

Koutoubia Mosque - minaret Marrakech

#10 Stay in a fairy-tale riad

In Marrakech, you’ll already feel the Arabian Nights atmosphere, but if you want to take it a step further, treat yourself to a stay in a luxury riad. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house often featuring a beautiful courtyard with a pool and a charming rooftop terrace with cozy seating areas. You can choose the level of luxury you desire, as riads come in all shapes and sizes. Our favorites, listed by price, are Riad l’Oiseau du Paradis, Riad Farhan, and Riad Kasbah & Spa. These riads are all beautifully designed with a pool, rooftop terrace, and a delightful breakfast! If you want to read more about these riads, check out our article on the 5 most beautiful riads in Marrakech.

Tip: Riads often have only a few rooms, so the most beautiful riads are usually fully booked months in advance. Therefore, it’s recommended to book your riad as soon as possible after booking your flights.