Marrakech is an incredible city with bustling life, amazing architecture, and beautiful colors. It’s famous for its huge markets and shopping inside the old city – also known as the Medina. Marrakech is a city filled with incredible things to do. After a few hours inside the city, we hope you will love the mix of African, European, and Middle Eastern culture as much as we do. Below we have gathered 12 incredible things to do during your visit to Marrakech. If you have the time we recommend you visit them all – But don’t worry everything is within walking distance which is an extra plus for this amazing city.
1. Wander around the Medina
The old city of Marrakech is also known as the Medina. This is the heart of Marrakech and one of the things the city is most known for. Set aside time for you to wander the narrow streets, soak up the amazing smells and sounds, and experience the local culture inside the souks.
One of the best things to do inside the Medina is to get lost inside this extraordinary labyrinth of markets. So, keep your map inside your back and walk among the locals inside the huge walls. That way you can admire the beautiful colors of the walls, the magical smells of the yummy food and spices, the glittering lights from all the lanterns, and high-quality leatherwork. The Medina of Marrakech is an incredible area and a perfect place and the best place to experience the traditional local culture.
Bonus Tip: Bargaining is the way to go! So, get ready to bargain for everything inside the Medina.
2. Jemaa el-Fnaa
The world-famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square lies at the heart of the Medina in Marrakech. Walking around the square is something that you either love or hate. We are some of the people who went to the square and don’t need to go back again. The square itself is incredible and some of the stalls and cafés are very cozy. The middle of the square is filled with entertainers, charmers, and food stalls.
We loved everything except some of the entertainers. Many of them use caged animals and they don’t seem to be well. And we hate cruelty to animals so our visit to the square was fast.
3. Explore the stunning El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace is a breathtaking place. The place consists of the incredible ruing of Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour’s once impressive palace. The palace is surrounded by sunken gardens, pools, and ramparts. Around the ramparts, you will find towers from which you can experience an incredible panoramic view overlooking the Medina of Marrakech.
A visit to El Badi Palace is an amazing experience that offers you a fascinating insight into the history of the former Moroccan dynasties.
4. The blue wonder: Jardin Majorelle
One of the biggest attractions in Marrakech is the blue wonder – also known as Jardin Majorelle. And this colorful house is definitely a must-see. The gardens and the beautiful house were created by Jaques Majorelle, who invented the very blue color of the house – also known as “Majorelle blue”.
The blue wonder was later bought by Yves Saint Laurent who then restored both the house and the botanical gardens. And the garden is magical with lush green plants from all around the world.
Tip: We recommend you go as early as possible to avoid crowds.
5. Learn about Moroccan history at the Saadian Tombs
The Saadian Tombs is a beautiful burial ground in Marrakech. They are located right outside the Medina close to Koutoubia. The tombs were built in the 16th century during the Saadian dynasty and have become a huge tourist attraction and a must-see when in Marrakech. The burial complex is very beautiful with incredible design with domed ceilings, marble statues, and wood carvings.
Bonus info: The queue to see the main tomb (the tomb of Sultan al-Mansur) can be long but it’s worth it.
6. Find the hidden Le Jardin Secret
Le Jardin Secret is an amazing “secret” garden in the Medina of Marrakech. The complex originates from the Saadian Dynasty and is, therefore, more than 400 years old. The garden is special in the way that it consists of the original underground irrigation system (khettara). The khettara was built in the 11th century to distribute water to the mosques, fountains, and hammams throughout the city.
The complex is divided into two parts; an exotic garden and a traditional Islamic garden. As well as a cozy café and a tower overlooking the Medina.
7. Admire Ben Youssef Madrasa
Ben Youssef Madrasa used to be the biggest Islamic college in Morocco. It’s a beautiful complex with incredible Moroccan architecture – especially the interior terrace that is centered around a peaceful pool is an incredible sight. A visit to Ben Youssef Madrasa is a good opportunity to admire the stunning symmetry, the beautiful patterns, as well as the magical colors of the mosaics.
8. Visit Koutoubia Mosque
The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech and is located near the Medina. The tower of the mosque is 77 meters high and decorated with geometric arches, metal orbs, and a spire on top. The tower is considered important and has become a symbol of Marrakech. The beautiful mosque is flanked by green gardens and they are a perfect place to take a break in the shadows from the trees.
9. Relax at Hammam Baths
One of the things Marrakech is very famous for is its hammam. The hammam is a public bathhouse where Moroccans go for their weekly scrub. The hammams offer different treatments from scrubs, massages, and facial masks. It’s a very relaxing and luxurious experience and definitely worth it if you have some extra room in your budget.
10. Wander around Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace is an incredible palace that was built in the 19th century by the grand vizier of the sultan at the time. The palace consists of 150 rooms which back then were occupied by the grand vizier, his many wives, and the rest of the family. A visit to Bahia Palace is a perfect way to experience the traditional Moroccan architecture and learn about the history of the grand vizier.
Bahia is roughly translated as “beautiful” and we can understand why the palace is named so. The courtyards with orange trees, fountains, beautiful tiles, and glass windows are just stunning.
11. A fashion lovers dream: Musée Yves Saint Laurent
Musée Yves Saint Laurent is a dream visit for every fashion lover. But don’t worry if you have been dragged by your girlfriend, a friend, or family – the museum is still very beautiful and worth a visit when in Marrakech.
Yves Saint Laurent was a famous French designer who fell in love with Marrakech when he bought the earlier mentioned Jardin Majorelle. In 2017, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent was built in dedication to the designer’s couture legacy. On display, you will have the opportunity to see hundreds of garments from Yves Saint Laurent’s 40-year career.
12. Fly a hot air balloon
One of the highlights of our trip to Marrakech was the experience of flying a hot air balloon. It took a big bite of our budget but it was definitely worth it. And we would do it all over again. The views overlooking the Atlas Mountains are just magical. Flying a hot air balloon in Marrakech is, therefore, one of the incredible things you should do when visiting the city.