Three days in Marrakech gives you time to explore the history, culture, and culinary landscape of the medina, take in the desert scenery on the outskirts of town, and head further afield to the Atlas Mountains or the Moroccan coast. Here’s what you need to know to plan your ultimate 36 hours in Marrakech.
Day 1: Essential Marrakech
The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Marrakech’s maze-like medina are intoxicating, and you can easily spend a full day exploring the heart of the city. It’s easy to get lost, so consider starting with a half- or full-day tour to get your bearings. Do some shopping for spices and handcrafted artisan items in the colorful souqs, take in the intricate tile work and carvings of the Ben Youssef Madrasa, walk the grounds of Bahia Palace, and spend time soaking up the circus-like atmosphere of always busy Djemaa el Fna square. If your feet get tired, climb aboard a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus for self-paced tour around town. In the evening, book a table at a Marrakech dinner show to learn more about the folkloric traditions of Morocco while feasting on local specialties.
Day 2: Food, Shopping, Adventure
Now that you have a feel for the city, spend today diving deeper into its facets that interest you. Shop for local ingredients in a hands-on cooking class in the medina, learn the art of throwing pottery or leather working from a local artisan, go on a shopping spree with your own private guide in the labyrinthine souqs, or enjoy outdoor adventure with a quad biking tour or camel ride through the desert palm groves just outside the city. Once the sun goes down, head into the medina for a street food tour led by a local foodie. Sample some of the city’s best bites from hard-to-find spots. Try dishes such as tagine and couscous, or take your tastebuds on a culinary adventure with unfamiliar meats and other delicacies.
Day 3: Day Trips
Today is your chance to get out and explore Morocco. Many visitors choose a day trip into the Atlas mountains for a chance to see the region’s Berber villages, waterfalls, and valleys. Alternately, head through the mountains and into the desert to visit the town of Ouarzazate, the kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the dunes of the Sahara Desert. Another day trip option takes travelers to the seaside community of Essaouira, known for its fortified medina, scenic port, and favorable windsurfing conditions. Most day trips won’t get you back to Marrakech until fairly late, so plan to end your trip with a relaxing dinner at your hotel or riad (traditional Moroccan home).