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Things to do in Marrakech

Things to do in  Marrakech

Welcome to Marrakech

Situated near the brink of the Sahara desert and bordered by the Atlas Mountains, the landlocked city of Marrakech unfolds into its surroundings like one of the lavish carpets sold in the Marrakech Souks. The city’s medieval roots reveal themselves on a walk through the souks or kasbahs in the medina (Old Town), whose snake charmers, carpet sellers, spice stalls, and herbalists stimulate each of the senses. Orient yourself on a walking tour, or escape the sweltering heat and tick off attractions such as the Bahia Palace, Djemaa el Fna (Place of the Dead), Saadian Tombs, and Tiskiwin Museum (Maison Tiskiwin) on a tour by air-conditioned car. The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque is visible from all over the city and can help you navigate through twisting alleys if you’re exploring independently. Just beyond the red sandstone walls of the Ochre City, the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains entice outdoor adventurers. Learn about contemporary Berber culture on a trip to Ourika Valley, stroll along the seawall in the Portuguese-influenced Essaouira, tour the UNESCO World Heritage site at Ait Ben Haddou, or ride a 4x4 to the base of Ouzoud Falls. If you’ve got time to delve deeper in the desert, multi-day adventures combine camel rides, star gazing, and ancient tombs, and reveal the heart of the Sahara.

Top 10 attractions in Marrakech

#1

Atlas Mountains

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Sprawling along the frontier of the Sahara, Morocco’s mighty Atlas Mountains run all the way from the Atlantic coast to the northern Rif Mountains, separating the cities from the desert. Capped with snow throughout the winter months and cloaked with wildflowers through the summer, the rocky plateaus and lush valleys of the Atlas Mountains provide a striking backdrop for hiking and mountain biking treks from cities like Marrakech, Fez and Agadir. The rugged mountain terrain is also home to Morocco’s remaining Berber tribes and visiting the traditional mud-built villages dotted along the mountainsides has become a popular pastime for tourists, affording the opportunity to experience the unique life and culture of the Berbers.More
#2

Jemaa el-Fna (Djemaa el-Fna)

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Djemaa el Fna, or Place of the Dead, a huge open expanse at the core of the medina (old town) of Marrakech, is one of the great meeting places of the world. Traders meet merchants, merchants meet travelers, travelers meet snake handlers. And the past meets the present, with storytellers carrying on a centuries-old oral tradition, keeping their listeners spellbound with tall tales. The square functions as an outdoor market, music hall, restaurant and theatre as well as the point of departure or arrival for exploration of Marrakech’s myriad delights. To get an overview, head for a terrace at one of the cafes which loom over the edges of the square. The price of a coffee will buy you respite from the commotion at ground level and a sensational view of the market, the Koutobia Mosque and the Atlas Mountains. And once the sun goes down the Place of the Dead is anything but. In fact it’s just getting going, with mesmerizing music and the smoke.More
#3

Koutoubia Mosque (Mosquée Koutoubia)

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Built in the 12th century, the Koutoubia Mosque is not only the largest in Marrakech, it is also one of the most influential buildings in the Muslim world. Throughout Spain and beyond you’ll see echoes of its intricate geometric stone work, graceful arches and imposing square minaret. This last feature, flood-lit at night, is a much-needed point of reference when exploring the low-lying tangle of streets and alleyways which comprise the medina. At 220 feet / 61 meters it was quite a climb for the five daily calls to prayer in pre-elevator times, so a spiraling ramp was installed for the muezzin to ride on horseback to the summit.More
#4

Palmeraie (Palm Grove)

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A short taxi ride from the bustling Djeema el Fna, La Palmeraie offers a tranquil escape from the lively souks and traffic-laden streets of the Old Medina and Marrakech’s most affluent district has often been nicknamed the ‘Beverly Hills of Marrakech.' A quiet, sun-soaked oasis of palm and orange tree-fringed boulevards, neatly-tended rose gardens and vast swimming pools, La Palmeraie is home to many of the city’s most extravagant resort hotels and luxurious private villas. Even if you can’t afford to stay in La Palmeraie, the scenic district makes a worthwhile detour from downtown Marrakech and the 32,000-acre stretch of palm groves provides a shady backdrop for leisure activities. As well as walking and biking tours, horseback riding and camel riding are popular pastimes, and there’s also a beautifully situated golf course overlooking the villas.More
#5

Medina of Marrakesh

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Marrakesh, once the most powerful commercial and political center in the Arab world, was founded in 1062 by Berber chieftain Abu Bakr ibn Umar as the capital of the orthodox-Muslim Almoravid Empire. Full of ornate monuments built mostly between the 12th and 16th centuries, a visit to its medina, or old town, is like a walk through a heavily fortified open-air museum. It was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1985. Surrounded by ancient walls and enormous gates, the medina contains a huge central courtyard called the Jemaa el-Fnaa, a center of trade and public gatherings since Morocco’s inception. The medina is also home to a series of stunning gardens, including the Majorelle Garden, set beside the Museum of Islamic Art and featuring plants collected from five continents. The lavish Royal Palace and Badi Palace stand adjacent to one another, but neither are open to the public; to get a look inside royal life in the medina.More
#6

Bahia Palace (Palais Bahia)

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The crowning glory of Marrakech’s numerous palaces, even the name of the exquisite Bahia Palace nods to its greatness – ‘Bahia’ translates as ‘Brilliance’. Located by the medina, on the northern edge of the Mellah, or Jewish quarter, the Bahia Palace was once the 19th-century residence of Si Ahmed ben Musa (or Bou-Ahmed), the Grand Vizier of Marrakech, who famously lived here with his four wives, 24 concubines and numerous children. The Palace, a medley of Islamic and Moroccan architectural styles, is one of the city’s most visited attractions, a richly decorated masterwork that was intended to become the ‘greatest palace of all time’. Although ultimately falling a little short of its aspirations, elements of the elaborate design work are exquisite. The dazzling floor to ceiling embellishments took over 7 years to complete, and include intricate mosaics, inlaid wooden ceilings, molded stuccos and gilded finishes.More
#7

Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)

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The Majorelle Garden is one of the most magical places in a city with no shortage of enchantment. Its founder, French painter Jacques Majorelle, fell in love with Marrakech in the early 20th century and after developing this charming oasis, opened it to the public in 1947. Apart from the huge range of exotic plants, including rare succulents and towering palms, the most distinctive feature is the intense, almost psychedelic shade of blue used in the garden’s walls and buildings. The garden fell into disrepair and in 1980 was purchased and restored by the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. It now also houses the Islamic Art Museum, containing exhibits which belonged to both Saint Laurent and Majorelle himself.More
#8

Ouzoud Waterfalls (Cascades d’Ouzoud)

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Located by the village of Tanaghmeilt in the High Atlas Mountains, the Ouzoud Falls are Morocco’s highest waterfalls, tumbling 110 meters through a dramatic red-rock gorge of the El Abid River. Taking their name from the olive groves that blanket the valley (‘Ouzoud’ is Berber for ‘Olive’), the summit of the falls is still dotted a number of historic water mills, some of which are still in use, extracting olive oil from the surrounding crops. A popular day trip from nearby Marrakech, the three-tiered falls provide a magnificent backdrop for hiking or picnicking, surrounded by lush greenery and trees teeming with macaque monkeys. Clamber down the stone steps into the gorge and you can even enjoy swimming beneath the falls, take a scenic boat trip along the river, or explore the natural caves carved into the cliffside.More
#9

Ourika Valley (Vallée de l’Ourika)

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Nestled in the foothills of the mighty High Atlas Mountains, the Ourika Valley makes a popular day trip from Marrakech at just 30km from the city center. A lush expanse of terraced fields and forested hillsides, the valley provides a picturesque backdrop for hiking expeditions, with its verdant hills set against the stark red rock of the mountains. At the heart of the valley are the dramatic Setti Fatma falls, a series of 7 cascading waterfalls that flow into the Ourika River and make a thrilling scramble for adventurous travelers. Set at around 1,300 meters, Ourika not only offers welcome respite from the summer heat of Marrakech but makes a popular base-camp for winter tourists visiting the ski resort of Oukaimeden. For the majority of visitors though, the area’s principal attraction is its traditional Berber settlements and the valley sides are dotted with red mud-built houses, camouflaged against the sparse mountain slopes.More
#10

Mt. Toubkal (Jebel Toubkal)

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When you think of the Sahara, Northern Africa, or the sunny Moroccan plains, things like snow, ice, and crampons usually aren’t part of the picture. When climbing Mount Toubkal, however, conditions quickly go from hot to brisk, mountainside cold. Towering 13,751 feet above sea level, Mount Toubkhal is not only the highest mountain in central Morocco, but also the highest in the Atlas Range and all of Northern Africa. It’s a trail that’s accessible all year round to a wide range of hikers, and is more of a long, very steep stroll as opposed to a technical climb. Trips begin from the town of Imlil about an hour south of Marrakech, where temperatures can still be blazingly hot despite the hillside perch. By the end of the first day of walking, however, the trail levels out at Toukbal Refuge near 10,000 feet elevation, where the air is suddenly crisp, cool, and a welcome break from the heat.More

Trip ideas

Ways to Experience Moroccan Culture in Marrakech

Ways to Experience Moroccan Culture in Marrakech

How to Spend 2 Days in Marrakech

How to Spend 2 Days in Marrakech

Top activities in Marrakech

Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakech

Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakech

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415
From
US$27.83
Ouzoud Falls Day Trip from Marrakech

Ouzoud Falls Day Trip from Marrakech

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740
From
US$30.25

Recent reviews from experiences in Marrakech

star-5
Great day trip from Marrakech to see the falls.
lukose1182, Nov 2020
Ouzoud Falls Day Trip from Marrakech
Really nice to see the beauty of the falls without the crowds.
star-5
Great trip - I recommend and would do again
Dina, Oct 2020
Day Trip to Ouzoud WatterFalls from Marrakech: Shared
He took us through a beautiful and big tour around Ouzoud, where we got to see the waterfalls from many different viewpoints.
star-5
Highly recommend
Holly_W, Mar 2020
Marrakech: Private Guided Half-Day City Tours
On the day, our guide Hadid was lovely, great English, very knowledgable, explained each place to us and ensured we got around safely.
star-4
Worth a visit
Haj, Feb 2020
Ouzoud Falls Day Trip from Marrakech
Water fall is amazing and overall a very good trip, guides very helpful but location is a tiny bit too far from Marrakech
star-5
A must do
Tashana_S, Feb 2020
Ouzoud Waterfalls Day Trip from Marrakech
The falls are beautiful and monkeys are so friendly.
star-5
Great Experience
bsmith0253, Feb 2020
Atlas Mountains and Three Valleys & Waterfalls - Camel ride Day Trip Marrakech
Good English, great personality, and very attentive throughout the whole adventure.
star-5
A great night at the souk with a Marrakech native
johnstoutcamas, Jan 2020
Private Night Tour: Discover The Magic of Marrakech
Many of the merchants seem genuinely happy to see Jafar and to help us his clients.
star-4
Fun Trip
lotsoftravel2020, Jan 2020
3 Day Desert Sahara Tour From Marrakech through the Atlas Mountains Private Tour
Overall, it was an enjoyable way to see other parts of Morocco and spend a night in the desert.
star-5
Taxi tour of Marrakech
RichNDan, Dec 2019
Marrakech: Private Guided Half-Day City Tours
Brilliant way to see main sites of Marrakech.
star-5
Great guide
Quest14523151876, Nov 2019
Marrakech City Highlights Half-Day Tour
He had great English and explained the history of the places very well.
star-5
Great Tour!
Passport58193908877, Nov 2019
Private Ait Ben Haddou Tour with Road of the Kasbahs from Marrakech
I would highly recommend if you want to see some sights outside of Marrakech.
star-5
Nice daytrip
kingalazi, Nov 2019
Desert Agafay & Atlas Mountains & Waterfalls, Camel ride Day Trip From Marrakech
The villages and the waterfalls were really interesting, Ibrahim is a really good guide, and can answer every question.
star-5
Trip to Ouzoud Waterfalls
parkercrowe, Oct 2019
Private Airport Round-Trip Transfer in Marrakech
Had a lovely trip to Ouzoud waterfall.
star-5
Amazing!
Rachel S, Sep 2019
High Atlas Mountains and 5 Valleys Day Trip from Marrakech - All inclusive -
Looked after my mum who’s 75 going up the waterfalls.
star-5
Amazing experience
intermav, Sep 2019
Day Trip To Atlas Mountains and Three Valleys & Berber Villages from Marrakech
The water fall was an amazing sight.
star-4
Day Trip in Essauoira
sylmarjr, Jul 2019
Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakech
Beautiful places to visit and superb lunch at Las Cles de Vuete.
star-5
Best way to see Marrakech!
Coastal21141415264, Jun 2019
3 Hour Private Sidecar Ride Secrets of Marrakech
This was a fantastic way to see Marrakech.
star-5
Very nice guide and value for the money
Nomad21515799659, Jun 2019
Marrakech City Highlights Half-Day Tour
I strongly recommend this to visit places since travel is tough in Marrakech compared to other cities in Europe.
star-5
Really interesting walk
558TomS, May 2019
Marrakech Medina Walking Tour: Half-Day Guided Tour
We did this tour on our first morning in Marrakech and it was a great way to see the Médina and get your bearings in the city.
star-5
Short tour of Marrakech offering all the places of interest
stephen k, May 2019
Marrakech City Half Day Private Tour
Thank you, a great way to see and learn a lot in Marrakech full of things to do and see with a good guide who had a lot of information to give.

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