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So easily accessible from London, I’d dreamt of visiting Marrakech for years. I wanted to get lost in the Medina, explore the beautiful palaces and head out to the stunning surrounding mountains. But beyond that, I didn’t really know what the main things to do in Marrakech were. So here’s my definitive list:
Best things to do in Marrakech
1. The Palaces
Marrakech’s palaces are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen (except maybe Rajasthan, India – see here).
For a beautifully maintained and brightly coloured Palace, head to Bahia Palace:
But for a more rustic look, go to my personal favourite – El Badi Palace. It’s just stunning! Just five minutes walk away from Bahia Palace, you can climb up to the rooftop here for a beautiful view over the whole city.
2. The Gardens
Le Jardin Majorelle – designed by Yves Saint Laurent, this botanical garden oozes sophistication and class. When visiting, you must go early as it gets very busy and the queues for entry can get very long. Get a taxi from the main square to get there as it’s a little bit further out of the Medina.
Le Jardin Secret – I actually ran out of time to visit this one too, but it’s meant to be wonderful!
3. The Mosques
Everywhere you walk in the Medina, you round the corner and come across another beautiful entrance to a Mosque. Above this, take the time to visit Koutoubia Mosque – Marrakech’s largest place of worship. It’s got some beautiful areas around the outside.
5. Jemaa El Fna (Main Square)
Make sure to visit the Main Square for a DELICIOUS fresh juice. But be careful here, there are lots of tourist touts / snake charmers / monkey keepers. Avoid them.
6. Ben Youssef
Although this is currently closed for renovation, this would be my number one thing to see next time I’m lucky enough to be in Marrakech!
Head out around Marrakech! We did a day trip to ‘The Three Valleys’ in the Atlas Mountains and the Agafay Desert. Under two hours drive from central Marrakech, I would highly recommend this.
Note: Agafay is not a sandy desert. Therefore, if you’re wanting to see some proper Sahara style desert, you’ll need to do a three-four day excursion to take you further out to a desert camp. I have friends that have done this and loved it, but be prepared for at least a 10 hour journey!
Where to stay in Marrakech?
Stay in a Riad in the heart of the Medina – our favourite for value for money and location was Riad Baraka. Although the centre of the Medina is largely inaccessible by road, it has the most authentic and beautiful accommodation for budget and mid-range places. Before our visit, I’d heard that you need to be careful of muggings here if you’re walking around late at night. Although I did hear a few hairy stories, we were fine and always felt perfectly safe. Always travel as a group where possible if you’re out after dark.
Tip: Make sure to get a local sim card at Marrakech airport when you arrive. The Medina is an absolute maze, but Google Maps works well to navigate yourself around.
NOTE: Even if you’re not staying at one of the more luxurious (and insa-famous) Riads, it’s very possible to go and visit them for a meal. Our favourite was Riad Yasmine – great food and so picturesque! We wanted to visit Riad Be, but unlike Riad Yasmine, you must book a meal far in advance and it’s not guaranteed.