10x Things to see in Marrakech and around

Whether you're planning a city trip to Marrakech or just a short visit during your trip through Morocco. Marrakech is a city you should see. Just like in Fez, there are also many beautiful sights to visit in this imperial city.
Don't forget to also take a look at must see's a little further away from Marrakech. From this city there are many things to do and activities that can be arranged. I sum up my 10 favorite sights from Marrakech in this article. Are there any points of interest that aren't listed? Let me know in the comments section!

 

marrakech points of interest

1. The Jemaa El-Fnaa Square

There are plenty of things to see in Marrakech, but the Jemaa El-Fnaa square is undoubtedly one of the most famous squares in this city and thus not to be missed. This market is located very central in Marrakech, and there is something to see at any time of the day.
During the day, dozens of stalls are attracting tourists with freshly squeezed fruit drinks, and a few meters further, animals are -unfortunately- used for tourists’ entertainment. The Jemaa El-Fnaa square is right next to the narrow streets of the medina and is not to be missed.

In the evening, the party doesn’t really cool down. On the contrary! If you’re staying in Marrakech during a weekend, I recommend heading to this square immediately. Over the weekend, the whole of Morocco seems to have come to this square! The crowd is immense!
In addition to the fruit juice vendors, numerous pop-up restaurants have appeared. Just like hordes of street musicians and sellers. The atmosphere is wonderfully festive and an attraction in itself!

jemaa el fnaa square must do in marrakech

Try to get to the square in the evening (preferably in the weekend)! You won’t believe your own eyes.

Also, try to look at the square from up high. A good place for this is at the Café de France. Three floors higher, you get magnificent views over this busy square in much quieter conditions.
Another place to watch the Jemaa El-Fnaa square is the Zeitoun Café (The food is also quite good, but not as good as the restaurants I talk about here).

jemaa el fnaa square marrakech things to see

The Jemaa El-Fnaa square seen from the Café de France.

2. The Secret Garden (Le Jardin Secret)

In Marrakech, tourists are mostly raving about the Jardin Majorelle (see below), but… In my opinion the Jardin Secret is probably worth visiting even more! Personally, I found it more pleasant because this ‘hidden garden’ gets a lot less visitors and shows the true Moroccan garden architecture.

Initially you’ll find yourself in a rather sober garden. But once you walk around the corner you’ll find yourself in a much more impressive garden. For a small additional fee, you can also step up to the tower to get a view of the entire garden.
A combination ticket costs 90 dirham.

Le Jardin Secret - Marrakech Must see

The Secret Garden seen from the tower. Beautiful and a great place to relax after the hustle and bustle of the medina.

3. Le Jardin Majorelle

The Majorelle Garden is one of the most loved points of interest in Marrakech, I dare say even in Morocco! To enter, you have to pay 70 dirham, and for an additional fee you can also visit the museum located in the gardens.
The queue for the Jardin Majorelle is usually very long. So be on time!

The garden was designed by Jacques Majorelle, a French artist. Yves Saint Laurent was so impressed with these beautiful gardens that he bought them in 1980. A few years later, his partner set up a foundation that still manages the park and opened it to the general public.

The dark blue colors, combined with all sorts of green and yellow are beautiful! You could easily spend a whole day in here! Unfortunately, there are so many tourists that it takes away a bit from the magic of the Jardin Majorelle.

Must do in Marrakech - Jardin Majorelle

These people are trying to spot frogs and turtles in the blue Majorelle gardens.

4. Get lost in the medina

Let’s start with an understatement: the Marrakech medina is imposing!
The narrow streets relive day after day with thousands of visitors, stalls and vendors. Walk your way through this labyrinth and deliberately get lost. Only so you can see scenes and/or places that you would never see otherwise.

Don’t worry too much of the annoying mopeds that race through the streets that are actually way too narrow for them. Nor get frustrated by the sellers who yell at you non-stop. Thank them kindly and just keep going. After all, there is a lot to discover!

medina of marrakech points of interest

You never know where you’ll end in the medina of Marrakech!

5. Stroll around the Koutoubia Mosque

One of Marrakech’s most renowned sights is the Koutoubia Mosque. The giant, salmon-colored minaret can be seen throughout the entire city.
The mosque itself may not be accessible as a non-Muslim, but the surroundings are still equally beautiful.

On the other side of the mosque (From the Jemaa El-Fnaa square, cross the street and walk a little further) lies a beautiful park where you can enjoy the Moroccan sun, the beautiful minaret, but especially the calmness and tranquility! Sit down on one of the benches in the shade, or refresh yourself with the water of one of the fountains.
This was one of my favorite things to see in Marrakech.

Koutoubia Mosqua Marrakech things to do

An oasis of tranquility in the always busy Marrakech! The park behind the Koutoubia Mosque.

6. Be amazed by the Bahia Palace

Expect a lot of other tourists during your visit, as this is definitely one of the best things to see in Marrakech. The reason that you must visit the Bahia Palace, is because it’s so surprisingly diverse. After crossing the gardens you’ll see several rooms and courtyards, each with different interiors.

I was very surprised by the fine and meticulous work. Small mosaics and beautiful wood carvings adorn each room, which is also decorated with numerous beautiful Arabic furniture.

The palace, completed in the nineteenth century, was the greatest of its time. A whopping 8000 square meters is filled with the grandeur of this majestic palace! So, feel free to spend a few hours here.

Bahia Palace Marrakech

The Bahia Palace has gorgeous gardens, but what striked me the most were the gorgeous doors and gates. Real pieces of art!

7. The El Badi Palace

Unfortunately, the original palace from 1578 hasn’t been preserved, but you shouldn’t worry too much. This ‘new’ palace is still incredibly impressive.
Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif was clearly jealous of this impressive building, and ordered to destroy it and smuggle all the materials into his own palace in Meknes. The palace is huge and presents some interesting exhibitions in its underground museums. Without a doubt, this is one of the nicer things to see in Marrakech.

On the immense courtyard you’ll see the remains of the giant pond (looks more like a lake!). All that water looks damn appealing whilst strolling in the heat of Marrakech …

On the other side of the square you’ll also find a small but charming courtyard garden where you can enjoy the cooling shade. Don’t forget to climb the upper walls. Here you’ll get a nice view of the medina and the palace.

El Badi Palace Marrakech

From up high, you’ll start to notice how huge this palace once must have been!

8. Day excursion to Essaouira

There’s a few day trips from Marrakech that you should consider, and one of them is a visit to Essaouira.

Essaouira is a small port city about two and a half hours from Marrakech. The difference with Marrakech is unbelievable! The quiet atmosphere, no annoying sellers, the stunning coast, delicious (and cheap!) fish and the impressive surroundings make Essaouira one of my favorite things to see in the surroundings of Marrakech and even in the whole of Morocco.

A day excursion can be arranged for €25 ($27) per person. I was picked up at 7.30am. On our way we made a stopover in a traditional argan oil company and got to see the famous ‘tree goats’; goats that are so fond of the argan nuts, that they are even willing to climb in trees to get them!
Do you want to know more about how to get to Essaouira from Marrakech? Or are you just interested in some more pictures. Then make sure to also read this article.

tree goats marrakech essaouira

You probably don’t believe me… But this is no photoshop! The goats love to get up there in search of their favorite food!

You arrive in Essaouira around ten o’clock. In this fantastic city, you’ll get until 4:30pm to explore everything on your own.
I definitely recommend to explore the harbor and the fish market. Sea urchins, sharks, and a lot of strange fish… Everything that lives in the sea is sold on this market!
There are also a lot of stalls or restaurants where they cook these tasty fishies for you. I paid only €10 for a huge portion of fish, lobster, cloves and sea urchins. Drinks included!

From the charming fish market you can effortlessly continue to the center of Essaouira. Enjoy the relaxed vibe that hangs throughout this town, and don’t forget to explore the medina.

If you prefer to stay a little longer in Essaouira, the taxi from Marrakech to Essaouira costs about 600 dirhams (€60 – $70) per ride. You can of course also stay in one of the beautiful riads for an extra day.

Essaouira - Things to do around Marrakech

Essaouira is the perfect day excursion from Marrakech!

Head to the Sahara for 3 days!

During my trip through Morocco, I looked forward to my trip to the Sahara most of all. From Marrakech I was picked up for my desert excursion at half past seven, and the following days there wasn’t much sleep either.

The tour costs €110 – $120 – £95, which seems expensive for Moroccan standards. However, I got two nights of accommodation –one of them in the Sahara itself!– breakfast and dinner and of course three days of Morocco’s most beautiful things to see!

There are many different excursions to the Sahara possible from Marrakech, but I really recommend taking the one that lasts for three days. Only then you can really see the Sahara and beautiful sights such as Aït Ben-Hadou and the Dades Gorge.

Aït-Ben-Haddou must do in marrakech

You might recognise Aït-Ben-Haddou from a TV-series or movie such as Game of Thrones or The Gladiator.

Aït-Ben-Haddou is a small village made entirely of mud and straw and served as a decor in many films. The Dades Gorge is an impressive piece of nature amidst a desert landscape. If you’re looking for the top things to see in Marrakech and its surroundings, then you must at least consider a day trip to these stunning landscapes.

Once you arrive in the sandy landscape of the Sahara, you’ll have to take a final camel ride before you arrive in the camp where you are welcomed with a nice meal together with beautiful berber music and entertainment.

Climb the sand dunes or race or try out a sandboard. This trip from Marrakech can be a bit exhausting, but a must for every adventurer!

sahara from marrakech

The sand dunes in the Sahara are impressive, and if there’s a heavy wind you’ll even get a free scrub!

10. Refresh yourself at the Ouzoud waterfalls

I have unfortunately not visited the Ouzoud waterfalls myself, but from a lot of friends and acquaintances I heard that the best-known waterfalls of North Africa are definitely worth a visit.
A day trip from Marrakech takes you there in about two hours.

Do your research when booking an excursion.  I was often told that you don’t get much free time to visit the falls, and you are being taken to restaurants that are far too expensive and don’t particularly serve great food.

ouzoud waterfalls marrakech

The waterfalls from Ouzoud are at their most spectacular during spring because of the huge amounts of melting water.

Day trips from Marrakech

Are you looking for fun day trips or other things to see in Marrakech and its surroundings? Then perhaps these tours and excursions might be interesting to you:

 

Tour packages to Morocco

Have you always dreamed of discovering the orange desserts of Morocco, the fairytale-like cities from the Arabian Night stories or perhaps the fantastic food that is served here on every corner? Then a trip to Morocco is definitely something for you!
Check out these deals and packages:

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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