Marrakech provides an immersive sensory experience that goes beyond its status as an ancient Moroccan city. It’s a destination where you can fully engage your senses with a rich array of colors, flavors, scents, sounds, and captivating sights. While it’s famous for its vibrant markets and the enchanting Medina (the historic center), Marrakech has even more to offer. After immersing yourself in the fascinating mix of European, Middle Eastern, and African influences, you can venture into the breathtaking mountain and landscapes that await just outside the city’s boundaries.
So here are 7 things to do in Marrakech:
1. Take a stroll through the Medina
The most captivating aspect of the Medina is its intricate network of narrow streets that seem to whisk you away to another era. Forget about your map and get lost in the thrill of wandering these alleys, where you might encounter donkeys and carts along the way.
Take in the vibrant hues of the walls and buildings, savor the delightful aromas of food and spices, and strike up friendly conversations with the locals. What’s truly remarkable is the hauntingly beautiful call to prayer that reverberates through the narrow lanes, originating from the many mosques nearby. To experience this from a lofty vantage point, make your way to one of the numerous rooftop cafes for panoramic sights and sounds.
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2. Jamaa El Fnaa
At the core of the Medina, you’ll find the renowned Jamaa el Fnaa square. Strolling across this square is an absolutely unique experience! You can sense the warmth radiating from the stone ground as you weave your way through snake charmers, performers, and street vendors offering fresh fruit juices.
When night falls, the square transforms into a vibrant hub of music, with musicians, dancers, and artists showcasing their talents beneath the sparkling lights of the stalls. This incredible display of Moroccan culture is a must-see!
3. Wander through the Souks
If the square is the heart of Marrakech, then the souks are its very soul. Just a short stroll from the main square, you’ll stumble upon an extraordinary maze of markets. It’s quite easy to lose yourself amidst the covered marketplaces and the winding network of narrow streets, which all seem to blend together.
But fret not, and simply relish the splendid hues of textiles, the enchanting scents emanating from mountains of spices, the exquisite craftsmanship in leather goods, and the radiant glow from lanterns and colorful glassware. Don’t forget to explore the primary souk, known as ‘Souk Semmarine,’ situated just off Jamaa el Fnaa. A bit further, you’ll encounter the ‘Souk Place des Epices,’ the traditional spice market.
4. Discover Top Dining and Drinking Spots
Marrakech offers a variety of restaurants where you can savor tasty tagine and couscous dishes. We especially enjoyed Cafe Atay, but if you’re looking for a fusion experience, Cafe Clock is also a great choice.
Moroccan buildings typically have flat rooftops, making them ideal for rooftop bars. You can enjoy a refreshing mint tea at a rooftop cafe overlooking Jemaa el Fnaa or visit the Maison de la Photographie museum, which boasts the highest rooftop bar in the medina, offering stunning views!
5. Stay in a Traditional Riad
Opting for a traditional riad (guesthouse) is the perfect way to appreciate the intricate beauty of Morocco . While they may appear modest from the outside with their sandy-colored facades, stepping inside reveals a completely different realm.
Inside, you’ll find a world of vibrant tiles, intricate designs, and typically, a serene courtyard adorned with lush greenery and a inviting pool. Staying in a riad offers a peaceful retreat, providing a tranquil escape from the bustling sounds of Marrakech.
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6. Jardin Majorelle
The vibrant blue house in Marrakech is a fantastic and well-known attraction that you should definitely visit. It was first designed by Jaques Majorelle, the inventor of the striking ‘Majorelle blue’ color.
Yves St Laurent later bought the house and carefully restored both the house and its botanical gardens. The gardens resemble a tropical paradise with lush plants from various parts of the world, which beautifully complement the blue and yellow colors of the house. It’s an essential oasis to explore in the city.
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7. Visit the Bahia Palace
In the 19th century, this magnificent palace, with 150 rooms, was constructed by the sultan’s top minister with the ambition to make the greatest palace of its time. Explore the Moroccan architecture in the courtyards, including orange trees, fountains, and intricate tilework, along with the lovely stained glass windows.
Its most impressive feature is the huge and luxurious marble courtyard at the heart of the palace complex. Do not miss out on discovering the thrilling history of the chief minister, his family, and his many spouses.