Whether you’re on an adventure across the entirety of Morocco or flying in for an extended city break, Marrakech is likely on your itinerary. Let us guide you on a fun few days exploring all this vibrant city has to offer. 

— Visited in November, 2021

The souks in Marrakech Morocco

Marrakech is a city where everything is in top gear no matter the time of day. While it is a city that provides a clear cultural and historic experience, it is the sensorial journey that is going to have the biggest impact on your time in Marrakech. Within the Medina itself, you are going to find choreographed chaos, zipping motorcycles an inch from your side, shop sellers using every tactic possible to attain your attention, friendly faces with scheming advice and a world that seems to be stuck somewhere between the modern and the old.

While this all may sound exotic and appealing, we want to be clear that not everyone is going to love their time in Marrakech. While you can read ahead and be well prepared for the city’s downfalls in hope of avoiding them, at its heart, Marrakech is a city of the unexpected and anything can happen. We found ourselves both loving and hating the city and left it unsure whether we could handle coming back one day. But despite this, one thing we can say with no hesitation is that Marrakech is a city you must visit. The experience as a whole is something special and there just is something about Marrakech.

For this reason and to get the most out of your time in this charismatic city, we have put together a list of 10 fun things to do in Marrakech. We hope these activities help you experience the city as we have.

Explore the palaces of Marrakech

The palaces of Marrakech are a true representation of both the power and glamour the city once had. While the conditions vary a lot between the two sites, they are both equally impressive due to their own characteristics.

El Badi Palace

Built in the 16th century by Saadian sultan Ahmed el Mansour, the El Badi Palace translates to ‘The Incomparable’. The palace was originally decorated with materials from numerous countries and purposed as a reception to the Sultan’s wealth and power. 

Unfortunately for us, the palace was neglected after the Sultan’s death. The valuable materials were stripped and reused in buildings across Morocco, with the palace later falling to ruin after the decline of the Saadian dynasty. 

Though the palace is not what it was, it does not take much to fantasise about the true scale of grandeur that once stood here. This was our favourite visit in Marrakech, the sheer size of the ruins was enough to impress but the one-room still tiled within the walls was the icing on the cake. It was a true representation of how beautiful the palace once was. 

Another intriguing part of the visit, which may only be to our personal humour, was the presence of the storks. There was something very entertaining about the cackle the birds made and its uncanny resemblance to the predator (the famous sci-fi alien). Within the ancient site, we couldn’t help but imagine the hunt for us was on.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-5pm

Location // Rue Touareg, Medina or here on the map

Bahia Palace

Built by the Grand Vizier Si Moussa in the 1860s and further expanded by his son in the early 1900s, the Bahia Palace still holds the glamour that was first intended. With an abundance of pristine Italian marble and intricate wooden decor, the Bahia Palace without a doubt makes for the most prolific attraction in Marrakech and maybe even Morocco.

Despite the palace covering a whopping eight hectares, only a portion of the 150 rooms is open to the public. What is open provides the perfect preview of the elegance that is present. Imagine elaborately carved cedar ceilings, multicoloured stained-glass windows, detailed woven-silk panels and substantial areas of marble-tiled surfaces, now put all this in one open symmetrical courtyard. This is what the Bahia, translated to beautiful, palace provides. 

Amongst all the appeal, our favourite area had to be the Large Riad. This area is the oldest part of the Palace of Bahia completed in 1867. The beautiful detail accompanied by the Moorish gardens of orange trees, cypress, daturas and jasmines bring a feeling of true peace to the space. 

Exploring this grand palace is certainly one of the fun things to do in Marrakech. It is one of the most popular sites so an early start to allow you to enjoy these courtyards in tranquillity really makes the experience that little bit more special.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-5pm

Location // Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Medina or here on the map

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Unfortunately during our trip to Marrakech, the Madrasa was closed for refurbishment. It has been closed since 2018 with no clear timeline on the pending reopening. Despite not getting the opportunity to visit, based on the history and pictures from this place there was no way we could write a list of the fun things to do in Marrakech without including it. Here’s hoping it reopens for your adventure.

The building itself is a fantastically preserved 14th-century Islamic school. Based on the reviews of others and our pre-trip evenings dreaming over the photos, the location is an ideal representation of the picturesque Moroccan design and architecture. Tranquil courtyard pools, delicately detailed archways, and an abundance of colourfully pieced tiles, this spot has it all and in its grandest of forms. Previously home to around 900 students, the school is a marvel on the eye and may just be the most beautiful spot in Marrakech.

Understandably when reopened this spot is going to have waves of tourists once again. To enjoy the place in its purest, a morning visit is recommended giving you time to soak in the skilled craft that was used in creating this masterpiece.

Open // Indefinitely Closed for Refurbishment

Location // Rue Azbezt, Medina or here on the map

Visit a Museum

Whether it’s to escape the heat or to find a space of calm amongst the hustle and bustle, a visit to one of the museums of Marrakech is a great use of your time while exploring the city. 

Maison De La Photographie

The Maison de la Photographie is used as an archive of Moroccan life over the last century. It uses a collection of photographs, glass plates, postcards, newspapers and much more to depict how life was between 1870 and 1950. If you have an inclination towards photography or Morocco’s traditions, then you must visit while in Marrakech. Sitting down for a mint tea on the rooftop cafe also provides a wonderful view over the city. 

Price // 50dh

Open // 9.30am-7pm

Location // Rue Bin Lafnadek, Medina or here on the map

Musée de Marrakech

While its main purpose is as a museum, the historic Dar Menebhi Palace which the Museum of Marrakech is set in is also of notable appeal. Showing off the splendour of Moroccan architecture while also featuring various historic art objects and contemporary art, the Museum of Marrakech definitely makes for one of the fun things to do in Marrakech. 

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-12pm then 3pm-6pm

Location // Rue Azbezt, Medina or here on the map

Dar Si Said Museum

The Dar Si Said Museum is the oldest museum in Marrakech and features the greatest number of works of art. For those who are looking for antiques, arms, instruments and some of the oldest objects in Marrakech, then this is the museum for you. As with all museums in Marrakech, the palace setting is of wonder to explore as well. 

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-12pm then 3pm-6pm

Location // Derb Si Said, Medina or here on the map

Get lost in the Medina

The medina is the heart of Marrakech and it is beating at a pace that most other cities could not keep up with. Full of both mayhem and wonder, the city’s walled centre is where you should spend the majority of your time.

Whilst the term ‘to get lost’ on a city trip is loosely used in the modern world of travel, when it comes to Marrakech we mean this in its truest of meanings. Like all of Morocco’s medinas, the streets can only be described as a maze and we can tell you now, you will get lost. Whether it’s a street that magically turns you in the wrong direction or a gate that is no longer open come a certain hour, it’s a part of the city you have to embrace and be ready to figure things out as you go. 

As it is with blindly walking the streets of an unknown city, there is risk and reward to where your feet can take you. Whether you come across a memorable moment that will forever print on your memory or a shady part of town that will leave you wanting to turn around. That is the thrill of getting lost in a city, and when it comes to Marrakech, the reward tends to be heightened as you stumble across intriguing local behaviour or a dreamy souvenir shop.

Plunging into the winding medina streets is both free and the best way to understand the city. This is why it’s a must-do during your time in Marrakech. 

While it truly shouldn’t matter what part of the Medina you explore, there are some areas we definitely recommend checking out:

Rue Errachidia / Just south of the medina, near the Saadian Tombs, was one of our favourite areas as we felt it was where we could experience the true local side of Marrakech. As our Riad was in this area, we started every morning walking through meat & vegetable stands and then in the evenings were present to mass local cook ups. The area was also less used to tourists so it was a nice place to escape the constant sales pitches.

Mellah / Created in the 16th century, Mellah is the old Jewish Quarter of Marrakech. It was created during the Saadian dynasty to provide protection to Jews escaping persecution in the Iberian Peninsula. This area is a lot calmer than the main Medina and as it has been restored several times over the years it has a different and more structured charm to the neighbourhood. Don’t forget to visit the Slat Al Azama synagogue, Cimetière Juif de Miaara (Jewish Cemetery) and Place des Ferblantiers while in the area. 

Barter in the Souks

The souks (markets) of Marrakech are not made for those faint at heart. The salesmen* here are seasoned veterans and if they sense a potential extra dollar, it’s likely they will get it out of you. But for those who enjoy a barter and the search for a true bargain, you’re in for a good time.

*we say men as it is very rare for women to be seen in the shops.

The souks of Marrakech may not be the cheapest souks in the country but are probably the best in terms of variety. The Souk Semmarine is the main souk from which all others branch off, here you can find a wide variety of items with no specific speciality.

There are actually areas where it’s best to purchase certain items. So if you’re looking for a perfect-fitting pair of Moroccan shoes, a nice piece of jewellery or some spices to mix it up back home, we recommend taking on a tour of the Marrakech souks. This is the best way to get your head around the labyrinth of stalls and find that bargain you deserve!

A highly recommended tour is the ‘Marrakech: 3-Hour Colorful Souks Tour’.

Have a hammam

A hammam is, in brief, a naked soapy and slightly aggressive body scrub. But in long, it’s a true pleasure and will leave you feeling cleaner than you’ve felt in a long time. 

It may come across as a tourist made experience, but in truth, the hammam is a very traditional part of the Moroccan life. It’s both an important way of staying clean but also an important social gathering for the female population. Because of this, it’s an essential experience as part of your Moroccan adventure and one of the important fun things do while in Marrakech.

Picking your hammam of choice is going to depend very much on your budget. For those who want the true local experience, small hammams can be found through the medina and will only cost a few euros. For those who are looking for a more luxurious experience, which is the more common hammam experience for tourists, there are a number of options throughout the city. Some of the well-reviewed hammams include Hammam de la RoseLes Bains de Marrakech and La Mamounia. Just be sure to book at the hammams in advance as they do book out early. 

It’s also possible to book at this highly rated hammam online if you want to be sure you have the experience booked in before you arrive in Marrakech.

Soak in the Tannery Process

First of all, getting to the tanneries was one of the worst experiences we had in Marrakech. You’ll know you’re heading in the right direction as you’ll start to feel as if you’re being herded like cattle. Mystery guides around every corner and following scooters that despite the best efforts of aversion, will always be hot on the tail. By the end of the walk, you’ll be holding back more heated words as you confidently repeat the phrase “no thank you”.

When you reach the entrance to the tanneries you’ll be paused by a local and advised that a ‘guide’ is necessary. This scam is well noted on blogs but from our experience, we honestly don’t know if there is any other option. After some standard bartering, the cost was 20dh each and in fairness to the fella, the tour and detail on the process he went through was worth the minimal cost.

Once in, the tanneries are small but give you that insight into the interesting traditional art form. If Marrakech is the only city you are visiting, then the visit is worth the hassle for the educational experience. However, if you are visiting Fes then we recommend holding off until then. The tanneries there are larger and the whole experience is more pleasant.

Price // 20dh

Open // Daylight Hours

Location // Derb El Arsa, Medina or here on the map

Enjoy your Riad

We want to start with this point, a Riad in Marrakech is a must! 

There is no question that a big part of Marrakech’s intrigue is its buzzing atmosphere. But having a comfortable base to recharge, both during the evenings and intervals of the day, is essential!

Though there are a number of beautiful resorts to choose from, the Riad experience is something uniquely Moroccan. Other than the clear aesthetic beauty, they are an oasis of peace, a place that brings an aurora of calm. We were fortunate to stay at the stunning Riad Kasbah during our time in Marrakech. Situated in one of our favourite areas of Marrakech while also for a reasonable price, it’s a Riad experience we know ticks all the boxes.

Take on the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa

In a lot of ways, the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa is a centre piece of all the things that are wrong in Marrakech. Pushy salesmen, scamming restaurants, unwanted henna tattoos and worst of all, mistreated animals (monkeys on chains, poorly cared horses and snakes). 

But before you completely disregard the plaza, there are a few tactics you can take to enjoy and control the energy of the place:

A bike rider in the the Plaza Jemaa el Fnaa in Marrakech

1 / The plaza is truly central to the medina, it’s inevitable that you are going to pass through it a number of times during your stay in Marrakech. To avoid the chaos during the day to day, stick to the edge of the plaza and walk around it. In doing this it’s quite easy to avoid the hassle and save your energy to take it on later. As an extra detail, avoid the entrance from the Koutoubia Mosque, this open area had a high concentration of the negatives listed above and also seemed to be the only area where the mistreated animals were observed.

2 / Enjoy the plaza from above. There are a number of (overpriced) cafes situated around the plaza which won’t break the bank for a mint tea. Set yourself up with a view and enjoy as the craziness of the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa goes on before your eyes. Best enjoyed at sunset/evening when the energy of the place can physically be seen as smoke rises up into the night sky.

3 / The salesmen for the plaza restaurants are truly the worst salesmen of Marrakech. They are pushy, don’t comprehend no and are going to try and scam you with the bill. However, if you go in knowing all this, then you can have fun with it. We played a little game, starting at one end of the stalls we tried to see how far we could get and the best deal we could haggle. There are probably 10 rows and in true respect to the constant persuasion, we only made it past 3! If you go in light-hearted and as a laugh, it can be a little fun, but to repeat on the bill scamming, you will be charged for everything put on the table so be sure you only get what you asked for.

With these tactics in mind, while we don’t recommend spending a lot of time at the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa, we hope you can make the most of the time you do. If done right, visiting the plaza is one of the fun things to do in Marrakech. 

Location // Avenue Jamaa El Fnaa, Medina or here on the map

Visit the main mosque Koutoubia

Due to an ancient city ordinance that states that no building within the medina can be higher than a palm tree, the 77 metre tall Koutoubia mosque can be spotted from most places across the city.

Erected back in the 12th century, today the mosque is both the largest mosque in Marrakech and the most famous landmark in the city. Though you can’t visit inside the mosque, as is with all mosques in Morocco, the tower is still to be enjoyed as a perfect representation of Moorish ornament with its keystone arches and merlon crenelations. 

We recommend visiting at sunset when the golden light glows off the brick exterior.  

Open // No Entrance to non-Muslims

Location // Arset El Bilk or here on the map

Other things to visit

With a city as grand as Marrakech, there is always going to be an endless list of places to see making it impossible to explore them all in one trip. For this reason, we have composed our top 10 fun things to do in Marrakech above. If you’re looking for some more fun things to do in Marrakech, then keep the following in mind:

Saadian tombs 

After the completion of the Badia Palace, Saadian sultan Ahmed el Mansour took to transforming an existing necropolis into a lavish tomb complex. With no expense spared using his favoured Italian marble and even pure gold trimming, the sultan took to laying rest in arguably the most beautiful site in Marrakech.

With sultan Ahmed el Mansour in the glorious Chamber of the 12 Pillars, the alpha princes were buried in the surrounding Chamber of Three Niches. In total there is over 66 princes and other prominent figures, and 100 chancellors and wives resting in the Sultan Tombs.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-4.30pm

Location // Rue de La Kasbah, Medina or here on the map

Visit a garden oasis

For a moment of calm away from the medina, take some time to explore one of the gardens in the city.

Le Jardin Secret

A literal oasis located inside the medina walls, the garden of the restored 19th-century palace is one of the few green spaces to be found within the walls. Le Jardin Secret may be just what you’re looking for come mid-afternoon as an escape from the energy of the city.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9.30am-6pm

Location // Rue Mouassine, Medina or here on the map

Jardin Majorelle & Yves Saint Laurent Mansion

The former home of Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most popular tourist sites in Marrakech. For this reason it’s kind of scandalous that we did not visit it. 

Occupied as a museum to his work, a Berber museum and the main highlight, the beautiful Majorelle garden, this spot is well reviews as an intriguing spot to visit.

The Majorelle garden was originally made in the 1920s by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. Unsurprisingly as being built by a painter, the garden features are painted in a dark blue colour, with the colour actually known as ‘Majorelle Blue’. After a time of neglect, the garden was purchased by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (and his partner Pierre Berge) and restored. 

The lines to enter can be very busy so we recommend buying tickets online to skip the queue. 

Price // 120dh for Majorelle Gardens & 100dh for Museum of Yves Saint Laurent

Open // 11am-5pm

Location // Rue Yves St Laurent or here on the map

Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

Any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.