The fourth largest city in Morocco, Marrakech is definitely one of the most fascinating places I have ever seen. From the buzzing market to the majestic sunrises, Marrakech and its surrounding areas were truly inspiring and absolutely gorgeous.
We went in mid-November and the weather was amazing, so that helped as well. If you’re looking for temperatures that are not too high or too low, I think this is the best time to visit Marrakech.
Whether you’re staying for a couple of nights or longer, I recommend going for one of their traditional Riads, they’re stunning and part of the Moroccan experience. The one we stayed in was Anahi Riad and Spa and we were very happy with the service and location as well.
Now that your accommodation is sorted, the next step is getting there from the airport. I’m not sure whether there is public transport to and from the airport, but we decided to get a taxi. Be careful when you choose the taxi you’re getting in, ask about the price beforehand and negotiate the rates if they’re high. Seeing that you are a tourist, they are more likely to ask for outrageous fees.
Keep in mind that if your accommodation is within or close to the Medina, no car will enter that area at peak times and you might need an internet connection to reach your destination by foot. We spent about 30 minutes, dragging our luggage and asking everyone for that location because none of us had internet. (HOW?) People were more than eager to help…with an additional taxi ride. Don’t even spend too much talking to these people. The Medina is a small area, you can easily walk from one end to the other, a car ride is just going to take you around the market for the driver to make some money.
Luckily, we met a very helpful local lady (THANK YOU, NICE LADY!)
She helped us find the way (WE WERE RIGHT THERE…) and we managed to check-in and let me tell you…It was worth it! The guys at the Riad helped us with the luggage and before showing us the rooms, they served some Morrocan tea (I’m basically an addict now, thank you!), showed us a map of the city and gave us some recommendations of where to go and what areas to avoid.
What to See in Marrakech, Morocco
Here are some things to do and places to visit while in Marrakech:
Jemaa el-Fnaa Market
Known as the main square of Marrakech, this bedazzling corner of the world, surrounded by walls dating back to the 12th century, will really overwhelm your senses and completely amaze you. We spent every night and every morning in the Medina and somehow, that wasn’t enough to get adjusted to the insane rhythm of this place.
During the day, you can walk around and see the snake charmers and there are quite a lot, they will also come at you to convince you to take a picture with the snakes, so if you’re not a fan…be aware of what’s going on around you.
In the evening, you can shop for souvenirs, leather shoes, spices and basically…anything you could think of. There are also many restaurants to choose from if you would like to eat in the Medina.
Koutoubia Mosque (The Kutubiyya Mosque)
Another 12th-century Morrocan gem, the Koutoubia Mosque is an iconic landmark of Morroco and it’s visible from different corners of Marrakech. Throughout the day, the muezzin (or crier) in the minaret (the tower of the mosque) calls people to prayer five times a day: dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall.
As a non-muslim, this was truly a fascinating experience to hear the call to prayer throughout the city at key times and the Koutoubia Mosque is impressive, which amplified the sensation.
Day Trip to Berber Villages and the Atlas Mountains
If you’re visiting Marrakech, it would be a shame to miss the incredible region surrounding the city. As part of our trip, we decided to take two day-trips so we could enjoy more of what Morroco had to offer. The first trip we took was to the Atlas Mountains, which expand across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Before arriving at the Berber villages we were meant to explore, the tour guide stopped for a short break along the way to have a traditional Berber breakfast and see how argan oil is made in one the factories along the way.
Once we reached our destination, we felt as if we were in a completely different place and time. The stunning views made us forget about the long walk on bumpy trails and our guide, a local from the Berber village, was incredibly nice and thoughtful, and shared lots of fascinating facts about the Berber history and culture.
We stopped for a break at lunch and enjoyed a traditional chicken tajine and oranges, with a spectacular view in the mountains and the call to prayer echoing all around us.
After the tour was over, the guide kindly invited us to his house so we can have some Morrocan tea and meet his family, which I thought was just incredible of him to offer. We all agreed to go and met his mother and daughters who were running around the house, excited we came to visit. We enjoyed some home-made Morrocan sweets and tea and our afternoon was complete!
Here is the link to the tour we bought on Tripadvisor (Day Trip to Berber Villages and the Atlas Mountains)
Day Trip to Ouzoud Falls
Would you be interested in feeding monkeys or visiting the largest waterfall in North Africa? This is your chance to do both with another amazing day trip to Ouzoud Falls. Similarly to the previous day, the tour included transportation to the location and return to Marrakech at the end of the day.
Our tour guide was a very funny guy, he showed us the enormous house the King’s brother is building for himself near the waterfall and told us the story of the marked olive trees in the surrounding area.
After climbing down to get closer to the waterfall and admiring the scenery from one of the viewpoints, we managed to reach the waterfall area and got on a boat that took us right next to where the water was falling. You can even jump in the water and enjoy the swim if you have some extra dry clothes with you.
The views were breathtaking and the entire area is gorgeous, I would love to go back to Ouzoud sometimes in the coming years. After returning to the shore, we enjoyed some meat skewers and fruits, and continued our journey to climb back up, where monkeys were waiting for us! Baby monkeys, adult monkeys, teenage monkeys? All the monkeys you could think of…they were right there, running around, eating from people’s hands or climbing on their shoulders, heads and everything else they could climb on. Make sure you bring some snacks with you when you go to feed the monkeys. I noticed they really like waffles, but I’m not sure they are supposed to eat that so maybe do some research on what you can feed them and bring something that won’t upset their stomach.
We really loved this trip as well, I definitely recommend it, we booked ours through TripAdvisor at (Day Trip to Ouzoud Falls)
Is it even called a trip to Morroco if you haven’t tried to ride a camel at least once? If you ever rode a horse, riding a camel is x10 that. You will feel thrown in the air when the camel stands and will feel like they’re slamming you to the ground when they sit down so you can get off, but overall, it is a unique experience and might be worth giving it a shot as it can be really fun!
You can find camel rides from many online providers and most of them are very similar so I would suggest going for the ones who have good reviews and maybe you can have it as part of a day trip.
Jardin de Majorelle
A real Morrocan gem, Jardin de Majorelle took Jacques Majorelle (French painter) almost 40 years to complete. It’s right on Rue Yves St Laurent, so if you’re also planning to go to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, it would be best to go to these two on the same day.
“For many years, the Jardin Majorelle has provided me with an endless source of inspiration, and I have often dreamt of its unique colours.”
Yves Saint Laurent
Besides enjoying the bright colours and the Cubist villa in the garden, this is also a great chance to see exotic plants from all corners of the world. The entry ticket is 70 Dhs (£5.52) and you can find more info at https://www.jardinmajorelle.com/en/.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
Since you’re already on Rue Yves St Laurent, you will not want to miss this one! The Yves Saint Laurent Museum is open every day, except Wednesdays and the tickets are 100 DH per person (around £8). The museum has multiple areas, from an exhibition hall where you can learn more about Yves Saint Laurent’s career to the stunning collections or the auditorium where you can watch short films about his professional and personal life. You can buy your tickets on their website at https://www.museeyslmarrakech.com/en/.
El Badi Palace (Palais el-Badi)
Also called “The Incomparable”, this ruined palace once had 300 rooms and even now, it still offers some spectacular views. From the sunken orange trees to the ruins of former rooms and the city views from the top of the palace, El Badi should be on your list if you’re travelling to Marrakech. Close to the Bahia Palace (another palace in Marrakech), these ruins are impressive and definitely worth a visit.
Bahia Palace (Palais Bahia)
Within walking distance from the El Badi Palace, you can visit yet another remarkable landmark of the Red City from the 19th century, the Bahia Palace.
The salons of both the petit riad and grand riad host intricate marquetry and zouak (painted wood) ceilings, but the Cour d’Honneur, or Grand Cour, with its 1500 sq m floor of Italian Carrara marble, is the undisputed highlight.
Drink Moroccan Tea on a Rooftop at Sunset
The Medina is packed with cafes and restaurants that also have a rooftop where you can enjoy your drinks or food. Sipping some Morrocan tea on a rooftop at sunset was probably one of the highlights of this trip. As the market noises continue to echo, the skies turn red and the views are truly breathtaking.