the thing with marrakech is, you either love it or hate it – there really is no in between. i have to say that i fell insanely in love with morocco’s so red city, even if my trip to morocco was super chaotic and so many things didn’t go as planned. while i really want to focus on the good in this post you can listen to me rant about all the things going wrong in my first v-log storytime which will be online soon.
okay, so here we go, here are my top 10 things to do in marrakech:
1. FEEL THE MAGIC AT JEMÂA EL-FNA
the JEMÂA EL-FNA is such a magical place and could very well be taken right out of disney’s aladdin! it’s located at the foot of the KOUTOUBIA MOSQUE and is one of the main squares in marrakech. while you’ll be able to shop some local goods and fresh fruit (juice) there during the day the square gets really crowded at night and transforms into a mystical place with food stalls, story-tellers, performers, snake-charmers, fortune-tellers and much much more all over! visiting the square at nigth is definitely a unique experience!
2. GET LOST IN THE SOUKS
the MEDINA of marrakech consists of a various souks with more than 30,000 craftsmen that make it one of the biggest medinas in morocco – and it was even named an unesco world heritage in 1985! the SOUK DISTRICT is huge and maze-like so it’s super easy to get lost while shopping. this is not a bad thing at all though – i loved wandering the souks without knowing where i wanted to go and just take in all the different smells and maybe buy a souvenir here or there. oh and by the way: don’t forget to haggle!!!
3. ENJOY THE SUNSET AT A ROOFTOP RESTAURANT
rooftops are the perfect way to really take in the beauty but also the chaos of marrakech. there’s a lot of great rooftop restaurants surroinding jemâa el-fna and i loved sitting up there, drinking some moroccan mint tea and just watch what’s going on down there. something i will never forget though is having dinner at a rooftop restaurant during sunset. you can really see how the square transforms as the sun goes down and the view of the sun disappearing behind the koutoubia mosque and turning the sky orange was just breathtaking!
PS: there’s a great list of the best rooftop restaurants in marrakech from THE CULTURE TRIP
4. FALL IN LOVE WITH AFRICAN FOOD
when in morocco you obviously have to smaple the fresh and flavorful food of north africa. in general the food in morocco is really healthy and most dishes contain vegetables and rely on whole grains. one of the most famous moroccan dish is tangine, a slow-cooked stew which is traditionally eaten directly from the clay cooking vessel.
what i also really really loved was moroccan mint tea which is just so so so delicious! it’s made from a mixture of green tea, fresh mint leaves and sugar and it’s literally the best tea i’ve ever had. i loved it so much i even bought my own moroccan teapot + tea blend at the market to take home with me.
5. VISIT SOME MUSEUMS & HISTORICAL SITES
there’s so so so many museums and historical sites to visit in marrakech but all of them are so unique and teach you so much about morocco plus the architecture is sooo pretty and well preserved. for example there’s the MEDRASA BEN YOUSSEF (a former islamic college), the MAISON DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE, SAADIAN TOMBS (graves that date back to the saadian dynasty), BAHIA PALACE, EL BADI PALACE, and many many more. and believe me – they’re all worth a visit!
6. EXPLORE THE NEW TOWN
to get the full marrakech experience you should not limit your visit to the MEDINA, the old town, but also visit GUELIZ, the new town. it’s completely different from the old town with wider streets, modern houses, traffic lights, walkways, and so on. you will even find huge shopping malls as well as parks there. while it’s not as pretty and authentic as the old town, the new town will definitely give you a little break from the crowded chaos of the medina.
7. STROLL THROUGH THE MAJORELLE GARDENS
located in the new town of morocco you will find the picturesque JARDIN MAJORELLE. the gardens were originally laid out by the french artist jacques majorelle (hence its name). the designer yves saint-laurent got lots of inspiration for his designs there and loved the garden so much that he bought it in the 1980s and even his ashes were scattered there after his death! today the garden is home to more than 300 plant species from five continents (!!!) as well as a bright blue villa. also the YVES SAINT-LAURENT MUSEUM is right around the corner. deifinitely a place you shouldn’t miss when in marrakech!
8. DO A BEACH TOWN DAYTRIP
marrakech is super fun but also really hectic, so my advice is to take a day off and visit one of morocco’s coastal towns like ESSAOUIRA or AGADIR. we decided to visit essaouira, a fortified fishing town, and were not dissapointed – it’s such a beautiful and cute little beach town and offers a nice contrast to the bustling streets of marrakech. we especially enjoyes walking along (and on top of) the city walls. you also get an awesome view over the city (which is a unesco world heritage site by the way)+ ocean from up there. another thing i really liked is that all the houses are white in essaouira instead of red like in marrakech.
9. LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF MOROCCO
while in marrakech you’ll for sure trip across the original inhabitants of morocco: the berbers. since nowadays still almost 80 percent of the country claim at least some berber heritage the berber culture is still omnipresent in morocco. so as you know i always think it’s super important to learn about the culture & history of the country you’re visiting so why not visit a berber museum or village and educate yourself about their traditions (and maybe even learn how the famous moroccan argan oil is produced)?
10. GO TO THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS
the atlas mountains are north africa’s greatest mountain range and one of the most and beautiful regions of morocco. up there you’ll get taken back to the time where running water, mobile phones and cars didn’t exist and take a deep dive into the berber culture which i mentioned before. you’ll love the laid back, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere there! also you should definitely combine your trip to the atlas mountains with a visit of the OUZOUD FALLS, one of africa’s highest waterfalls, which are absolutely breathtaking and amazing!
before leaving for marrakech i thought that one week would be much too long and that we’d eventually get bored there but the exact opposite was the case. i could’ve stayed for so so so much longer and explore this beautiful city and its surroundings. but i guess that just means i’ll have to go back to morocco asap! next time i definitely have to visit CHEFCHAOUEN (the “blue pearl of morocco”), FÉS, AGADIR, … i can’t even stop!
i went to morocco without any expectations and then completely fell in love with this beautiful and unique country. so if you haven’t been to morocco yet I really recommend booking a flight right away!