Marrakesh is colorful, busy and loud. It can be overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. I absolutely loved everything about it, even though not all of our experiences were entirely positive.
But hey, you live and you learn…
Still, Morocco is one of those places that I am 100% sure that I’ll go back to as soon as possible!
Marrakesh is great for a shorter weekend trip but can also be enjoyable for a longer stay.
It doesn’t matter though, if you have 2 or 20 days to spend in Marrakesh. What matters is that you shouldn’t miss out on the following things to do & see in Marrakesh.
1. Stay in a traditional Riad
I love Riads! When I first looked at AirBnb for our Marrakesh stay I was blown away by the sheer choice of amazing looking Riads all over Marrakesh.
Staying in a Riad will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale of a 1001 nights!
The Arabic word for Riad stands for “Garden with trees” and describes a traditional Moroccan house, which usually has an inner yard with a garden.
Riads are available in all price classes and usually include a small, traditional breakfast. I would recommend staying in a Riad in the Median (old town) of Marrakesh for the most authentic experience. That way you will also be close to a lot of the most interesting sights.
Although Marrakesh has a big variety of amazing hotels I would chose a Riad over a hotel any day!
2. Jemaa el Fna- enjoy the view from a rooftop bar
Jemaa el Fna square is one of the most well known places of Marrakesh or maybe Morocco as a whole. There is a lot to Jemaa el Fna- the monkey handlers, the traders, the storytellers and the dancers… and let’s not forget the snake charmers! It’s can be an overwhelming experience for all senses.
While walking through the market is great, one of the things I enjoyed most was sitting in one of the many rooftop bars around it. From up there (if you can snatch a good seat) you have a perfect view over the busy market square and you can really take your time to take it all in. It’s also a favorite hangout spot for photographers!
Tip: You have to buy something to eat or drink at the bar/restaurant before you’re allowed onto the rooftop. Prices can be a bit higher than in non-rooftop bars.
3. Enjoy a glass (or many) of Moroccan mint tea
Moroccan mint tea is probably one of my favorite teas, next to Turkish tea and Matcha.
I haven’t been able to recreate the flavor of a typical Moroccan mint tea at home, since the technique is quite elaborate, but I will keep trying!
Mint tea in Morocco can be found everywhere and is drunk at all the times. It will probably be the first thing offered to you at your Riad or Hotel when you get to Marrakesh. It always comes in a small glass, topped with fresh peppermint leaves. The tradition of brewing and offering tea in Morocco represents friendship and hospitality, which is something I really love!
Tip: Moroccans drink their mint tea with a lot of sugar… if you don’t have a sweet tooth, ask to add your own sugar to your tea.
4. Admire the architecture of palaces and mosques
The Bahia Palace
The name Bahia stands for “brilliance” and it’s really fitting. Out of all the well-known tourist attractions in Marrakesh, the Bahia Palace was my favorite.
It’s architecture of the palace is marvelous. There is so much to look at and admire in the 160 rooms and 8.000 m² of the palace.
Dar El Bacha museum
If the Bahia Palace is too busy for you but you would still like to admire beautiful architecture then I recommend stopping by the Dar El Bacha museum instead.
The museum building is a fair bit smaller than the Bahia Palace but just as beautiful and far less known. Since it was only recently renovated and reopened it isn’t listed in any tour guides. It makes for beautiful photos as there usually aren’t many visitors.
We stumbled upon this gem by accident, not thinking that we would enjoy it as much as we did.
We stayed for nearly two hours! It’s such a calm place within one of the most hectic neighborhoods of the Medina and the museum is well worth the 40MAD entrance fee.
5. Get lost in the alleyways and souks of the Medina
It’s way to easy to get lost in the Souks (markets) and alleyways of the Medina. But that’s just part of the Moroccan experience.
We got lost several times and couldn’t find our way back for ages but almost every time we stumbled upon some lovely market, great photo spots or found some new favorite Moroccan snacks at one of the many street food stalls. You just have to go with it! Not knowing where to go can sometimes lead to the best experiences…
The atmosphere in the souks is just special and there are hundreds of different wares you can buy. From local handiwork to fresh fruits and vegetables to argan oil, oriental spices and silk carpets- there isn’t much you won’t find in a Moroccan market.
Tip: Don’t be nervous when you get lost. If you just continue walking through the streets of the Medina, chances are you will find an opening that you recognize sooner or later. And if that doesn’t happen, then there are more than enough people around who are more than willing to help you find your way out of the labyrinth for a couple Dirhams.
6. Visit the fascinating gardens of Marrakesh
I have written about the Jardin Majorelle in detail here.
The garden is located a bit outside of the Medina but worth a visit if you want to learn more about the local flora and the history behind its restoration by fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent.
The garden itself didn’t impress me as much as other botanical gardens I have visited. But the famous cobalt blue villa was a nice thing to marvel at and one of the things you just have to see when in Marrakesh.