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Written by Savi, 88 Comments


This week we’re on a bit of a mission to tempt you to put Marrakech on your bucket list. Why, you ask? Only because everything about Marrakech – old city walls, riads, crumbling palaces, noisy souks, skilled artisans – is unique. The ambience lends it a distinct character, different from most African and European capitals. Moroccan people are warm and the food is amazing. This mélange makes Marrakech stand out.


Here are Bruised Passports’ Top 10 things to do in Marrakech :


#1 Have the best Orange Juice of your life

Orange trees are omnipresent in Marrakech’s tangled alleys and exotic courtyards. Moroccan oranges are famous the world over, so it doesn’t comes as any surprise that Djemaa-El-Fnaa, Marrakech’s central square, is choc-a-block with vendors selling orange juice. A glass costs 5-10 Moroccan dirhams (approx. $1). A number of juice sellers also sell the juice of deeply-pigmented blood oranges, but charge a premium for it.

We prefer the original – it is refreshing and its crisp, citrusy flavour is hard to beat. We know it’s prudent to carry a bottle of water while sight-seeing but you can skip that ritual in Marrakech. Just head to the nearest cart and have a glass (or four) of orange juice – you will never want to go back to bottled water. Ambrosia = Moroccan Orange juice.

Marrakech things to do Orange Juice
Orange Trees in Marrakech, Morocco
Orange Juice
Juice carts by the dozen
Marrakech things to do Oranges
Blood Oranges, a local speciality


#2 Stay in a Riad

The number of hotels in Marrakech continue to increase with the city’s popularity as a tourist destination. But nothing beats the feeling of staying in a Riad – a traditional Moroccan house within the Medina (Old City). Checking into a Riad is probably the easiest way to familiarise yourself with Morocco. Expect walls embellished with traditional Moroccan rugs, shelves adorned with ethnic glassware, and breakfasts served in intimate central courtyards.

Irrespective of what you’re looking for – romantic getaway, luxurious weekend, or backpacking holiday – it is easy to find a riad to suit your budget. We stayed at Riad Al Idrisi, a mid-range Riad and got a cosy little room with a fireplace. Perfect.

Marrakech things to do Riad
Ethnic furnishings inside a riad
Marrakech things to do stay
Breakfast at a riad with Jean Genet for company – perfect!


#3  Explore the ruins of the El Badi Palace

The ruins of the El Badi Palace do not feature prominently on most itineraries of Marrakech – you will find more storks than people in the compound.

The El Badi Palace, literally translates as ‘The Incomparable One’. It was commissioned by the Saadian King Ahmad al-Mansur in the sixteenth century, built using precious materials like gold and marble, and looted and torn-down by his successor. The bare ruins, left-over mosaics, and stark walls have such tales to tell. It is easy to spend an hour or two walking around the complex. Make sure you go to the terrace – the view of the Atlas mountains is stunning.

The entrance fee is 10 Moroccan dirhams (approx. $1). You can enter for free if the disinterested guards at the entrance are not around.

Marrakech things to do Badi Palace
Storks at the ruins of El Badi Palace


#4 Visit the Bahia Palace

A far cry from the ruins of the El Badi Palace, the Bahia Palace is an elaborate architectural wonder. Made in the nineteenth century, it is a stunning example of Arab and Islamic architectural styles. The elaborate ceilings, colourful tiles, and stained glass lamps are gorgeous. Its peaceful courtyard is the perfect antidote to Marrakech’s chaotic souks.

The entrance fee is 30 Moroccan dirhams (approx. $3). More information here.

Marrakech Itinerary
The Bahia Palace
Marrakech things to do palace
The interiors of Bahia Palace


#5  Take a Calèche Ride

Marrakech is saturated with drivers persuading tourists to sample the delights of their city on a horse-drawn carriage. Bargain and settle on a price beforehand. The ride might be a tad cheesy but it is extremely enjoyable. If only commuting was always this much fun!!

Marrakech things to do Carriage
Carriage Ride Marrakech things to do
Calèche rides make Savi a happy bunny


#6  Unwind at the Menara gardens

Take a calèche ride from the Djemaa-El-Fnaa to The Menara Gardens. They are located towards the west of the city, at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The artificial lake is surrounded by fruit orchards and olive groves. There isn’t much to see but it is a good way to escape the hordes of tourists that throng the Medina.

We preferred the Menara gardens to the vastly overhyped Jardin Majorelle, maintained by Yves Sant Laurent. The latter were preened to perfection and a bit too artificial for our liking.

Marrakech things to do Menara
Menara Gardens with the Atlas mountains in the backdrop


#7 Go for a Day Trip

If you visit Marrakech during summer months, then a day trip to the Atlas mountains provides an ideal reprieve from the heat. You can read more about what’s in and around Marrakech by visiting here. For the culturally inclined, the fortified city of Essaouira is 2.5 hours away by bus. It is also possible to do a desert safari in the Sahara if you have 2-3 days to spare. Don’t book your side trips in advance – get to Marrakech, find a travel agency, and bargain (it is the norm) to get the cheapest deal.

#8 Have a glass of mint tea

If all that sight-seeing has left you a wee bit tired, Marrakech has the perfect solution. Visit one of Djemaa-El-Fnaa’s roof-top cafés and sip on a cup of sweet Moroccan mint-tea as you inhale the aromas wafting from the food market below.

Marrakech things to do mint tea
Roof top cafes

Mint Tea Morocco Things to Do


#9 Binge on Street Food

Food is definitely the highlight of a trip to Marrakech – it’s cheap, cheerful, and very tasty. Sample Moroccan delicacies like tagine, cous-cous, kebabs, and Harira soup at local restaurants.

The Djemaa-El-Fnaa transforms into a food market every night. Dozens of stalls sprout all over the square as the sun sets. All sorts of local delicacies are on offer. On our first night there, we were offered snails, sheep’s head, and fried aubergines in the same breath – take your pick 😉

Tagine Morocco Things to Do
Tagine at a local restaurant


#10 Marvel at the Koutoubia Mosque

If there is one word that defines the souks of Morocco and the food market at Djemaa-El-Fnaa, it is chaos. There are people everywhere – dozens of vendors pawning their wares, gypsies, wandering minstrels, and the ubiquitous owners of food stalls.

It is easy to get overwhelmed but one look at the magical minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque at sunset, standing tall amidst all the commotion, suddenly makes everything ok. The sharp cries of hawkers begin to seem rhythmic and the spires of smoke arising from the food market seem strangely reminiscent of an exotic fairy-land. The sight of Koutoubia Mosque at dusk puts everything into perspective – it makes Marrakech seem free, easy, uncomplicated…

Marrakech things to do food market


If you’re wondering why we didn’t mention the souks of Morocco here, it’s because we wrote a whole article on it. For an introduction to the Souks, read our Ultimate Guide to the Souks of Marrakech 🙂


88 thoughts on “Morocco: Top 10 things to do in Marrakech

  1. I have been in Marrakech a couple months ago and loved it.
    The orange juice is indeed one of the best I ever had. The street food is awesome and the Riads indeed very charming.

    1. The orange juice, street-food, and riads top our list as well Freya. It’s good to hear we were not the only ones drooling over that orange juice 😉

    2. I’m visiting Marakkech next & also wana go to Agadur or Essouria a beach place , so anybody tell me can I go by train or wats da quicest way to travel , thx

  2. These pictures are gorgeous! Did you feel safe traveling in Morocco? I am traveling as a single woman and slightly nervous about the culture and being harassed. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Cheers!

    1. Hey Mariah – Vid and I were together in Morocco. To be honest, I did feel a tad uncomfortable whenever I was alone. Having said that, Marrakech is a sprawling city and locals are quite used to seeing unescorted female travellers. I’ve had quite a few friends tell me it’s different in smaller Moroccan cities and the countryside – eve-teasing seems to be quite rampant in those parts. If you’re visiting just Marrakech, be on your guard and wear clothes that don’t flash too much skin – you will be fine 🙂

  3. Great selection, done them all 🙂 Only one glass of mint tea? I had this goal when I was in Morroco to count all the glasses of mint tea I had after about three days and 27 on my list I gave up 🙂
    To follow up with what you said in another comment, Morocco is actually quiet touristy already.

    1. Haha totally associate with that – I think we had dozens of glasses of mint-tea and orange juice in Marrakech 😉 I agree – Marrakech is super touristy now, but the smaller towns (Fez, Essaouira) of Morocco are still relatively unexplored.

  4. This post as compared to the one where you had visited the souks looks like a mellowed-down experience but enriching at the same time. The picture in which the Atlas mountains peek from behind the structure at Manera gardens is an absolute delight to the eyes. I like the idea of replacing water with the citrusy orange juice while you are on the move. 🙂 I particularly liked the last picture of the mosque. It reminds me of a line from one of my favorite songs- “All my designs, simplified…” 🙂

    1. Shivangi who doesn’t like a bit of Porcupine Tree. Haha- we got a bit too carried away talking about the souks – the funny bone cometh and goeth 😉 That picture of the Atlas mountains from the Menara Gardens is my favourite too. You will love Morocco 🙂

    1. Happy to be of help Michelle 🙂 Do read our Souk Guide as well- you will find it useful. Have fun in Morocco 🙂

  5. Marrakech has been on my bucket list for such a long time! It is one of my big travel regrets as it was on my itinerary for my first RTW and I let it drop at the last minute! Hve been dying to get there ever since!

    1. Anita you must visit Marrakech – it’s a treat to the senses (overwhelming at times, but totally worth it). Do travel to the smaller towns outside Marrakech as well, they’re incredible 🙂

      1. Hi there, I am heading to Morocco in August and had a few questions. Can you email me please to put me out of this misery LOL.. ‘bcos feeling a bit nervous, unsure but excited at the same time. Coming from similar background, I can relate to the food, culture, history but need a few things to know before I leave.. speak soon, Aleks

  6. Thank you for this post, the gorgeous photos too! We have *just* booked to go for the first time! We’ll be there in November. 4 of us are going and it’ll be a new experience for us all! We are beyond excited! 2 centre break, half Essaouira half Marrakech … 😀

  7. as always amazing took-my-heart-to-distant-lands post and stunning photos…’m so in love with what you guys are doing and of course your awesome blog.. 😀

    1. Thanks a ton for such a warm message Kausambhi. Hope you continue to enjoy reading Bruised Passports 🙂

  8. Wow guys, your post really makes me wanna pack my bags and fly to Marrakech! Beautiful scenery and locals seem to be so happy! Moreover, I love freshly squeezed orange juice 🙂

  9. Fantastic read thanks. I’m heading to Marrakech on Sunday for a week. Just wondering if you had a tour company that you would recommend for day trips. Also what price would you expect to pay? I’ve already got a price from one but it seemed rather expensive.

    1. Hey Eoghan – we didn’t have a tour company, so won’t be able to recommend any. However I can tell you that one should just get to Morocco, pick a tour company and bargain like there’s no tomorrow – it always works 🙂

  10. Just read your post guys great work! Agree with all you’ve said, especially the “assault on your senses” bit! It’s our last day here boo!

  11. Hi, This is a great article.

    I am planning on going to Morocco this September where I am hoping to see Marrakesh, the Atlas Montaigne and even take a 2/3 days trip to the desert.
    My parents are both Moroccan (me too 🙂 ) but I have never lived in the country and this is my first holiday where I will visit as much as I can.
    Thanks for sharing..

    1. Thanks for your note Habs. I’m sure you’ll absolutely love Morocco. It’s overwhelming but absolutely magical 🙂

  12. HI..


    I’m planning my honeymoon trip from 7th Dec to 21st Dec 2014 and would love to get some advice on how to plan the destination!

    We have 2 weeks.. So we were planning to cover Morocco + Southern Spain!

    How would the weather be like Dec. first two weeks?? We want to start off with a relaxing holiday (after the wedding madness) and then head for some adventure..

    Please help with a little itinerary planning and also let us know what all adventure activities would be possible around that time in those places??

    Looking forward to hearing from you 😀

    1. Hey Shveta – please read our articles on Southern Spain using the top menu (Just choose ‘Spain’ in the Countries category). We’ve suggested a number of activities and excursions and written reams about our favourite itinerary as well 🙂

  13. Doing a tier point run on british airways next week to Marrakech .It ll be my first time back there in 22 years .Marrakech is lovely but f**k ….do you get hassled and ripping off attempts are non stop in the old town ..Now the place is virtually suffering mass tourism can I assume it’s even worse ? Anyway wish me luck !

  14. Hi S and V,
    We want to visit Morocco during the Easter break in US. How many days do you think will be sufficient to do Marakech mainly and maybe the desert safari and if possible a bit of the surrounding. But the last bit of optional.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Sohini,

      You could spend 3 days in Marrakech, a night in the desert and perhaps a day trip to the Atlas mountains ? In all, 5-6 full days should be enough for all 3 🙂

  15. My passport is battered but not yet bruised, looking forward to a nice glass of O.J, thanks for the heads up always nice to know what one is in for, I’m known to get lost in the thick of culture. I shall let you know of my findings.

    1. We’re exactly the same – there’s no better feeling than getting lost in the thick of history and culture, especially when you can wash it all down with a glass of OJ or Mint tea. Will look forward to hearing what you thought of Marrakech 🙂

  16. Hi am travelling to Marrakesh in 2 weeks on my – being a single female, apart from the obvious covering up do you think it is quite safe to wonder around on my own during the day and night?

    1. Hey Irene – it’s quite safe, don’t you worry. Most locals in Marrakech are used to seeing single women travelling alone. You might be harassed a bit by vendors et al, but all tourists are 😉

      Just be a bit more careful if you decide to travel outside the city of Marrakech 🙂

  17. Thought I’d just post this on here, as I sit on my hotel balcony on a warm February morning here in Marrakech. Our first day here left us feeling a little uneasy, as we dropped our bags at the hotel, and took off into the main square, eager to get into the Moroccan vibe as quickly as possible. Within minutes, we are “befriended” by a guy, who says “remember me at your hotel, I saw you in the hallway”. We didn’t remember, but not wishing to sound rude, just nodded and had a strange broken conversation of pleasantries, ending up with our new”friend” saying he will show us into the old city proper, no obligation. On the way, more conversation, with him showing us pictures of his children etc, obviously a well practised ploy, and before we new it, were at a huge carpet sellers, where we were introduce to the owner, inviting us to take tea etc. Reading this will make you think as I would, oh yeah, should have seen it coming, but in all honesty, it was so quick and easy, we just let it happen. Anyhow, an hour later, and with around 50 carpets laid out on the floor, “just showing us their craft”!! out comes a pen and paper, with prices of a coupe of carpets we only remarked were nice. £1200, starting price, but make an offer!! Well trying to explain we weren’t even looking for a carpet took some doing, and I won’t go on about it, but we eventually “escaped”. Just a warning. Do not be enticed into following some guide, as it is always a ploy to get you to buy something, and when you are new to the city, is quite awkward to get out of, trust me
    However, the good part. We found a taxi driver, just outside the square, who wasn’t pushy at all, and asked him for a taxi back to the hotel. He seemed a genuine guy, and we booked him for more trips in and around the area. Three days of trips, and he took us to places we would never have found, and to be honest, ended up like more of a friend than our driver. All that cost us less than £100 which was amazing. Anyway, Marrakech is fabulous, but keep your wits about you. I wouldn’t say it is dangerous, just awkward at times, with our differing cultures. Its what we came here for, just learn the best way to deal with it.

    1. Thanks Pete – I’m sure this will be helpful to fellow travellers. You’re right – it’s good to be aware of one’s surroundings at all times in Morocco 🙂

  18. Well….tickets in hand and ready for our first visit to Morocco. November 2015 We love to hang with the locals. Any suggestions or cautions other than ones noted above. Thanks!

    1. Most locals are affable and friendly but do be wary of scams that try to entice tourists into parting with hard-earned money one way or the other. 🙂

  19. Leaving for a 13 day trip to Morocco in 2 1/2 weeks. Spending 3 nights in Marrekech, 1st night arriving late, so really 2 full day/nights. 1st full day we have a guide scheduled for the day to show us around all the “major” sites. Last full day we have on our own, have a driver at our disposal. Any recommendations on how to spend the final day before we depart to the next city, Essaouira?

    1. Hey Jason,

      How about a day trip to the Atlas Mountains ? or perhaps, just spend the day in Marrakech ? Even if you have seen all the sites, you could just absorb all the colour and madness whilst sipping some orange juice 😉

      1. Savi: Def gonna try some OJ while in Marrakech!! I believe we will probably stay around the center and get lost and enjoy the madness. We will be driving through the Atlas Mountains from Essaouira to Ouarzazate. Starting to really get excited for the trip, have a packed schedule in 13 days but have a few days to rest. We are also spending 3 days in Fes at the end of our trip, what are your thoughts of taking a day trip from Fes to Chefchaouen?

        1. Hi Jason,

          YES, definitely take a day trip to Chefchaouen and share your pictures with us 🙂 We have been dreaming of going to Chefchaouen to click the blue houses !!!

          Have a fantastic trip and enjoy Morocco – it’s crazy and beautiful at the same time 🙂

  20. Great article on Marrakech, staying in a Riad is definitely part of the Moroccan experience. I loved our stay in Dar Warda – it is such a beautifully designed riad x

  21. #5 suggests bargaining a good price before taking the ride – what would you say is a good price for these rides to bargain with?

  22. Hi, I wanted to take my two boys (18 years old and 13 years) to Marrkakesh this summer. I understand it is very very hot and coming from UK, it my be an issue. Was thinking of spending 3 days in Atlas mountains and 3 days in Marrakesh
    Would be grateful for some advice

    Thank you

    1. Hey Naheem – it does get hot in Marrakech, so go equipped with plenty of sunscreen 🙂 The weather in the Atlas Mountains will provide a respite from the heat but we’d recommend spending those 3 days in Marrakech – it’s an extremely interesting and rewarding city

  23. Hi, I’m travelling to Marrakech with a friend for 4days and we have no idea what to do so your list is a great starting point. How much money on average would you say should be enough for 4 days – being a closed currency I don’t want to take too much. Also, how much do you think a day trip to Atlas mountain would be?


    1. Hey Hemali – that depends on the kind of stuff you’ll be doing (eg. fine dining or street food, souvenir shopping or luxury shopping) but we’d suggest putting aside the equivalent of USD 25/person for transport within the city and eating at mid-range restaurants. A day trip to the Atlas Mountains costs around USD 100-200 depending on the kind of tour and the tour operator

  24. I am planning to make a trip with three of my mates for atleast 5 days in June to Marrakech . Can you please advice on places to visit for 25 year olds? cost can be whatever as long as its adventure/enjoyable/exploring

    1. Hi,

      You could go for an overnight trip to the Atlas mountains and camp there. Other than that, the main square of Marrakech is a lot of fun and we had a great time spending our evenings there.


  25. hey . loved your post. we will be going to Marrrakech in June and was wondering whether its better to book day trips to mount Atlas from the UK itself or wait till we arrive and book locally? would the latter be cheaper and do you know any trusty worthy companies that do these one day trips?

    1. Hey Leena,

      It’ll definitely be cheaper if you book on getting to Marrakech. We don’t know of any operators per se but if you take a walk in some of the lanes off the main square, you’ll find plenty of them 🙂

      Have a great trip

  26. Hello Savi,
    We’re an small grupo friends from NYC that are planing to go to Morocco this next October 2016.
    Our vacation is for 9 or 10 days and we’d like to cover and visit the following city:
    Rabat, Tangier, Chechaouene, Fes, Marrakech, Essaouira and Casa Blanca. May be this is crazy to cover all, in this short time but we’ll appreciated your suggestion and advise.

    Also the we’d like to do : desert safari in the Sahara and a trip to the Atlas mountains.


    1. Hi Guys,

      That’s way too many things to cover in 9 days. You’ll be spending most of your time on taxis/buses/trains. Just limit you stay to 3 days in Marrakech, 2 days safari and Atlas mountains, and 3-4 days in another city of your choice (perhaps Fes and Casa Blanca)

      Have a great trip

  27. Hey, there, Really awesome post. I am glad you have decided to share with us. Morocco is really a very amazing place. I just love it’s desert, culture, camel ride etc.I am planning a trip to enjoy the places:
    1. Paradise valley
    2. Merzouga
    3. Fes
    4. Marrakech

  28. Hiya, I’m a single women visiting Marrakech next week for 1 week with my 7yr old daughter. Is there anything I should maybe wary of or you may feel will be helpful?

    1. Dear Tara,

      Hope you have a great trip 🙂

      Just don’t venture out to deserted alleys after dark. We did not feel unsafe in Marrakech. We just wish that there were fewer (or no) people out there to scam tourists – petty scams where you’d just be harassed to dole out one or two Euros. Also, in the markets, petty thefts are a possibility so just be careful of your belongings 🙂

      Above all, have a great time and enjoy the madness of Marrakech – it’s truly special 🙂

  29. This is one of the superlative blogs to get facts about Morocco. I have read this blog and get the suitable information such as how many travel places are existing in Morocco. Which things are most well-known. Where you can adore the food and drinks. Thanks so much to share nice assortment of pics.

  30. Hi,

    I think I have to polish up my bucket list for the next coming travel destination. You have changed my way of thinking about Marrakech sightseeing. There are so many places to visit and a lot of things to do. Backpacked by beautiful images, I have to go there on my next trip. Thanks for a change in my think.
    Looking to hear more about Marrakech.

  31. Hello,

    We have a trip to Morocco and Southern Spain planned for this Christmas. Thanks for your post. Any guidance on vegetarian food in Marakeesh and rest of Morocco?

    Thanks in advance.

  32. This is awsome! Marrakech is a pretty city to stay for a couple of days and do excursions around to the atlas mountaisn, waterfalls and seaside.

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