Things to do in Marrakech

Must-see Marrakech sights

Number one is the Jemaa el Fna Square, the open space in the centre of the city. The world-famous market hums with energy, music and the cry of market stall sellers. The city’s other architectural attractions are no less compelling. With the magnificent Jardin Majorelle and the delicate Saadian Tombs, Marrakech is a city that has an alluring appeal like no other.

Marrakech lures you in with its winding souks, magnificent architecture and its boundless energy. With fantastic food too, Marrakech has it all.

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1. Wander around Jemaa el Fna Square

This is the best thing to do in Marrakech if you want to soak up the energy and vibrancy of this dazzling city. Watch magicians perform tricks, hear calls of storytellers and see dancers prance around the space. It’s an addictive place where you’ll definitely come back for more. Expect compelling energy during the day which sifts through into the evening, too. Quite simply one of the most fascinating places to see in Morocco.

Best for: The vibrancy of Marrakech

While you’re there: There are plenty of places to eat and drink while you’re here. Have a pit stop here and enjoy the open-air circus before you. 

2. Marvel at traditional architecture

Simple but beautifully proportioned, the Koutoubia Mosque’s minaret is the most perfect in North Africa. It’s a classic piece of Almohad architecture. Thrusting through the sky at nearly 70m high, the building is visible for miles on a clear morning. Its proportions - a 1:5 ratio of width to height - established the classic Moroccan design. The mosque to which it is attached (closed to non-Muslims) is the largest one in Marrakech.

Best for: Classic Moroccan architecture

While you’re there: Take note of the three great copper balls at the top of the minaret. They are the subject of numerous legends, mostly of supernatural interventions to keep away thieves.  

3. Meander through the souks

Exploring the souks is a unique experience and is not to be missed while visiting Marrakech, or anywhere in Morocco in fact! The best souks in Marrakech are found near Jemaa el Fna Square. Think unique jewellery pieces, lush carpets and even love potions! Trundle down Rue Souk Smarine for plenty of lanes filled with more traditional Moroccan goods. Rue Souk Smarine cuts off into two separate parts - Souk el Kebir and Souk el Attarine. The area around Souk el Kebir is home to endless leather satchels and twinkling lamps, while the space around Souk el Attarine showcases plenty of Moroccan crafts such as metal and pottery works. If you’re looking for a souvenir in Marrakech, the souks are the perfect place to explore.

Best for: Moroccan crafts

While you’re there: Remember that haggling is all part of the souk experience! 

4. Visit the peaceful Jardin Majorelle

This is one of the most relaxing things to do in Marrakech. To have a breather from the fast pace of Marrakech, head to the Majorelle Garden, a meticulously planned twelve-acre botanical garden. It was created in the 1920s and 1930s by French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962). It was later owned by fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. When Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the garden, which contains a memorial to him.

Best for: A break from the rush of the city centre

While you’re there: The Yves Saint Laurent Museum close by hosts great temporary exhibitions.

5. Chill out in the Menara Gardens

Southwest of the Hivernage district, the Menara Gardens are a popular picnic spot for families in Marrakech. Tourists also enjoy the rectangular pool providing a classic postcard image beneath a backdrop of the High Atlas. Aside from the pool, the garden is largely filled with olive trees. There’s usually someone by the park entrance offering camel rides.  

Best for: Picnics

While you’re there: For more green space, chill out in the Secret Garden (Le Jardin Secret) - an Islamic garden featuring a 19th-century palace.

6. See the Ben Youssef Medersa

Visiting the Ben Youssef Medersa is one of the most beautiful things to do in Marrakech. An intricately decorated building, it shows lashings of classic Moroccan decor. From stucco plasterwork and carved cedar wood, the Ben Youssef Medersa has it all. Wander through the central courtyard, where you can find carved cedar-wood lintels and wide, sturdy, columned arcades. 

Best for: Beautiful architecture

While you’re there: Find the prayer hall, where the decoration is at its best with gorgeous palm motifs on display.

7. Discover the Saadian Tombs

The Saadian Tombs is an incredible complex of grand mausoleums and tombs. The area is home to the remains of the Saadian dynasty’s founder. Remains of other significant figures and princes can also be found. With its use of lavish Italian marble, deep green and azure blue tiling, this is one of the best things to do in Marrakech. 

Best for: History

While you’re there: The best time to see them is first thing in the morning, before the crowds arrive, or late in the afternoon when they, and the heat, have largely gone.

8. Get scrubbed down in a hammam

What to do in Marrakech if you’re looking for a traditional spa experience? Head to a hammam. Moroccans are regular goers and they often hang out in hammams for a catch up with friends. In Marrakech’s medina, there are plenty of hammams such as Hammam Polo and Hammam Bouloukate. Women and men enter separately. Being slathered in mud and being scrubbed with a mitt until you are red raw may not sound that appealing. But trust us, you’ll feel all shiny and brand new when you’re done!

Best for: A bit of TLC

While you’re there: If you’re looking for Marrakech holidays we suggest staying at the luxurious Es Saadi Marrakech Resort.

9. Delve into the traditional dish of Marrakech

We all know couscous and tagine. But have you tried tanjia before? This is the dish Marrakech is known for. Tanjia, or jugged meat, is usually made with beef but sometimes lamb and is a slow-cooked stew. Strictly speaking, the tanjia is the jug itself. The traditional way to make the dish is to go to the butcher with your jug (or use one of the butcher’s), buy the meat and spices to put in it. It’s then taken to a hammam and is cooked slowly in the bathhouse’s furnace. When the urn emerges a few hours later, the meat is soft and tender. Affordable tanjia can be found at the stalls opposite the olive souk near Jemaa el Fna Square. 

Best for: Foodies

While you’re there: Try a flaky pastilla too, a sweet, savoury pie usually made with chicken.

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