Things to do in Marrakech
While non-Muslims can’t enter most places of worship, it’s possible to take a walk around the exterior of many to appreciate some great architecture. The most famous, Koutoubia Mosque, towers over local buildings at just 77 metres tall, owing to a town planning rule whereby you can’t build higher than a palm tree. Koubba El-Badiyin sits lower than today’s street level and is the only building remaining from the Almoravid era.
The Majorelle Gardens, filled with rare plants, or the Ourika Valley offers stunning views from traditional Berber villages as well as the majestic Seven Waterfalls and nearby Ksar Ait Ben Haddou. Built as a gateway to the Atlas Mountains, where it is possible to hike in some areas, Menara Gardens features a green tiled roof pavilion that not only offers a great view of the lake and a place to feed the giant carp, but also spectacular views of the snowcapped mountains and pretty colours of the olive and fruit trees below.
Riads are traditional homes converted into hotels and generally a great place to stay with hospitable staff and impressive architecture. A public steam bath, known as a hammam, is another must-do cultural experience. There are plenty of places to shop for fashion and clothes - you could even try a traditional tannery if you’re chasing leathergoods - and terraces to enjoy an afternoon cocktail or snack. This is a market town at heart, so embrace the carpets, snake charmers and everything in between.
For history buffs, Maison Tiskiwin and Dar Si Said museums feature arts and crafts of yesteryear as does Musée de Marrakech (complete with rotating exhibits). Two main attractions from the Saadian era also remain today: El Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs. For more of our faves in Marrakech, here’s our list of must-see sights.
Three pavilions built during the reign of Saadian sultan Ahmed El-Mansour hold many graves of the prominent of the time. Located next to the Kasbah Mosque, it’s one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
Now a dilapidated ruin, Badi Palace was once an ostentatious display of Saadian wealth and power with gold on the walls and ceilings and a large pool in the centre.
Known locally as Musée de Marrakech, this museum is within the majestic 19th-century Dar Menebhi Palace and features modern and traditional Moroccan art and artifacts of Jewish, Berber and Arab heritage.
Designed by expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s, Majorelle Gardens feature plants from the 4 corners of the earth and is so beautiful, Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered here.
The main square of Marrakech, Jamaa el Fna has more than one dazzling sight to behold, day or night, with everything from fire twirlers to snake charmers, and fortune tellers to market stalls.
Roam by foot or donkey through traditional Berber villages among the juniper trees and enjoy the stunning views of the rugged Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
Built as a gateway to the Atlas Mountains, Menara Gardens not only offers a great outlook of the lake and a place to feed the giant carp, but also spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains and pretty colours of the olive and fruit trees below.