Some of the best things to do in Marrakech include experiencing its buzzing souks, taking in its ornate palaces and sampling delicious North African cuisine. Marrakech may only be Morocco’s 4th largest city, but it’s the most well-known of the country’s tourist destinations, offering unique cultural experiences nestled among its ancient streets.

As you visit the maze-like Medina, you’ll be surrounded by the sight of colorful spices, the noise of traders bartering and the smell of aromatic stews simmering away in tagines. Marrakech is a city that seamlessly blends African, Middle Eastern and European cultures, creating a vibe you can’t find anywhere else. 

What are the best things to do in Marrakech?

  • 1

    Medina

    Ancient center offering local culture, cuisine, and shopping opportunities

    Medina
    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Medina or Old Town is a winding mass of narrow streets filled with souks, hammams (bath houses), and beautifully tiled riads. It's home to many Marrakech landmarks, including Bahia Palace, Jemaa el-Fna, and Le Jardin Secret.

    As you explore this historic neighbourhood, the delicious smell of regional foods greets you at every corner. While market vendors can verge on being pushy, it’s great fun to barter for a skillfully sewn rug or expertly crafted leather babouches. Medina has plenty of rooftop cafes when you need a break from the hubbub. Opt for a cup of mint tea while enjoying spectacular views of Medina.  

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  • 2

    Marrakech Museum

    Ancient Moroccan relics housed in palatial splendor

    Marrakech Museum
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Marrakech Museum is a great example of traditional Moroccan architecture, featuring intricate tilework, carved wooden ceilings, and spacious courtyards. Not only can you see some fine weaponry and pottery in its exhibit rooms, but you are also free to appreciate the splendor of a 19th-century palace.

    The Dar Mnebhi Palace has a decorative courtyard filled with stunning Zellij tilework and a gigantic brass chandelier – it's an unmissable photo opportunity. Alongside its permanent collection, the Marrakech Museum hosts frequent temporary exhibits, live music, and traditional performances. It also provides a dynamic platform for cultural exchange and creative expression. 

    Location: Place Ben Youssef, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +212 (0)5244 41893

    Map
  • 3

    Bahia Palace

    Excellent example of traditional Islamic architecture

    Bahia Palace
    • History
    • Photo

    Bahia Palace is a magnificent architectural wonder located in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco. It was built in the late 19th century by Si Moussa, the grand vizier of the Sultan, and later expanded by his son, Bou Ahmed. The palace boasts intricate designs and details, including carved stucco, colorful mosaics, and beautiful gardens. 

    You can explore the palace's numerous rooms and courtyards, each with its own unique features, such as the grand courtyard, the council chamber, and the harem quarters. Stop by its onsite museum to learn about Morocco's rich cultural heritage. 

    Location: Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

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  • 4

    Jardin Majorelle

    Garden complex designed by French painter, Jacques Majorelle

    Jardin Majorelle
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Jardin Majorelle is a botanical garden in Marrakech, Morocco. Designed by French painter, Jacques Majorelle, in the 1920s, it was later acquired and restored by renowned fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent, and his partner Pierre Bergé. The garden features a unique blend of Moroccan and European elements, with vibrant colors, intricate tilework, and exotic plants.

    The 2.5-acre garden is divided into multiple sections, each with its own theme and charm. One of Jardin Majorelle's most iconic features is a vivid blue villa, now a museum dedicated to the life and work of Yves Saint Laurent. You can also explore a cactus garden, lily pond, and bamboo grove, among other attractions.

    Location: Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech 40090, Morocco

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +212 (0)5242 98686

    Map
  • 5

    Souks of Marrakech

    Shopping galore in Marrakech’s characterful markets

    Souks of Marrakech
    • Shoppers

    Marrakech is known for its bustling souks, which are traditional marketplaces offering an array of goods and services. Expect a labyrinthine of narrow alleys that are filled with shops selling a variety of products such as spices, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and leather goods. Tagines and Berber rugs can be found in most Marrakech souks. Head over to Souk Haddadine for jewelry and metal objects, or Souk Cherratine for leather goods. 

    Haggling is a common practice in the souks, so you should be prepared to negotiate prices. These marketplaces are not only a place to shop, but also a hub for social interaction and cultural exchange in Marrakech. 

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  • 6

    House of Photography Marrakech

    Morocco’s rich heritage conveyed through photography

    House of Photography Marrakech
    • History

    The House of Photography in Marrakech is a fascinating museum within a beautifully restored 19th-century mansion. Rather than glass cases filled with artifacts, you’ll find more than 8,000 photographs depicting Morocco in various facets. Exhibits feature celebrated photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, and Robert Capa.

    The museum itself is a peaceful place to explore. It has a giftshop that sells prints of its most popular photographs, as well as a rooftop cafe overlooking the city. While the House of Photography has only been around since 2009, it has already staked its claim as one of Marrakech’s finest museums. 

    Location: Rue Ahl Fes, 46 Rue Bin Lafnadek, Marrakech 40030, Morocco

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +212 (0)5243 85721

    Map
  • 7

    Mellah

    Marrakech’s historic walled Jewish district

    Mellah
    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Mellah is a historical Jewish quarter in the city of Marrakech. Established in the 16th century, it served as a thriving community for the Jewish people for several centuries. The neighbourhood is characterized by narrow streets and traditional Moroccan architecture with beautifully decorated buildings and colorful mosaics. 

    Exploring this district on foot lets you discover the unique Jewish heritage of Morocco through its synagogues, cemeteries, and museums. A famous attraction is the Lazama Synagogue, which is still in use today. Mellah also offers a variety of local markets and traditional shops, selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and spices. 

    Open: 24/7

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  • 8

    Ben Youssef Madrasa

    Former school of Islamic theology and law

    Ben Youssef Madrasa
    • History
    • Photo

    The Ben Youssef Madrasa is a remarkable piece of Moroccan architecture dating back to the 16th century. Located in the heart of Marrakech's Medina, it was a former school of Islamic theology and law that's known for its rigorous education system.

    The Ben Youssef Madrasa's beautiful courtyard, adorned with a reflective pool, intricate geometric tilework, and stucco carvings, is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of the time. The intricate decorations are a blend of Islamic and Andalusian styles that create a mesmerizing effect. Walking through the hallways, you can imagine the intellectual pursuits and theological debates that once took place within its walls.

    Location: Rue Assouel, Marrakech 40000, Morocco

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Map
  • 9

    Saadian Tombs

    Colorful burial chambers of the Saadian dynasty

    Saadian Tombs
    • History
    • Photo

    The Saadian Tombs are a historic site dating back to the 16th century. Located in the Kasbah district, the tombs were rediscovered in 1917 after being sealed off for centuries. They are the final resting place of members of the Saadian dynasty, including Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur and his family.

    The Saadian Tombs are a stunning example of Islamic architecture, with intricate tilework and carved stucco adorning the walls and ceilings. You can wander through the peaceful garden and view the various chambers, each adorned with lavish decorations and beautiful Islamic calligraphy. 

    Location: Rue de La Kasbah, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +212 (0)5244 33407

    Map
  • 10

    Jemaa el-Fna

    Giant plaza representing Marrakech’s many personalities

    Jemaa el-Fna
    • Budget
    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Shoppers

    Jemaa el-Fna is found at the center of the medina. It’s the heart of the Old Town and is always full of life. The vast square is packed with stalls offering diverse foods and souvenirs - plus you’ll likely spot a snake charmer or two as you take a walk around. Berber music and Gnaoua dance performances also take place until at least midnight.

    As the light fades and the stars appear, hundreds of people come to peruse the light-covered stalls and enjoy the vendors serving up Moroccan-spiced stews and soups, plus tempting after-dinner sweet treats. It’s one of the busiest parts of the city at night and is well worth spending an hour or 2 of your evening. 

    Open: 24/7

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Carly Rolfe | Compulsive Traveler