Marrakech is a city full with secrets, and unraveling all of them may take years, if not a generations. If you just have a few days, stop by these sights to get a sense of Ochre City’s noble history, fast-paced present and perpetual fascination with beauty.
Although it might be tempting to attempt to remain completely off the beaten path when visiting new towns, Marrakech’s most famous landmarks are still worth seeing, and a stroll around the medina will reveal many surprises. This list highlights the finest of what the city has to offer, from well-photographed gardens like Jardin Majorelle to off-the-beaten-path mansions and emerging creative districts.
Places to visit in Marrakech:
The first place in this list of the best places to visit in Marrakech should for sure be the famous Djemaa el-Fnaa square, the massive square just at entryway to Marrakech’s medina, is the city’s heart and soul. On blistering hot afternoons, you’ll come across snake charmers and vendors selling anything from babouche, slippers to spices in many languages. The area comes alive at night with street food carts, storytellers, and musicians in long robes performing Gnawa, a piece of traditional music said to induce trance in listeners.
2-Medina of Marrakech:
The medina, which derives from the Arabic word for “city,” is the core of Marrakech. The ancient city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was constructed in the 11th century. Its maze of twisting alleys and passageways is best explored with a spirit of adventure and an inquiring mind. As you walk through its marketplaces and squares and discover its riads, your bravery will be rewarded with a virtually infinite feast for the senses. If someone offers to show you the route, politely decline unless you’re ready to pay for a tour. Surely one of the best places to visit in Marrakech.
The Koutoubia Mosque’s high minaret has become a symbol of Marrakech. The mosque’s exterior is made of red bricks and sandstone and has many artistic elements. The mosque’s appealing elements include turquoise tiling, plasterwork, calligraphy, arches, and fountains which makes it one of the best places to visit in Marrakech.
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The Saadian Tombs are a massive complex of magnificent mausoleums and tombs that contains the graves of the founder of the Saadian dynasty, as well as princes and other significant persons. The site was built in the 1550s, and gold, Italian marble, and vibrantly colored tiling add to the lavishness of the final burial sites.
5-Spice souks and artisanal markets:
Souks occupy the alleys just behind Djemaa el-Fnaa. On your walk to the Place des Épices, stop for sweets, clothes, and leather products. Spices, soap, and fragrances may all be found in the medina’s center. A tiny, nearly concealed door leads to the carpets souk, wherein women of the Amazigh, or Berber tribes, one of Morocco’s native inhabitants, make carpets. Just around the street, you can float through lighting stores that resemble little cosmos, or you may buy huge castanets, known as qraqeb, so you can jam with the Gnawa performers in Djemaa el-Fnaa. Remember, all costs in the medina are negotiable, and negotiating is a social skill. You could make a friend and also a great bargain if you can calm down and take your time – which is tough when there is so much to see.
When the noise and bustling of the souks overwhelms you, retreat into the serenity of one of the numerous riads, or traditional homes, that have been turned into museums and art galleries – pieces of art inside works of art. The Musée Boucharouite has exquisite tapestries and a secret rooftop café, whilst the Musée de Mouassine exhibits the works of local artist Abdelhay Mellakh and frequently hosts traditional music performances. If you’re looking for something more innovative, consider the Museum of Photography or, if you can locate it, the contemporary art museum Le 18. Meanwhile, Le Jardin Secret is a tranquil haven, and while boutique hotel El Fenn may be out of your price range, you can at least have a drink on the terrace. Dar Charifa, the Tiskiwin Museum, Dar Si Said, the Musée de la Femme, and the Heritage Museum are among the other hidden jewels.
7-The Badi and Bahia Palaces:
Bahia and Badi, two of Marrakech’s most spectacular palaces, located on the outskirts of the medina and are an excellent way to break up a day in the souk. Badi Palace, which dates from the 17th century, features reflecting pools and subterranean gardens. Meanwhile, Bahia Palace, which was constructed in the 1860s and was not completed until the turn of the twentieth century, has elegant woodwork ceilings and gorgeous tiled courtyards, it’s just one of the best places to visit in Marrakech and for sure can’t be missed.
Every Moroccan neighbor contains a mosque or two, a public oven, and a traditional hammam, demonstrating the importance of the hammam in Moroccan society, and what makes it amongst the best places to visit in Marrakech. Locals bring buckets and beauty materials to public hammams and spend several hours cleaning themselves in one of the steam chambers. Unless you have a plastic pail on hand, you could be better off in a personal hammam in which you’ll have your own room. These vary from the simple and inexpensive to the expensive and costly, but the concept is the same: you’ll be massaged with Moroccan dark soap and cleaned from head to toe – no exaggeration – with a rough bath mitt. Warning: do not attempt this if you are sunburned, and be prepared to emerge as a completely different person (at least as far as your skin is concerned.)
Everywhere you look at the Jardin Majorelle, you are looking at a piece of art. In this beautifully constructed garden, the organic forms and subdued colours of succulents and cacti contrast with unexpected elegance against the brilliant blues and yellows of the Beautiful Architecture. The garden was designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle, and fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé purchased it in the 1980s to prevent it from being demolished. Next door is the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, in which you can learn about his work through sketches, pictures, and clothing, as well as the Berber Museum, which displays Amazigh arts and crafts. This rich place is for sure in our list amongst the best places to visit in Marrakech.
10-The Marjorelle, Agdal and Menara Gardens:
The gardens of Marrakech are well-known around the world for their immaculately groomed designs and unparalleled beauty. This one-of-a-kind trip brings you to two of the city’s most beautiful gardens: the previously mentioned Marjorelle, and Menara, which has breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains. The cherry on top is a horse carriage ride through the Agdal Gardens, which border the opulent Hivernage and Mamounia hotels.
You’ll have to depart the medina for something like the new city of Gueliz to discover Marrakech’s local vibe, not to mention being amongst the best places to visit in Marrakech. While the main street has an American-style mall, the side roads include shops, private art galleries, and both modern and traditional cafés. If you stay until the evening, you’ll discover live music in practically every bar and restaurant, ranging from wild traditional chaabi to classic rock covers to Latin dance music.
If you really want to sense as if you’re in countryside without leaving the city, go to the Palmeraie at the city’s north outskirts. The palm-tree paradise, which covers 140 km² (54 sq miles), is also home to fancy hotels and golf clubs.
And over here we end our list of 12 best places to visit in Marrakech, for sure there are more places to visit in this massive city, other places that you can for sure find more info about in our blog.