Our time in Marrakech, Morocco was a complete trip highlight for both of us. Initially, we thought we would enjoy Fes more since it was a medina, but a bit quieter, but we really enjoyed our time traveling in Marrakech. The city of Marrakech itself has so much to offer. I’m pretty sure you could spend a lifetime there and not see everything there is to see. We spent four full days there and tried our best to see as much of the souks, historical sites and gardens as possible, as well as fit in time to relax during our stay at La Mamounia. If you are heading to Marrakech, today I’m sharing our Marrakech Travel Guide + Tips!
Marrakech Travel Guide + Tips
First things first – we barely made a dent in the city of Marrakech. Like I said before, you could spent a lifetime there and not see it all. There were several things we had highlighted to check out, so we made sure to cross those places off first. After that, we loved getting lost in the souks, discovering cool restaurants, people watching in the giant squares, stopping at food vendors for tasty snacks and shopping around the city.
WHAT TO SEE IN MARRAKECH
We knew we wanted to see a handful of sites that Marrakech is famous for, so we split them up over the course of 4 days. A lot of them required arriving early to beat the crowds, so we used that mentality and then tried to squeeze all the other Marrakech must-dos around that. To note, most attractions around the city require a small entrance fee and some are cash only.
We were told to get here early or it’s a total bust and that couldn’t be more accurate. We went about 40 minutes before they opened and the line was already wrapped around the block to get in. The kicker is that tour groups seemed to take priority, so we kept getting pushed to the back of the line. We still got some beautiful shots of the gardens and despite being shoulder to shoulder, it felt kind of peaceful amongst bustling Marrakech. There is a nominal fee for entrance and you can combine it with the YSL museum, which we chose to skip.
This was another destination that we were told to arrive to early and I’m really glad we did. There is a nominal fee to enter and it’s a sprawling palace with a lot of beautiful architecture to enjoy. We loved it, but once it started to get crowded, it was less leisure and more reminiscent of a tourist attraction with people constantly jockeying to see all the same things (and take all the same “Instagram” photos). The name means “brilliance” and in size, grandeur and style…it delivers!
Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech and one of our drivers mentioned that nothing in the city can be higher than it, because that would mean being higher than God. You cannot enter it, but it sure is beautiful from the outside and being able to see it from any point within the city is awe-inspiring.
Dane had pinpointed the Saadian Tombs on the map and I’m so glad he did! Whoever said that when you die, you can’t take it with you has never seen these tombs. HOLY MACKERAL – they are out of this world impressive. They were discovered in 1917 and date to time of the Saadian dynasty sultan Ahmad al-Mansur.
El Badi Palace
The Badi Palace was right around the corner from our riad, so we woke up one morning to get there early. It’s a ruined palace (so think broken down and not fancy anymore) located in Marrakech. It was commissioned by the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian dynasty and there is a fee to enter.
Le Jardin Secret
We found this inner-city garden a little bit by mistake. We had reservations to eat at the restaurant, Le Jardin, and Le Jardin Secret kept populating on our Google Maps, so we thought – let’s just go see what it is! Turns out, it’s a tranquil escape tucked directly in the center of the medina and worth checking out for some solitude. The green tile is HYPNOTIZING! I could have spent a lot more time there, but we were working on a bit of a time crunch. Allot about an hour to chill here if you can!
I would be foolish not to start off with the amazing shopping in Marrakech! I definitely went crazy in the souks and seeing what every merchant had to offer. Being in the souks is such a treat for the senses — the sights, smells, sounds. Talk about sensory overload! But we both really loved it. It’s fun bargaining for treasures to bring home, but we also really liked all the fresh fruit, delicious dates, olives and all the baked goodies. Plus, tons of fresh bread!
Jemaa el-Fnaa is the main marketplace and square in Marrakech’s old medina. Let me just tell you – I could have sat here and people watched for DAYS. It’s insane and there are so many things to take in. By day you can see snake charmers, women offering henna, orange juice stands and even some men walking monkeys. By night, it turns into a food stand mecca with all sorts of lantern sellers, mini bands and swarming people.
I mentioned earlier that we had gone to Le Jardin to eat and it was so good. So good, in fact, that we ate there twice. Definitely make a reservation!
WHERE TO STAY IN MARRAKECH
We stayed at La Mamounia and Riad Dar Anika, which was sort of the best of both worlds. La Mamounia definitely had a more traditional hotel vibe, where Dar Anika offered a quaint experience and was a better location. We also looked at Royal Mansour and Riad Yasmine, but there are hundreds of places to choose from! We researched quite a bit in regards to location and used TripAdvisor reviews to help navigate our search.
If you couldn’t tell, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Marrakech and still felt like there was a lot that we weren’t able to squeeze in. If you are debating a trip to this magical city in Morocco, do it! Want more? Don’t miss all of my Morocco posts!