28 Best Things to Do in Marrakech Morocco

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Are you planning your first ever trip to Marrakech and looking for the best things to do in Marrakech during your visit? As Morocco’s most popular tourist destination, Marrakech can feel overwhelming (as I felt when I visited on my first visit) for first timers with its buzzing souks, lively Djemaa El-Fna square, stunning architecture and so much more.

Koutoubia Mosque Morocco

But don’t worry! I’ve put together this comprehensive Marrakech travel guide from my extensive visit there covering the 28 best attractions and activities for first-time visitors in 2024.

#1 Top Pick
driving in Morocco

Private Full-Day City Tour w/ Majorelle Garden in Marrakech

Overall, for first-time visitors to Marrakech wanting to capture the essence of the city in one day, this tour is perfect.

It includes exploring the lively souks, marvelling at the Koutoubia Mosque’s, exploring the Bahia Palace with its mosaics and gardens and more, all with a local guide.

Best Things to Do in Marrakech Morocco

From wandering through ancient souks to admiring beautiful palaces and mosques, check out this list of must-see highlights and hidden gems to make the most of your Marrakech trip.

1. Wander Around the Bustling Souks

Souks Marrakech Morocco scaled

The sprawling souks of Marrakech’s medina are one of the top tourist attractions in Marrakech and the perfect place to dive into Moroccan culture.

Spend hours getting happily lost in the labyrinth of narrow alleyways crammed with stalls selling everything from brightly coloured spices, handmade shoes and bags to lanterns and Moroccan handicrafts.

Make sure to sharpen your haggling skills and prepare to encounter snake charmers, henna artists, juice stalls and the non-stop energy that makes the souks an unforgettable Marrakech experience.

The most famous souks are Souk Semmarine, also known as the Spice Market, which will dazzle your senses with piles of fragrant spices, and Souk Abla, the best place to buy fabrics, scarves and the latest Moroccan fashion. Wandering through the souks is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Marrakech Morocco.

👉🎟️ Book Your Private Full-Day City Tour of Marrakech Including The Majorelle Garden Here

2. Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa

One of the few remaining madrasas (Islamic learning institutions) open to visitors in Morocco, the Ben Youssef Madrasa transports you back to the 16th century.

Located in the medina, this beautifully preserved school is worth a stop to admire the peaceful central courtyard surrounded by ornately carved arches and intricate Arabic script. Marvel at the tiny student dormitory cells, hardly bigger than the size of a small closet.

These housed up to 800 students at a time. Don’t miss the expansive library with elegant woodwork and the intriguing astronomic clock used to dictate prayer times.

The ceilings, walls, and floors are covered in exquisitely carved cedar wood, stucco and decorative tiles in typical Moroccan architectural style. Even if you have just a passing interest in Islamic architecture, the madrasa is a stunningly impressive site.

3. Behold the Majestic Koutoubia Mosque

Best Things to Do in Marrakech Morocco scaled

No trip to the “Red City” is complete without visiting the iconic 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech and one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Rising 252 feet (77m) into the sky, the Koutoubia minaret is the mesmerising centrepiece and things to see in Marrakech Morocco visible for miles around.

While non-Muslims cannot enter the prayer halls, you can marvel at the Koutoubia and its magnificent Moorish architecture from the outside.

Sunset is one of the best times to see the sandstone minaret as the light casts a beautiful glow at dusk. An ideal spot is from the Jemaa El Fna square or the gardens of La Mamounia luxury hotel next door.

4. Step Back in Time at the Saadian Tombs

This spellbinding ancient necropolis is one of Marrakech’s hidden gems and most beautiful places in Marrakech dating back to the Saadian dynasty that ruled Morocco in the 16th century.

Stepping inside the Saadian Tombs almost feels like entering a fairy tale as you explore the dazzling mosaic-covered chambers where Saadian royalty were buried.

Don’t miss the lavish Room of Twelve Columns, the central mausoleum dominated by twelve decorative marble pillars, and ornate tombs encrusted with vivid tiles in a signature display of Saadian extravagance.

Visiting this silent 16th century resting place is easily one of the top things to do in Marrakech at night or during the day and a highlight among Marrakech attractions.

5. Lose Yourself in the Lush Majorelle Garden

JardinMajorelle

In the heart of the new city, the exotic Majorelle Garden is a twelve-acre oasis of lush greenery, ponds and pathways designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 30s.

Later owned by Yves Saint Laurent, Majorelle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marrakech thanks to its Curtis’s botanical garden housing plants from five continents.

The iconic vivid cobalt blue buildings really make this one of the must-see places in Marrakech. You can see Museum of Islamic Art within the grounds, stop at the small Berber Museum and the charming Majorelle Café with courtyard seating. Put on your most colourful outfit when visiting Majorelle Garden to really fit the vibrant mood.

👉🎟️ Book Your Marrakech Majorelle Garden and YSL Museum Entry Ticket Here

6. Take a Day Trip to Essaouira

Essaouira Morocco

For a change of scenery from the bustle of Marrakech, take a day trip west to the laidback seaside town of Essaouira. The town has a relaxed vibe and fewer crowds than Marrakech. Spend the day wandering through the lively medina and along the ancient harbor front ramparts overlooking fishing boats bobbing in the port.

Browse shops selling locally made argan oil, rosewater, and woven handicrafts. Sit down for a fresh grilled seafood lunch at one of the fish monger stalls while taking in views of the ocean.

Later on, walk along the wide sandy beach and let the breeze coming off the Atlantic reenergise you. As sunset approaches, you can ride camels along the beach for a unique perspective. After a day immersed in Essaouira’s idyllic setting, you’ll return to Marrakech feeling refreshed.

👉🎟️ Book Your Essaouira Full-Day Trip From Marrakech Here

7. Explore the Ruins of El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace MOROCCO

Walking through the ruins of majestic El Badi Palace really shows the full scale of the Saadian dynasty’s former wealth and opulence in the 16th century. The remnants of the palace contain lush gardens, enormous decorative pools and tiled rooms that hint at its former grandeur.

Stroll through the vast courtyard and climb the minaret for panoramic views over Marrakech. The orange trees and roses blooming within the decaying walls are part of the palace’s lost romantic charm.

Make sure to check out the huge underground prison too. The sprawling ruins are some of the most interesting places of interest in Marrakech and provide welcome shade on a hot day.

👉🎟️ Book Your Bahia & Badi Palaces & Saadian Tombs Guided Tour Here

8. Take a Cooking Class and Learn to Make a Tagine

What better place to take a Moroccan cooking class than in one of the culinary capitals of North Africa famed for its fragrant tagines and couscous? Many classes take place in the intimate kitchens of riads around Marrakech or specialised cooking schools to learn about traditional Moroccan food.

Learn how to recreate tasty Marrakech street food like tanjia or master Moroccan cuisine secrets like using aromatic ras el hanout spice blends, grinding fresh spices with a mortar and pestle and cooking juicy lamb within a traditional clay tagine pot. Eating a homecooked Moroccan meal is one of the top foodie things to do in Marrakech.

👉🎟️ Book Your Tagine Cookery Class With a Local in Marrakech Here

9. See Marrakech From Above on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the most magical ways to see Marrakech’s ochre buildings and the soaring Atlas Mountains is from above in a hot air balloon at sunrise. Float up 1,000 feet for panoramic views across Marrakech and the surrounding palm groves and desert.

Most companies offer hotel pick up and a post-ride breakfast. Being suspended in the basket with expansive vistas all around makes hot air ballooning one of the most breathtaking things to do in Marrakech at sunrise. Seeing Marrakech and its surroundings at dawn from the sky is an unforgettable bucket list experience.

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10. Ramble Along the Ancient City Walls

For scenic views overlooking Marrakech’s ancient medina, head to the old defensive walls that once completely surrounded the city. The ramparts are the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Atlas Mountains while gazing out over the jumbled rooftops of old Marrakech spreading out below you.

The best section is along Avenue Houman El Fetouaki where you can climb up and walk along the top of the wall. Look out for the ruins of the El Badi Palace and Koutoubia Mosque soaring above the pink buildings. Walking the city walls is one of the top free things to do in Marrakech.

11. Haggle Your Way Through the Rahba Kedima Flea Market

Get your bargain hunting hat on for the sprawling Rahba Kedima flea market just outside the medina walls. If you’re looking for vintage jewellery, ceramics, rugs and quirky antiques in Marrakech, this fascinating souk is the place to spend an afternoon digging for treasures.

Haggling is definitely part of the experience so make sure to negotiate! Even if you leave empty-handed, the market is a fun place for souvenir shopping in Marrakech and soaking up the energetic atmosphere. Visiting Rahba Kedima is one of the best free non-touristy things to do in Morocco.

👉 Read My Guide On 19 Best Things To Know Before Visiting Morocco

12. Marvel at Intricate Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace Morocco

This 19th century palace was built for vizier Si Moussa and showcases a prime example of Moroccan and Andalusian architecture and craftsmanship.

Wander through the large complex taking in the beautiful carved stuccowork, painted wooden ceilings, tranquil central courtyard filled with fruit trees and rooms decorated with intricate mosaics.

Built to house Moussa’s four wives and 24 concubines, Bahia Palace gives you a real insight into the lifestyle of Moroccan nobility during that era. Don’t miss seeing the ornate harem quarters too.

Admiring Bahia Palace’s ornate craftsmanship and taking photos of its splendid rooms is easily one of the top things to do in Marrakech Morocco.

👉🎟️ Book Your Bahia & Badi Palaces & Saadian Tombs Guided Tour Here

13. Shop at the Anima Gardens Boutiques

Marrakech has no shortage of quality shopping opportunities. For a high-end shopping experience in a beautiful setting, head to the stylish boutiques at the Anima Gardens. Sitting at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, this designer village houses exclusive stores selling some of Morocco’s finest products.

Shop for luxury leather bags and shoes, chic kaftans, intricate jewellery, home decor and artisanal products all in one spot.

Don’t miss browsing the clothing and bed linen made from sumptuous Moroccan silks. Anima is a relaxing day trip from the city and one of the best places to visit in Marrakech for a luxurious shopping spree.

14. Take a Day Trip to the Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains Morocco scaled

No visit to Marrakech is complete without venturing into the dramatic Atlas Mountain scenery surrounding the city. Take a full day tour and drive through quaint Berber villages, wind along mountain switchbacks, see valleys and waterfalls, and ride a mule if you’re feeling adventurous.

The High Atlas Mountains are also perfect for hiking, mountain biking and climbing the North Africa peaks.

Don’t miss seeing the Tizi N’Test pass, the scenic Ouirgane Valley and the largest natural waterfall in Morocco, Ouzoud Falls. Getting out into the Atlas Mountains is easily one of the best day trips from Marrakech.

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15. Go Camel Trekking at Palmeraie

For a quintessential Moroccan experience, head to the peaceful Palmeraie and go camel trekking through the shaded date palm plantations on the city outskirts. It’s perfect for a romantic things to do in Marrakech sunset ride to see the sun go down behind the Atlas Mountains.

Most tours will take you through the tranquil Palmeraie forests and gardens before stopping for mint tea and a camel ride at a Berber village.

Camel trekking is popular on a day trip along with quad biking through the palm groves. Going on a camel ride is one of the fun activities to do in Marrakech Morocco.

16. Get Your Skin Glowing at a Traditional Hammam

After exploring Marrakech’s dusty streets, one of the most delightful things you can do is visit a traditional hammam (public bathhouse) for some serious pampering and relaxation. It’s an authentic cultural experience not to be missed. Most riads and hotels can arrange a visit to a nearby hammam.

Spend a blissful few hours having your body scrubbed, getting a Moroccan black soap exfoliation, rinsing in hot and cold rooms and finishing with a body massage using nourishing argan oil.

Some of the best hammams are Le Bain Bleu, the relaxing all-blue Sultana Spa and the underground Dar Karma. Visiting a Marrakech hammam is one the top things to do in Marrakech in the evening after a long day of sightseeing.

17. See Acrobats and Musicians at Jemaa El Fna Square

For an electrifying taste of Marrakech’s street culture and entertainment, spend your evening at Jemaa El Fna square, the pulsing heart of the medina.

As soon as the sun sets, this UNESCO heritage site comes alive with the sound of drummers, fortune tellers, dancers, henna artists, and some of the best street food sizzling at the outdoor grills.

Watch talented performers like acrobats, magicians, and musicians under the floodlights. The nonstop energy makes people watching here one of the most fun top 10 things to do in Marrakech at night.

18. Learn About Yves Saint Laurent at the YSL Museum

Fans of fashion history absolutely must visit the compact Yves Saint Laurent Museum showcasing the designing career of Yves Saint Laurent who fell in love with Marrakech. See a rotating display of some of his iconic creations like the famous tuxedo suit.

There is also a beautifully curated exhibit of clothes, sketches, photos and items from Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Bergé’s time spent in Marrakech that really lets you step into the designer’s world.

The small museum is located next to the Jardin Majorelle. Visiting the museum dedicated to one of the 20th century’s most influential fashion designers is a must for any style lover visiting Marrakech.

👉🎟️ Book Your Marrakech Majorelle Garden and YSL Museum Entry Ticket Here

19. Relax in the Agdal Gardens

When you need a break from Marrakech’s constant energy, find zen among the greenery, fruit orchards and olive groves of the huge Agdal Gardens. Dating from the 12th century, the traditional Islamic gardens were once owned by royalty with pavilions, pools, and flower beds.

Today, Agdal is a giant public park and botanical garden perfect for picnics, jogs along its expansive pathways or simply finding a peaceful spot to sit and soak up the atmosphere.

Don’t miss the ruins of the remains of the Dar al-Hana palace. Getting lost in Agdal’s 300 acres of beautiful gardens is one of the most relaxing things to do in Marrakech.

20. Wander Around the Lively Jemaa El Fna at Night

Even if you’ve already explored the Jemaa El Fna square during the day, Marrakech’s main plaza transforms into a whirlwind spectacle of night-time street food, entertainment, and market stalls you simply must experience. The delicious smells of grilled kebabs, snails, and fish waft through the air from the bustling food stalls.

Join the locals and wander around the open-air street buffet sampling Moroccan snacks and specialty dishes.

From musicians to henna artists and fruit juice vendors, everywhere you look there will be visual feast of colours, people, and tantalising food. Browsing Jemaa El Fna at night is easily among the most exhilarating top 10 things to do in Marrakech.

👉 Read My Review On Zagora Desert Tour From Marrakech

21. Shop for Souvenirs at Quartier des Artisans

Travellers searching for authentic souvenirs, Moroccan slippers and quality handicrafts should head straight to Quartier des Artisans, a covered arts and crafts village in the Gueliz district. Here you’ll find stall after stall filled with handmade textiles, painted pottery, jewellery, leather bags, lanterns, and carpets.

While you can certainly haggle, the fixed prices mean shopping here is hassle-free compared to the medina. Don’t miss getting a pair of pointed yellow or red Moroccan slippers to take home. Shopping at Quartier des Artisans is one of the best things to do in Marrakech on a half day or as a change from the souks.

22. Admire Woodwork at the Marrakech Museum of Wooden Arts

This small, specialised museum housed within a restored riad showcases some of Morocco’s most beautiful wooden antiques, carvings, and artifacts.

Wander through the exhibition admiring hand-carved Berber doors, chests inlaid with mother of pearl, large ladles used for serving cous cous and intricate wooden locks.

Don’t miss seeing the marriage chairs and section on Jewish ritual objects. The museum provides an in-depth look at Moroccan woodworking craftsmanship. Visiting is one of the more unique attractions in Marrakech for design lovers.

23. Escape to the Atlas Mountains in Imlil Village

Imlil Village Morocco

Imlil is a traditional Berber village located at 5,400 feet in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountain range, about a 90-minute drive from Marrakech. Its dramatic mountain scenery, great trekking and chilled out vibe make it the perfect escape from the city heat and hustle.

Go hiking, mountain biking or mule riding through the High Atlas landscape with local guides. Spend a night or two here to really soak up the slow-paced mountain atmosphere.

Don’t miss seeing the village Kasbah and visiting the Friday souk for Berber handicrafts. Trekking through little Imlil makes a rewarding day trip from Marrakech into gorgeous Atlas Mountain scenery.

24. Find Peace at Jardin Secret

For a tranquil green haven in the medina, visit the Jardin Secret, a hidden riad garden that was restored and opened to the public in 2016. Stepping through the doors into this little-known secret garden feels like finding a serene oasis amidst the city chaos.

Admire the shady central courtyard filled with palms and orange trees, pretty blue Arabic tiling and peaceful fountains and reflect pools perfect for sitting quietly.

Jardin Secret is one of Marrakesh’s prettiest what to visit in Marrakech Morocco spots to enjoy the gardens’ tranquillity. Don’t miss the onsite museum and cafe too. Visiting is one of the most relaxing things to do in Marrakech’s medina.

25. Drink Fresh Orange Juice on a Rooftop Terrace

Rooftop Terrace Morocco scaled

Marrakech has no shortage of laidback rooftop terraces and cafes to while away an afternoon soaking up magical views over the medina and to the Atlas Mountains beyond.

Head up to a rooftop like Le Grand Balcon du Café Glacier or Terrasse des Épices for mint tea and a freshly squeezed orange juice.

Pick a rooftop that has plenty of comfy seating and billowing fabrics to lounge on while you watch the sunset and see the medina come to life at dusk. Rooftop drinks at sunset are one of the top non-touristy things to do in Morocco.

26. Discover the Ancient Almoravid Koubba

This little-visited, miniature stone rotunda topped with a ribbed dome is the only surviving monument from the original Almoravid dynasty that founded Marrakech in the 11th century.

Sitting opposite the Ben Youssef Mosque, the ancient Almoravid Koubba is modest in size but its almost 1,000 years old design and intricate dome make it architecturally fascinating.

Wandering by this important relic of Marrakech’s Almoravid founders is worth adding to any historic sightseeing tour. The simplicity of the domed koubba makes a striking contrast to the later ornate Moorish architecture around the city.

27. Make a Splash at Oasiria Waterpark

When Marrakech’s temperatures soar, the best way to cool off is a visit to Oasiria, the largest waterpark in town set among lush palm trees. Speed down the exhilarating Masterblast waterslides, brave the Kamikaze slide or let kids play safely in the children’s aquatic park.

There is also a large swimming pool for relaxing plus a Jacuzzi to soak sore muscles after busy days exploring Marrakech’s souks and sights.

Oasiria has plenty of loungers and private cabanas when you need a break from the waterslides. Situated only 10 minutes from the medina, Oasiria is the perfect place to escape the heat.

28. Take a Day Trip to Zagora

For a glimpse of Morocco’s dramatic desert landscapes, embark on a day trip to the town of Zagora from Marrakech. Zagora is a gateway to the Sahara, surrounded by sand dunes and oasis palm groves.

The drive takes about 5-6 hours each way through the Draa Valley, where you’ll see a lush river valley lined with palm trees transition to the rocky, arid desert. Stop along the way to visit historic kasbahs and ksours (fortified villages).

In Zagora, climb up a desert dune to watch the sunset over the palm groves. Ride a camel for an hour or opt to spend the night at a desert encampment under the stars. On the return to Marrakech, you’ll truly understand why Zagora’s sign proclaims it as the “door of the desert.”

After experiencing the vast Sahara landscape, the sights and sounds of Marrakech will seem even more vibrant.

Marrakech Things To Do Wrap-Up

Marrakech nicknamed “Morocco’s Jewel of the South” fully deserves its reputation as an exciting imperial city filled with culture, history, shopping and sightseeing opportunities.

By visiting the medina’s lively souks and majestic mosques like the Koutoubia, seeing historic palaces and ruins from its glory days, and escaping to the Atlas Mountains, you’ll experience the best of what Marrakech has to offer.

There are so many incredible things to do in this South Moroccan gem it can be hard to fit it all in. Use this comprehensive 28 best attractions in Marrakech list to make sure you catch the highlights and hidden gems on your Marrakech trip for an adventure you won’t forget.

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