Every year, we discover a new destination for our birthdays instead of buying gifts. Last year we had the chance to explore Mexico City and Yucatán before the sanitary crisis began. In 2019, we were lucky to visit Marrakech. Only 3 hours from France, it was the perfect destination for a winter break in the sun and not far from home.
Always looking for the best places to eat and the best local specialties, we wrote an article on this topic a few months ago. Looking at our pictures, I thought it would be nice (and useful for those of you who plan to visit this beautiful place) to offer you a glimpse of unforgettable things to do in Marrakech. We rarely plan our trips with a precise itinerary and we prefer spontaneity, but if you only have a few days, it is important to have a little idea of what you would like to see and do right? Enjoy your reading!
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Best things to do in Marrakech
A night in a Riad
I strongly recommend that you sleep in a riad. If you really want to immerse yourself in the Moroccan vibe and experience a complete change of atmosphere, this is a must during your stay in Marrakech. Therefore, one of the first things I recommend you to do is to book your accommodation in a riad.
Even if, like us, you spend most of your time visiting and very little of that time in your accommodation, it is a must. I remember the moment when we passed the door of our Riad, it was magical. When the door opened, I was stunned by the beauty of the place with its warm-colored architecture.
We visited others over the next couple of days and it was the same feeling every time. So there’s very little chance that you won’t feel the same… I’m anyway posting the link to our Riad here.
When the door closed. We took it up another notch. The moment the door closes behind you, it’s like entering another world. All the noises in the street become silent and a feeling of relaxation overwhelms you.
We were then served some mint tea and Moroccan pastries as a welcoming treat. At this moment, I fully fell in love with this place!
As everywhere, you will find all kinds of prices. I would say that the best thing is to choose according to the location. Ours was on the outskirts of the Medina. The Riad Bahia Salam was ideal because we were going to explore the Medina by foot but we also had easy access to transportation to visit more distant places like the Jardin Majorelle for example.
If it is really not in your budget to stay in a riad, you can book only one or two nights on your stay. This way, you will still have enjoyed this experience.
We get to the heart of the subject with the place that probably best represents what you imagine when you think of Marrakech. The Medina.
It is the historic heart of the city, its high ramparts separate the old town from the new one. Getting lost in its alleys is something we could have done for days. Honestly, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you if we have walked through half of this neighborhood because it’s so easy to get lost in it. Usually, we can find our way around quite easily, but the Medina will have made us lost our heads until the last day!
Of course, you will be able to wander through the souks and taste the street food available everywhere in the alleys. It is a place where all your senses will be stimulated. The smell of spices, leather on the stands of bags, shoes, etc., stands of fruits and vegetables, meat… The noise of people, scooters, music. We hustle as in all markets and, above all, we taste everything that is on our way, especially what we don’t know. A place which is undoubtedly one of the best places to see during a stay in Marrakech.
Undoubtedly, negotiating is a common thing. Always remember to convert to your currency to find out if it is a fair price or not. Everyone knows that prices are inflated for tourists. And although it may seem unfair, keep in mind that their salaries are often much lower than ours. The reasons for this are a vast and complex subject and, as a result, we will not go into this in this article. But personally, we always try to remember it by negotiating at a price that is fair to both us and the local merchants.
A souk is often referred to as Ali Baba’s cave, and this is so true. We wanted to buy everything and the only thing that held us back was the place and the weight of our suitcase! The best thing is to wait the last few days to get a glimpse of everything you could bring home and then choose what you really want. And above all, be sure that you haven’t seen anything else that you like even more.
Last but not least, it is super easy to find a place to eat in the Medina (even for vegetarians and vegans). However, be careful because, even if we tried to find the least touristy places possible, we got fooled. The quality of the food was therefore not always there.
El Fna Jemaa square
Just as it is impossible to leave Marrakech without getting lost in the Medina, it is impossible to have gone to the Medina without having seen the famous El Fna Jemaa square.
There is a multitude of things happening on this square which is totally different in atmosphere between day and night. During the day you will find fruit and vegetable vendors, stands to buy delicious fresh fruit juices, spice stands, snail stands! This is my phobia (even if they are dead!) so we didn’t go near them and we didn’t try! But we invite you to do it because it’s part of the experience and the local cuisine. At night, you will meet dozens of food stands and shows. You won’t know where to look anymore!
Also, don’t forget to try Moroccan pastries. There are often stands with a wide variety of pastries with tastes of roses, almonds, honey, orange blossom, etc.
And if you want to send us a small package please feel free to do so! 😉
You probably grasped it, we really had the impression that this place is in constant effervescence and never sleeps. Therefore, you will be able to go there at any time of the day and you will not be disappointed.
This garden was created by Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s, then bought in 1980 by Yves Saint Laurent. It is both known for its magnificent alleys and its vegetation which provides an escape of coolness during the hottest days. But also and above all for the buildings painted in this unique blue, the Majorelle blue.
Get your cameras ready because this botanical garden is impressive and a true source of inspiration. Therefore, the possibilities in terms of photography are endless.
The only negative point that could slow you down is the number of people. For instance, we went there in the morning and when we arrived in front of the entrance there was already a queue of several dozen people waiting to get in. Once inside, if like us you generally tend to prefer places that are not too touristy, get ready. Therefore, I must admit that it accelerated our visit a little bit because there were too many people but it remains our personal opinion. We still loved this place which is really beautiful and a must-see.
As for the price, count 7 euros per person and you can book your ticket online.
Last but not least, you can also visit the Yves Saint Laurent museum which is located not far from there and is supposed to be gorgeous. Unfortunately, we haven’t done it but it is on our bucket list fr the next time we visit Marrakech.
Moroccan cooking class at La Maison Arabe
One of our best memories of this stay and one of the absolute must during a stay in Marrakech without any hesitation. So get ready to awaken your senses here too and had a great time. Oliver had booked our course at “La Maison Arabe“, you will find all the information on their website.
We started the morning with an introduction to the making of traditional Moroccan mint tea. Indeed, it is an essential drink in Morocco which requires a very special technique if you want to make this delicious tea yourself!
We then went upstairs to begin our Moroccan cooking class. On the program, homemade bread, Zaalouk salad, tagine and milk pastilla. From the beginning, we were asked if any of us were vegetarians. So, we were able to follow the course at the same time as everyone else by making a vegetable tagine. The other participants cooked a chicken tagine. The smells that emanated from our dishes were divine! Just to tell you about it, I’m already feeling hungry!
Everything is super well explained and our chef was great. She would regularly drop by to see if we needed help and give us a little advice. So you can do this activity no matter what your level is in the kitchen and you won’t be disappointed!
We then went to the rooftop to taste our dishes and get to know the other participants. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, a lovely souvenir.
A little extra: you will be able to leave with every recipe you have made. This way, you will be able to redo them at home and impress your friends and family!
For the price, I advise you to visit their website. As we were there more than a year ago, this may have changed.
One of the must-see in Marrakech. Another place where you will spend hours admiring and taking pictures of every single nook and cranny. A peaceful place to walk and wander through the different sections of this magnificent 19th-century palace. Arabic architecture, colorful mosaics, shady gardens, the Bahia Palace will immerse you in the world of oriental beauty.
Located not far from the Riad Bahia Salam and only a few minutes’ walk from the Medina, this place is easily accessible on foot if you are staying in the area.
For the price, count 6,50 euros. Again, to be double check before your arrival as it might have changed since this article is written.
Hopefully this article has inspired you if you are planning to visit the beautiful city of Marrakech. Feel free to take a look at our article on the essential dishes of Moroccan cuisine to taste during your stay.
If you would like more information, please leave us a comment. You can also contact us directly by email or on our social networks and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
I enjoyed reading your suggestions for a great trip to Marrakech. I’ve always wanted to experience staying in a riad and also attend a cooking class so I’m happy you mentioned these in your post 🙂
I absolutely love Marrakech! You blog has got me desperately wanting to go back!
I have to admit writing this article made me so nostalgic and I want to travel back there too now!
Really beautiful photos, I felt like I was in Morocco! Going to take your advice and opt for a riad over hotel, and see how it goes. I can’t wait to finally visit Morocco, and hope the riad will provide a more authentic experience.
Beautiful! Morocco looks like a dream. I really.hope to visit soon. I didn’t really know much about Marrakech, but you sold me with Bahia Palace and Marajarelle Garden. The colours are spectacular.
I’m happy to hear that 🙂 Yes the colors are amazing, everything is colorful everywhere!
Lovely post! Marrakesh was my least favorite part of Morocco, but I *still* loved all the places you mentioned…especially Majorelle Garden and staying in a Riad! We totally should have taken a cooking class like you did. That sounds amaaaazing! Have you re-made all the dishes back home?
Yes I loved the Zalouk salad which is made with eggplants so we made this one again 🙂 It was the first time we were doing a cooking class while on a trip and we definitely want to do it more as cooking is also one of our passions 🙂
Marrakech looks beautiful! I am definitely adding staying in a riad to my bucket list.
A must 🙂
Wow these pictures look so professional!! Did you take them yourself or are they stock photos?
Thank you Jade! All the pictures on our blog and Social Networks are ours 🙂 You can see much more on our Instagram if you want! @onesecondjournal
Taking a Moroccan cooking class sounds like so much fun! Also, love the tradition of exploring new places instead of buying gifts!!
Marrakech is such a wonderful place and I totally loved the pictures you’ve shared here – so colourful. I’d love to visit this place someday.
I hope you will it’s a must 🙂