The 10 best things to do in Marrakech
As in the time of the caravans where Marrakech was already this exotic halt, between mountains, desert and ocean, the city continues to reveal its charms ...
Here is our list, inevitably subjective, of the essentials of the ocher city
1 – Place Jemaa-El-Fna
Heart of the Medina, Place Jemaa-El-Fna, as the desert cannot be explained, it is lived! Carefully presented orange juice and dried fruit stalls, snake charmers who invite you to the unmissable photo as well as the monkey showers, the water carriers and their traditional costumes, the acrobats, the Gnawa dancers who beat the rhythms head turns turn the little pompom of their headdresses, the transvestite oriental dancers, the henna tattoo artists and their refined designs, storytellers, these little sellers on the run from the very latest gadget ... Herbalists, medicine merchants of wizards of all kinds ... The terraces of cafes that overlook the square and where it is pleasant to sit down to fully soak up the atmosphere to the sound of "Mizmars" this small instrument typical of snake charmers ...
Place Jemaa-El-Fna, the departure of many horse-drawn carriages and the starting point of many souks through the narrow alleys of the Medina.
2 – La Koutoubia
One of the oldest monuments in Marrakech, the Koutoubia Mosque, erected shortly after the city was founded in the 12th century, remains the most imposing and most visible monument in Marrakech, its minaret towers 70 meters high. Access is not allowed to non-Muslims, only the gardens are open to everyone. The Koutoubia, whose oldest “Minbar” (the staircase on which the Muezzin preaches in a mosque) whose inlays have been recently renovated is visible at the Badi Palace.
Moroccan archaeological excavations near the Koutoubia have revealed remains of the ruins of an Almohad mosque estimated to be 1147, the bases of columns in a prayer hall can be distinguished. Also left in view in front of the Koutoubia are two wells which show the remains of a fortress built by the Almoravids and destroyed by the Almohads. It is also the white tomb of Lalla Zohra the daughter of a slave who is said to transform a dove every night. Finally, just north of the Mosque, in a dilapidated Mausoleum, is the tomb of Youssef Ben Tachfine chief of the Almoravid tribe, and founder of Marrakech.
Day and night, the Koutoubia majestically advocates over Marrakech.
3 – The Souks of Marrakech
Trade has long held its place in Marrakech, the caravans of yesteryear are irrefutable proof. The souks, a real labyrinth through very narrow alleys, some of which leave from Place Jemaa-El-Fna, extend to the entire Medina ... Universe of colors, scents, discoveries of crafts and where the negotiation is essential before buying. To be invited to “pleasure of the eyes” and for any purchase that requires tasting the stool “Break the fatigue” ... Rue Semarine, Souk El Kebir, Souk des Babouches, Souk des Tapis, Souk des Teinturiers, Souk des Ferronniers, Fondouks , Souk El Khemis, Souk El Bab Salaam, place Rahba Kedima ...
Afraid of losing yourself in the souks? Most traders will put you on the right path ... Little tip, the more you sink into the medina and the more you can get good deals!
4 – Tour of the ramparts in a horse-drawn carriage
Fortified city in the 11th century, Marrakech has since ramparts pierced with historic doors like Bab Agnaou, Bab Doukkala or Bab El Khemis. The tower of the ramparts forms a 10-kilometer circuit with some 200 towers and some twenty gates. Carriages can easily be found on Jemâa el Fna square. Please note, prices must be displayed in the carriage. They are fixed. Do not agree to negotiate, the final price will be above the contractual price.
5 – Medersa Ben Youssef
Built in the heart of the Medina in one of the oldest districts of Marrakech, the Medersa Ben Youssef is an ancient Koranic school which presents marvelous decorations and all Moroccan art between zellij with floral motifs, painted ceilings and doors, carved wood and stucco . Built by Sultan Saadian Moulay Abdellah around 1565, the Medersa was rebuilt in the 16th century.
6 – Majorelle Garden
Heritage left by the French painter Jacques Majorelle who, in 1924 created this botanical garden all around his studio, the garden opened to the public in 1947. On the death of the painter also known for the color Majorelle, this very particular blue which still adorns this magnificent garden, the premises were abandoned until 1980, when the great French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his friend Pierre Bergé bought the property. Today the garden has the Stele of the late Yves Saint-Laurent. Lovers of beautiful gardens and cacti, the Majorelle garden also has a Berber museum inside, an additional visit if you wish.
7 – Camel ride in the palm grove
For many visitors to Marrakech, the Palmeraie rhymes with opulent vegetation and superb homes. The visit can be disappointing if you just stay on the palm plantation circuit. To have a real taste of the palm grove, nothing like a camel ride on tracks outside the usual paths. To do this, it is necessary either to negotiate at length with the camel drivers along the road (count 200 to 300 DH for half an hour and by dromedary) or to secure the services of a specialized company. Specify the desired time and the fact that you want to sink into the palm grove. Otherwise, your ride may quickly turn into a tower of one or two palm trees.
8 – Hike at the foot of Jbel Toubkal
The highest point of the High Atlas and the highest peak in North Africa, the Jbel Toubkal overlooks the Marrakech Valley from the top at 4167 meters. If it is strongly recommended to tackle this high mountain summit without guide and without training, it is possible for a day to make a pleasant hike on the trails overlooking the village of Imlil which constitute the departure of the treks to Toubkal. Armed with walking shoes, a supply of water and food, this hike along a mountain stream will take you through Berber villages and will give you a superb view of the Imlil valley.
9 – 4×4 tour to Ourika Valley, Oukaimeden and Imlil
The Ourika Valley is a nature destination particularly popular with tour operators. Located less than 40 km from Marrakech, it stretches over thirty kilometers along the Oued Ourika. If the discovery of the valley is particularly pleasant, we recommend however another route much more spectacular but practicable than by 4x4 and after the snow has melted. After crossing part of the Ourika valley, the circuit takes the road to the Ski resort of Oukaimeden then a track which connects the station to the village of Imlil. It allows you to enjoy extraordinary alpine landscapes while dominating the Marrakech valley. Guaranteed “master of the world” feelings
10 – Candlelit dinner in a romantic Riad
Even better than sleeping in a Riad, we advise you to book a dinner in one of the famous restaurants of the Medina installed in a traditional house. Different places stand out from the rest for the quality of their cuisine and the beauty of their surroundings. Among the many riads restaurants in the Medina, we have a preference for the following establishments: Gastro MK, Pepenero, Riad Monceau and Fondouk.
Whether you have decided to come to Marrakech as part of an organized trip, a city trip or on an individual getaway, you will certainly be able to discover all of our essentials!