Marrakech Travel guide, Morocco. Discover Marrakesh, the mysterious Moroccan city. From the palaces of Almoravids to the spice markets. Our Marrakech travel guide includes detailed descriptions of the top attractions and activities in Marrakech to help you get the most out of your visit to this marvelous city. The Marrakech Travel Guide includes also some of the best trip itineraries to the most popular Sahara desert in Morocco.

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arrakech was originally a small Berber village inhabited by peasants since the Neolithic time and it was founded in 1062 by the Almoravid Berber Emir Abu Bakr, the cousin of the 5th Almoravid ruler, Youssef bin Tashfin, who built several buildings bearing the architecture of Saharan and Andalusian characters that stand to this day. It was once the capital of the Almoravid Empire, the most powerful Berber empire stretching from the outskirts of Senegal to central Spain and from the Atlantic coast to Algiers. Located on the fertile Haouz plain at the foot of the snow-capped peaks of high mountains. The city is known for its historic buildings from the 17th century and earlier, such as the Koutoubia Mosque and the El Badi Palace. It is located about 561 km from the famous sand dunes of Erg Chebbi and 250 km from the Atlantic Ocean, among the red ramparts in the shade of thousands of beautiful palm and orange trees, which gives it a real charm.

The old quarter of Marrakech has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. It is also one of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations with its traditional culture, authentic accommodations, and craft. It also has winding alleys with small colorful shops selling everything from spices to carpets.
The name Marrakech is derived from Berber and means “the land of God”. Today, it is nicknamed the red city and is known for its lively souks, beautiful Medina (the ancient section), and the many performance art activities that take place in the cultural square Djemaa el Fna. Throughout history, the city has been an important meeting point for caravan handlers crossing the Sahara and the mountains to transact merchandise. Today it is still a mercantile town, but you no longer see gold and silver trading caravans.

Overall, this beautiful city exudes a magical history and culture. Through the weavers, in a shimmering swarm of multicolored threads, during the festival period, in the rhythms and music, in the souls of dancers and magicians in the open-air theater square, in the shades of the blue garden, and in the Koutoubia elaborate architecture.

What are the places to see in Marrakech?: Marrakesh is one of the most charming cities you will ever visit. Rich in history, culture, and beauty, it will captivate you and leave you wanting for more. Find out the best places to see in Marrakech.

Below you will also find a list of places to visit in Marrakech:


What should I not miss in Marrakech?: If you are looking for suggestions on things not to miss during your visit to Marrakech, I recommend visiting all the tourist attractions below and the desert especially when the temperatures are relatively mild. This section gives you an idea of the things you should not miss.

What is Marrakech best known for?: Marrakesh is known for its rich cultural medina, colorful souks, Koutoubia Mosque, Jamaâ El Fna Square, an array of elegant restaurants, luxury hammams, charming riads, and endless nightlife options.

What can a woman wear in Marrakech?: Can a woman wear skirts in Marrakech? Can a woman wear shorts in Marrakech? The short answer is yes, but below I will go into more detail about why you need a packing list. I will also provide a link to a more detailed post on this topic.

What are the best places to visit near Marrakech?: Marrakech gives easy access to several excellent nearby attractions. This section contains a collection of the best places to visit near Marrakech.
In this section you will find a list of the best places to visit near Marrakech:


3-day Sahara desert trip from Marrakech to Erg Chebbi: This 3-day Marrakech Sahara Desert Trip to Erg Chebbi is the perfect opportunity for you to explore and experience the unique beauty of the Moroccan Sahara desert.

3 days trip from Marrakech to the Sahara desert of Erg Chegaga: The 3-day Sahara Desert trip offers you the chance to explore the wild desert of  Erg Chegaga. The itinerary includes a camel ride, a traditional Berber camp, and a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou. This is your chance to experience one of Morocco’s most iconic landscapes in style. You will be accompanied by an expert guide who will show you all the main attractions of this mesmerizing desert.

marrakech travel guide

What are the places to see in Marrakech?

Marrakech is one of the oldest cities in the world and was once the capital of Morocco. It is also known as “the city of joy” because of its artistic atmosphere and chill vibes. This city is home to the famous Djemaa El Fna square where the locals gather every day to enjoy music, dance, stories, and above all delicious food. Discover below all the masterpieces that make Marrakech a pearl of the north of Africa.

Jemaa el-Fnaa

The stately historical monuments can wait a while because such an attraction is nowhere to be found. First of all, you have to experience the daily life of Moroccans in the most colorful plaza in North Africa. Jemaa el-Fnaa is a non-stop circus in a square with acrobats, magicians, storytellers, snake charmers, musicians, water sellers with ancient leather bladders and copper cups, and fresh orange juice stalls. It is an open-air show and although Moroccans and foreign tourists love it, the whole of Marrakesh converges here day and night.

Public Access: True
Is Accessible For Free: True
Address: Medina Jamaa El Fena, 40000  Marrakesh, Morocco

Koutoubia Mosque

It is the largest mosque in the city of Marrakesh and consists of a minaret with a height of 77 meters. The mosque was founded in 1147 and construction of the second version began around 1150.

The Koutoubia Mosque is one of the three most beautiful minarets of the Almohad era, the other two minarets can be found in Seville and Rabat. Its completion is credited to Ya’qub al-Mansur.

Public Access: True
Is Accessible For Free: N/A
Address: Medina Jamaa El Fena, 40000  Marrakesh, Morocco

Bahia Palace

Built around 1859, this palace was the residence of a powerful Grand Vizier of the Sultan and the ruler of the Alawi dynasty until 1873.

Si Musa who started the construction of this palace originally descended from a family of black slaves who served the Moroccan Makhzen during that period. His son, who also became the sultan’s grand vizier, continuously expanded the palace by building various structures, including most of the southern parts and several smaller courtyards.

Today it is a famous historical monument and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Marrakesh. The palace is famous for its huge decorations. It features carved stucco, geometric patterns, arabesques, trumpets, marble, zellige tiles, colorful floral motifs, as well as carved wood. The materials used in the decoration were very imported for the Grand Vizier to show how powerful he is.

Address:

Public Access: True
Is Accessible For Free: False
Address: Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, 40000  Marrakesh, Morocco

El Badi Palace

The El Badi Palace has long been considered a wondrous building in the Islamic world. Sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour began the construction of this palace after his victory over the Portuguese army in 1578, a victory known as the ‘Battle of the Three Kings’. It is said that these great constructions lasted about fifteen years and ended in 1593, but the date of the construction’s completion is questionable.

Address:

Public Access: True
Is Accessible For Free: False
Address: Ksibat Nhass, 40000  Marrakesh, Morocco

Dar Si-Saïd Museum

Another architectural wonder similar to El Badi Palace in this ocher city is the Dar Si Said Museum, which captures the essence of contemporary and ancient Moroccan art. Most of their presented collections come generally from the southern region of Morocco.

Dar Si Said Museum has been converted into a museum from a classic traditional house. Founded in the second half of the 19th century, it consists mainly of wooden decorations, carpets, pottery, old traditional weapons, and some archaeological finds, as well as the alabaster basin dating back to the 11th century AD.

Address:

Public Access: True
Is Accessible For Free: False
Address:8 Rue de la Bahia, 40000  Marrakesh, Morocco

Madrasa Ben Youssef

The current standing Madrasa Ben Youssef is a Quranic school founded in 1570 by Sultan Moulay Abdallah and is a true masterpiece of the earlier Marinid architecture. Madrasa, which in English means school, served as a center for the teaching of religion and a variety of lessons, including literature, science, and history. It is named after the nearby Mosque, which was founded by the Almoravid sultan Ali Ibn Yusuf (ruled 1106-1142).

Address:

Public Access: True
Is Accessible For Free: False
Address:Rue Assouel, 40000  Marrakesh, Morocco

Saadian Tombs

The elegant 16th-century necropolis of the Saadian dynasty rulers was forgotten until the 20th century. Sultan Moulay Ismail, who did everything to erase the memory of his ancestors, insulated it with walls. Inside and outside too, there are tombs of sultans, princes, officials, and servants. Most impressive is the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur, a Saadian who was a prominent figure in both Europe and Africa in the 16th century.

Saadian Tombs was opened to the public in 1917 and today is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Marrakesh. It can be visited daily from 9 am to 12 pm and from 2:30 pm to 6 pm.

Address:

Public Access: True
Is Accessible For Free: False
Address: Rue de La Kasbah,40000  Marrakesh, Morocco

What should I not miss in Marrakech?

Marrakech has a lot of amazing things to offer any traveler. Here are some of the best that you should definitely not miss on your visit to Marrakech.

    • The most important that you should not miss in Marrakech is its oldest section which is located in the heart of the city and is home to many traditional Moroccan souks and famous attractions. You will find everything here from spices to impressive crafts.
    • Experience extraordinary shopping in the souks of Marrakech. In souks, you will find most shops selling all kinds of local products at the best prices. If you’re looking for something specific, such as leather goods and copper products, head through narrow winding streets to the Semmarine souk.
    • Visit the El Bahia Palace, the El Badi Palace, the Dar Si-Saïd Museum, the Majorelle Blue Garden which contains plants from different countries, and a small Berber museum. Majorelle is a very small oasis in the heart of the busiest new section of the city and one of Marrakech’s beautiful attractions, it’s a sight to behold.
    • Experience a camel ride in the Palmeraie oasis or better yet in the Agafay desert near Marrakech. If you have more days to spend in Morocco, a camel ride in the real desert will be more interesting.
    • If you are looking for an adventurous outing in Marrakech, then you should consider visiting the Atlas Mountains. The High Atlas Mountains are home to some of the highest peaks in North Africa. It can be considered the roof of North Africa.
    • Attend the most popular folklore shows in Marrakech at Chez Ali Fantasia which combines local music, dance, and horsemen demonstrating their talents.
marrakech travel guide

Menara gardens, Marrakech

What is Marrakech best known for?

Marrakech is known as one of the imperial cities in Morocco and as a center of tourism in Morocco. The symbol of the city is the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque. Marrakech offers an array of fancy restaurants, luxury spas, hammams, golf courses, charming accommodations, and numerous entertainment venues. It is also famous for its beautiful gardens with the high snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the background. The architectural and cultural richness of Medina has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and offers many shopping opportunities. Its Jemaa el-Fnaa square is known throughout the country as a place of joy and amusement.

Riad: A type of accommodation well-known in Marrakech

The riad is a name given to a large traditional Moroccan house. It has a refreshing courtyard with a fountain and orange trees resembling a typical Roman villa. This traditional architecture designed with mosaic, calligraphy, and geometric patterns has been very popular in the country for many years. Most importantly, the quaint old buildings have also been converted into great restaurants and accommodation that offer tourists a true Moroccan experience. Marrakech has the best riads where you can spend your holidays during your visit. To give you a brief background of this beautiful ancient building, mostly it can be found in the old medina quarters. Riads were even deserted for a while. However, they later became so popular because, in the 1970s, many families of mainly European tourists bought and restored them as private residences and also as guest houses.

What can a woman wear in Marrakech?

It is recommended to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and legs if you plan to visit a place of worship in Marrakech, and indeed this is true all over the world. In some places, you may be required to wear a scarf and in other places, you may not enter with shorts. So if you are planning to visit a mosque, it is wise to cover certain parts of your body to avoid unnecessary discussions. For comfort and an elegant outlook, loose clothing may be the best option. In the city, you dress like in any city in the world, it is a mishmash.

We have already written about the best packing list for women traveling to Morocco and why you need a packing list in the first place. Check it and let us know what you think!

Marrakech Group Tours Sahara Trips

Desert Agafay, Marrakech

What are the best places to Visit nearby Marrakech?

Morocco has been a popular tourist destination for decades and its popularity continues to grow. With its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and friendly people, this country offers many things to see and do.

Ourika Valley

About 30 km from Marrakech begins the beautiful Ourika Valley which leads to the High Atlas Mountains. It’s a perfect place to enjoy fresh air, especially in summer when it’s hot in Marrakech. The Ourika Valley has many small waterfalls and there you can admire the small Berber villages built against the red mountains.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Not surprisingly, many travelers staying in Marrakech take a day trip to the beautiful Ouzoud Waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains. The Ouzoud waterfalls are 110 meters high and actually the most beautiful waterfalls in Morocco as they are found about 159 km away from the red city. You can camp and hike in this green nature.

Essaouira

Located along Morocco’s Atlantic coast, Essaouira has been nicknamed the “windy city of Africa” because of its windswept beaches. An ideal place for surfers. It is a popular destination for tourists who want to get away from it all, relax and enjoy the sun. The main attraction is the 18th-century Skala de la Ville and its old medina, as the atmosphere is unmatched by many other towns. Since 2001, the medina has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Morocco’s top tourist destinations.

Casablanca

Casablanca is a city about 243 km from Marrakech, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is considered the largest city in Morocco, as well as the country’s commercial capital. Casablanca is home to a number of historical and cultural sites, including the main attraction, the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Africa.

Meknes

Take a trip to Meknes and visit this ancient city. Considered one of the imperial cities in Morocco, a traveler who wants to discover the impressive gates and the old city can take a guided tour here. The high walls and huge gates offer a beautiful view on the cultural souks for which the city has been known for years.

Be amazed by the historical sites and amazing monuments in the city and make your trip memorable and rewarding. Not far from the city, you can admire the Roman ruins of Volubilis.

Fez

Fez is now considered the third-largest and the oldest city in the country.  It is located in the center of Morocco. It was founded by Idris I in 789. It is also one of the imperial cities of Morocco. It has an old medina that travelers should not miss. In one of its souks, you could experience the Moroccan lifestyle.

Fez Medina is a UNESCO site and is considered the largest car-free site in the world. The style of the buildings and the mosaic tiles of the floors of the houses reflect the cultural tradition of the country. Get lost in the small streets and alleys and discover its wonders.
So consider taking a trip to Fez and discover the atmosphere.

Ait Ben Haddou Village

The appeal that Morocco has held for decades for great artists and writers of all time can be explained by the way in which this country has managed to combine the traditional with the modern.

Since the country has always been open to foreigners, often promoting the development of tourism at an international level and providing an economic infrastructure that supports a constantly evolving activity, it has also been able to capture and preserve all the intensity and beauty of its ancient charm.

You will otherwise be fascinated by the old kasbahs and the small Moroccan villages of mud houses that are a work of art in the silence of the alleys. Explore the tight curves and meet the elder people and artisans – who went along the walled Ksars on the way to the ancient maze-like souks.

Ait Ben Haddou is a fortified village in the strategic Ounila Valley that was once one of the main trade caravan routes. The ksar has clearly been restored using traditional materials and techniques, while modern concrete structures were predominantly averted. It has served as a filming site for numerous popular movies and has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

The Sahara Desert

The nearest best Sahara desert is about 561 km from Marrakech. On your way to the desert, you will cross the High Atlas Mountains and pass the adobe villages of Ait Ben Haddou (the famous UNESCO heritage site used as a set for many movies), small Berber villages, and many Kasbahs in the valleys.

One that you should also not miss when going to Merzouga is the Todra Gorge. This gorge cuts deep into the High Atlas Mountains and is approximately 30 kilometers long. The gorge is 600 meters high in some places and is flanked on both sides by high cliffs. The canyon walls range in color from deep red to brown volcanic rock.

There is no way to travel to the desert without experiencing a camel ride. Camel riding is fun and the camel itself is a beautiful animal with big eyes, a long neck, and a hump. Riding a camel is not difficult. Just make sure the saddle is very comfortable.

If you want to try camel riding, it is best to do it before sunset. While you can watch the sun sinks on the horizon, and when it gets dark, you can enjoy the full beauty of the star-filled desert sky. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a moonless night, you’ll find more stars in the sky.

Morocco Desert Tours From Marrakech

Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco

3-Day Marrakech Sahara Desert Trip to Erg Chebbi

Join us on a 3-day Marrakech Sahara desert tour and explore the beauty of the Moroccan Sahara desert with your own eyes! Our 3-day travel itinerary will take you to all the must-visit places in the south of the country, from the bustling souks to the stunning landscapes of the Sahara Desert. Experience the unique culture and history of Morocco on this once-in-a-lifetime trip!

This journey to the desert offers an overnight stay in a traditional Berber camp, experiencing a camel ride, sandboarding, and stargazing in the vast Sahara, visiting the UNESCO-listed Kasbah of Aït Ben Haddou and the Todra Gorge along the way.

 3 days trip from Marrakech to the Sahara desert of Erg Chegaga

The Erg Chegaga is a Moroccan desert, known for its wild desert landscape, close to M’hamed town. It is one of the most visited deserts in Morocco and is often visited as part of a 3-day desert excursion with the start from Marrakech. On our tours page, we have this kind of tour available. The 3-day desert tour from Marrakesh to Erg Chegaga begins at 08:00 on the first day with a visit to the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. After lunch, we will visit the city of Ouarzazate and explore the movie studios. On the second day, the journey usually begins towards the dunes of Erg Chegaga, which are among the highest in North Africa. From there you have stunning views of the sand dunes and you can see various wildlife species such as camels and lizards. The next stop is the dunes of Erg Chegaga, where you can spend some time in one of the famous desert camps under the stars if you prefer, or in an elegant nomadic tent. The camp is equipped with all amenities like tents, bathrooms, and a restaurant to allow you to enjoy your stay comfortably.

How to Get to Marrakech?

There are many ways to get to Marrakech, but the easiest way is by plane. There are direct flights from Paris and Brussels, as well as from many other European cities. From J.F. Kennedy International Airport, you have to fly to Mohammed V International Airport or to a European city where they have direct flights to Marrakech. You can also travel by boat to Tangier or take a bus or train from different locations in the country or fly into Casablanca and drive the rest of the way. You have many options! If you choose to travel by train, please check the official website of the Moroccan National Railways for information about the cities where they operate.
You can also use flight search engines such as Skyscanner, Momondo, and Kayak to compare prices and find a flight that suits you.

Marrakech Travel Guide Conclusion

The Marrakech Travel Guide contains a brief overview of the city and its culture, as well as information on the best places to visit, how to get there, and where to stay during your visit. Marrakech is a bustling city with a lot to offer to its visitor. Its 18 souks are full of everything from spices to fabrics, from carpets to kitchen utensils. There are also many good restaurants and cafes in the center of town that serve traditional Moroccan food as well as international dishes.

It is an amazing city that deserves to be seen by everyone who wants an authentic experience of Morocco!