“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seekingnew landscapes, but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust
In 2019, Morocco had 9 places added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
What better way to attract more tourists to the country?
Marrakech (or Marrakesh), for a long time, has been one of the country’s most popular destinations. Whether it's visiting monuments, strolling around the streets, trips to the desert, tasting mint tea, staying in a riad, visiting the mosques, etc., there are so many things to do when you go to Marrakech.
Here’s what you should visit when you go to Marrakech.
The Majorelle Garden is a botanical garden whose main building is painted in a vibrant blue colour. The Majorelle Garden is also known for belonging to Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. The couple bought this garden in 1980 to save the grounds from a hotel complex and built these magnificent gardens here instead.
This is where the fashion designer’s ashes were scattered.
You’ll have to pay around £6 to walk around the gardens. However, this price is well worth it if you want to discover the many beautiful plants. A visit will take you about an hour.
Find out more about visiting Marrakech.
The Koutoubia Mosque is an architectural gem in the heart of Marrakech. This is a Sunni mosque that dates back to the 12th century and the Almohad Caliphate. With its large minaret, you can’t miss it.
You should know that infidels aren’t allowed to enter the mosque. If you’re not Muslim, you’ll have to just enjoy it from the outside, respecting the local customs and those who gather to pray. Avoid getting too close to the mosque during prayers as many Muslims will be attempting to enter the mosque and they won’t want to have to fight their way through crowds of tourists.
Find out where you can take the best Arabic courses.
The mosque is by Jemaa el-Fna so you can kill two birds with one stone.
All the palaces in Marrakech are worth visiting but the Bahia Palace (Palace of the beautiful, the brilliant) is unsurprisingly one of the most beautiful palaces in the city. The palace, which dates back to the 19th century, covers 8 hectares and is one of Marrakech’s most popular tourist attractions. In a Moorish and Islamic style, you’ll be charmed by the architecture and the gardens.
The Agafay Desert
The Agafay Desert is around 25 miles from Marrakech. It covers hundreds of hectares and while visiting the desert on a trip to Morocco is a bit cliché, it’s worth it. To make the most of the incredible views, the dunes and rocky outcrops, you can always do a tour of the desert.
The oasis in the heart of the Agafay Desert is a great spot to admire the vegetation and animals. Turtles and frogs gather to drink water and provide a touching spectacle in the middle of these arid surroundings. You can also spot some Berber tents on the way.
In the heart of Morocco, Jemma el-Fna is a square and an iconic part of the city. There’s a huge market there. It’s been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1985. There are plenty of curiosities, including snake charmers, in the square. Of course, tourism has harmed the place and there are a lot of snake charmers who'll harangue you for money after having coerced you into taking a photo. However, walking around and enjoying the atmosphere at sunset is one of Marrakech’s best experiences.
A bit out of the centre, the Palmeraie is a large natural space covering nearly 15,000 hectares where you can see thousands of trees. As the name suggests, palm trees are in abundance. You can also enjoy the gardens here.
There are a few ways to visit the Palmeraie: walking around the park, on a camel, or a quad bike. You can spend anywhere between half an hour and two hours in the Palmeraie. Of course, you won’t see the whole park in a single day.
The Palmeraie isn’t just a natural park. There’s also an urbanised area with large houses and complexes where you can find the “Centre de la Terre”, a centre dedicated to ecological building solutions on dry earth like in many parts of Morocco. This is a great way to see some ecological and picturesque buildings.
Travellers can enjoy this mausoleum housing the bodies of Saadians, an Arabic dynasty that reigned for over 350 years in Morocco. The tombs were discovered in 1817. The mausoleum is extraordinarily decorated and well preserved and a must for history lovers.
The Menara Gardens are a great place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech’s city centre. This is the perfect destination to enjoy the calm at the end of a busy day. Surrounded by greenery, you can enjoy the view of the Atlas Mountains reflecting off the water.
To get there, you’ll need to walk for 45 minutes from Jemaa el-Fna. However, you can also get a taxi there, which is pretty cheap in Marrakech.
Find out more about transport in Marrakech.
El Badi Palace
Another of Marrakech’s large palaces, the El Badi Palace is huge! It was constructed in the 16th century by order of the Saadian sultan Ahmad al-Mansur to celebrate his victory against the Portuguese army in the Battle of the Three Kings.
Ben Youssef Madrasa
This ancient Quranic school was built in the 16th century by the Saadians and is a fine example of Moorish architecture. For four centuries, it’s welcomed in Moroccan and foreign theology students and at the moment, it’s home to up to 900 students. The building was restored to its original splendour in the middle of the 20th century.
At the heart of the 19th-century Menebhi Palace, the Marrakech Museum is a great way to discover a fine example of Andalusian architecture and understand Moroccan history. If you’re in the centre of Marrakech, you have to visit it.
Whether you're looking for a boutique hotel, a luxury hotel, rooms and suites in the four seasons resort, or a guesthouse with a nice roof terrace, find out more about finding accommodation or a hotel in Marrakech.
Medina is the name of Marrakech’s historic centre. This area is home to most of the attractions and sites mentioned in this article. Aside from the famous buildings in the city centre, there’s also something to be said for just walking around the neighbourhood’s small streets and enjoying Moroccan culture. The neighbourhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Find out more about the cost of visiting Marrakech.
The Ouzud Falls
You’ll need to travel a bit to get to these waterfalls as they’re 90 miles from the city of Marrakech. The waterfalls are considered a must-see sight if you’re spending time in Marrakech. They’re the highest in the country and visitors can enjoy the views of the countryside and wild monkeys making the most of the water and the sun.
How can you visit Morocco without visiting the souks?
These artisanal markets are filled with locally-made products. Moroccan rugs, fabrics, leathers, etc. are all available at a good price, especially since you can always barter to get the best price.
Start by halving the price and go from there.
The Secret Garden
At the heart of a 19th-century palace, the Secret Garden was restored a few years ago and is now home to plenty of exotic vegetation. This is a great opportunity to relax in the heart of Marrakech.
The Dar Si Said Museum
To discover Moroccan products, the Dar Si Said museum is all about Moroccan savoir-faire and rug making. There are plenty of different rugs on display.
So what are you waiting for?
In addition to all the tourist attractions, there are also plenty of nice places to stay luxury hotels in Marrakech where you can enjoy a good old hotel spa and other things to do like enjoy Moroccan cuisine in the old city, go trekking in the Sahara desert (with a guide, of course), and take trips to other cities such as Casablanca or Rabat.
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