We have made a list of what we believe are the 10 must-see places in Marrakech. The old and magical Marrakech, full of palaces, mosques, markets, and gardens, is one of those cities that you can not miss. Its Medina surrounded by a great wall and gates, is spectacular, where staying in a riad is the best thing you can do to enjoy the authentic essence of the city.
Marrakech is the most visited city in Morocco where you will find a lot of tourism, even becoming a bit overwhelming if you are at rush hour in the most visited places, so organize your visit well will help you to savor the real Marrakech.
Marrakech must-see places:
1. Plaza Jamaa el Fna:
The Jamaa el Fna Square is the nerve center of Marrakech, all routes through the Medina end or begin in this square. In the morning you will find from monkeys to snake charmers, water carriers, or sellers of fresh orange juice, while at night it transforms, filling with food stalls.
One of the best must-see places in Marrakech where to taste the change and the constant movement in the square is from the terrace of Café Glacier sipping a mint tea while the sun goes down. An alternative to having good first contact with the Medina and the Jamaa el Fna Square is to book a free tour of Marrakech! or a private tour, in which you choose the itinerary, both with English speaking guide.
2. Medersa Ben Youssef:
Entering the Medersa Ben Youssef is one of the best things to see and do in Marrakech, without any doubt. This Muslim school is the largest in Morocco and was built in the 14th century.
The central courtyard is spectacular with an incredible iron chandelier, the arches, and walls decorated with tiles, and the walls covered with handmade zellige, cedar, stucco, and marble panels.
At one time, 800 students memorized the Koran in its 130 cells until 1960. It has now become one of the must-see places to visit in Marrakech.
Visiting hours: daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
3. Saadians Tombs:
Finding the Saadians Tombs in the Medina is a bit complicated, so it is not surprising that these tombs dating from the sixteenth century were not found again until 1917. We have to say that this is one of our must-see places in Marrakech, located on the right side of the Moulay El Yazid Mosque, near the great Bab Agnaou gate, and accessed by a narrow passageway.
The mausoleum Hall of the Twelve Columns is the most beautiful place, with its twelve white marble columns supporting a handmade cedarwood dome that is a real marvel.
The Hall of the Three Niches and the Hall of Mirhab are next to it, but they are smaller and not as decorated, although of course, they are also worth a visit. In all rest members of the Saadi Dynasty while in the gardens are the tombs of servants and soldiers.
Visiting hours: daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
4. The Souk:
Get lost, bargain, buy or even get a little angry, are some of the premises that you have to know before entering the souk and one of the best tips for traveling to Marrakech. In the heart of the Medina and entering the north side of the Jamaa el Fna Square you will enter a maze of narrow streets full of stores and the occasional food stall.
In the souk, you can buy the typical metal lanterns, slippers, djellabas, tea sets, spices, or clothing … Among many other typical items of the country. You will see that the artisans of the same branch are grouped in the same area of the souk, making it much easier for the traveler to find what he is looking for.
Our favorite is the dyers’ souk, with its colorful wool dried in the sun, although there are many others that are worth finding and visiting such as the Henna souk, with cosmetic items, the silk, cotton, and slippers souk called Kissaria Serrajine, the carpet souk known as the Tillis souk, the cauldron souk called Es-Seffarine or the Nejjarine souk with wooden items.
As a tip, we will tell you that you should not pay attention to the guides who want to make you a route through the souks, as you will surely end up in a store buying more expensive.
Although at some point it can become overwhelming, this is certainly one of the must-see places to visit in Marrakech.
Visiting hours: every day from 9.00 to 19.00h. Closed on Friday mornings.
5. Mellah, one of the best must-see places to visit in Marrakesh:
Mellah or the old Jewish quarter is one of the least visited areas of the Medina, but one of the best must-see places in Marrakech. The creation of the neighborhood dates back to the sixteenth century with the expulsion of many Jews ordered by the kings of Spain and Portugal, which led to the formation of one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe.
Although now its presence is testimonial, it still retains some synagogue as the Al Azama, which together with the Jewish cemetery are two of its main attractions.
To access the Mellah you have to get to the beautiful Plaza des Ferblantiers (square of the tinsmiths), the gateway to the neighborhood, and about 15 minutes walk from the Jamaa el Fna Square.
Its streets are not full of stores like those of the souk but there are good markets and prices are cheaper than in the rest of the Medina.
The riads are small old Arab palaces with an inner courtyard that have been adapted as hotels. It is the perfect place to stay in the medina of Marrakech, with the sound of the fountain in the courtyard, the smell of the plants, the roof terrace overlooking the Medina while sipping mint tea, the Arab hospitality, the delicious breakfasts, and the tranquility of its few rooms.
Whether or not you stay in one of them, you can also go to dinner at a famous riad like Dar Cherifa or visit the Tiskiwin House, an old riad converted into a museum. Be warned, though, that sometimes it is hard to find your riad in the labyrinthine medina, but don’t worry, there will always be someone willing to guide you for a small tip. Without a doubt, riads are one of the must-see places to visit in Morocco.
7. Majorelle Gardens:
The Majorelle Gardens are the most beautiful gardens in the city and one of the must-see places to visit in Marrakech. These botanical gardens designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle were acquired in 1980 by fashion guru Yves Saint Laurent and today are a perfect place to disconnect from the stressful Marrakech and take refuge from the heat sitting under the shade of the trees.
The garden has species from all over the world, from cactus, bamboo, and aquatic plants to coconut and banana trees. Its fountains, lakes and blue buildings make the whole place really beautiful and photogenic, being also one of the most visited places in the city.
It is a half-hour walk from the center, although you can also go by cab, or as we did, taking advantage of a visit to the Palmeral to be dropped off nearby and then walk back to the center.
Visiting hours: every day from 8:00 to 17:30h.
8. Marrakech wall:
The Medina of Marrakech is surrounded by an impressive wall of 15 kilometers that separates its oldest part of the new neighborhoods. Built-in clay and adobe has a height of about 10 meters and has 10 impressive entrance gates among which the Bab Agnaou Gate of the twelfth century, with bas-reliefs and green colors.
This protective wall, another of the places to see in Marrakech, you can go a good part or all walking or buggy, and thus find other interesting gates such as Bab el Robb, Bab Doukkala, Bab el Debbagh, Bab el Jadid and Bab el Khemis.
9. Koutoubia Mosque:
One of the unmistakable buildings of the Marrakech skyline is the 66-meter minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque or Kutubia. The Koutoubia is the most important mosque in Marrakech and one of the largest in the Arab world.
This mosque is located very close to the Jamaa el Fna Square and you can see it from the terraces of many restaurants and rooftops of the riads around, from where you can take good pictures of the medina with the minaret towering on the horizon.
The name of the mosque translates as “one of the booksellers” and is a good reference point when you get lost. Like the rest of the mosques in the city, it is off-limits to non-Muslims.
The atmosphere around the mosque when the calls to prayer begin is really interesting.
10. Bahia palace:
The Bahia Palace, which was built to be the most spectacular palace in the world, is another great must-see place in Marrakech.
This set of buildings and gardens made in an Arabic style in the late nineteenth century occupy 8 hectares and among the highlights is the harem, with a pond in the central courtyard and surrounded by the rooms of the concubines.
Although it is a bit abandoned and without any objects inside, the decoration of the walls, the wooden doors, and ceilings are worth the visit. It is located in the southern part of the Medina about 20 minutes walk from Jamaa el Fna Square.
Visiting hours: daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
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Marrakech is surely a departure city for our Morocco tours contact us to customize the tour itinerary that suits your needs.