Marrakech doesn’t unfold as much as twirl into a dizzying array of vibrant colors, captivating sounds, and aromatic lanes that lead to the top 9 destinations you must visit when in the famous Moroccan city.
From fortified old neighborhoods, conical spices decorating the market stalls, visions of snowcapped mountains to surprisingly lush gardens, Marrakech embodies the flavorful history of Morocco, from antique streets to contemporary architecture. No matter how you explore the city, you can find the quintessential Moroccan experience.
Listen to epic stories, wander through desirable palaces, or simply sip tea in a rooftop cafe to discover your favorite experiences as you find your preferred top destinations of Marrakech.
Djemaa El Fna Square’s magnetism exudes from fortune tellers and snake charmers, poets and storytellers. The main square opens to the drama and history of the city dating back to the 11th century as the food market unfolds with the aromas of grilling meat and the sounds of musicians warming their instruments. Whether within the bustles of the square after sunset or viewed from a neighboring rooftop cafe as you sip tea, the square possesses an undeniable allure that embodies the heritage of the city in the heart of the city.
Extravagance, intricacy, and culture blossom across the expansive design of Bahia Palace. Painted wood, intricate marquetry, and detailed plasterwork join together to create a dazzling image of the former caliphate and kingdom. Zouak ceilings and grand courtyards reveal the connection between the 150 rooms at the heart of the medina. Wander the traditional gardens to enjoy the scent of orange trees or embrace the soothing sound of splashing fountains. Uncover fireplaces lined with zellige tiles or stand beneath the stained-glass windows to find the colorful patterns alight in the afternoon.
Fame and glory shine from the edifice of the Badi Palace, located at the southern edge of the medina. The water basin and small gardens accentuate the former charm of the interior that’s accented by the open vaults and servants’ quarters, as well as the wooden Koutoubia Mosque that blends Andalusian and Moorish design. Restorations on the cedar-wood steps have revealed the gold and silver calligraphy of the head artisan. Instead of a display of preserved opulence, the Badi Palace captures the wonder of design in its incredible size and dramatic defensive walls.
The desert landscape of Marrakech turns surreal in the Majorelle Garden, where over 300 plant species from five continents thrive against the backdrop of an art deco studio and Musee Berbere. The museum gallery displays approximately 600 artifacts of the indigenous inhabitants of Morocco and the gardens create a peaceful oasis in which you can lounge at the courtyard cafe, find inspired handcrafted jewelry, or simply stroll along the pathways to enjoy the lily ponds, channels, and trickling fountains.
The souk overall has a reputation for treasures and a bustling pace, but the new, winding lane can provide a more centralized collection of shops for you to find variety, competition, and your perfect purchase. Semmarine represents the exotic finds as you wander through the covered alley lined with fabric and textile shops. Traders display excellent pashminas and plush kaftans, as well as intricate carpets and polished antiques. Souk Place des Epices brings bright colors and enticing aromas to the lanes, with spices displayed like mountains in the various shops. Whether shoes and clothes or lamps and tea sets, the souk embodies tradition and charm.
The Saadian Tombs were once purposefully hidden, but when uncovered, revealed a series of opulent sepulchers and mausoleums that date back to the 16th century. The extravagant reputation of the sultan carries through time in the lavish design of the tomb complex, where zellige design and honeycomb muqarnas add complex and intricate details around pillars crafted from marble. Whether carved with blessings or open to the garden, the tombs capture exceptional imagination and preserved glamour.
While the ancient medina may garner more attention, the contemporary neighborhood of Gueliz is an exceptional alternative to the hustle and bustle of the old city. French schools, luxury hotels, and the cosmopolitan ambiance attract younger and more affluent locals who enjoy the palm-lined streets and European-style cafes. Art galleries and museums that showcase works by artists like Matisse or designers add to an ambiance that’s further accentuated by the Majorelle Gardens, Parc El Harti, or the historical gardens and meditative foliage of Arsat Moulay Abdeslam Cyber Park, where a backdrop of the Atlas Mountains crowns the view.
The Mellah describes the Jewish neighborhood in Marrakech and winds close to the Badi Palace. While the winding lanes represent mostly a residential area, historical sites still abound in the form of the glamorous palaces and residential facades that feature Moroccan architectural characteristics, in addition to the city’s last remaining kosher butcher. The cemetery has stood in place for over 600 years and connects to the 20th-century synagogue that stands on the foundations of a Jewish community that has been active in Marrakech since the Spanish Inquisition.
The pure mountain air and cool high-altitude slopes of Toubkal National Park create a sharp contrast to the winding lanes and spiced aromas of the Marrakech medina. As an easy day trip away from the city, the national park contains views to the jagged peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, with access to the forest and arid mountain landscape. With exceptional wildlife, mesmerizing views, and unparalleled quiet, Toubkal National Park is not the image many have when visiting Marrakech, but brings to light a new and lovely perspective of the city’s location, connection to natural history, and easy access to the surrounding beauty.
The sounds of Marrakech combine with colors to unfurl the grand traditions of the city and its surroundings. From ancient tombs to vibrant markets, the combination of ancient and contemporary create an intoxicating and immersive atmosphere. Whether traveling to discover a family adventure or eager to enjoy a luxurious couple’s retreat, you can find more inspiration for customizable itineraries with our Morocco Tours & Vacations. You can talk with a Morocco travel expert by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.