Bucket List Series: What to Do in Marrakech for First-Timers
If you are visiting Marrakech for the first time, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll get a detailed review of the city and what makes it popular among tourists. Read on to find out more about what to do in Marrakech.
Marrakech is the third largest city in Morocco and means “Land of God.” It is located in the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and is just a couple of hours away from the Sahara Desert.
A former imperial city in western Morocco, Marrakech dates back to the Berber Empire. Home to mosques, palaces, and gardens, Marrakech is sure to swirl your senses, especially if you are visiting the city for the first time. The colorful images and exciting new smells and tastes in this tourist-friendly city will leave you wondering, “what a place!” The vibrant and colorful city reflects the influences of different traditions and cultures such as Arabic, European, and African.
The best thing about Marrakech is that here, you can find several options for budget accommodations as well as luxury resorts. All you have to do is look for Marrakech vacation rentals so you could get the best value for your money.
The Best Times to Visit
The right times to visit Marrakech are when the city offers desirable weather, and those are from March to April and from October to November. just be mindful of the religious holidays and national holidays that can boost the local traffic.
One can rent a car or hire a taxi to explore the city. It is also easy to travel by train or take advantage of the cruise services. You can also travel by caliche which is a horse-drawn carriage.
Although Morocco is an Islamic country, dress code and alcohol is much more relaxed than in other places. However, make sure that you are dressed modestly and avoid transparent and tight clothing. Be ready to adjust to the hustle and bustle of the city that is filled with donkey carts, mopeds, and stray cats.
What to Do and See at Marrakech
- Explore the souks, which are the traditional markets inside the old city.
- Walk on those cobblestone side streets and take in the aroma of the spices. You are most likely to come across snake charmers.
- Visit the iconic Jemaa el Fna square, which is easy to locate because of its towering minaret that is visible almost anywhere. You can spend hours wandering its spiraling alleyways.
- Browse Medina and its numerous cafes and restaurants and other cultural attractions like Palais de la Bahia and Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech. Catch the glimpses of Morocco’s past in the stunning floors and ceilings of the palace.
- Jacques Majorelle’s garden is the work of an artist and offers a calm and beautiful retreat from the heat and bustling streets of Marrakech.
- It is hard to ignore the astounding beauty of Marrakesh and its intricately tiled walls. Enjoy looking at the vast array of exquisite pottery and those decorative archways.
- Marrakech boasts of some of the most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. The Ali Ben Youssef Medersa plus the Koutoubia minaret, the Miaâra Jewish cemetery, Lazama Synagogue is a great way to understand Marrakech’s cosmopolitan character.
- Visit the Dar Si Said and Bahia Palace that showcase an enriched bounty of marble and intricate floral painted-wood ceilings. Saadian Tombs, Musée de Marrakech, and Musée de Mouassine reflect the ancient artistry of the city.
- Majorelle Gardens are noted for their blue color, and this is a great spot to catch some good pics as well as enjoy good food.
- Explore Jemaa El Fna, which is dotted with juice, nut, and date stands during the day. You can also check out the henna tattoo artists here.
What to Eat
Marrakech will not disappoint you when it comes to food. Here you will find rows and rows of street stalls boasting of menus in French, English, and Arabic. Each of them is selling specialties like offal, couscous, brochette, tajine, and offal. Visit ‘Cafe DuLivre’ which is a hip bar that serves designer flavors of coffee and tea. You can enjoy salads, pizza, and pasta as well as the true vegetarian couscous in the city.
Moroccan and Italian cooks serve excellent and well-priced food, and there are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. There are endless options in fruit and vegetable-based drinks. You can enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice anytime from the jovial sellers in carts along the streets.
The culinary scene gets even more busy and noisy at night. There are so many different smells and exotics tastes here that could range from almond pastries, cardamom, mint tea and more. You’ll enjoy the plant-based tagines and couscous as well as Moroccan salads.
What to Shop For
Marrakech is filled with a plethora of smaller souks that sell endless number and kind of products that can be easily bargained for. The hand-crafted candle-holding lanterns are especially popular with the tourists as well as the spectacular aroma and display of local spices can keep one busy for hours. It’s also a must to buy the Argan oil that is essential for cooking and beauty treatments.
Visit Marrakech, the large tanning industry and here one can buy high-quality leather goods. Shop for round poufs, handbags, and jackets made of camel leather. Local cactus silk is fast becoming popular, and one can shop for handbags, tablecloths, scarves, bedspreads, and throws in stunning colors. You can also shop for those brightly colored platters and bowls and tagines in all sizes.
I’m a person of simple tastes and wants. All I’ve ever wanted since I was 12 was to have my own room where I can display my notebook collection. When I was 16, I was content to stay in bed and write in my journal. At 22, I thought I needed nothing more than classical music and a bowl of spaghetti.