Even if you only have one day in the former capital of Morocco, this travel guide shows you the best things to do in Marrakech and the most important sights for your city break. The eventful history can still be experienced and felt in many places. Magnificent palaces, mighty mosques, picturesque gardens and the labyrinth-like souks typical of Arab countries. Immerse yourself in the exotic world of North Africa and be enchanted during the 24 hours in Marrakech!
What do you learn in this article?
BIG5 Things to do in Marrakech
You don’t want to miss any sights? Find all the tips and your checklist for your getaway to Marrakech here:
BIG5 Marrakech – Speed Date
Marrakech is a great entry-level country for trips to Africa, culturally very exotic, yet with a very good tourist infrastructure
Marrakech is THE tourist center of North Africa and therefore a bit crowded in some corners. Don’t let that put you off!
Enjoy Marrakech from above: The city consists of a sea of roof terraces, with a view of the Atlas Mountains included!
Don’t be put off by cheap purchases in the souks just because you suddenly have to negotiate instead of a clear price tag
Don’t tell your mother:
In some areas, drugs are definitely an issue, especially around the Bahia Palace! Caution is advised!
BIG5 Marrakech – Rapid Fire Q&A
- How many days should I plan for Marrakech? – If you have really little time you can experience the biggest Marrakech sights in one day, otherwise you should take at least 2 full days for this wonderful city
- Is traveling in Marrakech safe? – Yes, Marrakech is considered safe for tourists. As in all cities, of course, you need to be careful, especially in the crowds of people in the souks and in dark, remote streets if you are traveling alone in the dark
- Should you book excursions from Marrakech from home or on site? – As a rule, booking on site is cheaper, and often there is still some room for negotiation. If you have little time and want to compare services and ratings in peace, relaxed booking in advance is the better option
- Is the language barrier in Marrakech an issue? – Many languages are spoken in Marrakech, Arabic, the Berber language, French etc. Nevertheless, you can get along well with English in the tourist areas, and there will always be people who can translate away
- Do I have to worry a lot about transfers? – Not really! Book a riad / accommodation in the center so everything is within walking distance.
BIG5 Marrakech – Orga
Best travel time
The best travel times are spring and autumn, i.e. April and May as well as October and November. These months are not as hot as summer
Arrival & Departure
Visa: Check here whether you need a visa for Morocco with your passport
- Flights: Many airlines fly directly to Marrakech-Menara International Airport (IATA: RAK)
- Train: The mode of transport of choice when traveling between the larger Moroccan cities
- Train: From / to Casablanca (several times a day; ~ 2: 40h; ~ 10-15 €)
- Bus: From / to Casablanca (several times a day; ~ 3: 30h; ~ 7-12 €)
Next it goes to … Casablanca, Fés or you use Marrakech as a starting point for great day and multi-day trips
Recommended location: Book a typical Moroccan riad in the medina – the old city center – so that all Marrakech sights are within easy walking distance.
- Budget: Be Nomad (Rue bensaleh, Derb Bouanane N ° 37 Medina, 40030 Marrakech; ~ 10 € dormitory, ~ 30 € double); great hostel with roof terrace
- Budget: Hostel Terrasse Spa & Hena (Rue Lalla Fatima Zahra Immeuble Laamiri N ° 59, 40000 Marrakech; ~ 10 € dormitory); rich breakfast, roof terrace and the possibility to book a visit to the hammam directly!
- Medium: Riad l’Oiseau du Paradis (27 Derb Cherrata Arset El Houta, 44000 Marrakech; ~ 50 € single, ~ 65 € double), great riad in a central location
- Medium: Les Sources Berbères Riad & Spa (25, Derb El Arsa, Riad Zitoun Jdid, 40000 Marrakesch; 75 € EZ / DZ), great location and spa area in the Riad
- Medium: Rodamon Riad (Amssafah 32, Quartier Assouel 40000 Marrakech; 85 € DR), great atmosphere with pool, good location and oriental-style rooms
- Noble: Riad Al Ksar & Spa (11, Derb Ati Allah Quartier Salam, Mellah, 40000 Marrakech; ~ 110 € DR), great pool and spa area, only 1 minute from the Bahia Palace – and of course with a fantastic view from the roof terrace
- Noble: Riad Rose Du Desert (181 Arset Azoual Bab Doukala Marrakech, 40000 Marrakech; ~ 150 € DR), grandiose roof terrace and pool area
In Morocco you pay with the Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
Withdraw money: There are many ATMs in the city where you can withdraw money for free with a reasonable travel credit card
Beer indicator: For a small bottle of 0.33l you pay around 40 dirhams (~ 3.50-4.00 €), Morocco as a Muslim country is not exactly known for cheap alcohol prices
Cost of a taxi in Marrakech: A trip within the city costs ~ 15-20 dirhams (1.30 – 2.00 €), you have to negotiate the price in advance.
Public transport: Depending on the route, individual tickets for the city buses in Marrakech only cost 2 – 5 dirhams, i.e. less than 50 cents.
Stay connected: SIM cards are cheap in Morocco, a Maroc SIM card costs around 40 dirhams (€ 3.50-4.00), plus 100 dirhams (€ 9-10) for 10 GB data volume
Restaurants, Bars & Cafés
- Carre Eden Food Court (Avenue Mohammed V, Marrakech 40000) – e.g. B. PitaPita, if you want something quicker and cheaper to eat
- Le Petit Chantier (39, 4 Rue Mohammed el Beqal, Marrakech 40000) – sandwiches, mocktails, freshly squeezed juices, but also coffee
- Le Jardin (32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh 40000) – Do you need a break from the hectic and dusty streets of the old town and markets? Then this restaurant is like an oasis
- Nomad (1 Derb Aarjane, Medina ، Marrakesh 40000) – delicious local food, special ambience and a great view (website)
Tip: You can also get delicious food on the Jemaa El-Fnaa (yes “street food”, but no worries: controlled by food authorities) or in your riad (ask beforehand!)
BIG5 Marrakech – Activities
- Stroll across the Jemaa El-Fnaa and then watch the hustle and bustle from one of the surrounding roof terraces
- Admire the magnificent palaces like the El-Badi Palace
- Immerse yourself in the labyrinthine souks of Marrakech
- Escape the hustle and bustle of tourists in the spacious gardens (Menara, Jardin Majorelle etc.)
- Relax with a cup of mint tea on one of the countless roof terraces
BIG5 Marrakech – Photo spots
- From the surrounding roof terraces the hustle and bustle on Jemaa El Fnaa in the evening with the illuminated Koutoubia mosque in the background
- The oriental palaces like the Bahia Palace offer great photo opportunities
- In the magnificent riads, even the accommodation becomes a photo backdrop (e.g. Riad Yasmine)
- You can get colorful photos in the exotic souks of the city
- The astonishing white halls of the Saadian tombs
BIG5 Marrakech – Things to do off the beaten track
- Discover the roof terrace of the Maison de la Photographie with a magnificent view of the Atlas Mountains
- Immerse yourself in the exotic oriental-North African cuisine with a food tour
- Enjoy the rooftop terrace of Menara Mall (if you have time for some shopping outside of the souks)
- Marvel at the Dar Si Said Museum about the art treasures of the old caravan route Marrakesh – Timbuktu
- Walk in the vastness of the Agdal garden just outside the center
BIG5 Marrakech – Culinary Journey
- Moroccan tagine – the dish is named after the typical cookware and can contain a variety of ingredients at your choice. Chicken, lamb, beef or purely vegetarian options are popular. Couscous is often served with this.
- Thé à la Menthe – enjoy the foaming hot tea with fresh mint
- Briouats – inexpensive filled dumplings with different fillings, ideal as a snack on the way
- Tangia – especially tender meat cooked in a clay pot
- Amlou – a delicious cream usually made from almonds, honey and argan oil – with a delicious bread!
BIG5 Marrakech – Communication
Many languages are spoken in Marrakech, including Arabic, the Berber language and French for historical reasons. With English you can communicate well at most tourist points, but a little French certainly doesn’t hurt.
- thank you – shukraan jazilaan (شكرا جزيلا)
- yes – nem (نعم)
- no – la (لا)
- hello – marhabaan (مرحبا)
- goodbye – ‘iilaa alliqa’ (إلى اللقاء)
BIG5 Marrakech – Helpful Websites / Links
- Official Website of Visit Morocco
BIG5 Marrakech – Overview map with the the best things to do
Discover the best things to do in Marrakech in one day
Marrakech is the perfect destination for a city break and the ideal starting point for further excursions in Morocco.
Do you have only one day for the many sights of Marrakech? Then there is no time to lose, let’s go on an exciting journey of discovery through markets, through souks, magnificent gardens and the winding alleys of the medina.
A perfect day in Marrakech 🇲🇦 – here is your overview:
Best suited for Screenshots 📷📝
Your morning in Marrakech
- Bab Agnaou & Kasbah district
- Saadian tombs
- El Badi palace
- Mellah, the Jewish Quarter
Your afternoon in Marrakech
- Bahia palace
- Jemaa el-Fnaa by day
- Koutoubia mosque
- Stroll through the souks
Your evening in Marrakech
- Jemaa el-Fnaa in the evening
- Dinner: Jemaa el-Fnaa or restaurant recommendations
I have summarized the Marrakech sights and the circular route for you in addition to the BIG5 in an overview map:
Click on the icon at the top left to use the full range of map options!
Things to do in Marrakech in the morning
Follow royal tracks in the Kasbah district
Are you ready for an exciting day of sightseeing in Marrakech? Then go, dive into the North African Arab culture and history. Start at the impressive Bab Aganou, one of the historic city gates of Marrakech. enters the venerable Kasbah district – designed for the court of the Sultan in the 12th century.
In the immediate vicinity there is another gate, the Bab Er Robb. By the way: Bab means “gate” in Arabic. Ahhh, now that makes sense!
We continue to the Saadian tombs. The famous tombs of the Saadi dynasty date from the 16th century, but were only rediscovered in 1917. Here you will find the graves of seven sultans and their families.
The mausoleum consists of 3 impressive buildings and a cozy garden – watch out for the cute turtles here!
In the white “Hall of the 12 pillars” with the 6 graves, you cannot escape amazement. The richness of detail of this mausoleum in wall decoration, stucco work and wood carvings is simply breathtaking!
Depending on the number of visitors, you unfortunately only have a short time to enjoy this view. So the earlier you are here, the better – a good alternative is the late afternoon.
Visit the mighty El Badi Palace and the Jewish quarter of Mellah
The El Badi Palace was once the largest palace in the kingdom. Today, unfortunately, you can only admire the foundation walls, which makes the visit not less recommendable. The palace is particularly known for the many storks that nest on the walls – an impressive sight.
The walls still have an important function for you today: El Badi Palace is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle outside. In addition, it is rarely overrun by tourists. So sit back and enjoy the scenery with the water basins, the impressive walls with the many storks, which hold their positions everywhere like modern guards.
If you have some time left, you can also visit the Museum of Photography & Visual Arts of Marrakech with a large exhibition of contemporary Moroccan photography within the palace walls for a small fee.
Then stroll through Mellah, the city’s Jewish quarter. The Jewish population of Marrakech still lives behind the walls, albeit only a few hundred people. Take a look inside the Slat Al Azama Synagogue and take a detour past the Jewish cemetery if you have time.
Things to do in Marrakech in the afternoon
Enjoy the tranquility of the Bahia Palace
The magnificent palace is a real treasure for all architecture and art lovers!
Your neck will definitely be put to the test here, so often you’ll look up! Let the view wander: to the mosaic-covered floor, the wood carving on the walls to the detailed ceiling decoration – and back again.
The entire complex of the palace is huge, over 8,000 square meters and around 160 (!) Rooms. Depending on your time budget, you could spend time here.
You can explore the palace on your own or with a guide. In order to look into the more remote corners and learn a lot about the backgrounds, the second is of course worthwhile.
Jemaa El Fnaa & the maze of souks
It is only a 15-minute walk from the Bahia Palace to central Jemaa El Fnaa Square. You are already walking through the foothills of the souks here. In the Arab countries, a souk (or souq) denotes the market district with the commercial and other commercial activities. The streets and alleys are heavily touristy, the offer ranges from beautiful oriental handicrafts to food and spices to brightly colored T-shirts and backpacks.
The Jemaa El Fnaa is far less busy during the day than in the evening, so you can look around without the annoying crowds. Caution: If you take pictures of the jugglers and animals, the actors will ask for money! And photos of the animals under the keyword “animal cruelty” are not recommended anyway. It’s best to do a little dangling and take a look at the large Koutoubia mosque with its beautiful gardens in daylight.
Immerse yourself in the souks of Marrakech!
No visit to Marrakech is complete without a visit to the souks. The souks are a very special part of the Arabic-Islamic culture. You will find the labyrinth-like markets in Marrakech, especially north of Jemaa El Fnaa Square.
Unusual for many tourists: You won’t find any price tags, negotiation is the order of the day!
A particularly nice corner for lingering and watching the hustle and bustle in the Place de Epices, the spice market. Exotic scents are in the air, the colorful goods are piling up, locals and travelers are busy doing business – a travel pleasure for all the senses!
Do you have some time before dinner and you definitely need to relax after a busy day in the dusty streets of Marrakech? Then a visit to a traditional hammam is just the thing for you!
Things to do in Marrakech in the evening
Immerse yourself in the own world of Jemaa El Fnaa
The Jemaa El Fnaa is the linchpin of the city and well worth a visit both during the day and in the evening.
A true microcosm of North Africa with an incredible amount to discover.
Stop short and grasp the space with all your senses:
- Do you see the hustle and bustle of traders, dancers and jugglers with their animals?
- Do you smell the scent of the spices and the delicious smoke of the food stalls?
- Can you hear the musicians playing melodies on the typical instruments and the murmuring of the storytellers?
- Do you feel the liveliness of the place with the large crowd of locals and travelers?
- Do you taste the delicious food from the food stalls? There is really nothing left to be desired here – and you don’t have to worry about hygiene either thanks to regular checks.
Admittedly, a tourist insider tip looks different. Of course the place is full of travelers, but a lot of locals come for dinner. Then the many food stalls open up to their true size.
Regardless of which part of Marrakech you look around, sooner or later you will come back to Djemaa El Fna. The place and its importance for various groups of people go so far that it has been recognized by UNESCO as an oral and immaterial heritage of humanity since 2001. Jemaa El Fnaa literally means “Place of the Decapitated” – no joke. Fortunately, those days are long gone.
Take a seat on one of the surrounding roof terraces and watch the hustle and bustle in peace. Here is also a great place to admire the sunset.
It is particularly recommended to stroll to the Koutoubia Mosque again at the blue hour or after dark! The illuminated tower makes a great photo motif and the calmness really does after the hustle and bustle of Jemaa El Fnaa!
For dinner, we recommend the food stalls of Jemaa El Fnaa and the surrounding area, one of the restaurant recommendations such as the Nomad (don’t forget your reservation!) or the restaurant of your riad.
Now you know what are the best things to do Marrakech and how you can see many of Marrakech’s sights in one day! So, off to North Africa! 🇲🇦