Is the Red city – Marrakech, Morocco on the top of your list of next possible travel adventures? It definitely should be. In the moment this is written, I am enjoying a fresh berber mint tea in a beautiful riad in the heart of Marrakech medina, absolutely in love with this place!
Here in this post I will list up all my personal favourite top things to do in Marrakech and hope it will inspire you to make the absolute most of your own trip.
MY PERSONAL TOP 10
THINGS TO DO IN MARRAKECH, MOROCCO:
Enjoy the AMAZING local Moroccan food
Alright, first things first. Food in Morocco: If I had to pick only one thing that I love the absolute most when it comes to magical Morocco, it has to be the local food. The amazing mediterranean / arabic cuisine is unique and as fresh as it gets with almost every single ingredient locally grown – ranging from meats to an incredible selection of vegetables, fruits and spices.
Most restaurants serve only traditional Moroccan cuisines such and the most commonly seen are Tajine, couscous and their famous bread that will find you everywhere you go. Moroccan cuisine in general is all incredibly vegetarian/vegan friendly and very vegetable based.
In Marrakech there are thousands of amazing restaurants to choose from and most of them don’t even have names! You can read more about restaurants and food here, in my guide to where to eat in Marrakech.
Tip: Tajine is one of Morocco’s most traditional cuisines and can be found everywhere you go within the country. Tajina is a similar, really tasty cuisine exclusively found in the city of Marrakech.
Treat yourself with a fantastic hammam & massage therapy
Moroccans visit their local hammam at least once a week to get their bath – Not too different from local swimming pools in Europe. A visit to such spas has been one of the highlights from my trips to Morocco. There you will expereince Moroccan hospitality at it’s best as you will be escorted into a hot steam bath (hammam) and showered, soaped, scrubbed, your hair will be cleaned and eventually the ladies will put a mask on your whole body to nourish your skin before cleaning you all up again.
Hammams can be found all around Marrakech but I have twice visited the wonderful Heritage spa that offers an incredible “Romantic Couple Treatment” where you can enjoy a mix of relaxation, hammam bath and massages that lasts for up to 3 hours! They have stellar reviews on Trip Advisor and are rated one of the best in Marrakech but you can also find tons of more simple and budget friendly hammams as you explore the city.
Get lost in the Marrakech souks
As you wander around the insanely busy but exciting square of Jemaa el-Fnaa or almost any side street in the medina of Marrakech you will soon find yourself lost in busy souks – Hidden within narrow red streets, filled with smoke, ambitious salesmen and the smell of spices.
Exploring these markets is amazing and a memorable part of a trip to Morocco, unlike any other. The markets in Marrakech have been named some of the best in the world and without a doubt among the largest of it’s kind. There you will find quality spices, herbs, oils, leather products, colourful ceramic, carpets, clothes, all kinds of food and literally everything else that you can imagine!
WARNING: Some salesmen can be very aggressive and I imagine many that are not used to this could experience it as an unpleasant expereince. However, I never found myself insecure or threatened by anyone in Morocco. Sometimes all you have to do is to walk away if you feel uncomfortable in a situation.
And a pro tip: No shops have fixed price in the medina of Marrakech = You will need to haggle for everything. This can be fun – or a huge pain in the ass. A small rule of thumb is that you can always immediately cut 50% off the first price the salesmen mention. Usually you can go a lot lower and don’t feel embarrassed by offering too little – The cost is always less than you imagine.
Enjoy the magical views of Marrakech from rooftop restaurants & bars
On the top of every other building in Morocco you can find a beautiful rooftop terrace. In the medina of Marrakech you will find tons of terraces and the only trick is to find the ones that are actually nice restaurants – or have the most beautiful views.
Coming from cold Iceland, I cannot imagine a more enjoyable moment than dining on a delicious Tajine while sunbathing and having a terrific overview of the beautiful Marrakech. Most days you will also get a good view of the not so distant Atlas Mountains and it’s also great for people – And animal watching!
I recommend having mint tea & early dinner 1-2 hours before sunset on beautiful rooftops in Marrakech. Then you can enjoy the views as the colours change from day to night – and witness the atmosphere on the streets transform.
Stay in riads in the medina of Marrakech
Morocco is famous for its riads; A large traditional house built around a central courtyard, often with a fountain or a pool in the middle. Today, many opportunists have changed riads into small hotels/hostels.
Staying in a riad allows you not only to stay in the heart of the medina – Surrounded by the souks and “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants but also to experience Marrakech in a more traditional way. You will have a local host that will (in my experience) do absolutely everything for you, including showing you around the neighbourhood, helping you with local tips and serve you amazing Moroccan breakfast.
During my last trip to Morocco we stayed in a few riads and the le Yasmine Riad (photos below) was a huge hit for us.
Have alcoholic drinks at Le Salama!
So, maybe to explain a little: As an Icelander, I like to drink. And specially when Icelanders are on a holiday, we crave for cold beers or a refreshing mojito … so visiting Morocco can be a bit tricky since you can barely find alcohol anywhere in the country – And usually never within the sight of the Mosque.
BUT, one of the very few exceptions that we found in the Medina is one of our favourite restaurants / rooftop bars – Le Salama! For our past two trips to Marrakech this has been our favourite fine dining restaurant (amazing! – Read more on it here) but on their rooftop they have a super cosy bar where they serve Flag (a really good local lager beer), wine, good selection of cocktails & shisha.
Where to find it: On the main square of Jemaa el-Fnaa. It is approx. 1 minute walk on a small side street from the corner of “Le Marrakech” restaurant.
Good to know: They offer “2 for 1 Happy hour” on drinks all day, everyday. So, drink up!
Price: Even though the restaurant is fine dining, the bar is not expensive. Beer costs for an example 65 DH, on Happy hour that is 32,5 DH per beer or 360 ISK/3 USD/3 EUR when this is written.
Visit La Mamounia, one of the best hotels in the world
During our last trip to Marrakech we decided to treat ourselves with an amazing spa day at the INCREDIBLE La Mamounia Hotel spa. We had a nice balcony and swimming pool at our own hotel but we wanted to change our environment (& maybe snap a few photos as well!).
The La Mamounia Hotel has been awarded the best hotel in the world & has been around forever, with a record of guests like Winston Churchill and more. Every taxi driver knows the location but it’s also in just a 3-5 minutes walking distance from Jemaa el-Fnaa. There you will find the amazing indoor swimming pool, a bubbly jacuzzi, a beautiful outdoor swimming pool and a balcony for sun bathing.
I will leave you with some photos that will definitely explain this better …
Do a Moroccan food tour
In our first trip to Morocco in 2016 we did a food tour with Youssef from Marrakech Food Tours. Personally, I believe doing tours like these in the beginning of a trip – with a local expert and specializing on the traditional cuisine is the perfect way to start a trip in a foreign location. It is so much fun and get’s you an amazing insight! For me, this is of course especially interesting as I am hosting my own Reykjavik Food Tour in Iceland.
Again, I cannot recommend the Moroccan food highly enough and it was exceptionally interesting to expereince the local cuisine with a guide that knew every corner and food stall like the back of his hand. There are a few food tours in Marrakech but I can definitely recommend the one we did, Marrakech food tour. It was one of my highlights from our first trip.
For a person who is born in the middle of the vast Atlantic ocean, with average temperature of 5°C through out the year – Morocco tends to be just perfect! You can sunbath all year round and the coldest month of the year, January, even has brilliant 18-20°C during the days. However, in the peak summer – Marrakech gets up to more than 50°C so it’s definitely recommended to spend your time at the coast if you are thinking about a summer visit!
Sunbath in the desert, at your hotel garden/balcony or find yourself a nice rooftop restaurant where you can set up a good base camp for tanning!
Drink PLENTY of mint tea
Moroccans love their tea and serve it for almost any instances – Wether they welcome you to their restaurant, hotel, riad or simply if you enter their shop. Normally, they serve mint tea – But in the winter, Berbers make tea with mixed herbs to get warmth in their body, rather than having the refreshing mint.
I was told on my journey to the desert that the rule of thumb is to have two cups of tea – It’s the perfect amount to get warm, enjoy the taste and to be polite to the host. However, I can easily enjoy 3-4 cups and I enjoyed it a few times each day. I recommend you to try it at different locations and made by different people. The quality definitely varies and I am sure you will love it.
Insight: Locals always pour the tea to the cup from a good height to both mix the tea and also to make more bubbles appear. It is a sign of quality if it bubbles.
Marrakech is a wonderful city that I personally could easily see myself live in at some point in my life. There is an endless amount of things to do and see and I have done my best to list up a few of my personal favourites. I hope it will help you to plan your own trip or inspire your Moroccan daydreams until you get a chance to visit.
If there is anything you would like to add to this post or ask me about directly, don’t hesitate to contact me or shoot me a comment below and I will get back to you asap!