If you travel to Morocco, you have to visit the magical Marrakech. With its beautiful palaces, gardens, squares, mosques, and medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, I am sure you will fall in love with the “Red City”. Read on and discover the best ways to spend 3 days in Marrakech.
Along with Fez and Chefchaouen, Marrakech is a must-see on your trip to Morocco. For me, it is one of the most magical cities I have ever visited; a boon for the senses as it is almost impossible to get bored. Influenced by numerous civilizations and dynasties, in the red city, you will feel like a character out of a thousand and one nights. Get ready to discover an ancient, traditional, chaotic and bustling city, full of light, life and colour. In this article, you will find the best ways to spend 3 days in Marrakech.
How to Spend 3 Days in Marrakech
Although you can see the city in one or two days, I recommend spending at least 3 days in Marrakech so you can enjoy it without rushing. Marrakech is a city where there are many things to do as it offers up exciting nightlife options, fabulous restaurants, museums, palaces, etc. In addition, it is the perfect starting point for several essential excursions on your trip to Morocco, such as Essaouira, the city de Aït Benhaddou, Ouarzazate, or Merzouga desert. Below you’ll find the perfect itinerary for spending 3 days in Marrakech.
We’ll dedicate our first day in Marrakech to surrendering ourselves to the madness of the medina, discovering its main monuments and enjoying one of the city’s greatest treasures: its gastronomy.
Get lost in the Medina of Marrakech and its souks
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, the medina of Marrakech is a place where you can get lost for hours in a maze of narrow streets; learn to haggle in the colourful shops of the souks; accept invitations to have mint tea with the loquacious shop owners; dodge the motorcycles that appear at full speed out of nowhere; and stop occasionally to contemplate the city’s harmonious chaos, or enjoy a great couscous. The medina of Marrakech is a place that must be explored without hurrying and without a fixed itinerary. Let yourself be carried away by its colours, scents and community.
Visit the Koutoubia and its gardens
Similar in design to the Giralda in Seville, the Koutoubia is the most important mosque in Marrakech. With its 77 meters, it is also the tallest building in the city (in Marrakech it is forbidden to build anything taller than a palm tree).
Although entry is not allowed for non-Muslims, the exterior alone is a special place to visit, especially at sunset when everything is coloured by sunshine and Marrakech begins to fill with life.
Visit the Bahia Palace
Built in the 19th century, the Bahia Palace is an Andalusian style palace that is another fantastic place to see in Marrakech. Although today it is empty and a little neglected, it is worth visiting for its beautiful architecture, doors, tiles, gardens and lights.
Entrance fee: 70 DH (7 EUR)
Take a rest from the chaos in the Secret Garden
After a long day exploring Marrakech, I recommend that you finish your day in this oasis of tranquility in the middle of the medina. As soon as you cross the gates of the Secret Garden, you will find plants, different types of cacti, turtles, peace and harmony, and a lovely coffee.
The Secret Garden used to be an old riad that hosted many important politicians in Morocco. Now it has opened its doors to the public and it is the perfect place to disconnect and take a rest from the noise and bustle of the medina.
Entrance fee: 70 DH.
Watch the sunset while you enjoy a delicious tajine at Atay Café
After a tiring day in the red city, there is nothing better than treating yourself by doing one of the best things there is to do in Marrakech: eat! One of the restaurants that I enjoyed the most during my last stay in Marrakech was Atay Café Food, which aside from the delicious food (please, try their tajine), there is also an amazing view of the city. I recommend going around sunset to savor a yummy meal and the exquisite view.
During another sunset, just a few meters away from Atay Café, you can go eat at Kui-Zin Restaurant, which also has an impressive view and great food. I recommend it, too!
On your second day in Marrakech, get up early and then reward yourself for the effort with a hammam, or Turkish bath, and a good massage. After that, continue to discover more about the city and finish the day in Djemaa el Fna, one of the craziest and most lively squares in the world!
Discover another oasis in Marrakech: The Majorelle Gardens
Another place you must see in Marrakech is the Majorelle Gardens: a colourful garden where blue and yellow stand out – as well as the green of the many types of plants that grow there.
With so much colour, it is not surprising that the garden was the work of a painter; Jacques Majorelle built it and filled it with plants he’d brought back from his frequent travels all over the world. After the painter’s death, the garden was forgotten until it was acquired by Yves Saint Laurent, who lived there until his death in 1980. His ashes still rest there today. In addition to the garden, you can visit the Yves Saint Laurent museum.
The garden, which wasn’t that popular until recently, has become one of the most crowded places to visit in Marrakech because of Instagram. To avoid queues and enjoy it in relative peace, I recommend getting up early and arriving as soon as possible (it opens at 8:00 am).
Entrance fee to the Majorelle Gardens: 70 DH.
Entrance fee to the Majorelle Gardens and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum: 180 DH.
Treat yourself with a hammam and a perfect massage
Another must to do in Marrakech is to pamper yourself in one of its many hammams. The one that I tried and loved was Les Bains d’Azahara. If you go in the morning (from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm), they have a package deal that includes hammam and exfoliation, a small foot massage with a mint tea and a one-hour relaxing massage for 400 DH (about 38 EUR). It’s time to treat yourself!
Marvel at Ben Youssef’s Madrasa
Unfortunately, I could not visit the madrasa this time because it was under renovation, but it should be open by now and you shouldn’t miss this old Islamic school, which is an architectural jewel and a must-see in Marrakech.
Explore El Badi Palace
Although nowadays it is completely in ruins, the name of this palace means, “the incomparable,” and in the 16th century, it was one of the most important palaces in the Muslim world. I recommend visiting it only if you like to see ruins, as the 70 DH entrance fee is a bit expensive, considering the poor state of preservation the palace is in today.
Get a henna tattoo
As I explained in my post, the best tips for travelling to Morocco as a woman alone, one of the most frequent little scams in Marrakech happens when some woman grabs your arm in the Djemaa el Fna Square and tells you that she will tattoo you with henna for free. Once the tattoo is done, she will force you to pay a lot of money for it. So, if you want to get a henna tattoo in Marrakech and you don’t want to have to deal with this situation, I recommend that you do it in a place you trust. This last time, I got my henna tattoo in a café called Henna Art Café. The place was founded by an American artist who fell in love with Marrakech after her first trip and decided to stay. First, you choose the design of your tattoo. There are many different designs and they start at 50 DH (5 EUR). Then the tattoo is done by ladies who are true professionals of henna. Besides being famous for its henna, this little café is, according to The Guardian, one of the 10 best restaurants to eat in Marrakech. Don’t miss it!
Join in on madness in the Djemaa el Fna Square
You cannot leave Marrakech without experiencing the madness that takes place every night after sunset in the Djemaa el Fna Square. Djemaa el Fna is the nerve centre and soul of Marrakech. You can find anything in that square: snake charmers, jugglers, guys with monkeys, artists, pickpockets, street food, fortune tellers, and so on.
If you are going to spend 3 days in Marrakech, I recommend going to Djemaa el Fna on your second day (by then, you will have gotten used to the frenetic pace of the city and as such, can enjoy the square without stressing too much). If you prefer to simply enjoy a view of the square, I recommend having a drink on the rooftops of Café Argana or Café de France.
Your last day in Marrakech should be saved for a day trip to one of the nearby cities. For example, you can travel to the charming coastal town of Essaouira or embark on a day trip to the Atlas mountains, passing through the city of Aït Benhaddou, a filming location for “Game of Thrones,” and Ouarzazate. These two excursions are well worth it and I cannot recommend them enough.
If this is your first trip to Morocco, don’t miss the opportunity to take a desert tour from Marrakech to the Merzouga desert. However, in order to do that, you should stay in Marrakech for 4 or 5 days.
Where to stay in Marrakech
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Marrakech is to stay in a riad. Riads are traditional hotels with a central courtyard and a fountain. They are true architectural gems. Below you will find some of the best riads to stay in Marrakech.
I stayed in this riad and I really loved it. A beautiful, modern and very comfortable riad, it has a terrace with a restaurant where concerts and other social events take place. The staff are super friendly and always willing to help. The riad also has a swimming pool in the courtyard, perfect for cooling off during the hottest days of summer. Next time I go to Marrakech, I plan to stay there again.
Another nice looking riad with a swimming pool in the heart of the medina is Equity Point. If your budget is on the lower side, you can stay in their dorms for a very good price.
Earth Hostel is another beautiful, high-quality riad on a budget. You can sleep there for 9 EUR, which includes breakfast.
If budget is not a problem, this luxury riad is a dream come true. Plus, it has one of the most famous hammams in Marrakech. I hope to stay here someday!
I hope these suggestions regarding how to spend 3 days in Marrakech are useful. Of course, there are many other things to do in Marrakech and the longer you can stay, the better. If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments. I’ll be returning to Marrakech as soon as possible; I’m in love with the rhythm and life of this city!
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