Marrakech offers bright colours, loud music, the taste of exotic food, the smell of herbs and spices, and the softness of silk and leather goods. Among the most wonderful and sophisticated places across the globe, a 24-hour – things to do in Marrakech tour, is a perfect way to highlight the rich culture. A place that first caught my eye after watching The Amazing Race.
Planning an overnight short trip or mini-break from Casablanca to Marrakech, even if only for 24 hours, was doable. There are many experiences Marrakech, and Morocco as a whole, has to offer – so, at the very least, I would be able to scratch the surface.
From the beautiful Riad-type accommodations, daytime to nighttime activities, shopping in the old Medina, food escapades, and a lot more, I will be your Marrakech tour guide…for 24 hours at leastThis article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MARRAKECH
Morocco as a whole sees quite cold winters and scorching hot summers. So if you’re hoping to miss the snow and frost, but don’t want to feel like you’re melting into your seat either, the shoulder seasons are best for travel.
So for the ideal trip to Morocco, and at least a day in Marrakech, try to plan your trip around March to May (spring) or September to November (fall).
MARRAKECH THINGS TO DO IN 24 HOURS
One day in Marrakech is enough if you know where all the best spots are. And thankfully I’ve figured that out so that you don’t have to.
So, what is there to do in Marrakech? This list contains the must-sees in the city for those who have limited time to enjoy the sights and scenes.
DISCOVER JEMAA EL-FNAA
What mesmerized me the most about Marrakech – besides the mazes of the medina – was Jemaa el-Fnaa.
Everything from dancing cobras, acrobats, monkeys, snakes, live music, pop-up outdoor restaurants and so much more are available.
See how the local folks provide entertainment for the tourists who are visiting. The stories are real and you will see the snake charmers charm their cobras in harmless ways. These charmers are thought to have protection from ‘Baraka,’ which is a type of divine magic and blessing rolled into one.
After a night out here you’ll be glad to be back in your riad.
Also, as a side note: Keep lots of change with you. Every time you take a picture of a snake, a monkey, the street bands, the acrobats etc; someone will be approaching you for change.
BROWSE THROUGH MEDINA MARKET
I personally love markets. Markets are a great place to get fully immersed in a culture. Markets have local food; fruits, vegetables, fish/seafood, meats, spices, hand-made goods, traditional goods, etc. Plus you get exposed to the language, the customs, and the sights, sounds, and smells.
The Marrakech Medina does not disappoint. From the rugs, carpets and leather goods to the silver, spices and/or hash (if you’re into that type of thing) all top quality. It’s a great chance to pick one-of-a-kind souvenirs for yourself or your friends/family.
We picked up several small leather wallets and Morrocan shoe keychains for our friends and family, a silver ring for Gordana, a traditional curved knife for myself and a traditional silver teapot.
Side note: The fresh mint tea is so good in Morocco we bought the teapot so we can recreate that experience every time we make fresh mint tea.
VISIT THE MARRAKECH MUSEUM
This museum is open every day from 9 am to 12 pm and again from 3 pm to 6 pm. It’s a great place to discover the beauty of Andalusian architecture and traditional Morrocan pottery, weapons, and other important items.
A stop here offers a fantastic look into Morrocan life in the 19th century and beyond. Spending some time here will give you a great feel for the city you’re about to explore.
SATISFY YOUR TASTE BUDS BACK AT JEMAA EL-FNAA
Your 24 hour Marrakech tour guide would not be complete if I didn’t tell you about the delectable bounty being offered at the Jemaa el-Fna food stalls. The taste of exotic food can be found all around you as the afternoon approaches – the location transforms into a huge open-air food section.
You can choose from a variety of foods, which may be new to your eye and taste. From salads and kebabs to snails, sheep heads (eye in)
I stuck with traditional salads and kebabs. Yeah I know I’m a wimp but sheep’s head…not really my thing.
STROLL THROUGH JARDIN MAJORELLE
If you’re wanting more beautiful places to see in Marrakech, Jardin Majorelle is an absolute must. This 2.5-acre botanical garden took French Orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle over 40 years to complete.
In 1980, Yves Saint Laurent saved the gardens from property developers. When the French fashion designer died, his ashes were scattered in the gardens.
The gardens are beautiful and offer a peaceful spot for anyone to stroll through and enjoy the views.
DISCOVER BAHIA PALACE
This palace is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things to see in Marrakech. It was built between 1859 and 1900 in two stages. It was first started by grand vizier of Alaouite sultan Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman, Si Musa. Then his son, Si Ba Ahmed ibn Musa completed the project.
Today you can visit the gorgeous palace and its 150 rooms that lead out to patios and gardens. Although the rooms have no furnishings in them, there is still the decor on the ceilings and walls to enjoy.
TOUR THE SAADIAN TOMBS
Located on the south of the side of the Kasbah Mosque, you’ll find the Saadian Tombs. These sepulchres and mausoleums are where the remains of important figures from the Saadi Dynasty were laid to rest.
Book a guided tour well in advance for the best experience. With a guide, you’ll learn all about the important history of the tombs.
This is the largest mosque in Marrakech, and it’s over 900 years old. If you have the time, this is a real Marrakech must-see.
You’ll find the mosque opposite Jemaa el-Fna and although non-muslims may not enter, it can be admired from the outside. There are stunning gardens around the mosque where visitors can spend time as well. The most impressive sight, though, is the 226ft (69m) high minaret.
END THE DAY WITH DINNER AT CAFE CLOCK
Hands down the best way to witness gorgeous sunsets and sunrises over the beautiful desert oasis. Cafe Clock is highly recommended by almost anyone who knows Marrakech well. It’s the perfect place to end your short but stimulating trip to the city.
This rooftop bar is one of the best places to go in Marrakech for a hearty meal, refreshing drink, and spectacular view of the sunset and city below. The restaurant is bright and vibey, there are cooking classes offered, and there is plenty of space to relax after a busy day.
HOW TO GET AROUND MARRAKECH
Marrakech has busy and narrow streets, with lots of motorcycles and bicycles zipping in and out of the alleys. Some roads are not wide enough for cars, so the most efficient way to get around the city is on foot.
If you do get tired, look for the petits taxis and grands taxis that can give you a lift to your next destination. Alternatively, you can take the bus, although these don’t have very strict schedules.
There are also calèches – horse-drawn carriages that will take you for relaxing rides through the city.
IS MARRAKECH SAFE?
For the most part, Marrakech is a very safe city for tourists. Foreigners are respected in the city, and the Morrocan government works hard to portray the country as one of the safest destinations to visit.
There is some petty crime, which is almost unavoidable in any busy city, but the risks are lower than in many crime-ridden countries. And if you take steps to stay safe you shouldn’t have much of an issue.
As with any city in the world, though, it’s best to stay vigilant while you’re out and about. Listen to my podcast here for tips on how to stay safe.
WHERE TO STAY IN MARRAKECH
An oasis in the middle of chaos.
Normally I would include a link to the Airbnb or hotel I stayed in towards the end of the post. However, accommodation in a traditional riad is very much a part of the overall experience. So my Marrakech tour guide must start with my riad.
BEST HOTELS IN MARRAKECH (WHICH RIADS TO BOOK)
To get the best out of your trip, it may help to stay overnight so that you can get an early start to your day in Marrakech. For some great accommodation options in the city, here are some top hotel choices for your trip.
Located near all the excitement of Marrakech’s Medina, Riad Danka is a homely oasis. The small yet well-run accommodation has an attentive team to look after guests and make your stay comfortable and memorable.
You can take advantage of the hammam and massage room for some Morrocan relaxation. There’s also a pool and a rooftop garden to enjoy when you aren’t out exploring or spending time in your rustic room that has everything you need.
RIAD DAR ANIKA
The staff at Riad Dar Anika goes above and beyond for their guests. You’ll be welcomed warmly and given everything you need for your visit. And at the same time, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning accommodation and all it offers.
There’s a peaceful rooftop garden, a jacuzzi, and the riad is within walking distance of all the best things to do in Marrakech.
RIAD LE SECRET DE ZORAIDA
If you’re in Marrakech for a romantic getaway, Riad Le Secret De Zoraida is ideal. The rooms all have lovely personal touches like fruits and water – and rose petals! Spend some time in the jacuzzi, enjoy a scrumptious Morrocan meal, and then head out for a short trip to enjoy the nearby Marrakech attractions.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKECH IN A DAY
One day in Marrakech may seem too short, but if you plan it right, it’s very doable. It’s best to pick your accommodation, organize which transport option works best for you, and then schedule your Marrakech itinerary.
Then get a good night’s rest so that you can fully enjoy all the top things to do in Marrakech in the 24 hours that you have. As well as all of the delicious food on offer in the markets and the cafes.