The Marrakech region centers on the Tensift River in southern Morocco. Berber farmers have lived here since Neolithic times, and their history is still felt in every corner of the city. The Almohad Dynasty had a strong architectural influence here as well, shown in the many carved domes and arches. When blended with influences from the Sahara and West Africa, you’ll find some of the most unique architecture in the world!
Back in its heyday, Marrakech experienced rapid growth that turned it into an important cultural, religious, and trading centre. Despite a short period of decline, it resurged in the 16th century during a reign of wealthy Saadian sultans.
Nowadays, Marrakech is very tourist-friendly and caters to a wide range of travellers, including backpackers and luxury travellers. The city’s restaurants, shops, bars, and markets are considered fashionable, and everyone wants a little taste of exoticism!
Most Iconic Attractions in Marrakech
- The Koutoubia mosque
- Djemma El Fna, the ancient square
- The El Mansour mosque
- The Medina (Old Town and marketplace) and its red sandstone walls
- The El Badi Palace
- Saadian Tombs
Things to do in Marrakech
- Visit a local art gallery
- Explore the Majorelle Gardens
- Watch some belly dancers
- Relax at a hammam (spa)
- Scout out local handicrafts
- Visit Marrakech’s tanneries
- Go museum hopping
- Watch snake charmers in the Medina
Most travellers come to Marrakech to experience its rich Moroccan culture. With all its luxurious and westernized offerings, it’s easy to forget that Morocco is an Islamic country with a very different lifestyle! To get more familiarized with Islamic culture, make sure that Madrassa Ben Youssef mosque is on your itinerary. Not only is it a focal point for Islam teaching, it’s also one of the most gorgeous examples of Moorish architecture in the world. It was built in the 14th century, and reconstructed by the Saadians in the 16th century. As with all Islam countries, it’s respectful to dress modestly (especially when visiting a mosque).
Like most Islam countries, getting to know the food is a cultural experience itself. This is particularly true in cities like Marrakech where outside influence is strong, thus reflecting in a blend of Mediterranean, Berber, and Andalusian cuisine. Lamb tagine is a must-try dish, as well as chicken tagine with honey, mint, and onions. For something a little more vegetarian friendly, try the carrot and orange salad! And yes, tipping is expected.
As noted above, Marrakech is huge on art, and there’s an abundance of museums and galleries around town. The souk is also a great place to find local art and handicrafts, including the likes of ceramics and sculptures.
For entertainment in Marrakech, find a belly dancing show, or some traditional chaabi dancers. The talent will blow you away!
Did you know…?
Although Morocco’s official first language is Arabic, French is widely spoken in Marrakech.
Did you ALSO know…?
People will DEMAND your money if you take photos of them!
Getting around Marrakech
If your accommodations are central enough, you won’t really need anything but your feet to get around. Traffic in Marrakech can be daunting and intimidating: scooters and cars zip every which way, and navigating the streets via rental car can be difficult if you don’t know your way around. Taxis are often the best way to do it.
The bus system isn’t overly reliable, but it’ll take you out of the city, should you need to leave it. The touristy double decker buses are also a good option, because they’ll deliver you between all the major city highlights.
Best time of year to travel to Marrakech
There’s no real WRONG time to visit Marrakech – temperatures remain pleasant year-round, with the lowest being somewhere around 17 degrees Celsius and the highest being in the high 30s. The rainiest months are April and May, and December and January.
But March through May, and October through November, are usually the best times: the weather is great, and the crowds are smaller. Easter does get busy, though. June through August is the busiest time of year, and considerably more expensive for travellers!
Ready to plan your visit to Marrakech? Check out these popular guides and trips.