Why should you go?
Marrakech is a charming city, and it’s warm-hearted inhabitants will make you feel at home right away. Although you might initially feel overwhelmed by all the stimuli you encounter, it’s the perfect city to combine a cultural trip with some adventure and relaxation time. There’s a lot to experience – so I’ve put together the perfect Marrakech 3 day itinerary guide to give you some direction during your stay.
Where is Marrakesh?
Marrakech is located in Morocco, in the north of Africa. The country actually falls within the same timezone as Belgium, so it’s super comfortable to travel there.
When should you visit?
The best time of year to stay in Marrakech is anytime between October and May. During summer months temperatures can rise up to 45°C, and public life grinds to a halt in the early afternoon because of the heat.
When booking your trip, take the Ramadan into account. This is the annual religious fasting month for Muslims and the dates differ each year, so check ahead of booking your trip. During this period the opening hours of shops, restaurants and nearly all places of interest can be very limited.
We visited the city at the end of November and enjoyed a pleasant 25°C during the day. Our evenings were cooler, with temperatures of around 10°C.
How do you get there?
From Zaventem in Brussels, there are multiple airline companies that offer direct flights to Marrakech. It takes approximately 3.5 hours to get there – check Skyscanner for the best flights.
Marrakech airport is 7 kilometers from the city centre. Book a taxi through your hotel in advance to pick you up – it will cost around 150 Dirham. If you don’t do this, be prepared to use your best negotiating skills to get a fair price for your transportation into the city.
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How long should you stay for?
If you want to explore the city and also have some me-time in a hamman or relaxing in the sunshine (just like we did!), 4 days and 3 nights is ample time.
Where’s the best place to stay?
You have not been to Marrakesh if you didn’t stay in a typical Moroccan riad. We stayed in Riad Villa Amira & Spa and were very pleased with the accomodation. The riad lies just outside the city center, so you avoid the crowds and city noise. It also has a spa where you can be pampered with a body scrub and massage.
Good things to bear in mind
In Marrakech, establishments that serve alcohol can be very limited. There are several bars and restaurants that do offer liquor – but expect to enjoy your cocktails in bars shielded from the public areas, or even behind closed doors where almost no one sees you.
People often wonder if Marrakech is a safe destination. We never felt unsafe, but maybe the context turned a bit uncomfortable at times. This is mostly because it’s such a buzzing city, so you’re approached and clung to by merchants everywhere. Use common sense, keep your valuables close to you and do not respond to unsolicited advice from residents or get too distracted.
Obviously this isn’t just true for Marrakech, but for every city that you visit. To prepare you as well as possible for this exotic chaotic city, I put together some really useful top tips. You can find them here.
Let’s get down to business – here is the ultimate 3-day Marrakech itinerary.
Day 1: Medina North
To kickstart your stay in Marrakech, discover one of the famous landmarks in Africa – the mystical souks in the old Medina. Discover the many roof terraces with gorgeous restaurants. Keep in mind that life here starts rather late (around 10am), and most stores stay open until 8pm.
Your senses will work overtime in the Medina. Be mentally prepared – you’ll be approached all the time and scooters will whizz by you in the narrow alleys constantly. The vast variety of scents will make you ravenous one second and turn your stomach just around the corner. Adapt your pace to the flow of the crowd, put your worries aside and enjoy this charming chaos. The charm more or less disappears when the sun sets and the music mutes rapidly. Religious prayers, through several low male voices, take over the noise of the souks.
Place Djemaa El Fna: This central square has been the meeting place between the East and West for over a thousand of years. You will find countless stalls with fresh food and drinks. Enjoy one of the delicious freshly squeezed fruit juices!A quick warning though: during your stay in Marrakech, many women will approach you for temporary Henna tattoos and merchants will try to convince you to buy their goods or take pictures with one of their animals. Please do not support these malpractices and don’t take a picture with one of the chained monkeys or snake charmers. These animals are reportedly drugged and abused – we can’t condone nor support these practices!
You won’t want to spend too much time on this square, but it’s an experience in itself. Bear in mind that taking pictures of what’s happening isn’t allowed without paying – so if you want a free shot, just keep walking very slowly while taking the perfect picture!
Medersa Ben Youssef: This Koran school is an Eastern architectural beauty. During our visit it was unfortunately closed for renovations.
Place Rahba Kedima: Historically slaves used to be traded on this square, but nowadays it has been transformed into a lively place where you can buy wicker handbags and hats, delicious herbs and beautiful decorative pillows.
Le Jardin Secret and Maison De La Photographie are also both worth a visit during your stay in Marrakech!
Food & drinks:
- Pay a visit to Le Jardin. The name says it all – a beautiful garden where you can drink and eat in tranquil peace and quiet. Be sure to try a fresh fruit juice and enjoy the whistling birds around you.
- For a romantic sunset go to Shtatto. On the way to the rooftop terrace, you’ll stumble upon all sorts of chic designer shops.
- Taste the contemporary Morro cuisine in the trendy Nomad restaurant. Making a reservation here is a must.
- Monriad is not only a cozy riad, but also the perfect location to enjoy a beautiful lunch or romantic dinner.
You can spend some time shopping in the many souks in the medina. Almost everything is made the artisanal way, and you can find some incredible handmade treasures.
Be sure to visit the woodworkers and admire their craft in Rue Derb Dabachi.
Pop by Norya Ayron for ethically responsible Moroccan-produced goods.
During your stay in Marrakech, visit Souk des Teinturiers – you can watch men dyeing wool in different alleys, allowing them to dry above their heads.
Day 2: Medina South
The next part of our Marrakech itinerary takes us to Medina South. This neighborhood is a lot quieter than Medina North, and offers a more cultural and historical experience. Make sure to visit the beautiful palaces and gardens, and discover the Jewish quarter of Mellah.
Palais El Bahia: With its 160 rooms, it’s one of the largest palaces to discover in the region. When the Moroccan King is in the country, he still stays in this palace. If the palace is closed to visitors, you know the King is present.
Place des Ferblantiers: This is a lovely square to hang out. Artisanal craftsmen hammer constantly on their handmade lamps, and you will spot many storks along the way.
Saadian Tombs: The sultan Ahmed El Mansour is buried here. The graves were discovered by accident in 1917, and are now beautifully restored. The staff and slaves of the sultan used to live in the district of Kasbah, and they had their own city gate with direct access to the royal palace.
Mellah: Stroll among the many spice stalls through the Jewish quarter of Mellah. The pointed heaps of herbs are true works of art.
Bab Agnaou: This city gate is one of the oldest gates in the kilometer-long city walls surrounding old Marrakech.
La Mamounia: This beautiful world-famous hotel is a mix of Moroccan architecture and Art Deco – and it’s a must-visit during your stay in Marrakech. Have a drink on the terrace overlooking the beautiful garden (which is frequently used as a movie location). You can get alcohol here – but expect to pay the price for the gorgeous setting.
Food & drinks:
- Drink a typical Moroccan mint tea on the top floor of Café de France. If you’re not a fan of sweet beverages, make sure to ask the waiter to limit the sugar. You can enjoy a beautiful view over the bustling Djemaa El-fna Square from here.
- Head to Un Déjouner à Marrakech for lunch. As with many others, they also have a pleasant rooftop terrace.
- Visit Backchich Café for Senegalese Moroccan food.
- Head to Le Tanjia. It’s all in the name. This restaurant specializes in the regional dish tanjia, which is a delicious stew of meat and herbs.
- Kosybar is a super trendy place, where the chef prepares a mix of international dishes for you.
- Swing by Kif Kif café whenever you’re thirsty for a coffee or tea.
In Rue Riad Zitoun you’ll find several lovely little shops.
Definitely stop at Les Plaisirs Nature for splendid beauty products.
Day 3: The new town
During your stay in Marrakech, discover the neighborhoods of Guéliz and Hivernage. You’ll immediately notice the clear spatial layout and wider streets, full of offices and restaurants. Explore the botanical garden – and if you have any energy left, discover the vibrant nightlife of Marrakech here.
Le Jardin Majorelle: This famous botanical garden was laid out in 1924 by the French artist Jaques Majorelle. The blue villa Saf Saf, bought by couturier Yves Saint Laurent, immediately attracts the eye among the gorgeous green foliage. After the death of Yves Saint Laurent, a memorial has been placed in the back of the garden.
Museum MACMA: Definitely visit the Musée d’Art and the Culture de Marrakech during your stay in Marrakech.
Théâtre Royal: One of the most important and iconic places for cultural life in Marrakech.
The Museum Yves Saint Laurent: A homage to Yves Saint Laurent, who was inspired by Marrakech for his collections, and used to live and work in the city. Buy a combi ticket if you plan to visit both the museum and Le Jardin Majorelle, as this will be slightly cheaper than purchasing separate tickets.
Place du 16 Novembre: A modern square with beautiful fountains.
Food & drinks:
- Had enough of the Moroccan cuisine? Enjoy some delicious fresh sushi and Thai wok dishes at Katsura. They also deliver to your hotel in case you want to stay in…
- For a luxuriously grand experience, head to Grand Café De La Poste.
- 68 Bar à Vin is a lovely place that serves a good glass of wine or a nice gin and tonic, well hidden behind a black cloth.
- Fancy something different? Mamma Mia is a wonderful Italian restaurant.
- Head to Kaowa Snack & Juice Bar for a fresh smoothie or healthy lunch.
Avenue Mohammed V is an important shopping street – but I recommend wandering down one of the many side streets for a true shopping experience.
Make sure to take a look at 33 Rue Majorelle and browse a variety of the most colorful accessories, from notebooks to stuffed animals.
For lamps, you simply have to visit the world-famous shop Yahya Création. Imagine yourself in Ibiza at KIS Boutique.
Time got some time left?
The breath-taking Atlas Mountains are only a 1-hour drive away from the city. Explore one of the beautiful hikes or spend an unforgettable night in the mountains.
Take a quad ride in la Palmeraie, which is just outside the city. There are hundreds of palm trees here, and from June until the October harvest you can see the beautiful orange date bunches hanging around. Dates are one of the most important food sources in Marrakech, and taste delicious!
You haven’t really experienced Marrakech properly if you haven’t been pampered in a hamman. We had a wonderful spa in our hotel where I enjoyed a body scrub and massage. If you haven’t got a hotel spa, you can make an appointment elsewhere – for example Les Bains de Marrakech Maroc or Heritage Spa.
Enjoy a wonderful Moroccan evening at Dar Soukkar or Le Comptoir, where you’ll be entertained by belly dancers and fire breathers during your dinner.
Belgian citizens don’t need a visum, for a maximum stay of 90 days. Your passport needs to be valid for the period of the intended stay.
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