Marrakech in four days: everything you need to know to explore the city in depth

Located in southern Morocco, the imperial city of Marrakech offers much more than its monuments. The visit is an authentic experience full of smells, colors and flavors that intoxicate the traveler from the moment he steps on its streets.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

12 min read

Marrakech in four days: everything you need to know to explore the city in depth

Djemaa el Fna Square | ©Tom Tiepermann

Visiting Marrakech in four days will allow you to see all the attractions of Marrakech, from its Medina to the Menara gardens, through its souks and, of course, the Jamaa el Fna square. In addition, you will have time to take an excursion that will take you to some of the magical locations that are in its surroundings.

The first impression of the traveler arriving in Marrakech is of chaos and disorder, with its narrow streets full of locals and tourists, vendors with their stalls, noise everywhere, colors and flavors. However, it is all this atmosphere that makes the city a magical and unrepeatable place, capable of attracting thousands of visitors every year.

  • Marrakech Guided Tour
  • From $31
  • 3h 20 min
  • Does not include transfer to and from the hotel.
  • Professional guide
  • No tasting or drinks included
  • Book now
  • Marrakech Medina Tour
  • From $35
  • 2h
  • Transfer to and from the hotel not included
  • Professional guide
  • Olive and dried fruit tasting
  • Book now
  • Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakech
  • From $23
  • 10h
  • Includes transfer to and from the hotel
  • Professional guide
  • No tasting or drinks included
  • Book now
  • Marrakech Bath and Massage in a Traditional Hammam Spa
  • From $68
  • 2h
  • Includes transfer to and from the hotel
  • Expert spa therapists
  • Fresh mint drink at the entrance
  • Book now

Day 1: dive into the souks and enjoy the atmosphere of Jamaa el Fna

Touring a Medina Souk| ©Omar Bárcena
Touring a Medina Souk| ©Omar Bárcena

Arriving in the streets of Marrakech, with its crowds, vendors, noise and smells may make some visitors feel a bit uncomfortable. My advice is to try to keep an open mind and go into the trip eager to be carried away by the incomparable atmosphere of the city.

Normally, Marrakech is a safe city, but, as in any destination, it is always advisable to keep in mind some safety tips for traveling to Morocco.

A good way to get to know the medina and some of the main attractions of Marrakech, at least until you check the city, is to hire a guided tour offered there. With your guide you will not only have more information about what you are seeing, but you will also get to know the secrets that the city hides.

Book your guided tour of Marrakech

Enter the souk

To start the trip, nothing better than doing it Moroccan style: with a mint tea in one of the cafes near the Jamaa el Fna square. This way, not only will you have your first taste of Moroccan cuisine, but you will also be able to see the atmosphere that is beginning to build up in the square. When you're done, take a stroll around the square. Hopefully, some of the many vendors who come every day will already be there, as well as henna tattoo artists, jugglers, storytellers or snake charmers.

After this first contact with the most iconic place in Marrakech, it's time to go into the souk of the city to live one of the most intense experiences of your trip. The best thing about going early is that the maze of streets that form the souk is not yet fully crowded. You will find from slippers, to fabrics of all kinds, through food, selling spices, pottery or tin objects.

It is possible that, in spite of the time, the walk through the different sectors of the souk (divided according to the type of products) will be exhausting. If that is the case, you can always hire one of the organized tours that go around the area and help you shop. It is essential to bargain with the seller when buying a product.

Book your tour of the souks of Marrakech

Koutoubia Mosque and its minaret

This mosque is the most important of all Marrakech and its minaret, about 70 meters high, remains the highest point of the city.

The interior, unfortunately, can not be visited by non-Muslims, but this does not prevent the decoration of the minaret and the exterior of the so-called mosque of the booksellers (translation of its name from Arabic) is worth a stop, as well as its neat architecture.

Rest and lunch

After a few hours touring the souk and other parts of the medina it is time to take a well-deserved rest and recharge your batteries. Although the area is full of places to eat, some of the most recommended are:

Book your gastronomic tour in Marrakech

Enter the Dar Si Said Museum

Touring the Dar Si Said Museum| ©Marrakech Riad
Touring the Dar Si Said Museum| ©Marrakech Riad

Marrakech may be best known for its square and its proximity to the desert, but its ancient buildings and art collections do not detract from the above.

The next point to visit, still within the medina, is Dar Si Said Museum.

In the case of this museum, the exhibition is composed of objects of Berber culture, in addition to carpets, textiles or furniture. On the other hand, Dar Si Said is located in a former 19th century palace with a beautiful inner courtyard. Do not miss the delicate decoration of its wooden doors.

Mellah: the old Jewish quarter

In the 16th century, several groups of Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal sought refuge in Marrakech. In the red city, they settled in their own neighborhood, the Mellah.

The Jewish community has dwindled over the years, but the neighborhood still retains a different atmosphere from the rest of the city. With narrow streets, it is very interesting to stroll through them discovering some of its attractions.

In addition to strolling through the neighborhood, no traveler should miss a visit to the Jewish cemetery and the Salat Alzama synagogue.

Sunset at Jamaa el Fna

To end this intense first day as it deserves you should head back to Jamaa El Fna, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Before going down to the square you can find a place in one of the terraces that surround it and watch the sunset from there while sipping a tea or coffee. From there you can also see how the atmosphere of Jamaa el Fna is transformed and begin to install a large number of food stalls.

The music and performances of street artists give the square a magical atmosphere that captivates all visitors. If you have gone with children to Marrakech, I assure you that they will enjoy the experience.

If you wish, you can choose among the food stalls that are installed in the square the one that catches your attention. On the other hand, if you prefer something quieter, in the surrounding area there are places like the Nomad.

Book your guided tour of Marrakech

Day 2: return to the Medina to explore it at your own pace.

Bahia Palace| ©Jorge Láscar
Bahia Palace| ©Jorge Láscar

With the experience gained during the first day you probably already know how to get around Marrakech. Although if you prefer you can hire another tour that goes through the medina to show you everything there is to see and do there, the following tour can also be done on your own.

Enjoy the Bahia Palace

The day will start early with a visit to one of the most beautiful buildings you can find in Marrakech: the Bahia Palace. It is one of the most visited monuments in the city, so it is advisable to arrive at a time that allows you to avoid the crowds to see it more quietly.

The Bahia Palace was built in the nineteenth century with the intention of being the largest building of its kind in the world. Although surpassed by other palaces in the world, there is no doubt that its architecture, its yellow and blue courtyard full of aromatic plants, its mosaics and the decoration of its columns have kept it as one of the essential places to know in Marrakech.

The entrance is paid and the only problem is the lack of information in Spanish. This makes many tourists prefer to visit with a guide to enjoy the visit more.

Book a guided tour of the medina of Marrakech

Look for the views from the El Badi Palace

Another very interesting building to visit in Marrakech is the El Badi Palace. This dates from the sixteenth century and much of its structure is in ruins, although for years excavations are being carried out in the area. According to the chronicles, in its time it had more than 300 rooms, all decorated with crystal, turquoise and gold.

Some rooms and its extraordinary courtyard are still standing. The place also hides in a room the minbar (pulpit) of the Koutoubia mosque, as well as a beautiful view of the city from the ramparts,

After leaving the palace I recommend that you walk a while with the area and take a break in a cafe in the Jardin Sidi Ahmed El Kamel.

Saadian Tombs, one of the jewels of Marrakech

One of the jewels of Marrakech are the Saadian Tombs. Although less known than other attractions, this small funerary complex hides wonders inside.

Among other things, the tombs are considered one of the best examples of traditional Moroccan architecture. Built by Sultan Al Mansur, they remained hidden for centuries after another sultan had them walled up.

It was not until 1917 when they were rediscovered, revealing the marble and gold with which they were built. Inside you will find a small courtyard with the tombs of secondary characters, although what stands out most is the so-called Hall of the 12 Columns, where Al Mansur himself is buried.

After this visit it may be time for lunch. In the area you will find several interesting places, among which I recommend the pleasant terrace of the Kasbah Cafe.

Book a guided tour of the medina of Marrakech

Ben Youssef Madrasa

At the Medersa Ben Youssef| ©Lundeux
At the Medersa Ben Youssef| ©Lundeux

The Madrasa (or Medersa) Ben Youseef was an ancient Islamic school that once had more than 900 students. Today it is considered one of the most interesting places to visit in the city due to the beauty of its architecture.

In its center, as usual in the old Moroccan buildings, is a courtyard with a fountain. Around it you can see several rooms built with cedar and stucco and decorated with tiles of various colors.

It is also very interesting the prayer room, as its decoration with pineapples and palm trees is one of the most exuberant in the city.

Koubba Ba'Adiyn

This building crowned by a dome was built in the 12th century by Ali Ben Yussef, the second Almoravid king. It is the only remaining example in the city of the architecture of that period and, in addition to its aesthetic and historical value, it is a good example of how water was stored at that time.

The best way to see this monument is to descend to its base and stand under the dome. That is where you will be able to see its extraordinary decoration. In the past, there was a pond with a fountain at the base.

Museum of Marrakech

With paid entry, the Museum of Marrakech, is a good place to visit with a guide, as the information about what you are seeing is not too much and you will not understand the function of much of the collection.

Anyway, the palace itself in which the museum is located is really impressive and worth paying just to see it. It highlights its central courtyard, in which you will surely stay a while admiring all its details.

To finish the day I recommend you to go to a place where, in addition to dinner, you can see a belly dance show. One of the most popular is Le Narwama, located near Jamaa El Fna.

Book your guided tour of Marrakech

Day 3: Excursion to Essaouira

Waves lapping the ramparts of Essaouira| ©Doug Knuth
Waves lapping the ramparts of Essaouira| ©Doug Knuth

From Marrakech there are a large number of organized excursions that will allow you to know the desert of Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains or places as impressive as Essaouira. For this third day I propose you to travel to the latter city to enjoy its attractions.

Although you can go from Essaouira to Marrakech on your own, the truth is that a tour will allow you to take much better advantage of the time and not have to worry about adjusting transportation schedules.

Book a tour to Essaouira

Essaouira

Most tours to Essaouira leave very early in the morning from Marrakech in order to make the most of the day. The distance is approximately 160 kilometers and along the way you will enjoy stunning natural landscapes.

After arriving in Essaouira you can walk through its streets full of charm and with a much quieter atmosphere than Marrakech. In addition, you can visit a cooperative where the famous argan oil is produced, as well as:

  • The port of Essaouira: crowned by a bronze cannon, it is the most iconic point of the city.
  • The Moulay el Hassan square
  • The souks

The meal, which is usually included in these tours, takes place in a local restaurant. In these, the traditional Moroccan food that you can find in the restaurants of Marrakech is added to many dishes made with seafood and fish.

Dinner at Kafe Merstan

It is quite likely that when you return to Marrakech you will feel quite tired, especially if your excursion has included a camel ride. Depending on your state, you can choose to dine at your hotel if it offers that possibility or eat something in one of the trendy locals.

A very nice place is the Kafe Merstan, whose beautiful terrace will allow you to relax after such an intense day.

Book your excursion to Essaouira

Day 4: Farewell to the city among gardens and a good massage

Camels for the tour in Marrakech| ©Jaume Pera
Camels for the tour in Marrakech| ©Jaume Pera

The activities for this last day in Marrakech will be determined by the departure time of the return flight, since it will not be the same to go to Marrakech airport just after lunch than if, with luck, it does not leave until the next morning. Despite this, the proposed itinerary is quite complete.

Palm grove

The area of the Palmeral of Marrakech, about 10 kilometers from the Medina, has become one of the tourist centers of the city. Despite that, the atmosphere still retains some of the magic thanks to its more than 100,000 palm trees and fruit trees.

To go to this place you can negotiate a fare with a cab driver (something that is part of the most basic tips for visiting Marrakech). If you prefer not to get complicated, there are several organized tours from the city that include a visit to a village in the area.

Depending on how you have gone and your interest in the area, there you will find several restaurants where you can have a good tea or a typical Berber lunch.

Book your camel ride in El Palmeral

Gueliz: the modern Marrakech

Back in the city I advise you to take a walk around Gueliz, the so-called "European quarter". Built by the French during the protectorate, its urban planning follows the structure of the great Parisian boulevards, with the Avenue Mohammed V as the central axis.

Although this 3 km long avenue reaches the medina, the atmosphere in the streets is radically different.

If you have not eaten in the Palm Grove, in Gueliz you will find a lot of options and you can choose between Moroccan restaurants and others with a more Western offer.

Majorelle Garden

Majorelle Garden| ©Kamal Hammadi
Majorelle Garden| ©Kamal Hammadi

When you reach the next point of interest you will think you have found an oasis in the city of Marrakech, especially if you have traveled to Marrakech in summer.

The Majorelle Garden, created by a French painter of the same name, is the largest in the city. Inside, in addition to the art deco gardens themselves, you can find an interesting museum, but just strolling through its paths is worth it.

Book a tour of the Majorelle Gardens

The last (or second to last) mint tea

On the way back to the medina, specifically to the fascinating spice souk, I advise you to enter the Cafe des Épices, a favorite of travelers arriving in the city.

In addition to taking a last walk in that area of the souk and make the last purchases, the terrace of the cafe offers incredible views of the city and the Atlas Mountains. Possibly, there is no better way to say goodbye to the trip.

A good massage in a hammam before heading back home

If you have time and want to return home relaxed you should try to go to a traditional Arab bath, the hammam. In Marrakech you will find a wide range of them, but I advise you to go to a mixed one that offers everything you need to enjoy the experience.

Also, I recommend that you book in advance as it is a very popular activity in Marrakech. In addition, with this reservation you have included transfers, bath, 45-minute massage and a mint tea to put the finishing touch to your memorable trip to the Moroccan tourist capital.

Book your massage in a traditional Hammam