Top 17 attractions in Marrakesh | The jewel of Morocco

from-souks-to-alleys:-virtual-tour-of-stunning-marrakesh

Welcome to Marrakesh





Marrakesh, one of Morocco’s most intoxicating and vibrant city, was once an important trading post for caravans traveling through the Sahara Desert. Today, it attracts millions of travelers from around the globe to its maze-like medina, intricate architecture and stellar shopping scene.

Marrakesh Menara AirportPhoto courtesy of © Lydia Schrandt (All rights reserved)

A heartfelt introduction of Marrakesh

The most beautiful craftsmanship on display throughout Marrakesh is evident before you even leave the airport. Marrakesh Menara Airport, completed in 2008, often ranks among the most beautiful airport terminals thanks to its arabesques that filter the sunlight.



Jemaa el-FnaaPhoto courtesy of © Lydia Schrandt (All rights reserved)

01. Jemaa el-Fnaa, heart of the medina

Jemaa el-Fnaa, the city’s main square and most busy place, sits at the heart of the old medina. The open area has boasted all sort of market for centuries. These days, it’s a bustling collection of food vendors, snake charmers, henna tattoo artists and musicians.

Orange juice vendorsPhoto courtesy of iStock / Mlenny

02. Vitamin C stalls

If the North African sun has you feeling thirsty, head to Jemaa el-Fnaa for a tasty glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Dozens of stalls piled high with fresh fruit squeeze juice to present. The fruit, typically grown in orchards surrounding the city, is brought in each morning, so it’s almost always fresh and oraginc.

Souk LabbadinePhoto courtesy of © Lydia Schrandt (All rights reserved)

03. Souk Labbadine, the dyer’s souk





The souks of Marrakesh have served as an important trading center for thousands of years. More than 3,000 stalls sell all sorts of artisan goods and tourist knickknacks. Stroll through Souk Labbadine, the dyer’s souk, and you’ll see newly dyed textiles drying on bamboo poles alongside wool and yarn for knitting.

Moroccan rugsPhoto courtesy of © Lydia Schrandt (All rights reserved)

04. Marrakesh Weaving miracle

Among the most prized goods for sale within the medina are the hand-woven Berber rugs. These tightly woven wool rugs have been an integral part of the Berber culture for centuries. Each one can take several months to complete and typically come with a price tag of thousands of dollars.

Jardin Majorelle fountainPhoto courtesy of © Lydia Schrandt (All rights reserved)

05. Jardin Majorelle





French artist Jacques Majorelle spent four decades building the Jardin Majorelle. The intense shade of blue seen throughout the garden was a favorite of the artist, one he later trademarked Majorelle Blue. The garden was later purchased and restored by French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, who expanded the garden to include more than 300 species of plants.

La MamouniaPhoto courtesy of The Leading Hotels of the World

06. Riads

Accommodations in Marrakesh often take the form of riads, gives you the feeling of old traditional Moroccan houses built around a central courtyard. Each feels like its own peaceful escape from the surrounding medina, and many are outfitted with spectacular stunning and epic tilework, Berber rugs, hand-worked lanterns and sparkling pools.

TanneryPhoto courtesy of iStock / StreetFlash

07. Traditional tannery





Leather tanning has been an industry in Marrakesh since the 11th century. Visitors can shop for leather goods in the souks or see how they’re made with a visit to one of the city’s tanneries. From the terraces of local shops, you can look down at the vats of quicklime and water used to treat the leather.

The scent can be unpleasant and overpowering, but many shopkeepers offer a sprig of mint to relieve your nose as you watch the work.

Bahia PalacePhoto courtesy of iStock / AlxeyPnferov

08. La Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace was built by Grand Vizier Si Moussa in the 1860s and later expanded by his successor Bou Ahmed to accommodate his wives and concubines. These days, the palace ranks among the city’s most popular attractions, drawing in visitors with its stunning painted wood ceilings, marquetry and symmetrical gardens.

Tajine dishesPhoto courtesy of iStock / mariusz_prusaczyk

09. Tajines





If you only eat one thing in Morocco, make it a traditional tajine. The word “tajine” actually refers to the cooking vessel – a clay pot with a conical lid used for stewing meats and vegetables. Popular variations include chicken with preserved lemon and olives or lamb with prunes.

Mosque in MarrakechPhoto courtesy of iStock / arturogi

10. Koutoubia Mosque





The monumental minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque broadcasts a call to prayer over the medina five times a day. During the 19th century, the base of the tower was a popular gathering spot for booksellers (“kutubiyyin” in Moroccan).

Sahara DesertPhoto courtesy of iStock / Rattham

11. The dunes of the Sahara





Travelers who can pull themselves away from the sights, sounds and smells of the Marrakesh medina will be rewarded by taking an overnight excursion into the Sahara Desert. Some of the rolling sand dunes tower nearly 1,000 feet. Spend the night at a Berber camp nestled amid the dunes for the full experience.

Ali Ben YoussefPhoto courtesy of iStock / vanbeets

12. Ali Ben Youssef Madrasa

This Quranic learning center was once the largest in North Africa, serving more than 900 students within its walls. While no longer used as a college, the madrasa continues to impress with its Moorish zellige tiles, carved cedar wood domes and windows, and beautiful Islamic calligraphy.

PalmeraiePhoto courtesy of iStock / Photomachan

13. Palm Groves





The Palmeraie (Palm Grove) has become one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods, sometimes nicknamed the Beverly Hills of Marrakesh. Visitors come here to sip mint tea in the courtyard of a five-star hotel, go for a camel ride amid the palm trees or embark on a quad bike adventure into the surrounding desert.

El Badi PalacePhoto courtesy of iStock / Mohamed IMZILEN

14. El Badi Palace terrace

This palace to the south of the medina was built toward the end of the 16th century by Sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour. The ruined sandstone shell of the once opulent palace offers excellent views from the terraces and ramparts.

MenaraPhoto courtesy of iStock / fafou

15. Menara Gardens





The Menara Gardens make a good case for being the city’s best green space. Locals and visitors alike come to picnic among the olive groves or take in the sights of the High Atlas Mountains reflected off the surface of the manmade lagoon.

MausoleumPhoto courtesy of iStock / GoodLifeStudio

16. Saadian Tombs

Sultans of the Saadi Dynasty ruled Morocco from 1549 to 1659. When the dynasty fell, their royal tombs were sealed and hidden, only to be uncovered in 1917. Modern day visitors can see that no expense was spared in these royal mausoleums. Marble was imported from Italy and pure gold used to gild the decorative plasterwork.



Wide shot of Ouzoud FallsPhoto courtesy of iStock / Elena Odareeva

17. Ouzoud Falls

Take a day trip to the Atlas Mountains to see one of Morocco’s most impressive sights, the Ouzoud Falls. The second-tallest waterfalls in the country are particularly impressive in late spring when fed by snowmelt. Keep an eye out for Barbary apes who can often be seen playing in the surrounding trees (or trying to snag a pair of sunglasses off an unsuspecting tourist).



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