Marrakech activities
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Marrakech activities: unique adventures to try in Marrakech

Heading to Marrakech, and looking for things to do? I love to try and do something a little different whenever I visit a new city, so thought I’d share my own experiences and top recommendations on the best Marrakech activities to try out when you visit so you don’t have to spend time researching.

Marrakech, a city that sits at the crossroads of ancient caravan routes, is a melting pot of culture, tradition, and modernity. Known for its bustling souks, majestic palaces, and vibrant gardens, it’s no surprise that Marrakech is such a popular destination for travellers from all across the globe. The Moroccan city boasts an incredibly diverse culture and is steeped in history and tradition, making it a truly unique destination for those looking for a holiday that offers more than a traditional city break or a relaxing beach vacation. In fact, the Red City offers adventures that cater to every type of traveller, and you’ll find a wealth of fun and exciting experiences to take part in during your trip. In this article, I share some of the best Marrakech activities to partake in, each of which promise to make your visit truly unforgettable.

The best Marrakech activities to try

Here are some of the Marrakech activities I tried and loved the most. I highly recommend adding at least of few of these activities to your Marrakech itinerary.

Go on a cycling tour of Marrakech

I think that one of the best ways to explore a destination is by bike, and I loved seeing Marrakech this way while getting in some exercise at the same time. Choosing to embark on a biking tour allows you to traverse Marrakech and its surroundings at your own leisure, taking in a wealth of incredible sights and scenery as you do. Whether navigating the narrow alleyways of the ancient Medina, breezing through the lush Palmeraie, or pushing your limits towards the rugged Atlas Mountains, you can enjoy a variety of scenic routes that cater to your level of experience. These tours not only allow for a more personal interaction with Marrakech’s historic sites and vibrant street life but are also sustainable mode of travel. There are countless cycling routes to be found in and around the city of Marrakech, which you can explore as part of a group or on your own. Choosing to bike around the Red City brings a new perspective, and it’s a great way for you to keep active on your trip. 

Unsure what to pack for Marrakech? Here’s my comprehensive guide on what to wear in Marrakech.

Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise

Without a doubt one of the most memorable Marrakech activities you can take, begin your Marrakech adventure suspended in the air, watching the sunrise paint the Atlas Mountains in hues of pink and gold. This is the perfect activity if you’re looking for a romantic excursion with your loved one, or to create memories with your friends or family that you’ll never forget. A hot air balloon ride offers not just breathtaking views but also the serenity of floating above the chaotic yet charming maze of Marrakech and its wondrous sights. From the air, you’ll be able to take in the vast landscapes that surround the city, basking in the glorious sunshine and looking down upon the incredible city and its wealth of stunning architecture. It’s a peaceful yet exhilarating experience that will give you a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings.

Marrakech activities: hot air balloon

Go off-roading

If you fancy heading off-road to embrace the thrill-seeker inside of you, hopping on a quad or motorbike could be the perfect activity! Quad and motorbikes are fun Marrakech activities, are really easy to pick up, and guarantee hours of fun for you and your friends. It’s an exhilarating way to experience the rugged landscapes around Marrakech. You can head out of the city and explore off the beaten track to see some of the sights that are less popular with other tourists, including the sandy dunes of the Agafay Desert or the rocky terrains of the Atlas Mountains. It’s the perfect activity for thrill-seekers looking to add a dose of adrenaline to their Marrakech visit. Tours often include stops at traditional Berber villages, offering a glimpse into the local lifestyle, and are guided by experts who ensure a safe yet adventurous experience. Plus, it gives you the freedom to find cool bars and restaurants where you can stop off and spend some time in the shade.

Go camel trekking

One of the Marrakech activities that should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list for visiting the city is camel trekking. It provides a quintessentially Moroccan experience, offering a slower-paced, rhythmic adventure that takes you through the city’s picturesque surroundings. There are few places on the planet where you can do this and it’s a wonderful experience for animal lovers that both adults and children can enjoy. On camel treks in Marrakech, you’ll often head into the Palm Grove of Marrakech or the vast, open landscapes of the Agafay Desert, where the panoramic views create a stark contrast to the bustling city life. Camel treks can range from short rides that are perfect for a family outing to longer excursions that include stops for tea with local Berber families, combining natural beauty with cultural immersion. Just make sure to go through a company that prioritises the wellbeing of their animals. 

Camel trekking in Morocco

Try your hand at sandboarding

Leave the city behind and head out into the vast desert to try your hand at sandboarding. Sandboarding in an exciting Marrakech activity that’s perfect for those looking to add an adventurous twist to their desert experience. The Agafay Desert, located just outside Marrakech, is the perfect backdrop with its expansive sandy landscapes that make ideal conditions for sandboarding. This adventure is typically part of a broader desert tour, which can include camel rides or a sunset viewing, offering a fun way to experience the desert’s natural beauty. Sandboarding is easy to pick up, regardless of previous experience, making it ideal for families, groups, and solo travellers looking to enjoy a unique and memorable day out in the desert near Marrakech. To really get a sense of this incredible landscape, head onto the dunes and grab yourself a sandboard. As the desert heat can be intense out on the dunes, make sure you’re properly protected with goggles, scarves, and other protective equipment.

Explore the Majorelle Garden

Step into the Majorelle Garden, an enchanting space that offers a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Created by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and later owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, the garden’s a vibrant oasis filled with exotic plants, flowing streams, and the iconic cobalt blue accents. It’s a perfect spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike. I LOVE exploring artistic residences (Casa Gilardi in Mexico City is a favourite of mine), so this was my cup of tea and one of the best Marrakech activities in my opinion). The botanical garden is renowned for its vibrant colour palette, dominated by the intense Majorelle blue that adorns many surfaces. It’s home to a diverse collection of plants from across the globe, including an impressive array of cacti, palms, and bamboo trees, all carefully arranged to create a serene oasis in the middle of the city. As you wander through the winding paths, you’ll encounter tranquil streams and pools filled with floating water lilies and lotus flowers.

Marrakech activities: Jardin Majorelle

Take a cooking class in a traditional riad

Marrakech is known for its rich cuisine that boasts a blend of flavours from the Arab, Berber, and French culinary traditions. Something I try to do whenever I visit a new destination is taking part in a cooking class. I really recommend taking one in Marrakech, it was one of the highlights of my trip! You can take a cooking class hosted in a traditional riad to learn how to prepare authentic Moroccan dishes like tagine and couscous. This experience not only allows you to delve into the local culture but also lets you take a piece of Marrakech back home. These classes often start with a trip to a local market to select fresh ingredients, offering a firsthand experience of the bustling daily life and culinary traditions of the locals. Under the guidance of skilled chefs, you can learn to craft authentic Moroccan dishes like pastillas, using techniques that have been passed down through generations. You’ll then enjoy a communal meal, trying the flavours of your own creations, often accompanied by the aromatic mint tea that’s a staple in Moroccan hospitality.

Discover the secrets of the Medina

You can’t visit Marrakech without a trip to the Medina. The heart of the city lies in its Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site brimming with historical significance. You might fancy taking a guided tour to uncover hidden gems that many visitors miss. From the intricately carved wooden doors to the secret gardens tucked away behind unassuming walls, the Medina holds countless mysteries waiting to be discovered. Visiting is like stepping back in time and exploring a living museum, rich in history and bustling with modern life. You’ll discover vibrant markets filled with spices, textiles, pottery, and traditional Moroccan crafts. Hidden within these winding streets are historical treasures such as the Bahia Palace and the Ben Youssef Madrasa, showcasing incredible Islamic architecture. The sensory experience is overwhelming, with the sounds of craftsmen at work, the smell of aromatic spices, and the sight of mosaics and intricate carvings.

Medina in Marrakech

Experience a traditional hammam

No visit to Marrakech is complete without experiencing the traditional Moroccan hammam. This ritual bath is not only a form of relaxation but also an integral part of the local culture. A hammam is a Moroccan steam bath that is both a cleansing ritual and a social tradition. The experience starts with time spent in a warm steam room, which helps open the pores and relax the muscles, followed by a vigorous scrubbing with a ‘kessa’ glove and black soap made from olive paste. This exfoliation process removes dead skin and impurities, leaving the skin feeling soft and rejuvenated. After the scrub, you can enjoy a soothing clay or herbal mask, and the session ends with a relaxing massage using aromatic oils. Opt for a luxury spa or visit a public hammam to soak in the warmth, enjoy a body scrub, and unwind in a way that has been a tradition for centuries. The entire process not only purifies the body but also offers a moment of relaxation and renewal.

Adventure in the Atlas Mountains

Just a short drive from Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains are a natural playground for the adventurous soul. Whether you prefer hiking, mountain biking, or even a camel trek, the mountains are a perfect day trip destination, and a Marrakech activity I can’t recommend enough. You’ll discover a dramatic landscape of rugged peaks, verdant valleys, and picturesque Berber villages, making it a prime destination for hiking, trekking, and even skiing in the winter. For an immersive experience, visit a Berber village to learn about the local way of life and enjoy traditional Moroccan hospitality. Excursions to the Atlas Mountains can range from gentle walks through almond and cherry orchards to challenging climbs up Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. A blend of natural beauty and cultural immersion makes the Atlas Mountains an enriching experience, offering a stark contrast to the bustling city life of Marrakech.

Marrakech activities: Atlas Mountains

Items to pack for Marrakech

There are a few key items I always add to my packing list. Hopefully these will help you too:

  • SPF 50 – no matter what the weather, if you’re out and about, I can’t recommend a good sunscreen enough! The sun can be deceptively strong, even when cloudy, so you should make sure you take plenty of SPF with you.
  • A secure day bag for storing essentials like your passport, cash, and cards. I love this crossbody bag from Amazon. As well as being really reasonably priced, I use it for most of my trips as it’s super convenient for storing your phone etc while exploring a city.
  • An underseat cabin bag. If you’re like me and love scoring a bargain on Ryanair or Easyjet, you’ll want one of these bags. I recently purchased one for travelling across the Balkans and it was genuinely a lifesaver. It packs in much more than you’d ever think, and is airline approved so you can save the pennies you’d splash out on taking a suitcase on cocktails at the hotel bar instead.
  • Local currency – in Morocco, this is the Dirham. I usually take it out via my Monzo card at a local ATM and have some good to go in case it’s needed for cafes or taxis.
  • A Morocco plug adaptor. Morocco uses two different types of plug, C and E. This adaptor is a godsend – it’s compatible with most European countries so I keep it stored in my suitcase for every trip.
  • Medication and first aid. No one wants their trip to Marrakech ruined by sickness, so I usually keep a few key items packed. Paracetamol, suncream, plasters, mosquito repellant, diarrhoea medication, and rehydration sachets literally come with me everywhere. This basic first aid kit is great for covering the essentials during your travels.
  • A liquids bag for airport security. I take this bag every time as it’s airline approved – it saves so much time from emptying your liquids into those flimsy airport bags. In fact, I bought a few to give to my friends so it speeds up security for us all while travelling.
  • Luggage locks. Pickpockets are certainly something to be wary of in Marrakech, so I highly recommend adding luggage locks to your suitcases for peace of mind, especially if you’re travelling around Morocco.
  • Travel bottles for toiletries – again, these travel sized containers are so helpful for the 100ml flying restriction. I use the colour coded bottles for my different products – shampoo, conditioner, etc as I hate using the cheap hotel toiletries on my hair.
  • Reusable travel water bottle – I don’t go anywhere without one of these any more. It’s super cheap and is easy to just refill and shove into a backpack when you’re out exploring. I always like to have water on me, and don’t like buying single use plastics, so this is perfect.

So, which adventure will you choose during your stay in Marrakech?  

Marrakech activities: FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Marrakech activities:

Can you drink alcohol in Marrakech?

In Marrakech, alcohol is available but its consumption is restricted compared to most Western countries due to Morocco’s predominantly Muslim culture. You can buy and drink alcohol in licensed restaurants, bars, and hotels, which are often geared towards tourists. Supermarkets and shops in tourist areas may also sell alcohol. Public consumption outside these venues, however, is not acceptable and can be frowned upon. It’s important to respect local customs and restrictions when consuming alcohol in Marrakech.

Is 3 days long enough in Marrakech?

Three days in Marrakech is a reasonable amount of time to explore the major highlights and get a sense of the city’s vibrant culture. In three days, you can visit key attractions including the Jemaa el-Fnaa square, the Majorelle Garden, and the historic Medina with its bustling souks. You’ll also have time to experience a traditional hammam and enjoy local cuisine. If, however, you want to explore the surrounding areas like the Atlas Mountains or take a longer excursion, you might find that three days in Marrakech feels a bit rushed.

How to spend 4 days in Marrakech?

Spending four days in Marrakech allows you to thoroughly enjoy the city and its surroundings. Here’s how I’d spend four days in Marrakech:

  • Day 1: explore the Medina
    • Visit the Koutoubia Mosque and wander through the bustling souks.
    • Explore historical sites like the Bahia Palace and the Ben Youssef Madrasa.
    • Experience the vibrant Jemaa el-Fnaa in the evening for food stalls and street performances.
  • Day 2: culture and relaxation
    • Start with a visit to the Majorelle Garden and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum nearby.
    • Spend the afternoon in a traditional hammam for some relaxation.
    • Explore the modern city of Gueliz for shopping and contemporary cafes.
  • Day 3: take a day trip to the Atlas Mountains
    • Take a guided tour to the Atlas Mountains, enjoy a hike, and visit a Berber village.
    • Have lunch with a local family for an authentic culinary experience.
  • Day 4: leisure and culinary adventures
    • Participate in a morning cooking class in a traditional riad to learn about Moroccan cuisine.
    • Spend your afternoon at leisure in the Menara Gardens.
    • Finish your trip with a fancy dinner at one of Marrakech’s top restaurants or a rooftop terrace to enjoy panoramic views of the city.

This itinerary offers a bit of historical exploration, cultural immersion, relaxation, and adventure, allowing you to see the best bits of Marrakech in four days.

Is it cheap to visit Marrakech?

Marrakech is pretty cheap to visit compared to most Western destinations, depending on your travel style. Costs for accommodation, local transport, and food can be quite affordable, especially if you opt for budget-friendly options like guesthouses, street food, and local buses. Entry fees for most tourist attractions are also generally low. However, prices in tourist-heavy areas like the Medina can be higher, and luxury accommodation or experiences such as high-end restaurants and private tours will increase your budget significantly. Overall, Marrakech offers options suitable for both budget travellers and those who fancy indulging in a little more luxury.

What is not allowed in Morocco?

When visiting Morocco, it’s important to be aware of local laws and customs to ensure a respectful and trouble-free experience. Here are some key things that are not allowed:

  • Public displays of affection: excessive displays of affection, such as kissing, are frowned upon, especially in conservative and public areas.
  • Drinking alcohol in public: public consumption of alcohol is prohibited. Alcohol can only be consumed in licensed venues such as hotels, bars, and private homes.
  • Importing and using drones: Importing and using drones without proper authorization is illegal and can lead to penalties, including fines and confiscation.
  • Drug use: the use, possession, and trafficking of drugs are strictly illegal and carry severe penalties, including imprisonment.
  • Criticising the monarchy or government: speaking against the monarchy or government is considered a criminal offence, and it’s advisable to avoid these discussions.
  • Homosexual acts: homosexual acts are illegal in Morocco and can result in legal consequences.
  • Dressing inappropriately: dress modestly, especially when visiting mosques and traditional neighbourhoods. It’s respectful to cover shoulders and knees. Check out my guide on what to wear in Marrakech so that you’re well equipped for your visit.

Understanding and respecting these restrictions will help you to avoid any legal issues and ensure a more enjoyable visit to Morocco.

Is it safe to walk around Marrakech?

Walking around Marrakech is generally safe for tourists, but it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded and tourist-heavy areas like the Medina. While violent crime is relatively rare, petty crime such as pickpocketing can take place, especially in busy markets or during festivals. I recommend avoiding poorly lit and less populated areas at night and always keep your belongings secure. Women especially should be particularly cautious of unwanted attention and I’d advise dressing modestly to blend in more easily. With common sense precautions, you’ll likely find Marrakech a welcoming and safe place to visit.

Ready to explore Marrakech? Start planning your unique adventure and Marrakech activities today and immerse yourself in the magic of the Red City. Remember, the best adventures are the ones that take you off the beaten path and into the heart of what makes Marrakech truly special.

I hope you found my guide on the best Marrakech activities useful! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help answer them for you.

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