The best things to do in Marrakesh
One visit will never be enough for you to discover the chaotic reality of Marrakesh. The labyrinths of its medina, the charming artists, colorful restaurants will uncover to you the real face of Marrakesh. Even if it's preferable to discover Marrakesh on your own and unique way, we have prepared a list of activities to try there.
Visit Jemaa el-Fnaa
Jem el Fna Square is the heart of Marrakesh and from here all the city tours begin. The name of Jem el-Fna Square comes from “jam” - “cathedral mosque” and “fna” - “death”. In the 10th century, robbers and criminals were executed here. Today Jemma el-Fnaa is the most crowded place in Marrakech. Here you can buy fresh oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, mangoes, or visit sweet shops, fish and meat cafes. There is also a real open-air theater on this main square of Marrakesh. Snake tamers, acrobats, dancers, and jugglers show magnificent performances in the Jemaa el-Fnaa square. This is a really atmospheric place in Marrakesh which is worth a visit.
The garden of Majorelle was the studio of the artist Jacques Majorelle, who moved to Morocco in 1919. After the death of Jacques Majorelle, the famous French couturier Yves Saint Laurent and his friend Pierre Berger bought the Majorelle garden and took care of its reconstruction in 1980. The former artist's studio was converted into a small museum of Islamic art situated in the center of Marrakesh city. Today the gardens’ museum stores the works of Majorelle as well as the private collections of Yves Saint Laurent.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
Yves Saint Laurent first visited Marrakesh in 1966. For the first time he arrived in Morocco and visited Marrakesh in 1966. In this city, he found inspiration, which later had a big influence on his works. The next 20 years he came to Morocco at least twice every year. In 2017, Yves Saint Laurent Museum opened in Marrakesh. For the new museum, Pierre Berger's foundation donated 5,000 designers personal items, 15,000 accessories from couture collections, and tens of thousands of sketches. This art center is dedicated not only to Saint Laurent, but also to the Berber culture, which he loved very much. There is also the Saint Laurent Museum in Paris, located at number 5 Avenue Marceau, where the designer used to work for 30 years.
One of the main and most beautiful sights of Marrakesh located in Medina is the Palace of Bahia. It was built in 1880 by the Grand Vizier of Morocco for his 4 wives and 24 concubines. A thousand workers from Fez built this palace. And when construction was completed, it was more beautiful and elegant than all the palaces in Morocco. The rooms are decorated with gold leaf, mosaics, and ornaments made of precious wood. In addition to the premises, there are beautiful gardens with jasmine, banana and orange trees.
Stay in a Moroccan riad A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace. Riads usually have a courtyard with a garden, from where natural light comes into all the rooms of the house. This form of buildings came from ancient Rome. The main task of this design was to “hide” private life and women according to the concepts of Islam. Riads, in general, are very common in Marrakesh, as well as throughout Morocco (there are about 4,000 of them altogether). They are located in the medina or in the old parts of the city center. The walls of the riad are usually very thick and it is always cool inside the building. Dozens of hotels in modern Marrakech offer accommodation in traditional riads. Most of them have swimming pools, roof terraces with a view of Marrakesh and spa areas.
Medina of Marrakech is the historical center of Morocco. It is often called the "red city", as most buildings are covered with red clay. From above, the Medina looks like a web of streets, in the center of which is El Fna Square. This is a medieval part of Marrakesh, surrounded by a fortified wall and 202 towers. On the central square is situated one of the most beautiful sights of the city - the Al-Kutubiya Mosque. The biggest part of the Medina is occupied by markets with traditional Moroccan goods. You can buy here almost anything from a beautiful vase of a hand-woven carpet.
The Atlas Mountains are a huge mountain system located in northwestern Africa, stretching from the coast of Tunisia to the Atlantic coast of Morocco through Algeria. The length of the ridges is 2500 km. The highest point is Mount Toubkal (4168 m), located in the south-west of Morocco. Atlas mountains have picturesque landscapes and beautiful views that can not be compared with anything else. To explore these places, take a half-day or a full-day trip to the Atlas Mountains with a guide and enjoy the North African nature.
The famous Souks of Marrakesh are located on the Jem el-Fnaa Square. These are traditional Moroccan shops where you can buy almost everything. Prices here are usually lower than in city supermarkets. In souks, you can buy goods from leather, copper, tin, silver, colored fabrics. The main rule of shopping in Morocco is always to bargain, as the prices tagged on goods are usually too high. So do not hesitate to ask the seller to reduce prices by two or even three times.
The Sahara is the world's largest desert, located in North Africa. The area of the Sahara is 8.6 million km² and it occupies 30% of Africa. The southeastern region of Morocco, situated near the Atlas Mountains, is the most convenient place to visit the Sahara desert. From the Merzouga village, located in the south-east of Marrakesh, you can take a tour to the desert and even spend several nights there. During a safari tour, you will explore the real desert, ride the sand dunes on a motorcycle and ride a camel in national Berber clothes.