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A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days

Posted on October 5, 2020 February 27, 2024 Author Priya Leave a comment

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Marrakech is a place steeped in history and architecture, the city with its souks, palaces and the labyrinth-like medina is best navigated leisurely with a guide or someone who truly knows it well particularly if you only have a few days. We spent a perfect week in Morocco last December and here are some highlights of the best things to do in Marrakech if you have at least 3 days in the city and 7 days in the area.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days | Outside Suburbia

Most people planning a trip to Morocco manage to get to The Sahara desert, Fes, even to Chefchaouen, nicknamed the “blue pearl of Morocco,” on a 10 day trip. But we like to go slow and decided to save Fes, Chefchaouen and Casablanca for a future trip and spend most of our time in Marrakech.

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Our 6 night / 7 day Marrakech Itinerary

We spent 2 days at Kasbah Tamadot resort nestled high in the Atlas Mountains and hiked up for traditional lunch at Berber house in one of the villages. The other 5 days we spent in Marrakech exploring the Red city and doing some side trips.

Our 7 day Marrakech Itinerary 2 days in the Atlas Mountains 1 day to Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast 3 days in Marrakech 1 day to the Agafay Desert

We flew directly from our desert adventure at Agafay to the airport to catch a flight to Porto, Portugal.

Agafay Desert near Marrakech | Outside Suburbia

Must See and Best experiences & things to do in Marrakech

The heart of Marrakech lies in its historic city center – The Medina, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. For centuries, the medina acted as a political and economic hub. Royals resided here, international trade took place here and the influence radiated throughout the Middle East from here. Walking through the many narrow alleyways of this 11th-century maze, life still seems the same in Marrakech in many ways.

You will catch a whiff of the fresh bread baking in the morning when people bring their dough to be baked in the bakery, there are small shops selling everything from produce to rugs, shoes and mass-made trinkets. Kids hurry past little trolleys the transport the luggage of tourists since the cars can’t make it inside these narrow streets.

 The best way to explore Marrakech is with a guide | Outside Suburbia

On day one in Marrakech, we visited Bahai Place, Saadian Tombs, walked around the Jemaa el Fna Square and had dinner at Nomad .

1. Bahia Palace

We met with our local guide arranged by the Riad and took a taxi to the Bahia Palace to start our tour. Within walking distance of must-see Marrakech sights like Jemaa El Fna, the Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs sits the intricate Bahia Palace. This 19th-century palace exemplifies the lavish lifestyle of the Moroccan upper class. Before it was open to the public, this property housed various Moroccan royals.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days - Bahia Palace  | Outside Suburbia

The palace features intricate entryways that lead to colorful mosaics and latticework, as well as elaborate walkways that lead you to courtyards and gardens. The palace was ransacked in the early 1900s but the members of the royal family continue to stay here occasionally. Today, Bahai Palace in one of the top places to visit in Marrakech. You will love the Moroccan zellij tiles, carved cedar wood doors and panels of intricately carved plaster.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days - Bahia Palace | Outside Suburbia

Badi Palace was once a playground for Saadian royalty but today it is just some sandstone ruins. We skipped this Marrakech attraction and headed to the Saadian Tombs.

2. Saadian Tombs

The cemetery, which sits just south of the medina has more than 160 tombs filled with the remains of prominent Saadians. The members of this Arab dynasty are considered descendants of the prophet Muhammad. First used in the early 14th century, the Saadian Tombs’ intricate decor of mosaics, cedar ceilings, colorful mosaics and Carrara marble headstones are a must see Marrakech attraction.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days

3. Koutoubia Mosque

We followed our guide as he led us through the Jewish quarters and more alleys inside the medina. We would have surely lost our way if not for him. After several turns and a stop for some mint tea, we ended up in the southwest corner of the medina to see Marrakech’s most recognizable landmark, Koutoubia Mosque.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days - Koutoubia Mosque

Featuring salmon-hued walls and tile works, expansive archways, the impressive 253-foot-tall  minaret  (or tower) of this 12th-century Moorish looms over the Square. The mosque is the inspiration for several other religious sites, including the Hassan Tower in Rabat, Morocco, and La Giralda in  Seville, Spain .

You have to be a practicing Muslim to enter the Mosque, so we stopped to listen to the prayer call and headed to the Jemaa el Fna Square that was bustling with activity.

4. Jemaa el Fna Square

The sun was setting and it was the best time to enjoy the square observed our guide. You can spend hours if not days in the winding souks, tanneries, fresh-juice stalls, and labyrinthine streets of Jemaa el Fna square but the square comes alive at dusk. You will find snake charmers, street performers and people in groups playing different games.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days - Jemaa el Fna Square  | Outside Suburbia

Over the course of our private tour, our local guide pointed us to shops selling all kinds of things — handmade slippers, shiny lanterns, exotic spices, rose oil, and kaftans. We were not shopping for anything other than a few souvenirs. But visiting here is a must, it is one of the unique things to do in Marrakech.

We bid our guide goodbye and headed to Nomad for dinner and took a horse and carriage ride back to our hotel to rounds out the experience.

On day two in Marrakech, we visited the Jardins Majorelle and planned a Hammam for the evening .

5. Jardins Majorelle

Jardins Majorelle designed by famed painter Jacques Majorelle and later rescued from a potential hotel project by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé deserve at least a whole afternoon. Strolling around the lush grounds with its colorful pots and art is a welcome breather from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is also home to the  Berber Museum  which was formerly Jacques Majorelle’s studio and Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The well-preservated rooms have a curated collection that tells the story of the indigenous North African people.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days - Jardins Majorelle

If you love fashion, you can’t miss a visit to Yves the Saint Laurent Museum. Seems like it is a popular place in Marrakech and be prepared for long lines, crowds, and selfie stick toting fashionistas.

6. Get scrubbed in a traditional Hammam

A traditional Hammam is one of the must-have experiences and top things to do in Marrakech. The exfoliating glove and the Moroccan black soap are used for this traditional ritual. The plant pulp contains black olives rich in vitamin E and gets the skin ready to scrub. A rough exfoliating glove ( kessa in Arabic) is used by the attendant usually a woman to remove the dead skin. The benefits of a traditional hammam in Marrakech include removing toxins, increases blood flow and lymphatic improvement. It offers deep cleaning and purification of the skin and physical and spiritual relaxation.

Experiencing a traditional Hammam is one of the top things to do in Marrakech | Outside Suburbia

A hammam in Marrakech offers a time of relaxation and wellness where the skin can return to its natural brightness. Be prepared stripped naked and to see layers of old dead skin being peeled away! There are many Spas and Hammams in Marrakech that offer this and we opted for the experience at 72 Riad Living where we spent a night. It was private and intimate and one that still brings giggles in our family.

On day three in Marrakech, we rode Quad bikes on the Agafay Desert

7. Ride Quad bikes on the Agafay Desert

If you are short on time but looking for some desert adventures, a fun experience in Marrakech is to cruise the desert landscape on quad bikes. Arrive at the rendezvous point to meet your guide, who will have all appropriate gear and plan a route that has you riding on rolling hills of the Kik Plateau and down into the Agafay Desert with its oases and dry river beds. You can see the Atlas mountains in the distance.

Agafay Desert near Marrakech | Outside Suburbia

We spent two nights on the outskirts of Marrakech, at the foothills of the Atlas Moutain.

8. A trip to the Atlas Mountain

If you want a glimpse of rural Moroccan life, plan a trip into the valleys and adobe villages of the Atlas Mountains. We spend 2 days at a kasba h in the foothills of the Atlas Mountain . It was one of the best resorts we have ever been too. I know I say that all the time, but this was pretty special!

Imlil, a village at the foot of the country’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal, is worth a trip as well. From Imlil, hiked for a few hours to get to a restaurant to enjoy a traditional tagine prepared by Berbers . One of the best meals of the trip! Tajines cooked with fresh figs and vegetables!! The food was excellent and the views amazing – we could not have asked for a better afternoon!

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days

The choices for day trips from Marrakech are endless, you can even go to Casablanca or Ben-Haddou – we opted for a day on the coast .

9. A day to the Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast

Essaouira lies roughly 3 hours to the west of Marrakech. It’s an ancient coastal town dating back to at least the 5th century BC. With a picturesque port, a not so intimidating souk, and wonderful shoreline, it is worth the drive. On the way stop at the Argan Oil Coop to pick up some fresh argan oil(they have a long shelf life) and handmade saffron soaps. Albeit touristy you might want to stop to check out the goats climbing on the Argan trees. Have some change for the goatherd, goats don’t amble up on trees for free!

A day in Essaouria Morocco | Outside Suburbia

Places to eat in Marrakech

La Table Du Riad at Riad 72 Living is an elegant and intimate culinary experience that serves seasonal and traditional Moroccan dishes but in a reinvented modern presentation.

Nomad  is a must eat multi-level restaurant for many reasons. Go during sunset and eat at one of their two gorgeous terraces. The food is a modern interpretation of traditional Moroccan dishes. Don’t miss the orange cake.

Yacout is home to one of the most picturesque riads in the city, Yacout is a tried-and-true standby for both locals and visitors. 

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days

Other Things to do in Marrakech

If you have a few more days in Marrakech you can in a hot air balloon ride with Champagne toast and Moroccan breakfast or a guided shopping trip to the souks at Jamaa el Fna Square.

Maybe plan a day trip to Ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed group of clay dwellings that once served as a trading post. The trip will take you through the Ourika Valley, the Atlas Mountains and you can make a stop at the Ouzoud Falls.

Of course, if you are willing to endure the 9-hour drive, a trip to the Sahara desert to spend a night or two in the Berber tents, ride camels, sandboard and catch a sunset on the dunes is one of the top things to do in Morocco.

A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days

The Medersa Ben Youssef , an extraordinarily well preserved 16th century Qur’anic school in the medina is another attraction in Marrakech you should add to your itinerary. Sultan who refurbished the Medersa in the 16th century had artisans from Andalusia to carve the intricate stucco.  It is open for non-muslims to visit but sadly it was closed for renovation when we were there.

You might also like: Moroccan Foods you can’t miss when visiting Morocco

Hope you find this guide of things to do and 7 day Marrakech Itinerary helpful when planning your trip.

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Top things to do in Marrakech | Outside Suburbia

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As We Saw It

3 Days in Marrakech Morocco: Best Things to Do

collage of marrakech text says 3 days in marrakech

Arguably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Morocco, Marrakech (or Marrakesh ) is also one of the oldest and largest Moroccan cities. The Red City, aptly named for the crimson-colored sandstone used in its construction, lies just north of the Atlas Mountain foothills.

The heart of Marrakech is its old medina, a fortified city dating back to the 12th century. Accessed only by passing beneath one of the giant, imposing doors (or Bab), it reveals a bustling hub at its ancient heart.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site that is enclosed by modern suburbs, the Medina is not to be missed. Like most visitors, meandering through its winding streets will be a highlight of your trip to Marrakech. Best of all, Marrakech’s medina lies close to some of the most rewarding sightseeing experiences on offer in the city.

ⓘ TIP: Don’t worry about getting lost in the medina. Your favorite maps or navigation app on your phone will help you navigate the winding streets. You won’t be lost for long!

Arched alley leading deeper into the Medina

Where to stay in Marrakech

You can take your pick from a myriad of places to stay in Marrakech, whether it be a hotel, Airbnb or a traditional riad. Whichever you choose depends on your travel style, but the riad is the most uniquely Moroccan.

What is a traditional Moroccan riad?

Somewhat unique to Marrakech, the opportunity to stay in a riad is not to be missed! You will, however, be hard-pressed to find an authentic, traditional riad outside of the old medina. So stay in the medina, as we did!

Our first 3 days in Marrakech, we stayed on one end of the souk, and then we stayed in another part of the old city after our Sahara desert tour. Both were delightful and we recommend them.

alleyway in Marrakech medina

After navigating rather painstakingly through the dusty passageways of the old medina, an oasis awaits, ready to revive your senses. These seemingly hidden riads (or traditional homes centered around a courtyard) are the shiny, azure jewels in the crimson crown of the medina.

The centerpiece of a traditional riad (or ‘gardens’ in Arabic) is usually a fountain or swimming pool, flanked by citrus trees or lush palms, and studded generously with ornate, colorful mosaic tiles. Once the homes and palaces of the wealthy elite, these riads have mostly been redeveloped to accommodate the large volume of tourists seeking refuge in the busy Medina.

As is customary, they will greet your arrival with Morocco’s traditional aromatic mint tea. Your host will pour it with a flourish from the spout of a Moroccan teapot held high overhead.

After tea, you can expect to be escorted to a beautifully appointed room that is embellished with Moroccan textiles and decor. Room windows and doors open onto an interior courtyard, making you feel sheltered from the outside world.

Dar Taliwint Riad

Dar Taliwint takes advantage of traditional design elements like Morocco’s colorful glass. Only the sunlit colors dancing across the riad’s walls disturb its calm, peaceful atmosphere.

This intimate riad is an Arab-Andalusian-style guesthouse with only four guest rooms. The rooms open onto the central courtyard, and each has its own private balcony spot where you can sit and relax.

Architectural details of Riad Safa

Another riad in Arab-Andalusian style, Riad Safa became our “Marrakech home away from home” when we returned from three days in the Sahara Desert.

With its whitewashed architecture, wood tones, and hints of turquoise, the riad was very serene and luxurious. All of the six uniquely decorated rooms oozed Moroccan culture and overlooked an inviting splash pool in the courtyard below.

Rooftop tent of Riad Safa taking in the city skyline of Marrakech.

Don’t ask us to choose a favorite, because we can’t. We completely enjoyed both riads we stayed at. Both are within walking distance to Jemaa el-Fnaa and other top Marrakech sights,

If you prefer to stay outside of the medina, we can also recommend Hotel Le Meridien N’fis. We stayed there while attending a nearby conference. Two unexpected bonuses: It’s across the street from a shopping mall, and the hotel has a bar. (Yes, drinking alcohol in Morocco is legal!)

What to do in Marrakech in 3 days

The varied landscape of Marrakech lends itself well to a multitude of activities, in seemingly changing environments across the city and surrounds.

From well-camouflaged camels in the lush foliage of palmeries, and secret palace gardens, to earthen suburbs lined with castle-like homes, bustling souks, and local eateries serving up authentic cuisine, Morocco is a place of wonder.

Marrakech is a treasure trove of history, culture, and textural beauty. There is an almost palpable energy in the air of this contrastingly ancient and modern city. Within walking distance of the medina or a quick taxi ride, you will discover the most wonderful things to do.

We’ve spread the top sightseeing activities into a 3-day Marrakech itinerary because it’s not only about visiting attractions. They are wonderful, of course, but the best part comes from walking around and absorbing the city’s unique atmosphere.

The other thing to consider is that Marrakech can be oppressively hot for much of the year, which can seriously sap your energy. Planning an afternoon siesta or tea break back at your riad will be a welcome break. Resume your sightseeing later in the afternoon, when the sun isn’t as intense.

If you have less time in Marrakech, consider a private tour that will quickly show you the highlights. We like this tour because it allows you to customize your itinerary according to what you would like to see and do.

If you have more time, add a few day trips – there’s so much else you can see outside of Marrakech! We spent 3 days in the Sahara Desert (Merzouga), and the experience was unforgettable.

The exciting dealers of Jemaa al-Fnaa square

Day 1: Koutoubia Mosque + Jemaa el-Fnaa + souk

Once you arrive in Marrakech,  you’ll most likely want to head straight to the souks – just as we did! Marrakech boasts the largest, busiest souks in all of Morocco. Take it from us: venturing into the bustling honeycomb of a souk, vibrating with activity, colors, and textures, is a complete sensory experience.

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque (or Mosque of the Booksellers ) can be found opposite Jemaa el-Fnaa. Amongst the hundreds of smaller Mosques in Marrakech, Koutoubia Mosque is notably also the tallest building in Marrakech. It’s also Marrakech’s largest and most centrally located mosque.

Non-Muslims cannot venture inside its doors, but the ornately decorated building is pretty enough to enjoy from the outside. Surrounding the mosque is a large plaza with gardens. We can’t imagine a more peaceful way to begin the day.

  • Cost: Free of charge
  • Open: 9 am – 6 pm daily
  • Plan to spend: ± 30 minutes
  • Distance to Jemaa el-Fnaa: 5-minute drive / 13-minute walk

Koutoubia Mosque lit up at night

Jemaa el-Fnaa

Located in the medina-quarter of Marrakech, Jemaa el-Fnaa is the busiest square in all of Africa. A few hours spent here will reveal the shifting sights and sounds of the square, and the large North African market, or souk, that borders it.

Snake charmers dot the square, serenading cobras with enchanting tunes from flutes, while scores of locals and tourists alike scutter around. As the day passes, the square becomes busier and livelier as dancers, musicians and storytellers join the crowd.

Sample the (cheap!) freshly squeezed orange juice on offer and then head towards the souk.

Snake charmers playing with a Cobra

We love local markets. It’s fun to navigate the nooks and crannies lined with trinkets, textiles and energetic merchants.

This is where you can purchase all those treasures that are so typical of Morocco. It’s all here: clay tagines, silver teapots and trays, colorful lamps, rugs and hand-woven baskets. If you don’t have extra room in your suitcase (say, for a Moroccan leather pouf?), most merchants can ship.

It’s part of Moroccan culture to haggle, so never pay the first asking price. If you’re ready to buy, be ready to sit down to barter over mint tea. Along the way, you will learn more about the desert lifestyle and history of the nomadic Moroccan Berbers from enthusiastic storytellers.

If you find yourself lost in the souk for several hours, you can enjoy local cuisine from one of the numerous food stalls. They seem to be everywhere you turn. If you’re worried about food safety, busy restaurants are trustworthy.

  • Cost: Free of charge. Bring cash for purchases and tipping
  • Open: Mid-morning to midnight daily
  • Plan to spend: as much time as you want
  • Distance to old medina: 5-minute drive / 8-minute walk

ⓘ PRO TIP: If some enterprising locals tell you “you’re going the wrong way” or “it’s closed,” ignore them. It’s a common scam. If you accept their help, they will hassle you for a fee once you arrive. We heard it a lot there. If someone persisted, we said “we’re going to our riad and we already know how to get there.”Day 2: Saadian tombs + Bahia Palace

Colorful iron and glass lanterns available in the Medina.

After you’ve fully enjoyed the excitement of shopping in a local souk, take some time to enjoy a historical tour of Marrakech.

Saadian tombs

The Saadian tombs , or sepulchers (small burial rooms or monuments), date back to the 16th century and can be found to the south of the medina, near the Kasbah Mosque. The tombs are a sight to behold, adorned elaborately with Italian Carrara marble, mosaics, carved cedar wood and surrounded by an exquisite garden.

Housing four sultans and their families, the tombs were walled up by Moulay Ismail, the Alawite (or Alaouite ) sultan who had since risen to power. A secret passageway exists between the tombs and the Kasbah Mosque.

Although the tombs are open daily from 9 am until 2 pm, and 3 pm until 6 pm, late afternoon is the recommended visiting time due to the popularity of the tombs by tourists.

  • Cost: 6 €
  • Open: 9 am -5 pm (Monday to Sunday)
  • Distance to Bahia Palace: 7-minute drive / 16-20 minute walk

Saadian tombs displayed with Islamic features and colors.

Bahia Palace

The “palace of the beautiful, the brilliant”, Bahia Palace is located in the southeast section of the medina and dates back to the 19 th century. The palace is open to the public and is a popular sightseeing spot.

Thanks to its ornamental marquetry and painted woodwork, it is a sight to behold. The ornamental palace is the result of 14 years of craftsmanship by top Moroccan artisans. It was once home to the grand vizier Abu ‘Bou’ Ahmed, his four wives, and 24 concubines, who resided in small, beautifully decorated salons in the harem.

The entire complex spans over eight hectares. While there, you should check out the petit riad, grand riad, marbled grand courtyard, harem, a room of ‘honor’ and vast stretches of lush gardens.

Bahia Palace also hosts art exhibitions and Arab-Andalusian concerts.

  • Cost: 1€
  • Open: 9am-5pm (Monday to Sunday)
  • Distance to tanneries: 9-minute drive / 21-27 minute walk

Powerful looking Bahia Palace.

Evening street food tour

Morocco is known for its bold and flavorful cuisine, and what better place to discover it than the bustling city of Marrakech?

If you are an adventurous eater who wants to experience Marrakech’s food culture on foot, consider an evening street food tour.

A husband-and-wife team has curated some of their favorite places in the streets and back alleys of the medina. An official, licensed Moroccan guide to take you to places you likely won’t find on your own, and in 3.5 hours you’ll experience parts of Moroccan food culture that most visitors never see.

Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Learn more here.

Moroccan street food featuring grilled chicken with olives.

Day 3: Hammam de la Rose + Jardin Majorelle

No doubt after two days of sightseeing you will want some downtime. Perfect chance to relax and enjoy Marrakech from a different perspective.

Visit a hammam

Experience a ritual from the daily life of Moroccans and visit a traditional hammam, which is essentially a type of public steam room for bathing.

Very similar in construction to a Turkish bath, hammams are located throughout Morocco and form a place for both socializing and cleansing. There are typically two types of hammams: those for locals and those for tourists.

Authentic, local hammams rarely provide cleansing essentials (you’ll need to bring your own), and as the name suggests, you will be among curious locals. These are gender specific, with both the male-only and female-only hammams open at differing times.

Dan and I visited a hammam that caters to tourists, so we enjoyed the experience together.

What happens at a hammam

Leave your inhibitions, and preconceived ideas behind as you strip bare and indulge in a cleansing routine (which may be performed by a hammam attendant).

Here are the basic steps:

  • Upon entering the hammam, you will be escorted to a tiled, tiled floor-to-ceiling steam room. You will join others sitting on the benches lining the walls.
  • He/she will saturate your entire face and body in hot water
  • Lather up with black Moroccan soap and let it soak in for a few moments
  • Rinse you down from a bucket of piping hot water, and
  • Let the scrubbing begin! A rough ‘kessa glove’ will slather off dead skin.
  • Finally, you’ll have your hair washed. What a treat!

Fantastic experience at Hammam de al Rose

Our hammam experience

Our riad host warned us that a local hammam may not be up to the level of hygiene that we Westerners might expect. In some cases, they can be somewhat scary.

Tourist hammams generally provide more of a private space in a lavish, modern setting and are closer to the Western ideals of hygiene that tourists may be accustomed to.

On his advice, we decided to visit Hammam de la Rose , an upmarket hammam located in the heart of the medina. Offering both the “oriental tradition of hammam” with beauty treatments and massage, this modern hammam made it possible to enjoy the experience together as a couple.

And as an unexpected souvenir, they gave us our Kessa gloves to take home!

  • Cost: 250-450 Dirhams for a traditional hammam experience
  • Open: 10am-8pm (Monday to Sunday)
  • Plan to spend: ±2  hours
  • Distance to Jardin Majorelle: 12-minute drive / 25-minute walk

Menu card for Hamman de la Rose

Jardin Majorelle

A luscious retreat encased in earthen walls amongst the bustle of Marrakech, the Jardin Majorelle botanical gardens is worth spending a few hours in, freshly pampered from the hammam.

A short walk to the Berber Museum inspires awe, with its representation of ancient North African indigenous tribes, showcasing jewelry and craftsmanship over the ages.

Seek refuge in a quiet corner of the gardens, serenaded by the gentle sounds of rustling leaves and palm fronds overhead, and take a moment to pause at the Yves Saint Laurent Memorial.

Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered near this small Roman pillar.

A stroll to the refreshing central fountain reveals a magnificent artist’s villa studio, adorned with bright coats of ‘Majorelle blue’ and vibrant yellow paint.

  • Cost: 70 Dirhams (garden) / 30 Dirhams (Berber Museum)
  • Open: (Monday to Sunday) 8 am – 6pm. Closes at 5:30 pm October to April
  • Plan to spend: ± 1-2 hours
  • Distance to old medina: 13-minute drive / 31-minute walk

Beautiful Jardin Majorelle with water features and fresh ripe oranges.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent

After enjoying the botanical gardens, why not pay a visit to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum next door?

The fashion legend attributed his reintroduction to color to Marrakech, saying, “Before Marrakech, everything was black.”

The museum is open to the public and displays a sampling of pieces from the designer’s lengthy career, housed in its rosy-hued, terracotta walls.

  • Open: 10 am – 6 pm Thursday-Tuesday (closed on Wednesday)

Extra time? Take day trips from Marrakech

Now that we’ve told you where to go in Marrakech and what to see in 3 days, we’d like to share another travel tip: Changing hotels wastes a lot of energy and travel time.

After seeing Marrakech, explore the surrounding area with a few day trips from Marrakech. There are numerous Marrakech day tours to choose from depending on your interests. The best day tours usually combine a cultural or historical element with some activity and, of course, eating good food!

You can do your own Marrakech excursions without a guide, of course. It’s easier to negotiate if you speak French or Arabic, but most day tours go to places where they speak English.

We prefer guided tours. Besides the transportation (and sometimes a meal), we also get a professional guide who will ensure we don’t miss anything important. For one flat price, we get history, don’t-miss sights, cultural insights, food tips, and even an interpreter.

Our tour guide with a local child in the Sahara Desert.

Here are a few of the action-packed activities you can add to your Marrakech itinerary.

Camel ride + quad biking + hammam spa

This full day tour from Marrakech combines two of Morocco’s most popular action-packed activities, with a relaxing hammam experience that will leave you clean and refreshed.

Hot air balloon ride + desert camel ride

Imagine having the chance to see Marrakech from a totally different perspective . Get aerially-inclined with a hot air balloon ride, high above the buzz of Marrakech, floating effortlessly over the dusty desert.

A day trip to Ouarzazate and Ait Benhaddou

Traveling from Marrakech, a day trip to Ouarzazate and Ait Benhaddou promises an unforgettable experience, complete with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, and the ‘Hollywood of Africa’.

After experiencing the charm of inland Morocco, the coastal city of Essaouira is just a few hours drive away. Soak up the sights of this beautiful city on a guided day tour like this one . Stopping to sample Moroccan argan oil, enjoy Moulay El Hassan square, and savor local seafood are just a few of the fun things to do in Essaouira , so don’t miss it.

Dan & Linda on camel-back at sunset.

Sahara Desert

You can visit the Sahara Desert with a 1-day or overnight excursion to Zagora, but you won’t see everything you might imagine. If you want to experience a sunset camel ride over a sea of red dunes, you’ll need a multi-day trip. We spent 3 days in the Sahara and can’t recommend it highly enough. Seeing a midnight-black sky full of stars was absolutely incredible.

ⓘ PRO TIP: If Fes is also on your itinerary, Get Your Guide offers a 3-day desert tour that begins in one city and ends in the other. ( Can you say “free transportation”? )

Merzouga Luxury Desert camp at sunrise.

What to wear in Marrakech

One of the first things you might notice about Moroccan women is that many do not wear headscarves. Morocco might be considered a liberal Muslim country, but it is still very conservative by many people’s standards. Thus, you should dress more modestly than you normally do.

Dressing like a local Bedouin.

Wearing revealing clothing is considered disrespectful to the local culture. Always keep your shoulders and knees covered (both men and women) and avoid showing any midriff or cleavage. This is especially important if you want to enter any religious buildings or family homes.

Think light, loose, and long. Light colors, loose fit, long-sleeved shirts, trousers, and long skirts are perfect for Morocco. Not only will they cover your body and keep you cool in the heat, but they will also protect you from the harsh sun.

ⓘ TIP:   Quick-dry fabrics wick sweat away from your body and keep you from feeling sticky in the heat. You can easily wash them out in the evening and they will be dry by the next morning.

Now you know what to do in Marrakech!

There’s no need to miss out on any of the fun in and around Marrakech, whether you have a few hours to spare or a few days With a little careful planning, you can squeeze in plenty of memorable experiences that will leave you with memories and stories of Marrakech that will last for the rest of your life.

Inspired? Pin this post and share it with your friends!

Beautiful streets of the Marrakech Medina.

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Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.

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6 thoughts on “3 days in marrakech morocco: best things to do”.

I had been considering quick break to Marrakech for some winter sun, and your itinerary has given me some great ideas. It is also always useful to have a heads up about the common local scams, so thanks for highlighting them.

Glad it was helpful, Dan.

This has always been on my bucketlist! Saving this for when I start planning my trip!

Great, Naomi. We made a lot of Pinterest pins just for that purpose!

You make me salivate… returned to work from gorilla trekking in Uganda and feel like i need another holiday. Morocco seem to be my next destination, not in January but definitely this year

Thanks Astho. You make us salivate too, because we’ve long wanted to do a gorilla trek. 🙂

Comments are closed.

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The 25 Most Beautiful Places In Morocco You Must See (Map Included)

Morocco , Travel Guides · November 24, 2021

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech

Are you looking for the best day trips from Marrakech? Well this guide has every single day trip that you can do from Marrakech that is actually worth the effort!

The city of Marrakech is already a wonderful destination on its own but it’s also close to other incredible destinations in Morocco. You can visit the impressive waterfalls of Ouzoud or maybe you prefer spending the day exploring the old city of Aït-Ben Haddou in the Atlas Mountains.

It would be a shame of you would only explore the most famous city in Morocco cause this country has so much more to offer. If you’re looking for a more adventurous trip you should take a look at my 10 day road trip itinerary in Morocco ! But these day trips from Marrakech all make for a spectacular addition to an already incredible itinerary.

These day trips can vary from places a little over 1 hour of driving to those that stretch to over 3 hours away. Nevertheless, all of them are completely worth the time and effort!

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn't Miss

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn’t Miss

A lot of these day trips from Marrakech can be done with the help of a guided tour so if I was able to find a good and reliable one for you it will be included in this article as well.

If you prefer exploring at your own pace I highly recommend you to get a rental car at the Menara International Airport in Marrakech. I highly recommend booking your rental car online and not in person on arrival. This way you’ll avoid higher prices (unless your haggling skills are really, really good!) and you won’t get stuck with a low quality car.

With sites like  SunnyCars  you’ll be able to compare different companies and prices next to each other. Plus in case of any issue with the rental company or the car, they take as much responsibility as the actual rental company and they only work with the most reliable car rentals in the world.

They are an all-in car rental service without any hidden costs or unpleasant surprises!

Really everything you need is included in their all-inclusive car rental formula. Unlimited mileage and a fair fuel arrangement? Check. Third-party insurance of at least €7.5 million, damage insurance and theft insurance? Also included. They even cover the costs of towing if the rental car breaks down. In case of damage or theft, you pay the own risk on the spot, which they refund when you return home. This also includes damage to glass, tires, the floor or roof of the car!

With SunnyCars you can already rent a high quality car for as little as €32 per day for 1 week in April!

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn't Miss

1. Ouzoud Waterfalls

🚗 Driving time from Marrakech – 2,5 hours

If you’re looking for a more lush scenery then a day trip to the Ouzoud waterfalls is the perfect idea!

This impressive waterfall is located in the Middle Atlas Mountains and is one of the most popular day tours from Marrakech. And with good reason!

The Ouzoud falls have a 110 meter drop across several tiers and consist of multiple layers. You can park your car at one of the assigned parking lot at the top of the waterfalls. When we arrived a local actually guided us to his parking lot behind his restaurant which was fine for us.

You can then proceed to walk around the entire waterfall and also hike down to the bottom . Make sure to bring your bathing suit cause you can actually go swimming in the cool river down below. If swimming is not your thing you can also opt to go for a boat ride!

🎒 Optional guided tour – Ouzoud waterfalls day trip and optional boat ride

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn't Miss

2. Aït-Ben Haddou & Ouarzazate – My favorite day trip from Marrakech

🚗 Driving time from Marrakech – 3,5 hours

One of the most beautiful day trips from Marrakech is the twin destination of Aït-Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate. These historical sites are located within the Atlas Mountains and have formed the backdrop for some of the most famous tv-shows and movies.

You can spot them in Game of Thrones, Gladiator and The Mummy!

Aït-Ben Haddou is a fortified village from the 11th century and out of the two of them this one is probably the most recognizable. One of the best things to do is simply wander around its red colored streets and take in the views from the top. Make sure to sit down for some Moroccan tea at the local teahouse which offers a panoramic view over the city!

Another must see on your day trip is the Tifoultoute Kasbah , where you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time.

And to top it all off make sure to visit the Fint Oasis . This small village is a real palm tree lined oasis in the middle of the desert and where it looks like time stood still.

🎒 Optional guided tour – Aït-Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate day trip from Marrakech

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn't Miss

💡 TIP – I would totally understand if all of these activities are a little bit too much to do in one single day, especially considering the total amount of driving that you’ll be doing. I don’t expect everyone to be as bonkers as I am! The area around Ouarzazate is home to some of the most incredible stays in Morocco and I’ve listed my top choices for you below!

Kasbah Titrit & Spa – This stunning kasbah is located only 5km from Aït-Ben Haddou and offers some of the most scenic views in the Atlas Mountains!

L’oasis Du Bonheur – I actually stayed at this place during our road trip through Morocco and while it isn’t the most luxurious it does come with stunning views!

marrakech day trips reddit

3. Agafay Desert

🚗 Driving time from Marrakech – 45 minutes

One of the best and closest day tours from Marrakech is a trip to the beautiful Agafay desert.

Agafay is surrounded by an arid, yet majestic rocky landscape that resembles a moon crater and is located only an hour away from Marrakech. The Agafay Desert is best described as a landscape of many contrasts .

Besides going for a quad or camel ride the desert of Agafay is especially known as one of the best places to go glamping near Marrakech . Over the past years tons of luxury desert camps have popped up and they will guarantee a unique and magical experience in the Moroccan desert.

Glamping in the Agafay desert is especially interesting for those who don’t wish to do the more than 6 hour drive to the well known Sahara desert. It’s the ideal solution for those who wish to stay a little closer to Marrakech.

Some of the most luxurious camp sites in the Agafay desert are:

  • Agafay Luxury camp
  • Canyon Lodge Désert Agafay
  • Terre Des Etoiles

🎒Optional guided tour – Atlas mountains and Agafay desert day trip

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn't Miss

4. Essaouira

🚗 Driving time from Marrakech – 2.5 hours

The seaside town of Essaouira is located alongside the Atlantic coast and makes for one of the most interesting day trips from Marrakech.

Just like Aït-Ben Haddou the harbor town of Essaouira was used as a filming location in Game of Thrones. The city has a more bohemian vibe and walk walking through the streets and alongside the harbor you’ll come across one scenic spots after the other.

The vibe here is completely different from the crowded city of Marrakech and I think it’s always fun to see the different aspects of a country.

Typical for Essaouira are its blue fishing boats and the giant city walls that are still lined with canons.

Wander through the streets and sit down at one of the many local restaurants to enjoy some fresh seafood before returning to the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.

🎒 Optional guided tour – From Marrakech full day Essaouira tour

birds flying over water

5. Imouzzer

🚗 Driving time from Marrakech – 3 hours

The falls of Imouzzer are a true hidden gem in Morocco and can be best seen in action from February to August . It’s one of North Africa’s most stories waterfalls but you do need to be in a bit of luck to actually see them. These days they are only intermittently running depending on rainfall.

The walk down to the waterfall is 4km and you really don’t need a guide to do so. So make to say no to all of the locals offering their “official” guide services.

Below the waterfall you’ll find a beautiful blue plunge pool but I don’t recommend you to go swimming here.

While visiting Imouzzer, be sure to continue on a little to Paradise Valley , a photogenic area boasting natural rock pools fed by more small cascades.

marrakech day trips reddit

6. Casablanca

The city of Casablanca is the perfect day trip from Marrakech if you want to soak up some true Moroccan culture. The city on its own isn’t all that special. In all honestly I found it to be a little disappointing.

But the main reason for visiting isn’t to stroll around the busy big city streets. It’s to visit the Hassan II Mosque , the second largest mosque in the entire world.

It was built in 1993 but what it lacks in history it sure makes up for in design and grandness. Its minaret is over 200m high and the prayer hall alone is more than 200 hectares.

You can visit the Hassan II Mosque in the morning but be aware that this is a place of worship and meditation so several rules apply. You need to wear clothes that cover your shoulders, torso and that come below the knee. You’ll need to remove your shoes before entering but you can grab a bag at the entrance to bring them with you. Within the mosque you need to remain silent and drinking and smoking is prohibited.

Other places of interest in Casablanca are the Muhammad V Square, the Casablanca cathedral and the Arab League Park.

For lunch either go to Le Cabestan or Le Gatsby.

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn't Miss

7. Dades Gorges – The most adventurous day trip from Marrakech

🚗 Driving time from Marrakech – 5 hours

If you’re an adventurous type then a visit to the Dades Gorges should be at the top of your list! The gorge was carved out by the passage of the Dades River and is navigable via a road known locally as the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs .

Those that drive its hairpin bends can expect to discover breathtaking rock formations in colors that range from tan and beige to gold, rust red, and dusky mauve.

The historic villages of the Berbers overlook the gorge and while some of them are still inhabited by the locals they also created some beautiful boutique hotels especially for tourists.

The most popular way to experience the Dadès Gorge is to drive along the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs. It’s not for the faint of heart but it will guarantee you to see some of the most amazing viewpoints in the entire area!

Grab lunch at restaurant Timzzillite from where you can enjoy a panoramic view over this twisty road.

Due to the fact that the Dades Gorges is a bit of a drive from Marrakech it’s not a bad idea to also spend a night in this area. That way you also get the chance to explore one of the many hiking trails that will lead you through the valley.

Some of the best places to stay in the Dades Valley are:

  • Hotel Riad Bahammou
  • Hotel Babylon Dades

The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech You Shouldn't Miss

As you can see there are a lot of amazing day trips from Marrakech that can spice up your itinerary! If you have any questions feel free to ask them below in the comment section!

marrakech day trips reddit

Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings. Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice. She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay. Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.

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11 Top-Rated Day Trips from Marrakesh

Written by Jess Lee Updated May 13, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

As well as being Morocco's most popular tourist destination, full of the color and chaos of the souks, yet home to sophisticated accommodation and dining, Marrakesh is also one of the best places to visit and use as a base to experience plenty more of what the country has to offer.

The city lies on the edge of the arid plains, with the rural vistas and mighty mountains of the Atlas region just on its doorstep, but still near enough to the Atlantic coast, so there are plenty of things to do and tourist attractions within day-trip reach.

Marrakesh offers bundles of great excursions for when the crush of the medina starts to wear you down.

Start planning your adventures with our list of the best day trips from Marrakesh.

1. Have a Taste of the High Atlas in the Ourika Valley

2. enjoy a seaside break in essaouira, 3. experience desert life in agafay, 4. road trip the tizi-n-tichka pass to ait ben heddou, 5. explore the scenery of toubkal national park, 6. see the ouzoud waterfall, 7. drive to the dadès gorge, 8. ski at oukaimeden, 9. tour casablanca's hassan ii mosque, 10. explore the ahansal and ait bougomez valleys, 11. ramble around the fortress of el-jadida, map of day trips from marrakesh.

Ourika Valley landscape

About 77 kilometers from Marrakesh, the mountain valley villages of the Ourika Valley are one of the most popular things to do outside the city.

The little villages and towns, surrounded by lush orchards and fields, are a welcome escape from the city heat and provide a quick snapshot of typical Moroccan rural life.

If you plan a trip for Monday, don't miss the weekly market held in the village of Tnine which is full of the bustle and color of local life.

Ourika Valley

At the end of the road, you reach the pretty village of Setti Fatma with its cascades (the Ourika Valley's most famous tourist attraction) up on the hill above town. The hike up to the cascades is the main activity here for day trippers.

Read More: Things to Do in the High Atlas Region

Essaouira

A lovely seaside side trip from Marrakesh's labyrinthine medina, Essaouira, 184 kilometers away, has much more than fresh sea breezes to offer.

Snug on the seafront, the medina area is the major point of interest for visitors, with its well-preserved fortified walls and ramparts that date from the 18th century.

Walking along the walls is a wonderful way to soak up the seaside vistas and Essaouira's fishing harbor, full of colorful, bobbing boats.

Inside the ramparts, the old town is a meandering squiggle of narrow streets that are made to get lost in. Here, you'll find the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah Museum, with a well-curated ethnological collection of costumes, textiles, photography, and musical instruments in a restored riad (traditional Moroccan mansion house).

There are plenty of guided trips and group tours offered to Essaouira by Marrakesh tour companies. The Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakesh offers round-trip transportation, a one-hour tour of Essaouira's medina, and plenty of free time to explore by yourself making this a good option for independently minded day-trippers.

4WD tour in the Agafay Desert

If you don't have time to make the long trip out east to the Sahara dunes of Erg Chebbi or Erg Chigaga, the Agafay Desert, 35 kilometers southwest from the city, offers a taste of desert life.

Most people head here for an overnight trip for a peaceful time-out from city life and to experience the star-studded night skies at one of the luxury lodges and camps here. If you're short on time, though, a day trip is also possible.

This arid, stone-pitted hill country, backgrounded by the peaks of the High Atlas, is a barren moonscape where 4WD-tours, camel treks, quad biking, and mountain biking are the main activities.

Tizi-n-Tichka Pass

Rimmed by majestic mountain scenery, the road between Marrakesh and Ouarzazate traverses the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass, about 120 kilometers from Marrakesh, and is one of Morocco's greatest road trips .

For many travelers, this is the doorway to further adventures in the High Atlas and the Sahara to the east, but for those only with time for a day trip from Marrakesh, you can experience a couple of the region's important historic attractions, as well as some superb mountain panoramas on a day out on this route.

Ait Ben Haddou

Telouet, with its Glaoui era kasbah, is a good stop-off along the way, while the majestic rammed-earth ksar (fortified village) of Ait Ben Haddou (175 kilometers southeast from Marrakesh) makes for a dramatic place to aim for before turning around and driving back towards the city.

Simply driving this road is a great way to take in the changing scenery of the orchards and farms of the lowlands up to the heights of the Atlas Mountains.

Mountain scenery surrounding Imlil village

Central Morocco is home to North Africa's highest mountain. Jebel Toubkal towers 4,167 meters above the landscape and lies at the center of Toubkal National Park, one of the country's most popular trekking destinations, about 70 kilometers from Marrakesh.

If you're just here for a day trip, there won't be time to bag the summit for yourself (the ascent is a two-day climb best tackled in summer and early autumn) or to set out on the famous Toubkal Circuit trek, which takes seven to 10 days, but the landscape is a fascinating place to spend a day out from Marrakesh.

Toubkal National Park

The village of Imlil is Toubkal National Park's main base, and if you only have time for a taster of the rural vistas, there's a great return hike from Imlil along local dirt tracks to Aroumd village, which offers up incredible mountain vistas and only takes an afternoon.

Another easy walk (along roads rather than walking trails) is the final section of the Toubkal Circuit multi-day trek, to the village of Ait Souka.

The Atlas Mountains & Three Valleys Private Day Trip takes a scenic drive into the valleys of Toubkal National Park, with stops for a camel ride and a visit to an Argan oil cooperative.

The tour also includes a walk, mule ride, or drive to Ait Souka to soak up the scenery along the way; a visit to a traditional Berber house in the village, with a tagine lunch; and a drive to the scenic village of Moulay Brahim. A guide is included, as is all transport, including pickup and drop off from your Marrakesh hotel.

Ouzoud Waterfall

Hugely popular with both local Marrakshis and foreign visitors wishing to take a break from the city heat, this series of cascades lies about 150 kilometers north of Marrakesh within the Oued el-Abid Canyon.

The water here plummets over three terraces, dropping a total of 110 meters to the bottom of the canyon. There are numerous viewing platforms where you can take in the thundering water on the way down to the canyon's base, and along the footpath, there is a good chance you'll see Barbary apes.

The best months to come are between March and June, when the winter melt produces the most water.

The Ouzoud Falls Day Trip is a good choice if you want to experience these famous cascades without staying overnight. A local, expert guide shows you all the best viewing points on a one-hour walk to the bottom. Free time is provided for those who want to hike farther, or head into the water on a boat. Transport is included, with pickup and drop-off from Marrakesh hotels.

Dadès Gorge

Highly dramatic and stunningly beautiful, the deep, verdant valleys sandwiched between the rust-colored walls of the Dadès Gorge are prime walking territory, with excellent day hiking available, as well as longer overnight treks between the Dadès Gorge and Todra Gorge.

About 309 kilometers from Marrakesh, the valley here is home to pretty villages and fertile fruit orchards, as well as weird and wacky rock formations hewn into their shape by a millennia of wind action.

The mighty mud-brick-walled Kasbah of Ait Youl, built by the Glaoui dynasty, with a lofty position overlooking the mountains, is only a few kilometers into the gorge area and is definitely worth a stop before you venture farther into the gorge for more sightseeing.

The fantastic, and mildly terrifying, twisty-turny switchback road you have to traverse to enter the valley is one of the highlights of a visit here.

Oukaimeden

For Moroccan ski fans, Oukaimeden is the main winter haunt. This is the country's prime ski resort, set within stunning alpine scenery about 78 kilometers south of Marrakesh.

The ski season lasts from around December to February, but even when it's not snowing, a road trip here is worthwhile.

The route to Oukaimeden takes you past hills scythed into a tumble of terraced fields and snoozy villages hugged by the foothills as you traverse up into the barren, rippling mountains.

Oukaimeden's accommodation scene is pretty bleak and overpriced, which makes it even more worthwhile to treat a skiing (or in summer, sightseeing-trip here) as a day trip from Marrakesh.

Interior of the Hassan II Mosque

One of the finest modern mosques in the world sits in Morocco's business capital of Casablanca , about 242 kilometers from Marrakesh on the Atlantic coast.

The Hassan II Mosque was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau and constructed between 1986 and 1993, costing approximately 583 million Euro.

The mosque is a startling blend of traditional Arab-Andalusian and contemporary styles, with lavish detailing in zellige (Moroccan mosaic) tilework, tadelakt plastering, and carving. Its minaret soars above the complex, and at 210 meters high is the tallest minaret in the world , while the mosque building itself is the third largest in the world.

Entry to non-Muslims is by guided tours, which take place four times daily between Monday and Thursday and three times per day on Fridays and Saturdays.

Address: Aisi Mohammed ben Abdullah Boulevard, Casablanca

Ahansal and Ait Bougomez Valleys

About 160 kilometers from Marrakesh, the Ahansal and Ait Bougomez Valleys of the High Atlas are often combined together as a day trip for visitors who want to experience some of Morocco's most iconic High Atlas mudbrick village vistas, snug between terraced hillside fields.

A typical itinerary to this area would combine visits to the petroglyphs of the Tizi n'Tirghist Pass and a visit to the Cathedrale des Rochers near the Tamga Nature Reserve, as well as plenty of stops along the way to appreciate the tiny villages tumbling down hillslopes.

If you come on Sunday, don't miss the chaotic and colorful weekly market at Tabant.

El-Jadida

A trip to this old Portuguese trading post, about 200 kilometers northwest from Marrakesh, is a great way to escape the mayhem of the city for a day.

It's a sleepy and rather laid-back place, with a maze-like medina of narrow alleyways inside the preserved ramparts and bastions of the 16th-century seafront fortress built by the Portuguese.

Don't miss walking along the ramparts overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and then getting lost in the squiggle of lanes below.

Inside the fortress area is a Portuguese-built cistern that gained international fame when it was used as a location in the 1954 movie Othello.

When history hounds have had their fill of the old town, El-Jadida also offers some decent beaches . In particular, Haouzia Beach, just to the northeast, is a great place for a picnic and swim.

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Further Exploring: If you've enjoyed the rural scenery of the day trips into the High Atlas, explore the High Atlas further with a longer journey delving into its valleys, tiny villages, and mudbrick kasbah architecture. Afterwards, head back to Marrakesh for lively entertainment every night at Djemaa el-Fna and plenty of historic buildings to admire.

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More Mountain Scenery: The High Atlas is the most famous of Morocco's mountain regions and a great day-tripping destination from Marrakesh. To venture into the rural villages and towns of the south in the Anti-Atlas and hike through tranquil Paradise Valley head to Agadir , or base yourself in Tetouan to check out the Rif Mountain scenery of northern Morocco.

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Best marrakech day trips.

Unlock the wonders of Morocco with our Marrakech Day Trips, curated to offer a kaleidoscope of experiences, blending the vibrant energy of Marrakech with the breathtaking beauty of iconic destinations. Embark on a journey with our expertly crafted day trips from Marrakech, where every moment is a gateway to history, culture, and natural splendor.

Explore the enchanting landscapes and cultural treasures of Morocco with our Marrakech day trips, meticulously designed for an immersive and hassle-free experience. Discover the allure of the Ouzoud Waterfalls on our Ouzoud Waterfalls day trip from Marrakech , where cascading waters amidst lush surroundings create a mesmerizing spectacle.

For an escape into nature’s embrace, embark on Ourika Valley day trip from Marrakech . Traverse the scenic landscapes of the Atlas Mountains, explore Berber villages, and savor the tranquility of this picturesque valley.

Experience the coastal charm on our Essaouira day trip from Marrakech , where the historical medina, sandy beaches, and artistic atmosphere come together to create a unique coastal escape.

Unveil the architectural marvels of Ait Benhaddou on our Ait Benhaddou day trip from Marrakech , where the ancient kasbah and UNESCO World Heritage Site transport you back in time.

Embark on an exploration that seamlessly combines the energy of Marrakech with the allure of iconic destinations. Book your Marrakech day trip today and let each excursion be a chapter in your Moroccan adventure.

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Marrakech Itinerary - how to spend 3 or 4 days in Marrakech

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Take a sensory journey through the vibrant streets of Marrakech , where ancient tradition meets modern appeal. Discover the magic of Morocco's capital with our designed 3 or 4-day Marrakech itineraries, passing through bustling souks, ornate palaces and the timeless Majorelle Garden.

How to plan a perfect Marrakech itinerary

How many days is good for marrakech, must-see places during your marrakech itinerary, itinerary #1: marrakech, high atlas and the agafay desert, itinerary #2: deserts & marrakech, itinerary #3: marrakech & other imperial cities, when is the best time to visit marrakech, getting to & around marrakech, average cost per day in marrakech, prepare for your marrakech itinerary, tailor-made travel itineraries for morocco, created by local experts.

Moroccan Cities and Ultimate Sahara

10 days  / from 2399 USD

Moroccan Cities and Ultimate Sahara

From the cities to the desert - follow the footsteps of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, discover the blue and whitewashed buildings of Chefchaouen before heading on to Fez and consequently the desert. Stay overnight in a luxurious desert camp before continuing to Marrakech.

Highlights of Morocco

8 days  / from 1899 USD

Highlights of Morocco

For those short on time, this trip allows you to visit the highlights of Morocco in little over a week: the cultural capital Fez, the beautiful city of Chefchaouen, sleeping in a deluxe tent in the desert, as well as discovering Marrakech - it's time to explore Morocco!

Luxurious Morocco

8 days  / from 2242 USD

Luxurious Morocco

Highlights include Rabat, Fes, Chefchaouen, and a luxury desert camp in Merzouga. Privately guided activities with expert local guides allow you to truly get to know Moroccan culture and cuisine. Combine it with the best hotels and riads in the cities and you have the perfect trip.

Iconic tour of Moroccan cities and deserts

15 days  / from 3249 USD

Iconic tour of Moroccan cities and deserts

Morocco is full of wonders and highlights. On this trip, you will experience the real Berber nomadic life in the desert, as well as the cosmopolitan lifestyle many younger Moroccans now enjoy in the cities, from Marrakech to Rabat. Get your dose of culture, history and desert in one trip.

Marrakech, High Atlas and the Agafay desert

5 days  / from 999 USD

Marrakech, High Atlas and the Agafay desert

Morocco in a nutshell: perfect for foodies, your days in Marrakech are spent tasting different delicacies as well as hands-on during a cooking class at a non-profit. Venture outside the city to explore the desert and stay overnight at a desert camp.

Deserts & Marrakech

6 days  / from 1154 USD

Deserts & Marrakech

From the fascinating city of Marrakech through the valleys and on to the desert - this trip packs a lot of highlights into a very short timeframe. Ideal for those that want to discover Morocco in a few days without spending too much time driving around.

The perfect Marrakech adventure requires thoughtful planning. Start by selecting the sights you want to visit first and that match your interests - be it historical monuments, cultural events or culinary delights. 

You'll then want to decide on the ideal length of stay, and choose the accommodation that suits your preferences, whether it's the charm of a traditional riad in the Medina or the comfort of a modern hotel in a new city. Effective transport planning, both in and around Marrakech, is also essential. 

Flexibility is key, as Marrakech often surprises with unexpected delights. To simplify your trip, use the help of ours Morocco travel experts . Whether it's historical discoveries, culinary explorations or leisurely strolls through bustling markets, our customisable Morocco itineraries allow you to create a personalised adventure.

Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech, Morocco © Migel/Shutterstock

Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco © Migel/Shutterstock

For an unforgettable Marrakech experience, it's best to set aside three or four days to delve deeper into the city's captivating tapestry. Over three days, you can explore the bustling Jemaa el Fna Square, stroll through the historic Medina with its bustling souks and marvel at the Koutoubia Mosque.

Extending your stay to four days opens up the possibility of a day trip to the Atlas Mountains or the picturesque Ourika Valley. Take time to explore the lesser-known El Badi Palace, appreciating its historical significance. Experience the city's unique blend of history and modernity, while remembering to relax to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

Get the best experience in Marrakech by choosing the best time to visit Morocco .

Majorelle garden in Morocco © Sergiy Borakovskyy/Shutterstock

Majorelle Garden in Morocco © Sergiy Borakovskyy/Shutterstock

You'll want to consider this must see places when planning your Marrakech itinerary.

Marrakech Medina

Immerse yourself in the heart of the city in the Medina of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through its labyrinthine alleyways, explore the bustling souks and witness the vibrant life of Jemaa el Fna Square.

Jardin Majorelle

Discover tranquillity amidst the busy city at Jardin Majorelle. Designed by French orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle, this botanical garden is a fascinating combination of exotic plants, bright colours and artistic landscapes.

Koutoubia Mosque

Admire the grandeur of the Koutoubia Mosque, an iconic symbol of Marrakech. Admire its intricate architecture and towering minaret, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the surrounding gardens.

Bahia Palace

Experience the opulence of Bahia Palace, a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture and exquisite gardens. Explore its ornate rooms, intricate tile work and serene courtyards.

Atlas Mountains

Escape the city for a day trip to the majestic Atlas Mountains. See breathtaking scenery, visit traditional Berber villages and enjoy the tranquillity of the mountainous terrain.

Agafay Desert

Experience the enchanting desert of Agafay, a stone's throw from Marrakech. Here you can discover the unique beauty of the desert, ride camels and witness mesmerising desert sunsets.

This 5-day trip will give you an insight into Morocco in a nutshell. Days spent in Marrakech will be spent tasting a variety of delicacies, as well as hands-on cooking classes at non-profit organisations. Later, you'll head out of town to explore the desert and stay overnight at a desert camp.

On arrival in Marrakech, you will be warmly welcomed and transferred to your hotel. On the morning of day two , you will enjoy a guided walking tour of the old town, with free time in the afternoon. Immerse yourself in a small group 'Taste of Marrakech' tour, exploring hidden food shops and sampling delicacies in the souk. 

On the third day , attend a cooking class where you'll be shown the bold flavours of Morocco. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to visit the famous Majorelle Gardens. 

On the fourth day , you'll head into the High Atlas Mountains, exploring Berber villages and the picturesque Wirgan Valley before settling into luxury camping in Agafay. Day five will begin with a sunrise camel ride before departing for Marrakech airport. Read more .

BenHaddou, Morocco © Shutterstock

BenHaddou, Morocco © Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check this 5-day Marrakech itinerary:

  • Arrival in Marrakech.
  • Overnight in Marrakech.
  • Marrakech City Tour.
  • Taste of Marrakech small group tour.
  • Marrakech cooking class.
  • Marrakech sightseeing.
  • From Marrakech to High Atlas and Agafay.
  • Camping in Agafay.
  • From Agafay to Marrakech for departure.

Ready to embark on an adventure? Book your trip now .

Tuareg nomads camel in Sahara desert, Morocco © Shutterstock

Tuareg nomads camel in Sahara desert, Morocco © Shutterstock

From the charming city of Marrakech through the valleys and on into the desert, this delightful trip packs many highlights into a very short time. Ideal for those who want to discover Morocco in a few days without spending too much time travelling.

Upon arrival in Marrakech, you will be warmly welcomed and transferred to your hotel. Day two begins with a walking tour of the charming city, where you will explore its medieval heart, the Jema el Fna Square and the iconic Koutoubia Minaret. Indulge in a small group 'Taste of Marrakech' tour in the afternoon. 

On the third day , you'll head into the High Atlas Mountains, travelling through Berber villages and reaching Agafey, where you'll spend a luxurious night in tents. On the fourth day , you'll head into the remote Erg Chigaga desert, trekking on camels and staying overnight. 

On the fifth day , return to Marrakech via Taznakht, completing your adventure. Departure on day six from Marrakech or Casablanca will mark the end of your unforgettable Moroccan journey. Read more .

Morocco, Marrakech, Djemaa el Fna market and square, view at dusk from the Cafe de France terrace

Marrakesh, Jemaa el Fna © Shutterstock

Check this 6-day Marrakech itinerary:

  • From Marrakech to the High Atlas.
  • Arrival to Agafay.
  • From Agafay to Erg Chigaga.
  • Camel trekking in Erg Chigaga.
  • Camping in Erg Chigaga.
  • From Erg Chigaga to Marrakech.
  • Transfer to Marrakech of Casablanca airport and departure.

Feeling curious? Take a step forward and book this trip now .

Taditional moroccan cafe in Marrakesh © Shutterstock

Taditional moroccan cafe in Marrakesh © Shutterstock

On this in-depth trip , you'll explore Morocco's cities - discover Casablanca , the setting of the classic film, before heading to Morocco's capital. From the bustling streets of Rabat , you'll move on to the blue and white buildings of Chefchaouen before travelling to Fez and from there to Marrakech.

Arriving in Casablanca, you will settle into your hotel and in the evening you can soak up the romantic atmosphere. On your second day , stroll along Corniche Boulevard, experiencing the charm of Casablanca. See the grandeur of the Hassan II Mosque before transferring to Rabat.

Day three offers a leisurely exploration of Rabat before your journey takes you to Chefchaouen in the afternoon.

On day four , you'll immerse yourself in the charm of Chefchaouen, walking through its winding streets. The day will end with a transfer to the historic city of Fez.

On the fifth day , Fez will open up its ancient medina, Fez el Bali. Day six will begin with a journey to Meknes , known as the 'Versailles of Morocco', and the journey continues with a transfer to Marrakech.

On day seven , you will explore Marrakech. Day eight takes you to the coast to Essaouira , a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The dawn of day nine marks the end of your Moroccan odyssey. A transfer to Marrakech or Casablanca airport completes your journey. Read more .

Blue City - Chefchaouen, Morocco © Shutterstock

Blue City - Chefchaouen, Morocco © Shutterstock

Check this 9-day Morocco itinerary:

  • Arrival in Casablanca.
  • Overnight in Casablanca.
  • Casablanca City Tour.
  • Casablanca to Rabat with city tour.
  • Overnight in Rabat.
  • Rabat morning at leisure.
  • From Rabat to Chefchaouen.
  • Camping in Chefchaouen.
  • Chefchaouen City Tour.
  • From Chefchaouen to Fez.
  • Overnight in Fez.
  • Full-day Guided Tour of Fez.
  • Via Meknes to Marrakech.
  • Day trip to Essaouira.

Create lasting memories in Morocco - book your trip with us .

Bab Bou Jeloud gate (Blue Gate) - Fez, Maroko © Shutterstock

Bab Bou Jeloud Gate (Blue Gate) - Fez © Shutterstock

The best times to visit Marrakech are spring ( March to May) and autumn (September to November ) when the weather is mild and pleasant. Spring brings blooming landscapes and comfortable temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Autumn offers similar conditions, with warm days and cool evenings, ideal for visiting the city's attractions.

Summer (June to August) can be very hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F). While some travellers may find this period challenging, those who don't mind the heat can still experience the charm of Marrakech, especially if they plan activities for the cooler mornings and evenings.

Winter ( December to February ) is usually mild during the day, but the evenings can be chilly. This season is a good time to visit Marrakech for those who prefer cooler weather and want to avoid the intense summer heat.

For a clearer understanding of the weather conditions in Morocco throughout the year, we recommend that you closely study our guide to the best time to visit Morocco .

Getting to Marrakech is convenient thanks to Marrakech-Menara Airport (RAK), located just 6 kilometres from the city centre and connecting it to international destinations. Trains and long-distance bus companies such as Supratours and CTM offer efficient ground transport, providing scenic views if you decide to take a day trip from Marrakech to Casablanca or from Marrakech to Fez .

Once you're in Marrakech, navigating the city becomes a delightful adventure. The labyrinthine Medina, home to bustling souks and the Jemaa el Fna square is best explored on foot. Taxis, both small and large, offer convenient transport, while bicycles and horse-drawn carriages (caleches) offer unique alternatives. Rental cars, guided tours and public buses in the city's newer neighbourhoods further enhance your ability to get around Marrakech and immerse yourself in its vibrant charm.

In Marrakech, everyday expenses cater for different budgets. For budget travellers, affordable accommodation and street food cost between $30 and $70. Mid-range options offer comfortable accommodation and meals for between $80 and $190, while luxury travellers can indulge in upscale accommodation and gourmet meals costing over $200 per day. 

Transport costs depend on preferences: budget travellers may use public transport and the occasional taxi, mid-level travellers may use taxis and private transfers, and luxury travellers may use private and luxury transport, totalling between $15 and $50 per day. These estimates represent a flexible range that takes into account a variety of experiences in Marrakech.

Inspired? Browse our customisable Moroccan itineraries to start planning your perfect trip, and read The Rough Guide to Morocco or Pocket Rough Guide Marrakech .

Daunted by the prospect of planning? Talk to our local Morocco travel experts .  We'll craft a personalised itinerary just for you.

Prefer to do it alone? Feel free to browse our pre-designed Morocco itineraries for ideas, and remember that all can be tailored to meet your specific needs. For more inspiration, discover some of the the best things to do in Morocco .

Prefer to do it alone? Get yourself a copy of The Rough Guide to Morocco and start planning your trip with our Morocco travel tips .

The Rough Guides to Morocco and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

Pocket Rough Guide Marrakesh

Travel advice for Morocco

From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Morocco

  • Culture and Etiquette in Morocco
  • Eating and drinking in Morocco
  • How to get to Morocco
  • How to get around in Morocco
  • Shopping tips for Morocco
  • Travel Tips Morocco for planning and on the go
  • Travelling with children in Morocco
  • Best time to visit Morocco
  • How to get a Morocco Visa

Find even more inspiration here

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written by Olga Sitnitsa

updated 19.12.2023

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Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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marrakech day trips reddit

Four Days In Marrakech Itinerary: Best Things To Do In The Red City

Adventure Travel , Africa , Morocco , Travel | May 4, 2018

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you buy anything mentioned here. It doesn't cost you anything extra.

Marrakech has been on my wish list of travel destinations ever since it started getting some serious attention from Instagrammers. I know, I hate me too .

I spent four days in Marrakech in search of pretty riads, red city walls and luxurious textiles, but found so much more.

Despite soaring to the top of the world’s bucket list in recent years, Marrakech has retained so much of its own unique character.

I expected its medina to be jam-packed with tourists and emitting a faint whiff of inauthenticity, but instead I found myself rubbing shoulders mainly with locals.

I expected the hassle from vendors to be almost unbearable, but the reality was completely manageable.

And I expected to be slightly disappointed because I’d built Marrakech up so much in my head that it couldn’t possibly be  that  good – but happily, I wasn’t let down at all.

Here, I’ve created a four day Marrakech itinerary to help you have the best possible trip.

Marrakech city guide: what to do in Marrakech for four days

Having spent time in Morocco working remotely and exploring, I’ve put together the ultimate four day Marrakech itinerary for visitors, with a day-by-day plan that will make sure you fit in all the top things to do in Marrakech, plus as many tips as I could gather during my time there.

Head to the bottom of this post for accommodation recommendations and other Morocco travel tips, including ideas for things to do if you have five, six or seven days in Marrakech.

Hope it helps you plan your holiday in Marrakech!

If you’re travelling to Marrakech alone, check out my post about solo female travel safety in Morocco .

The ultimate Marrakech itinerary

Watch my full Marrakech travel vlog on Youtube

Your four day Marrakech itinerary at a glance

Day 1 in Marrakech: Souks and Djemaa el-Fna

Day 2 in marrakech itinerary: culture and history, day 3 in marrakech: the scents of the city, day 4 in marrakech itinerary: pamper or adrenalin activities you decide, days 5, 6, 7 and beyond: day trips from marrakech, multi-day tours from marrakech, what to eat and drink in marrakech, average prices in marrakech, where to stay in marrakech, how to get to marrakech.

If you’re wondering how long to spend in Marrakech, I’d say three or four days is enough time to see most of Marrakech’s highlights, but I wholeheartedly recommend taking more time if possible.

Just like New York City, this is one of those destinations whose best and most intriguing traits are found on the ground: just strolling through its streets at different times of the day and night to see what you can find.

But if you don’t have the time to take it slow? Here’s how to make the best possible use of four days in Marrakech.

Start the morning the Moroccan way: with a mint tea or continental breakfast at one of the pavement cafes near Djemaa el-Fna (the main square).

Do some people-watching, get a feel for Marrakech’s vibe and gather yourself as you prepare to throw yourself into its vortex.

Marrakech main square: long weekend guide to Marrakech

You may as well jump straight into the heart of Marrakech with a morning visit to the medina’s treasure trove of souks. No Marrakech itinerary would be complete without a visit!

If you go early in the day, the hustle and bustle is less overwhelming and there are fewer crowds (and hassle). 

Follow rue Semarine or rue Mouassine into the markets’ heart. The latter path is the less hectic of the two options.

It can definitely be a bit intimidating, and I know many travellers prefer to book a short souk tour with a local to help them find their feet. The one I’ve linked has great reviews.

Marrakech souks: four day itinerary for Marrakech

You’ll pass live chickens clucking away next to their mid-slaughter mates, pile upon pile of jewel-toned textiles, colourful ceramics in every pattern you can dream of, bucketfuls of heady spices and cubicles dripping in trinkets and charms.

The Marrakech souks are a journey into the city’s past. You can’t go without spending some time getting lost in the medina’s fibrous labyrinth.

How to see Marrakech's medina in one day

Marrakech is the only place I’ve ever bothered to shop on my travels, because it feels like a cultural activity.

My advice, if you’re after bargains, is to use the first morning as a taster session and dive back in towards the end of your trip in the evening, when you’ve got a better idea of what’s on offer (and the vendors are a bit more eager to close a sale).

It’s not often I list shopping as a fun local activity, but haggling in the souk is one of the most memorable things to do in Marrakech!

Guide to four days in Marrakech: souks in a day

If you can find your way there from the clutches of the maze, get lunch at Bazaar Cafe , Atay Cafe (a rooftop cafe) or go all-out and order a camel burger at Cafe Clock .

It’s not hard to spot the minaret of Koutoubia Mosque , the most famous in the city. Non-Muslims can’t enter but the grand building serves as an orientation point that will help you get around the city – and its exterior is beautiful to look at.

The name is based on the Arabic word  koutoubiyyin , which means ‘bookseller’, because once upon a time, the area around the mosque was filled with booksellers.

It’s not the biggest mosque you’ll ever see, but it’s the biggest in Marrakech and a rule stating that no nearby building may be taller than a palm tree keeps it looking stately in the red city’s skyline.

Koutoubia Mosque: what to do with four days in Marrakech

As the sun sets on your first night in Marrakech, head back to the main square. Night time is when it really comes to life, with snake charmers, shoe shiners and berber musicians all contributing to the carnival-like atmosphere. Steer clear of the monkeys on chains though, obviously.

For dinner, Nomads is the instagrammers’ favoured rooftop restaurant. I preferred their sister restaurant, Cafe Des Epices .

The view on the rooftop is great but the portions are small. You might need to go elsewhere for dessert! I recommend one of the French crêperies.

Alternatively, book a nighttime street food tour for an authentic taste of Marrakech.

What to do in Marrakech at night

On your second day in Marrakech, enjoy breakfast at Gastro MK at Maison MK .

You should now have a good idea of the city’s pace, and you’ll possibly want a little respite from it. Day two in Marrakech is a great time to take a guided half-day tour of the city’s historic attractions .

Prefer to explore on your own terms? Follow my itinerary for a day of culture and history in Marrakech below.

First, head towards the Kasbah Mosque , which dates back to 1100, and find your way into the tranquil, opulent Saadian Tombs of Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour Ed Dahbi. It’s one of the top Marrakech attractions today.

What to see and do if you have four days in Marrakech, Morocco

These tombs actually lay hidden behind thick walls for years and were rediscovered in 1917 thanks to aerial photography. They’re made from carved Italian marble and pure gold, so they’re an impressive sight.

Marrakech four day itinerary: saadian tombs

Cat lovers will find feline friends all over Marrakech, but there was a particularly cute kitten at the tombs posing for tourists!

From there, head to Bahia Palace . Its name means ‘brilliance’ in Arabic and it certainly is a sight to behold, with courtyards filled with fragrant plants, gleaming mosaics and carved columns. The blue and yellow grand courtyard is particularly impressive.

At only 10 MAD for entry, this is so worth visiting, even if just for some interior inspo for your future home.

I was wowed by a lot of Marrakech’s historical buildings but didn’t feel there was a lot of information for visitors so more discerning travellers might like to book a tour of the historical sites in order to learn more.

Marrakech must sees: Bahia Palace

Head back towards the Saadian Tombs for lunch at  Kasbah Cafe . Their rooftop terrace gives you a perfect vantage point and place to shelter from the midday sun.

This would be the time to see Ben Youssef Madrasa , an old Islamic college. It’s one of the most picturesque attractions in Marrakech – but I wouldn’t know, because it was closed for refurbishment during my Marrakech trip.

If you still haven’t had your culture fill, pay a visit to Musée de Marrakech . 

This museum doesn’t have any English descriptions so most of the artefacts are still a mystery to me, but the Mnebhi Palace itself is jaw-dropping. The 50 MAD entry fee is worth paying for this alone!

I stood near the door to take it all in and every single person who entered let out an awed exclamation as they got their first glimpse of its beauty.

Musee de Marrakech: four day guide to Marrakech

Next, walk for three minutes towards La Maison de la Photographie . It’s only small but this photography museum’s collection offers some insight into Marrakech’s past from 1870 to 1960. Plus, the building is beautiful and there’s a lovely little rooftop cafe.

House of Photographie in Marrakech: city guide

As night falls, enjoy dinner with a bellydancing show at Le Narwama restaurant.

My itinerary for the second day  in Marrakech is packed but completely do-able, I promise! You can obviously stretch it out over two days if you have more time.

They stink and are generally unpleasant, but Marrakech’s tanneries are still an interesting sight to see. Go in the morning, when work is in full swing and the smell of animal hides isn’t quite so pungent.

Keep walking away from the main action from Bab Debbagh and let your nostrils lead you.

A word of warning about the tanneries: you will be targeted by scammers, but don’t let online reviews put you off, if it’s something you’re keen to see.

The tanneries are about a ten minute walk from the House of Photography, and I just pointedly ignored every single person who approached me. When one man tried to take charge and lead me into a tannery, I immediately walked back out because I knew he’d later try to get money from me for his ‘guide services’.

You don’t need to pay anyone: just walk in, take a look and get out. Apparently, some of the shopkeepers will let you onto their terraces for an aerial view if you buy something, but I didn’t try this.

How to visit the tanneries in Marrakech without getting scammed

You won’t want to hang around the tanneries long, trust me. Refresh with a freshly squeezed orange juice from one of the many stalls in Djemaa el-Fna. It should cost no more than 4MAD.

Best things to do in Marrakech in 4 days

As the afternoon heat rises, pay a visit to Jardin Majorelle , fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent’s gift to the city.

It costs 70 MAD (or 100 if you want to see the museum too). Expect to queue and know that you won’t have the place to yourself, but these art deco gardens are a tranquil oasis with lotus-filled ponds shrouded in greenery and a striking museum taking pride of place.

It took 40 years to paint these gardens and the electric blue building they hide is a striking contrast to Marrakech’s usual dusty pinks, while the abundance of cacti is a nod to the desert around you.

There’s a museum here, but I didn’t pay the extra cash to enter.

Jardin Majorelle: what to do with four days in Marrakech

Later in the day, take a Moroccan cookery class to learn all about the country’s aromatic cuisine. Some of the classes include a guided visit to the souks to pick up the spices you’ll be using, so this is a full-circle Moroccan experience.

Hardy travellers stuff out of the way, now it’s time to indulge in some pampering, the Moroccan way. If you’re staying in a riad, I highly recommend just spending some time relaxing in its courtyard.

Most riads don’t let you in unless you’re a guest, but we managed to wangle our way into El Fenn for a cup of tea. We also accidentally fell into Dar Marjana , which was magical.

Moroccan riads: most relaxing things to do in Marrakech

I didn’t actually get to do this, but visiting a hammam is one of the most relaxing – and cultural – experiences you can have in Marrakech.

The most popular hammams are   Les Bains de Marrakech , Heritage Spa , and the super-local hidden gem  Kennaria Hammam – so local in fact, it doesn’t even have a website. If you’re the type to plan ahead, you can book a spa and hammam experience online .

Feeling fancy? La Mamounia is the luxury must-see in Marrakech. If you can’t afford to stay there but still want to experience it, try booking in for a meal – or fork out for a spa day pass, which costs 500MAD per person.

Apparently, they’re funny about people taking pictures there, so I didn’t bother – but like, how do the Instagram Girls do it?

If you prefer high-speed adventures to pamper parties, try a quad biking adventure in the desert or do a dune-bashing tour in a buggy .

Four days in Marrakech should give you enough time to do a full day or half day desert trip.

If you want to get out of Marrakech and see more of Morocco during your four day trip, I highly recommend spending a day in Essaouira, which is just three hours from Marrakech.

Read my guide to one day in Essaouira to help you plan your day trip, and book a guided trip here .

If you have more than four days there and want to see more of Morocco from your base in Marrakech, some of the best day trips from Marrakech are Ouzoud Waterfalls , the Atlas Mountains , Agadir (for surfing), and of course a trip to the desert –  this tour takes you quad biking through the palm groves.

Check out more of the most popular multi-day tours from Marrakech below.

3-day safari tour from Marrakech to Merzouga

3-Day Sahara tour to the Erg Chebbi Dunes

3-Day desert tour to Fes

3-day tour from Marrakech to the blue city of Chefchaouen with stops in Fez, the most traditional city in Morocco, Rabat and Casablanca

2-Day Zagora desert camp trip

2-Day Mount Toubkal Trek

Essential info for your Morocco trip

Moroccan food is delicious. Be sure to sample all of the local delicacies: bubbling kefta tagines served with freshly baked bread, cous cous, salty olives, and French pastries from the many boulangeries .

And of course, you can’t go to Marrakech without sipping mint tea everywhere you go. They use a  lot  of sugar. Be warned!

Moroccan food to eat in Marrakech

The cost of food and drink in Marrakech varies depending on which part of the city you’re in.

In Gueliz, I got a continental breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice and a hot drink for 25MAD. I paid more than that amount for an orange juice alone at a rooftop terrace near Djemaa el-Fna square. However you can pick up a delicious orange juice from a cart in the square for 4MAD.

Basically, you pay for comfort and location! In a typical restaurant in Marrakech, a tagine costs around 75MAD.

Bottled water costs around 5MAD for a 1.5litre bottle. I didn’t drink the tap water in Marrakech, but brushed my teeth with it and had zero issues.

Obviously, the best type of accommodation in Marrakech is a traditional riad. I feel I should put a disclaimer here: because I was in Marrakech for work, I actually stayed in the modern part of the city.

I’d 100% stay in a riad when I go back to Marrakech though, because I feel like I missed out on an important part of Moroccan culture.

Some of the most popular (Instagram-worthy) riads in Marrakech are  Le Riad Yasmin , Riad BE , El Fenn , Riad Jardin Secret and La Sultana . Basically, when I post from one of these riads, you’ll know I’ve made it in life.

If you want luxury accommodation in Marrakech, there’s no place for it other than La Mamounia.

On a budget? You can still find cheap but traditional rids in Marrakech. Riad Tizwa has double rooms starting from £45 per night,  Dar Attajmil starts at £65 and  Riad Berbère starts at £60.

Search all Marrakech accommodation 

You can fly from major UK airports to Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK). The Arrivals Hall is fancier than Dubai’s! I booked a private car transfer from the airport to my accommodation, which made my arrival stress-free.

My advice is to look out for cheap flights to Morocco on Skyscanner .

You’ll need travel insurance for visiting Morocco. I recommend using World Nomads .

Travelling around Morocco? The Lonely Planet Guide is bound to help. WiFi isn’t great in some parts, so a paper book is always handy!

Use my Travel Resources page to find the best deals on your Morocco trip

I hope you found this four day Marrakech guide useful! I definitely want to go back to Morocco one day in the near future and stay in a riad. I left with an excellent impression of the city and felt much safer as a solo female traveller than I actually expected. You can read my guide to visiting Marrakech as a solo female traveller if you’re hesitant.

I filmed a little vlog during my time in Marrakech, which you can watch over on my Youtube channel .

Please follow While I’m Young on  Facebook ,  Instagram  and  Twitter  from more updates from the UK and beyond. You can also  subscribe to my newsletter  to make sure you never miss a post.

Marrakech in four days: a full itinerary

Ryan Biddulph says

May 4, 2018 at 10:48 am

Gotta love those souks Dannielle! So much fun strolling through, snapping a few images here and there, and enjoying the scene. I reckon those tanneries are rough! Middle Eastern spots can be intense. Definitely a change up from the West. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Sam | North East Family Fun Travel Blog says

May 4, 2018 at 11:18 am

Wow Dannielle you packed so much into your trip. Your photos are absolutely STUNNING! I am sad to say, the online reviews put us off visiting the tanneries – I’m not sure I’d really want to to be honest anyway. Ah I miss the Moroccan sunshine!

hellojenniferhelen says

May 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm

We had a very similar itinerary when we went to Marrakech! Must admit, I found the souks pretty stressful – the heat, getting lost, people following you, people shouting at you. If we went back I’m not sure I’d want to stay in them!

Roger Castillo says

May 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Love your photos. I was there in 1999 and it still looks the same. But it probably looked the same in 1899. Haha! I do miss the Djemaa el-Fna. Photo ops everywhere. Good reporting on your part. Thanks. Safe travels.

aggiemush says

May 5, 2018 at 6:38 pm

I went to Marrakech in 2008 with a friend and I’ve been dying to go back ever since!! This is such a good itinerary and I realize now I missed so much!

suedavies689 says

May 5, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Nice photos and report. Brought me back to when I was there. Wish I had 4 days. Loved the Souk. And we did a cooking class.

Violeta says

May 5, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Hey, I’ve been to Marrakech last week, and I’ve got photos of the same kitten at the Saadian Tombs. I’ve also seen the tanneries. The guy who led us there allowed me to climb on a terrace to take photos. He also gave us some fresh mint leaves to smell from time to time – I used them quite a lot.

Bangali Backpackers says

May 5, 2018 at 8:36 pm

Marrakech is so lively…it’s almost like a cabinet of curiosities. Love the marvellous architecture around the city.

Journal of Nomads

The 9 best day trips from Marrakech

Which places are the best to visit for day trips from Marrakech? Here are the 9 best excursions from Marrakech, with all the info on why to go there, what to do and how to reach each location!

There is no doubt that Marrakech is the most popular destination in all of Morocco . People come from all over the world to discover this exotic city.

It’s a city that is much more traditional and cultural than Tangier , Rabat , or even Casablanca .

The city of Marrakech stimulates the imagination with its many souks and open-air markets where one can find thousands of spices and beautiful hand-made crafts. It’s definitely a very vibrant and colorful place to visit.

koutoubia - best places to visit in marrakech - moroccan architecture

It’s the starting point of many trips to the Sahara desert and it’s the first city most people visit when they arrive in Morocco.

The city is full of culture and interesting history. It’s also a great place to taste Moroccan cuisine and learn Moroccan Arabic .

Although this city can be sometimes very overwhelming (the constant noise kept us awake at night), it’s a destination that is definitely worth visiting.

Reading Tip: The 16 best things to do in Marrakech – Complete Guide to Morocco’s Red City

crowd Marrakesh Ramadan iftar - journal of nomads

What makes this city ideal as a starting base to discover Morocco is the fact that it’s close to so many other interesting destinations.

Directly from Marrakech, one can visit a beautiful port town , gigantic waterfalls , and the highest mountain in North Africa . It’s really possible to do so many day trips from Marrakech!

best photography locations Morocco landscapes and nature - cascades d'Ouzoud- Journal of Nomads

To help you make the best of your time in Morocco, I wrote this guide to the best day trips from Marrakech.

I’ll also explain how to reach each destination by public transport and with your own car from Marrakesh and what you can visit there.

Disclaimer: This posts might contain affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you for helping to support this website!

Morocco Travel essentials and resources

  • Morocco Travel Guide: 19 things you should know before you go
  • Where to go: The 17 most beautiful places to visit in Morocco
  • Plan your trip: 3 itineraries to discover the best of Morocco
  • Is Morocco safe: 18 useful tips to stay safe while traveling in Morocco
  • Tours and experiences: Book a customized tour
  • Where to stay : Find a room in a hotel, hostel, guesthouse or desert camp
  • Travel Insurance: Find the best travel insurance for Morocco
  • Getting around : Rent a car in Morocco or travel by bus or train

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Top 9 day trips from Marrakech map

1. Day trip from Marrakech to Ourika Valley

blossoming trees near Imlil and toubkal - nature near toubkal - imlil morocco - journal of nomads

This pristine valley stands at the base of the Atlas mountains. It’s a very lovely destination during spring when all the apple and cherry trees that fill the valley are blossoming.

It’s also the best place to escape the incredibly high temperatures that strike Marrakech during the summer.

It’s a great place to enjoy nature, delight yourself in the sound of the river that flows at the bottom of the valley and see some Barbary monkeys. There are also many beautiful hiking paths that will lead you to a series of waterfalls.

Snow-covered mountains overlook the whole area and give a cooling shade during the warmer months of the year.

There is a small village at the base of the valley called Setti-Fatma. The area around it is filled with almond trees and mud-brick Berber villages.

This is where visitors usually start their trek to see the Ourika Valley waterfalls. It’s very easy to find an English-speaking guide in this town that will show you around the valley for a modest fee.

The 9 best day trips from Marrakech

How to get from Marrakech to Ourika Valley by public transport

There are a few different options to reach the Ourika valley. It’s possible to take a bus to the beginning of the valley and then a shared taxi all the way to the town of Setti-Fatma.

Another option is to take a shared taxi directly from Marrakech to Setti-Fatma. Because there aren’t many people traveling there during the low season, you might have to pay for the whole taxi.

How to get to the Ourika valley from Marrakech BY BUS

Buses to Ourika leave at the Alsa bus stop in Marrakech. This is the location of this bus stop.

You can also take the bus L25 from the Bab Rab bus stop to reach the beginning of the valley.

There are a few shared taxis at the bottom of the valley where these buses will drop you off. From there you can take a shared taxi to Setti-Fatma (around 10 MAD per person).

How to get to the Ourika valley from Marrakech BY SHARED TAXI

Another way to reach Setti-Fatma directly from Marrakech is to take a shared taxi to the small town. Taxis take about one hour and a half to reach the mountain village.

They depart daily from a terminal 3km outside the Bab Er Robb medina gate in the south of the medina.

Because there is very little traffic from Marrakech to Setti-Fatma, I would recommend getting a private taxi for the whole day to bring you there and back. The rate should be around 500 to 600 MAD for a day.

It’s always better to pay at the end of the day, not at the beginning, and agree on the final price upfront.

Here is the location of Bab Er Robb in Marrakech:

How to get to Ourika valley from Marrakech by car

If you have your own car or if you are renting one , nothing will be easier than driving from Marrakech to Setti-Fatma.

Getting there takes around one hour and a half. You’ll have to follow the highway P2017 towards the south-east until you reach Ourika. From there take highway P2030 and you’ll quickly reach Setti-Fatma.

Reading Tip: Everything you need to know about renting a car in Morocco

Day tours to Ourika Valley from Marrakech

Being part of a tour group is becoming a very popular way to reach the Ourika Valley from Marrakech. A lot of different companies near Jemaa el Fena square in Marrakech offer tours to the valleys.

Their prices for the day trip vary but it’s generally around 200 to 250 MAD per person. This includes the ride to the valley and back in a comfortable minivan and a visit to a Berber market.

However, remember that these tour companies might have hidden costs. The price you pay for a tour doesn’t always include the cost of the local guide joining you on this trip. You’ll often have to pay extra for that afterward, as for the food they’re offering at the restaurants.

Reading Tip: 12 common scams you might encounter in Morocc o a n d h o w t o a v o i d t h e m

It’s often better to book these tours online. The description clearly states what is included in the price so you don’t get any extra hidden costs.

Here are Ourika Valley tours we recommend:

2. Day trips from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains: Imlil and Mount Toubkal

the village of Armound near imlil - berber village near toubkal morocco - journal of nomads

Cynthia and I are mountain lovers. After spending a year living in Kyrgyzstan and trekking in the mountains of Central Asia , it was time to discover the Atlas mountains of Morocco.

The small village of Imlil, located just an hour and a half from Marrakech, sits at the base of the highest mountain peak in the country. I couldn’t resist climbing to the summit and it was an experience I’ll never forget!

This peak is called Mount Toubkal and it’s sometimes called one of the easiest peaks above 4000 meters to climb.

hiking mount Toubkal - Trekking jbel Toubkal - Toubkal the highest peak in Morocco - journal of nomads

I had the chance to spend time in the village of Imlil and climbed Mount Toubkal last spring. Even though this trek is considered an easy one, reaching the summit of this mountain was actually harder than I expected.

The mountain is known as Jebel Toubkal in Moroccan Arabic and its summit is at an altitude of 4167 meters.

Because of their proximity to Marrakesh and their year-round accessibility, Imlil and Toubkal are great day trips from the busy city.

Read all about hiking in Imlil and climbing Mount Toubkal in:

The Complete Guide to Imlil and H iking to Mount Toubkal

Best day trips from Marrakech - Day trips from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains - Hiking in Imlil - Journal of Nomads

How to get to Imlil from Marrakech by public transport

There are a few different options to reach Imlil from Marrakech. You can take a bus to Asni and then a shared taxi all the way to the village of Imlil.

Another option is to take a shared taxi directly from Marrakech to Imlil.

How to get from Marrakech to Imlil by bus

Take the bus to the village in Asni at the central bus station in Marrakech . From there you can easily catch a shared taxi to Imlil for 10 MAD or hitchhike the remaining 17 kilometers to Imlil.

Here’s where you find the central bus station in Marrakech:

How to get from Marrakech to Imlil by shared taxi

The easiest way to get from Marrakesh to Imlil is to take a shared taxi – or a grand taxi as they are called in Morocco. Imlil is just 60 km from Marrakesh so it doesn’t take long to get there by taxi (75-90 minutes).

The shared taxi going to Imlil leave from the grand taxi station across the street from the Jemaa el-Fnaa bus stop.

You can hire the whole taxi for yourself for  250 MAD  to  300 MAD  or you can share it with other passengers. If you wait for the taxi to fill up, the price will be much lower (around  50 MAD  to get to Imlil).

How to get to Imlil from Marrakech by car

If you have your own car or if you are renting one , you can also drive directly to the small village of Imlil.

The road is almost completely paved all the way to the mountain village and will take you through some gorgeous landscapes. The road there is relatively safe but during winter it tends to be covered by rocks that fall from the cliffs nearby so drive carefully.

Day tours from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains

You can also go on a guided day tour from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains and Imlil

3. Day trip to Oukaimeden Valley

Backpacking in winter

Oukaimeden is a beautiful ski resort about 80 kilometers from Marrakech and not too far from  Mount T oubkal . Before visiting Morocco and more particularly, the Atlas mountains, I had no idea I would find so much snow in a North African country.

Oukaimeden has some amazing ski slopes and plenty of snow for winter sports enthusiasts.

This resort has six ski lifts and there are plenty of hotels and ski rental facilities nearby. What makes this resort so amazing is that you can literally spend the day skiing in sub-zero temperatures before heading back to the warmer climate of Marrakech for the night.

A lift pass costs around 30 MAD for half a day and 50 MAD for a full day. The ski equipment costs 70 to 80 MAD per day. There are also a few ski instructors at Oukaimeden, charging 150 MAD for a half day and 250 MAD for a complete day of classes.

market of Marrakesh Morocco - journal of nomads

How to get to Oukaimeden from Marrakech by public transport

There are no buses that travel between Marrakech and Oukaimeden as the road to get there is very winding and in some parts not wide enough for a bus.

Shared taxis from the grand taxi station in Marrakech will typically cost 300-400 MAD for the 75 km to the mountain ski station(each way).

How to get to Oukaimeden from Marrakech with your own car

To reach Oukaimeden with your car, you will have to go towards the same direction as you would for Setti-Fatma (see how to get to Ourika Valley). Drive south on road P2017 and you will find the exit to Oukaimeden near Aghbalou.

It takes about one hour and a half to get from Marrakesh to Oukaimeden.

Day tours from Marrakech to Oukaimeden Valley

If you want to escape from the city life in Marrakech and experience some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Africa with a group of fun people, we suggest this full-day trip to Oukaimeden .

You will be picked up from your accommodation in Marrakesh around 8 AM. and you will be transported from Marrakesh to Oukaimeden is a comfortable minibus.

Your guide will offer local knowledge and opportunities to stop along the way. On arrival, he will arrange all the ski or snowboard equipment you need.

Then get set to hit the slopes. After a break for lunch, you will be free to hit the slopes again for the rest of the afternoon. The return to Marrakesh will depart around 4 PM.

You can also visit Oukaimeden in summer as part of the Atlas Mountains & 4 Valleys Tour including the Ourika Valley (see above):

4. Day trips from Marrakech to Sahara Desert: Agafay Desert

What attracts most people to Morocco are the beautiful images of the Sahara and more specifically all the beautiful desert expeditions that can be done in Merzouga .

As appealing as this may look, this small desert town is located relatively far from Marrakesh and it’s impossible to visit for people that are just in Morocco for a short trip.

The best places to visit in Morocco - The Sahara Desert - sunset in the desert - Merzouga -Journal of Nomads

The Agafay desert is the next best thing and the best part is that it’s super close to Marrakech.

This desert doesn’t have the sand dunes that are so typical in M’hamid and Merzouga but it’s still a fascinating place.

You may be able to witness some of the local villages by quad if you go there with a tour from Marrakech .

The 9 best day trips from Marrakech

There is even a manmade lake on the edge of the Agafay Desert that was built to provide the city of Marrakech with electricity.

You can swim at one of the beaches alongside the lake or you can rent jet skis or pedal boats and explore the waters.

There are also many hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails in the hills above the lake.

Reading Tip: How to v i s i t t h e Sahara Desert in Merzouga

Sunset Sahara desert Morocco

How to get from Marrakech to Agafay Desert by public transport

There are no shared taxis or buses going to the Agafay desert from Marrakesh as far as I know. It can be reached if you have your own (rental) car or if you book a day trip (see below).

How to get to the Agafay Desert from Marrakech by car

If you have your own car or if you are renting one , you should try to reach the Lalla Takerkoust reservoir. This is the man-made lake that stands in the middle of the Agafay desert.

Getting there takes about 47 minutes from the city-center of Marrakech. You’ll have to follow highway P2009 towards the south-west until you reach the desert and the lake.

Day tours from Marrakech to Agafay desert

There are many travel companies offering tours to the Agafay desert. If you’re booking a tour in Marrakech, make sure you know beforehand what is included so you don’t get any unpleasant hidden costs.

A lot of local companies also sell their tours online where you have a clear description of what’s included in the tour and what to expect.

Here are some tours we recommend:

5. Day trip to Ait Ben Haddou

Best day trips from Marrakech - Marrakech excursions - Ait Ben Haddou Morocco - best places to visit Morocco

Ait Ben Haddou is an ancient fortified mud-brick village located between the Sahara and Marrakech. It’s a place known as a Ksar- the North African term for “Berber castle”.

This village is one of Morocco’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and was used as a set in the TV-series Game of Thrones to portray the slaving city of Yunkai that Daenerys Targaryen laid siege to.

It’s a three-hour dusty drive to reach Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech but it’s totally worth it! This old fortified village is located just 30 km north of Ouarzazate so it’s ideal to visit both locations on a day trip from Marrakech.

Ksar Ait Ben Haddou Morocco - best photography location Morocco

How to get to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech by public transport

The best way to reach Ait Ben Haddou by public transport is to take a CTM bus from the central bus station in Marrakesh towards Ouarzazate.

A bus ticket between the two cities will cost around 80 MAD and then you might have to pay an additional 10 MAD for your luggage.

Here is the location of the bus station in Marrakech:

As soon as you get on the bus, ask your driver to stop at the crossroads in Taborah. From there, you’ll only be16 km away from Ait Ben Haddou. There will be a few taxis around waiting for passengers at the crossroad in Taborah.

A shared taxi from there to the mud city should cost around 10 MAD if it fills up before leaving.

How to get to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech with your own car

If you have your own car or if you are renting one for the day , it will be even easier to reach Ait Ben Haddou.

Although you won’t have to waste time looking for a taxi or a bus, you’ll still have to drive a bit slower than usual. The road between Marrakech and Ait Ben Haddou is quite winding and there are a few treacherous curves along the way so I would advise driving there with caution.

Ait Ben Haddou is located 184 km from Marrakech. Driving there should take about 3 hours and a half. To get there, simply follow highway N9 towards the south.

Day tours to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech

This is the most popular way for people to go a quick day trip to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech.

There are many different travel companies based in Marrakech that offer tours to the mud village thus the prices for that trip vary greatly.

The base price for that trip is around 300 MAD per person (around 30 euros). Some companies will also combine this tour with a visit to Ouarzazate, raising the prices around 700 MAD per person.

You can expect a smooth ride in a very comfortable air-conditioned minibus and a few stops for refreshments along the way. They usually leave the city around 8:30 am and do a few stops along the way to the old fortified city.

The pick-up will be directly at your hostel or hotel in Marrakech or at the Jemaa el Fna square in the morning. Most tours will provide you with an English or French-speaking driver. Some tours will include a local guide at Ait Ben Haddou in their price while others won’t.

You should check this beforehand with your tour operator or in the tour description. The tours do not include lunch so you should either bring snacks or have money for the restaurants near the old city.

Although the paths are very easy to walk on, we suggest bringing a good pair of walking shoes or some sandals. Also, bring some sunscreen and don’t forget your camera.

Here are some day tours from Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou we recommend:

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Backpacking in Morocco - Ait Ben Haddou - Journal of Nomads

6. Day trip from Marrakech to Ouzoud Waterfalls

Driving to the Cascade d'Ouzoud - Journal of Nomads

Going to the Ouzoud waterfalls is one of the best day trips from Marrakech if you travel by car . The road from Marrakech to the Ouzoud waterfalls is quite scenic and there are many beautiful photo stops along the way.

The Ouzoud waterfalls are a series of very tall and very impressive waterfalls that plunge from high cliffs in a huge pool of water. These cascades are 110 meters high and surrounded by lush vegetation all around.

During summer it’s possible to go for a refreshing swim in the water at the bottom of the pools. There are even some boats that can bring you closer to the falls for a modest fee (20 MAD)

bottom of the ouzoud waterfalls - people swimming at the ouzoud waterfalls - boat rides at the ouzoud waterfalls - Journal of nomads

The area around the falls is famous for its olive trees and for the presence of Barbary monkeys. It’s a place where one can enjoy nature but in spring and summer, it tends to get very crowded.

Ouzoud is the second tallest waterfall in Africa. It’s a very touristic destination and one of the most visited and photographed natural sites in Morocco.

Read all about this beautiful place in How to visit the Ouzoud Waterfalls – 16 things you need to know before you go

Ouzoud Waterfalls Morocco - les cascades d'ouzoud - best places to visit in Morocco - Journal of Nomads

How to get to Ouzoud Waterfalls from Marrakech by public transport

There are a few different ways to reach the Ouzoud waterfalls by public transportation. You could take a shared taxi from Marrakesh to Azilal and then another one to Ouzoud.

How to get to Ouzoud Waterfalls from Marrakech by bus

There’s no direct bus going from Marrakech to Ouzoud. You first have to take a bus from Marrakech to Beni-Mellal and from there take a shared taxi fromto the waterfalls.

You can take a bus from Marrakesh to Beni-Mellal with the two main bus companies in Morocco, CTM , and Supratours or with a local bus at the central bus station in Marrakech .

This option, however, takes time and it’s also more expensive than if you’d get there by shared taxi (see below).

How to get to Marrakech to Ouzoud Waterfalls by shared taxi

You can take a shared taxi from Bab Doukala in Marrakech and it will get you to a village called Azilal not too far from the falls.

A shared taxi from Bab Doukala to Azilal should cost around 50 MAD per person if the taxi is full (6 people) when you leave. Some taxi drivers don’t like to wait until the taxi fills up before they leave so you may have to pay a bit more.

The taxis from Azilal to Ouzoud are a bit cheaper (about 25 MAD per person) and you could pay for the whole taxi to get to the cascades faster. If you’d pay for a whole taxi from Azilal to Ouzoud, it would cost around 150 MAD.

How to get from Marrakech to Ouzoud Waterfalls by car

The Ouzoud waterfalls are located 157 km from Marrakesh and it takes about two hours and a half to get there by car. You can opt to rent a car for the day as the drive to Ouzoud is very beautiful and you can stop for photos wherever and whenever you like.

To get from Marrakesh to Ouzoud, you will have to drive towards the northeast on highway N8 until you reach highway R208. Once you reach the R208 continue towards the village of Tanant and from there to Ouzoud.

There are a lot of places where you can park your car near the cascades but it will cost between 10 and 20 MAD to park your car there for the day. You can pay that small fee directly to the parking attendant.

overview ouzoud waterfalls - beautiful ouzoud waterfalls - journal of nomads

Day tours from Marrakech to Ouzoud Waterfalls

The price for organized tours to the Ouzoud waterfalls starts around 275 MAD per person.

This includes the ride to the waterfalls and back in a comfortable minivan but it doesn’t include the price of the local guide or food near the cascades.

If you book a tour to the Ouzoud waterfalls, you’ll save a lot of time that you would have otherwise spent in finding public transport to get there.

You can expect a smooth ride in a very comfortable air-conditioned minibus and a few stops for refreshments along the way.

Reading Tip: The 17 Best Places to visit in Morocc o i n p h o t o s

7. Day trip to Marrakech’s Palm Grove

Backpacking in Morocco - Journal of Nomads

Marrakech’s beautiful Palm Grove, also known as La Palmeraie, is less than an hour outside of Marrakech so it’s an ideal day trip to escape the busy city.

La Palmeraie covers 13,000 ha and has about 150,000 palm trees providing shade where camels can escape the heat of the desert.

As you walk around this grove, you’ll find an ancient irrigation system that has been used there for centuries

There are many date sellers and growers working in this beautiful oasis so be ready for a unique cultural experience.

How to get to Marrakech’s Palm Grove by public transport

There aren’t many shared taxis or public buses reaching the palmeraie from the city center but a great alternative is to reach this oasis with the Hop on hop off Marrakesh city tour bus .

This bus has an open upper deck where you will enjoy the best panoramic views of the city in the most comfortable way possible.

This bus also offers a special Palm grove tour route with which you’ll discover the northern part of the city and the Marrakech Palm Grove. There you will be able to enjoy different activities such as a camel or a quad ride .

The route is made of 13 stops and approximately lasts 1 hour.

Day Tours to the Palm Grove of Marrakech

I highly this guided tour to the Palm Grove of Marrakech . It includes a camel ride through the palm trees in the Palmeraie, followed by an amazing off-road adventure on quad bikes.

More tours to Marrakech’s Palm Gove:

Reading Tip: Visit the best places in Morocco with these 3 travel itineraries

8. Day trips from Marrakech to Essaouira

Things to see and do in Essaouira – The complete guide to Morocco's windy city - Essouira port - Journal of Nomads

Essaouira is one of our favorite cities in Morocco. It’s a charming port town where everything is much calmer and quieter than in Marrakech. It’s a city that mixes the Moroccan culture and the Portuguese architecture in a very interesting way.

The fortress tower of Bastion Nord - Things to see and do in Essaouira – The complete guide to Morocco's windy city - Essouira port - Journal of Nomads

Essaouira attracts a young crowd of surfers and backpackers throughout the year. People go there for the great waves and beaches nearby but also for the small streets filled with the beautiful handicraft of local artisans.

Things to see and do in Essaouira – The complete guide to Morocco's windy city - streets of Essouira - art in Essaouira- Journal of Nomads

Essaouira has its own fortified old medina, amazing cuisine and a fun and hip energy that is very distinct from other Moroccan cities. The city is located very close to Marrakech and also easily accessible from nearby coastal cities such as Casablanca and Rabat .

We loved this small town so much that what was supposed to be a short day trip from Marrakech became a two weeks stay. The vibe of this place was amazing and we really bonded with all the travelers we met there.

Read all about the places to visit and things to do in Essaouira in:

The Complete Guide to Essaouira – Morocco’s City of Wind

Things to see and do in Essaouira – The complete guide to Morocco's windy city - Essouira port - Journal of Nomads

How to get from Marrakech to Essaouira by public transport

The small town is located two hours and a half west of Marrakech and is easily reached by bus or by shared taxi.

HOw to get from Marrakech to Essaouira by bus

Getting a bus to Essaouira from Marrakech is relatively easy. You can find a  Supratour  or a  CTM bus  to Essaouira at the main Marrakesh bus station.

This bus station is located almost adjacent to the train station in Marrakech:

The journey with bus from Marrakech to Essaouira takes about 3 hours with a twenty-minute break somewhere along the way. This is the cheapest option as a bus ticket costs around 80 MAD per person .

How to get to Essaouira from Marrakach by shared taxi

The fastest way to get from Marrakesh to Essaouira – if you don’t have a car – is by shared taxi. The price per person in a shared taxi should be  between 450 and 1000 MAD .

You can find these taxis at the grand taxi station:

How to get to Essaouira from Marrakech by car

If you travel by car , the fastest way to get to Essaouira from Marrakech is by following the highways A7, N8 and R207.

From Marrakech, you will have to drive north-west on the A7 until it merges with highway N8 and R207. Follow the highway R207 west until you reach Essaouira.

The distance between Marrakech and Essaouira is 191 km and driving there will take about 2h40 minutes.

Day tours from Marrakech to Essaouira

You can also prefer to go on a guided day excursion from Marrakech to Essaouira.

The advantages of such tours is that you’ll travel by private transport and learn about the rich cultural mixture that has influenced the city’s architecture while walking in the medina of Essaouira with a guide.

You’ll have time to relax on the beach and some tours also offer a visit to local women’s cooperatives that make argan oil.

HEre are 3 tours we recommend:

9. Day trip from Marrakech to Casablanca

The 9 best day trips from Marrakech

Let’s face it, Casablanca is a very busy city and probably nowhere as quiet and romantic as Essaouira. If you would have just a few weeks to spend in Morocco, it’s not necessarily a city I would recommend.

If you’re in Morocco for a while, however, it could definitely be worth spending some time in this city and then heading back to Marrakech or continuing north towards Rabat or Tangier .

kasbah Rabat - Kasbah des oudaias Rabat Morocco - journal of nomads

Casablanca is a city that has been featured in many movies and it has a fascinating history. It’s a great place to see how modern Morocco mixes with centuries of traditions and architecture.

If you’re going for a day to Casablanca, definitely check out following guide as it gives you an overview of the things to do in this metropolitan city in one or two days:

Read: Casablanca City Guide – 9 Best Places to visit in Casablanca

Mahkama du Pacha - Casablanca

How to get to Casablanca from Marrakech by public transport

There are a few different ways to reach Casablanca from Marrakech. Because this coastal city is such a popular destination, getting there is not very complicated.

The cheapest mode of transport to get there is by bus, which costs from 90 to 130 MAD.

How to reach Casablanca from Marrakesh by bus

Because Casablanca is a bit farther from Marrakech than the other destinations mentioned in this guide, I would only recommend taking the most comfortable buses in Morocco to get there.

The most comfortable buses in the country are owned and operated by two companies; CTM and Supratours .

The CTM bus stop and the Supratours station are located both very close to each other in an area called Gueliz in the suburbs of Marrakech. It will require a taxi to get there from Jemaa el Fenaa.

Here is the location of the CTM bus station in Marrakesh:

And this is where you will find the Supratours station:

These buses are much more comfortable than the ones owned by less reputable companies but they also tend to be a bit more expensive.

How to reach Casablanca from Marrakech by train

The trains in Morocco are very comfortable and they are the best way to see the Moroccan landscapes while moving from city to city.

There is a train that goes from Marrakech towards Casablanca every two hours. It takes about two hours and a half to get there and the ticket costs around 110 MAD.

Here is where you’ll find the train station in Marrakech:

How to reach Casablanca from Marrakech by shared taxi

There are different taxis going from Marrakech to Casablanca. Shared ones and private ones. The shared taxis are usually old Mercedez Benz in which up to six people are squeezed together.

They are not the most comfortable option but they are definitely cheap. The price per person in a shared taxi should be around 110 MAD.

This is where the shared taxi station is in Marrakech:

Because this is quite a long distance, I wouldn’t advise taking a shared taxi if you’re traveling with someone else or a group of people and you have luggage.

Paying for a private taxi for your group would be a much better option. The price for a private taxi from Marrakesh to Casablanca is around 1000 MAD.

man selling sweets Marrakesh Morocco - journal of nomads

How to reach Casablanca from Marrakech with your own car

If you have your own car, the fastest way to get to Casablanca from Marrakech is by following the highways A7 and N11.

From Marrakech, you will have to drive north for almost three hours before reaching the coastal city.

Day tours from Marrakech to Casablanca

It could also be nice to go on a guided day tour from Marrakech to Casablanca.

You’ll travel comfortably by private transport and visit Casablanca’s main attractions such as the Mosque of Hassan II, Rick’s Cafe, and the Art Deco hotels while learning more about the city’s background.

Is Morocco Safe - Journal of Nomads

More MOROCCO TRAVEL Resources:

  • What you need to know before you go: 23 Travel Tips for Morocco
  • Is Morocco Safe? Safety Guide to Morocco
  • How to avoid the 12 most common scams in Morocco
  • See the best of Morocco by following these 3 great travel itineraries
  • Visit these beautiful 17 places in Morocco
  • Tips for traveling to Morocco during Ramadan
  • Morocco City Guides: Fez , Tangier , Essaouira , Chefchaouen , Rabat , Meknes , Marrakech , Casablanca , Agadir
  • The best daytrips from Marrakech
  • Fun things to do in the Sahara: how to plan a desert trip to Merzouga
  • The Complete Guide to Imlil and Hiking Mount Toubkal
  • Everything you need to know about visiting the Ouzoud Waterfalls
  • Rock climbing and other fun things to do in the Todra Gorges and Tinerhir
  • How to get to the Akchour Waterfalls from Chefchaouen
  • A guide to visiting the Ouzoud Waterfalls
  • Surfing in Morocco – The best surfing spots in Morocco
  • How to visit Paradise Valley in Agadir
  • What to wear in Morocco: Complete packing list for Morocco
  • Morocco photography tips: How to take portraits of people in Morocco
  • Extend your stay in Morocco using one of these 3 ways to renew your Morocco visa
  • Useful tips on how to take the ferry from Tangier to Spain
  • Books about Morocco: 10 Great Novels set in Morocco

We hope you have an awesome time exploring all these destinations around Marrakech. If you have visited some of those already, or think we’re missing one, let us know in the comments below!

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Home » Travel Guides » Morocco » 15 Best Day Trips from Marrakech

15 Best Day Trips from Marrakech

Marrakech is Morocco’s most famous tourist destination.

The name conjures up images of spices, souks, deserts, and riads; an exotic place of bustling markets, ancient walled streets, and ramshackle houses.

It’s an exciting, vibrant and colorful place to visit; a place where you may well be as frustrated at times as you are enthralled, but where every moment is different and life is unique, noisy and seemingly chaotic.

The city is full of history, culture and excellent Moroccan cuisine, where every turn you take opens a world of new shocks and surprises that will keep you transfixed for days.

Beyond the historic walls of Marrakech, this city in the foothills of the high Atlas Mountains is the perfect launching pad to the surrounding area.

From deserts and waterfalls to Berber villages and rocky valleys, there are many day trips to take from Marrakech.

1. Ouzoud Falls

Ouzoud Falls, Morocco

The Ouzoud Falls are an incredibly impressive set of waterfalls that plunge from high cliffs far down into a huge basin.

The multi-layered waterfall cascades from a maximum height of 110-meters, and in an otherwise arid landscape, the location is a veritable oasis in the desert, where lush, green vegetation is found amongst the rocky confines of this canyon.

The area is famous for its olive trees; after hiking to the falls, you can relax in the shade of these trees while you feel the cooling breeze of the crashing waterfall filling the air with refreshing sprays of water.

If you are really overheated, you can even swim in the Al Abid River which the falls plunge straight into.

It’s a glorious day trip from Marrakech, and one not to be missed.

Recommended tour : Ouzoud Waterfalls Full-Day Tour from Marrakech

2. Palm Groves of Marrakech

Palm Groves of Marrakech

Known as the Palmeraie, the palm groves of Marrakech are a dense area of land that is completely devoted to the growing of palm trees.

It’s a strangely beautiful place; the palm trees are grown in the desert and are completely reliant on the ancient irrigation network that has been here for centuries to survive in this harsh climate.

The area is around 50 square miles and the palms are used to harvest dates, so expect to be given plenty to try by the local growers and sellers that you find here.

Many people will choose to join an adventurous quad bike tour to ride around the desert and the Palmeraie, a unique way to experience this beautiful and surreal landscape.

Suggested tour : Marrakech Desert & Palm Grove Quad Bike Tour

3. Sahara Desert

Sahara Desert, Morocco

Marrakech is surrounded by desert, however, the really brutal and almost unbelievable landscapes of the famous Sahara Desert don’t truly begin until you are at least a few hour’s drive outside the city itself.

The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert.

It’s a place of extremes, where little water is found and sand dunes tower high on the horizon.

It’s an almost mystical place – especially locally – and a trip even to the edge of the Sahara is an enlightening experience.

Many people will choose to undertake multi-day expeditions through the desert guided by locals; however, if you are short on time, you can still travel to where the Sahara begins and admire the harsh, natural beauty before returning to Marrakech for the evening.

Multi-day tour : From Marrakech: 2-Day Zagora Sahara Desert Tour

4. Agafay Desert

Agafay Desert, Morocco

If you would rather stay closer to Marrakech and experience a desert closer to your accommodation, then the Agafay Desert – although not quite as famous or as sandy as the Sahara – is within easy reach of the city.

Found between the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech, the Agafay makes for an excellent day trip.

You won’t find the distinctive sand dunes here that you may be imagining, but you will find a rocky, barren and seemingly lifeless terrain that is difficult to fully comprehend in its sparseness.

It’s a humbling place to visit – you may be able to tour some of the local villages and marvel at how people have managed to thrive here for thousands of years.

Suggested tour : Quad Biking Tour in Agafay Desert

5. Essaouira

Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira is a vibrant port city found on the Atlantic coastline of Morocco.

It’s a welcome escape from the desert and the dry climate of Marrakech, and a trip here makes for a long but rewarding day trip.

Enjoy the beautiful sea breezes along the coast, as well as the colorful culture and buildings of the city.

The Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s begging to be explored, while the narrow maze of alleys and souks are as quintessentially Moroccan as you can get.

Recommended tour : Day Trip to Essaouira from Marrakech

Agadir, Morocco

Agadir is another coastal Moroccan city that’s found a good three-hour drive from Marrakech.

The city is making a name for itself in tourist circles as a sun-drenched, windswept and relaxed place to visit.

There is an ever-growing number of resorts taking advantage of the beautiful beaches and coastline, while the city itself is an interesting example of modern Moroccan culture and life – it’s large enough to easily escape the tourist trail and discover something new.

7. Casablanca

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca is the only other city that could rival Marrakech in terms of international fame.

The name Casablanca has gone down in history, thanks to the movie and the romantic connotations associated with it.

The reality is probably very different to what you might expect, and it’s a good thing to only make a day trip to the city – it is a sprawling, urban mass.

It’s worth the journey to see this famous place for what it really is, to walk through the old streets and the new and experience an inseparable piece of Moroccan history.

8. The Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The Atlas Mountains make up a vast and towering range that rises sharply close to Marrakech.

The mountain range stretches through three countries and the highest peak stands over 4000-meters tall.

The Atlas Mountains are an integral part of not only local geography but local Berber history and culture.

Marrakech is an excellent location from which to launch yourself into the mountains; many of the valleys and villages can be reached on day trips from the city.

Recommended tour : Berber Villages & 3 Valleys Atlas Mountains Day Trip

9. Ourika Valley

Ourika Valley

The beautiful Ourika Valley is found 50-kilometers to the south of Marrakech in the cool shadows of the Atlas Mountains.

The valley is full of small, local villages that have stood here for centuries, while the cool climate makes it a lush and verdant place to explore, particularly during the hot summer months when Marrakech can become scorching.

There are waterfalls, a mountain backdrop, and epic scenery wherever you turn.

Available tour : Ourika Valley & Atlas Mountain Full-Day Tour

Imlil, Morocco

Imlil is a local Berber village that’s found high in the Atlas Mountains.

Standing at 1800-meters, it’s set in spectacular surroundings.

Many visitors will use Imlil as a base for getting even further into the mountains on multi-day treks, including to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the range.

But it’s perfectly fine to simply explore here for the day – see the way the Berbers have lived here and adapted their lifestyle to the mountains and even make a few small hikes into the surrounding area.

Asni, Morocco

Lower down than Imli but perhaps easier to reach, Asni is the gateway into the Atlas Mountains when you travel here from Marrakech.

It’s a quaint place of mud-brick buildings and dusty streets, where you can see local life happening on the streets.

12. Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou is a marvelous UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s found on the outskirts of the Sahara Desert.

It’s an ancient, fortified town that has stood guarding the trade routes through the desert for centuries.

Today, the town is more famous for the huge number of movies that have been filmed here.

You will most likely recognize the walls, towers, and streets from at least one film that you have seen.

Despite its now touristy, star-studded fame, the town is still an incredible and distinct example of Moroccan architecture and history and it’s well worth the dusty three-hour drive from Marrakech to see.

Suggested tour : Day Trip to Ouarzazate and Ait Benhaddou

13. Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate, Morocco

Further along the road, to the south of Ait Benhaddou, can be found the fortified town of Ouarzazate.

Like its neighbor, Ouarzazate is also used as a filming location by many studios and has featured in countless historical epics and desert-based movies.

This is really where the Sahara begins too – after the high plateau that the town is built upon disappears to the south, the sandy dunes of the desert truly begin.

Suggested tour : Ouarzazate Full-Day Tour from Marrakech with Lunch

14. Amizmiz

Amizmiz

Found in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, just an hour’s drive from Marrakech, Amizmiz is an excellent example of a relatively untouched Moroccan Berber town.

Life here is slow.

The town is colorful but there is little of great interest to see except on a Tuesday, when the weekly market arrives as villagers from the mountains and surrounding area descend upon Amizmiz to buy and sell their produce.

It’s an incredible sight to witness.

15. Oukaïmeden

Oukaïmeden

Oukaïmeden is a very high altitude resort that’s found in the snowy peaks of the Atlas Mountains.

At the right time of year, it makes for an incredible contrast to the lowlands and Marrakech.

No longer is there sun, heat and desert, now there is snow, wind, and cold.

It’s a famous ski resort within the country, and being only a two-hour drive from Marrakech, you can quite literally spend the day skiing before heading back to the warmer climes of the city for the night.

15 Best Day Trips from Marrakech:

  • Ouzoud Falls
  • Palm Groves of Marrakech
  • Sahara Desert
  • Agafay Desert
  • The Atlas Mountains
  • Ourika Valley
  • Ait Benhaddou

Marrakech Desert Trips Logo

  • PRIVATE MOROCCO DESERT TOURS
  • SHARED DESERT TOURS
  • PRIVATE MARRAKECH DAY TRIPS
  • SHARED MARRAKECH DAY TRIPS

Exquisite Escapes: Discovering the 8 Unforgettable Day Trips from Marrakech

If you’re visiting Morocco, Marrakech is a must-see destination. This city is full of attractions that allow you to immerse yourself in Moroccan culture and customs. But if you stay in Marrakech for more than a few days, you’ll probably start to wonder what other unique places Morocco has to offer. That’s where day trips come in. These trips give you the opportunity to explore the country’s diversity by visiting different locations outside of Marrakech. From the majestic Atlas Mountains to vast deserts and captivating coastlines, the best day trips from Marrakech offer unforgettable experiences that are definitely worth your time and effort.

Table of contents

Ouzoud waterfalls, ouarzazate & kasbah ait ben haddou, agafay desert, the high atlas mountains, the palmeraie, extra delight: the enchanting sahara desert.

Majestic Ouzoud Waterfalls with vibrant cascades amidst lush Moroccan landscape

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and a chance to discover the unexpectedly lush and green side of Morocco, a day trip from Marrakech to the stunning Ouzoud Falls is a must. Located in the charming Middle Atlas Mountains, these falls have become one of the most popular excursions from Marrakech, and it’s easy to see why. The powerful El-Abid River drives the Ouzoud Falls, which cascade down multiple tiers over a staggering 110 meters (360 feet), creating a breathtaking spectacle. While you admire the awe-inspiring views of these remarkable waterfalls nestled within the El-Abid Canyon, there are plenty more adventures. Take a boat ride to the base of the falls, allowing you to get up close and personal with the cascading waters. Alternatively, you can take a refreshing dip in the cool river, immersing yourself in the natural beauty. The Ouzoud Falls day trip from Marrakech provides an unforgettable experience, combining the beauty of the falls with opportunities for exploration and relaxation in the stunning surroundings.

Essaouira's historic Medina on the Atlantic coast at dusk with seagulls and rocky shore

Nestled along the enchanting Atlantic coast lies the captivating city of Essaouira, an ideal destination for a delightful excursion from Marrakech. What sets a day trip to Essaouira apart is its distinct charm, offering a refreshing perspective on urban life in Morocco. The city’s allure is further enhanced by its breathtaking landscapes and an unexpected bohemian atmosphere. While the alluring beachfront may captivate your attention, it is advisable to venture into the heart of the city, where the Medina and fishing port area await. As you explore, your gaze will be drawn to the formidable city walls, adorned with formidable defensive cannons that stand sentinel, overlooking the vast expanse of the Atlantic ocean. The bustling port reveals a mesmerizing sight of azure fishing boats bobbing gently on the waves, while an array of enticing restaurants beckon with tantalizing aromas of freshly caught seafood. Above all, it is the serene and laid-back ambiance of this coastal haven that will leave an indelible impression on you, offering a tranquil respite before returning to the bustling metropolis of Marrakech.

Sunset view of the ancient Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco with palm trees.

Embarking on a day trip from Marrakech to Kasbah Aït Benhaddou and Ouarzazate , the remarkable twin destinations located southeast of Morocco promises an unforgettable experience for travelers exploring the wonders of Morocco. Situated southeast of Marrakech, these two captivating locations have garnered international acclaim for their rich cinematic history, having served as iconic backdrops for numerous renowned film and TV productions, including acclaimed series like Game of Thrones, epic blockbusters like Gladiator, and thrilling adventures like The Mummy.

Aït Benhaddou , an awe-inspiring UNESCO-listed fortified village dating back to the 11th century, stands as a testament to the architectural brilliance of the past. Constructed using vibrant red mud bricks, this historical gem radiates a sense of enchantment and intrigue. Its ancient walls, narrow alleyways, and intricate details transport visitors to a bygone era, where they can freely wander and immerse themselves in the allure of this remarkable site. Each step unveils a new layer of the village’s rich heritage, making Aït Benhaddou an instantly recognizable marvel that has captured the imagination of many.

Meanwhile, Ouarzazate, affectionately known as the “Hollywood of Africa,” offers a captivating blend of Moroccan charm and cinematic grandeur. The town has established itself as a thriving hub for the film industry, attracting renowned directors and production companies from around the world. A highlight of any visit to Ouarzazate is a tour of the esteemed Atlas Studios, where visitors can marvel at the familiar sets that have brought iconic movies to life. Walking in the footsteps of cinematic legends, guests gain a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the artistry and craftsmanship that have shaped countless beloved films.

The combination of Aït Benhaddou’s historical allure and Ouarzazate’s cinematic prominence makes this day trip an extraordinary experience for culture enthusiasts and film fans alike. From wandering the ancient streets of Aït Benhaddou to exploring the iconic film sets of Ouarzazate, travelers are transported to worlds both real and imagined, gaining a deeper appreciation for the vibrant tapestry of Moroccan history and its significant contributions to the global film industry.

Golden hour over the undulating terrain of the Agafay Desert with the Atlas Mountains in the backdrop.

For travelers with an unquenchable thirst for desert exploration, a visit to the Agafay Desert stands out as a must-see destination near Marrakech. While the majestic Sahara holds an undeniable allure, the Agafay Desert offers a unique advantage by allowing for a convenient day trip experience that is otherwise challenging to achieve in the vastness of the Sahara.

Although the Agafay Desert may not boast the towering sand dunes synonymous with the Sahara, it compensates with its own distinctive charm and captivating landscapes. This hidden gem unveils a world of raw beauty, immersing visitors in an otherworldly ambiance that leaves a lasting impression. Whether you prefer the rhythmic sway of a camel ride through the arid terrain or the exhilarating thrill of quad biking across the desert , the Agafay Desert caters to various interests and preferences.

One of the highlights of this day trip is the opportunity to discover the rich traditions and hospitality of the Berber people. A visit to a traditional Berber village allows you to experience their vibrant culture firsthand, sipping on aromatic cups of traditional tea and engaging in insightful conversations that offer a glimpse into their way of life. This cultural immersion adds an enriching layer to the journey, fostering a deeper connection to the desert and its inhabitants.

As the day unfolds against the backdrop of the Agafay Desert , the ever-changing hues of the desert’s terrain create a mesmerizing spectacle. From the warm golden tones that dance in the sunlight to the ethereal silence that blankets the vast expanse, the desert casts a spell of tranquility and introspection upon its visitors. It is a place where time seems to stand still, inviting contemplation and reflection.

In the Agafay Desert, adventure and serenity intertwine, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech into a realm of natural wonders and cultural encounters. Whether you seek adrenaline-pumping activities or a peaceful respite amidst breathtaking scenery, this day trip from Marrakech to Agafay Desert guarantees an unforgettable and genuinely otherworldly experience, leaving you with cherished memories of Morocco’s desert treasures.

Ourika Valley

Verdant Ourika Valley with a flowing river and the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains in the distance.

Situated just a short distance away from Marrakech, the Ourika Valley unveils a world of sublime beauty and captivating landscapes. Nestled within the foothills at the beginning of the majestic Atlas Mountains, this hidden gem is a sanctuary of natural wonders and cultural richness. As you venture into the Ourika Valley , you’ll encounter charming villages dotting the landscape, enveloped by enchanting cherry and almond orchards that lend a picturesque allure to the surroundings.

One of the remarkable aspects of the Ourika Valley is its preservation of Berber heritage and traditions. The Berber people, the original inhabitants of the region, continue to reside in the valley, living much as their ancestors did centuries ago. Exploring the Ourika Valley offers a unique opportunity to delve into the vibrant tapestry of Berber life, gaining insight into their customs, crafts, and daily routines. Depending on the day of your visit, you might chance upon a bustling Berber market, where vendors display an array of goods every Monday, showcasing the vibrant colors and flavors of the region. A visit to local collectives, engaged in the trade of Argan oil—a highly sought-after Moroccan cosmetic product—is also a common highlight, offering a glimpse into the age-old practices and techniques involved in its production.

Beyond the cultural encounters, the Ourika Valley boasts breathtaking river and mountain scenery, beckoning adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. The meandering river, with its crystal-clear waters, presents an idyllic setting for relaxation and contemplation. As you explore further, the Setti Fatma waterfalls emerge as a true natural wonder. Cascading gracefully amidst the rugged terrain, these picturesque falls offer a serene and refreshing atmosphere. Numerous hiking trails originate from this point, inviting explorers to embark on exhilarating journeys through the Atlas mountains, each path leading to new vantage points and breathtaking views.

Traditional Berber village with earthen houses nestled in the Moroccan mountains.

When you think of Morocco, it’s hard to ignore the allure of the Atlas Mountains. These majestic ranges span vast stretches of the country and have become an essential part of any traveler’s itinerary. Specifically, the majestic High Atlas Mountains near Marrakech stand as the loftiest section of this expansive mountain range, offering a captivating realm of exploration that will leave you in awe.

As you venture into the High Atlas Mountains, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of natural wonders and cultural encounters. The mountains are adorned with countless valleys, each possessing its own unique charm, and calling out to intrepid adventurers. With every step along the well-maintained trails, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of rugged peaks, deep gorges, and cascading waterfalls that paint a picturesque backdrop at every turn. The serenity of the surroundings will envelop you, allowing you to marvel at the pristine beauty of this rugged terrain.

However, the allure of the High Atlas Mountains extends beyond their scenic splendor. Scattered throughout the valleys, you’ll stumble upon traditional Berber villages, where ancient customs and traditions have withstood the test of time. The Berber people, known for their warm hospitality, offer a window into their way of life, providing an opportunity to learn about their rich cultural heritage. Engaging with the locals, sampling traditional cuisine, and exploring local markets will immerse you in the vibrant tapestry of Berber culture, forging connections and deepening your understanding of this remarkable region.

While popular destinations like Ourika and Imlil boast well-established tourist infrastructure, there are hidden gems within the High Atlas Mountains that offer their own unique appeal. The town of Asni, for example, exudes an authentic atmosphere, providing a quieter alternative for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience. As you venture deeper into the heart of the mountains, the Mizane and Zat Valleys reveal their untamed beauty, inviting intrepid explorers to uncover hidden trails and encounter lesser-explored villages. These lesser-known corners of the High Atlas Mountains offer a chance to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a culture lover, or an adventurous soul, a day trip from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains promises an unforgettable experience. The interplay between breathtaking landscapes, traditional Berber communities, and lesser-explored corners creates a tapestry of exploration that will leave a lasting impression. So, lace up your hiking boots, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and let the High Atlas Mountains unveil their secrets as you embark on an extraordinary journey through Morocco’s natural and cultural wonders.

Silhouettes of palm trees in Marrakech's Palmeraie against a vibrant sunset sky.

Yearning for a taste of escape within the city itself? Look no further than the Marrakech Palmeraie, a captivating expanse of palm groves that offers a serene sanctuary for a plethora of outdoor activities. Nestled at the northern fringes of the city, this verdant oasis serves as a dreamlike backdrop for thrilling adventures, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a world of excitement and natural beauty. While the presence of resorts and golf courses nearby may give the impression of a tourist-oriented facade, it is important to recognize that the Marrakech Palmeraie holds a rich historical significance that dates back to the 12th century.

As you step into the Marrakech Palmeraie, a sense of tranquility envelops you. The lush greenery of the palm groves offers respite from the city’s bustling energy, transporting you to a realm of serenity and natural splendor. This idyllic setting sets the stage for an array of thrilling outdoor activities that cater to different preferences and interests. Embarking on a camel ride through the palm-fringed trails provides a unique perspective, allowing you to traverse the landscape in a time-honored manner, much like the Berber nomads of old. The rhythmic sway of the camel’s gait and the gentle rustle of the palm leaves create an immersive experience, evoking a sense of timelessness and adventure.

For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled escapade, quad biking presents an exhilarating option. Roaring through the palm groves on an all-terrain vehicle, you’ll experience a thrilling rush as you navigate the winding paths and open spaces, your senses ignited by the stunning surroundings. The juxtaposition of the vibrant green palms against the clear blue sky paints a vivid picture of natural beauty, amplifying the excitement of the adventure.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca with its towering minaret beside the Atlantic Ocean at dusk

Ranked alongside Marrakech, Casablanca stands as one of the most renowned destinations in Morocco, easily accessible for a fulfilling day trip. Situated on the northern coast, Casablanca serves as the country’s largest city, primarily functioning as a vibrant commercial and industrial hub. A visit to Casablanca unveils a dynamic cityscape where modernity intertwines with tradition, offering a range of notable attractions to explore.

Casablanca’s Medina, a bustling old quarter, presents a fascinating labyrinthine experience that exceeds even the chaotic charm of Marrakech. Wandering through its narrow streets, you’ll encounter a vibrant tapestry of sights, sounds, and aromas, immersing yourself in the bustling atmosphere of everyday life. 

In contrast to the medina, the Place Mohammed V stands as a testament to the city’s more contemporary identity. Located within the modern French colonial part of Casablanca, this spacious square exudes a distinct European influence, characterized by elegant Art Deco architecture and a sense of openness. Strolling along the streets surrounding Place Mohammed V provides a glimpse into Casablanca’s cosmopolitan charm, with stylish cafes, boutiques, and restaurants offering a taste of the modern Moroccan lifestyle.

However, the crowning jewel of any Marrakech to Casablanca day trip is the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, a breathtaking architectural masterpiece and the second-largest mosque in the world. Although relatively young, having been completed in 1993, the mosque’s sheer scale and striking design command attention and reverence. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, its minaret soars to dizzying heights, while intricate details adorn the interior, showcasing the craftsmanship of Moroccan artisans. A visit to the Hassan II Mosque offers a profound spiritual experience and a profound appreciation for the fusion of traditional Islamic architecture and modern engineering.

Camel caravan trekking through the sweeping dunes of the Sahara Desert at sunrise.

While not feasible for a day trip from Marrakech, a journey to the Sahara Desert deserves a notable mention. The allure of the vast and mystical Sahara can not be denied, but its considerable distance from Marrakech necessitates careful planning and allocation of several days in your Morocco itinerary. The journey to the Sahara Desert spans approximately nine hours by car, emphasizing the immense expanse that separates these two distinct landscapes.

To fully immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Sahara, it is recommended to embark on a three-day tour from Marrakech to Merzouga , allowing ample time to savor the unique experiences this iconic desert has to offer. The tour typically entails a mesmerizing camel ride, traversing the undulating golden sands as you delve deeper into the heart of the desert. The rhythmic sway of the camel’s gait, accompanied by the silence of the dunes, creates an atmosphere of tranquility and introspection, transporting you to a world untouched by time.

As twilight approaches, climbing the Erg Chebbi Dunes unveils a breathtaking spectacle. With every step, you ascend to new heights, granting an unparalleled vantage point from which to witness the ethereal desert sunset. The shifting hues of the sky, bathed in shades of crimson, gold, and purple, create a captivating tableau, leaving an indelible imprint on your memory.

A highlight of the Sahara Desert experience is the opportunity to spend a night in a Bedouin camp. Nestled amidst the tranquil dunes, the camp provides a sanctuary amidst the vastness of the desert, where you can marvel at a tapestry of stars illuminating the night sky. In this remote oasis, you gain a deeper appreciation for the nomadic lifestyle, forging a connection to the ancient traditions that have shaped the Sahara for centuries.

Morocco Travel Essentials

marrakech day trips reddit

March 20, 2024

Assortment of traditional Berber costumes on display at the Yves Saint Laurent Berber Heritage Museum.

February 21, 2024

Meandering river in Ourika Valley with lush greenery and towering Atlas Mountains.

January 15, 2024

Mother and child enjoying a vibrant alley in Chefchaouen, with blue walls and plant pots, capturing a joyful moment.

December 20, 2023

Four friends enjoy a candlelit dinner in the Agafay Desert, with rolling dunes under a twilight sky.

December 14, 2023

Silhouette of Koutoubia Mosque's minaret against a twilight sky with a crescent moon during Ramadan in Marrakech, Morocco.

November 15, 2023

A woman tourist enjoying a traditional Moroccan tea served by a man in a blue turban outdoors with mountains and greenery in the background.

November 6, 2023

Woman with flowing hair joyfully running in front of Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou

November 2, 2023

Woman in orange dress leading camel at sunset in Merzouga dunes.

October 28, 2023

Woman in traditional attire watching the sunset over the Sahara dunes with a camel caravan in the background

October 25, 2023

Chefchaouen blue Medina streets

August 20, 2023

Interior view of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca showcasing the intricate architecture and ornate decoration.

May 15, 2023

Caravan of tourists on a camel trek across the sweeping sand dunes of the Moroccan Sahara Desert.

May 8, 2023

Smiling Moroccan man in traditional blue djellaba and turban standing by an old door in a Kasbah.

April 22, 2023

Camel caravan meandering through the majestic dunes of Erg Chigaga in Morocco's Sahara Desert.

April 5, 2023

Tourists exploring the bustling souks of Essaouira with local shops displaying crafts and wares.

March 21, 2023

Moroccan chicken Tagine with olives, preserved lemons and a cup of Harissa sauce

March 7, 2023

Scenic aerial view of Moulay Driss Zerhoun, the holy town perched on the hills of Morocco.

February 26, 2023

Moroccan horsemen in traditional attire performing the Fantasia, a cultural equestrian display.

February 9, 2023

Night view of Chefchaouen, Morocco, with its iconic blue houses illuminated under a twilight sky.

January 19, 2023

Cozy rooftop terrace of a Marrakech restaurant with views of Koutoubia Mosque amid palm trees at dusk.

December 23, 2022

Group of adventurers riding quad bikes across the smooth sand dunes of Morocco Sahara Desert at dusk.

November 2, 2022

Group of children in traditional Moroccan attire in a mountain village, showcasing the vibrant cultural heritage.

October 15, 2022

A panoramic view of the Dades Valley with traditional Moroccan architecture and lush greenery, against the backdrop of the snow-dusted Atlas Mountains.

September 10, 2022

Three women showcasing different outfits suitable for a Sahara Desert tour in Morocco.

August 5, 2022

Camel on Taghazout beach with Moroccan village in the background.

July 11, 2022

Verdant forests in the foreground leading to the snow-covered peaks of the Atlas Mountains under a clear blue sky.

June 23, 2022

How to plan a perfect day trip to Essaouira

Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by

marrakech day trips reddit

Essaouira is as small picturesque city facing the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Famous for being perpetually crossed by the Alizée s. Strong trade winds that will make your lovely hat useful as a pen without ink. Essaouira is beautiful as the sound of its windy name. Located at less than 3 hours drive from Marrakech, Essaouira is the ideal location for a day trip or a short weekend away. In this guide, you will discover how to plan the perfect day trip to Essaouira from Marrakech for a full day of fun. Ready for exploring? Let’s go!

Essaouira has always been in my bucket-list of places to visit in Morocco. So, when we planned our 10-day road trip around the country, I decided to “sacrifice” one of the days in Marrakech for a nice day trip. What a great decision! Essaouira is charming and full of lively places. From the animated area of the port, to the (much easier to navigate) medina, to its lovely walls. A walk at sunset in its Atlantic promenade and you will feel like in a movie set with the wind blowing its fresher breeze.

Table of Contents

A (short) history of Essaouira

Day trip to Essaouira - View of the medina near the Clock Tower

Essaouira, is different from any other city you can visit in Morocco. Indeed, it has a strong European influence because its proximity to the coast and the past Portuguese and French presence. This shaped its history and architectural appereance since the Middle Ages making it the city that is today. When entering the medina, I had like a sort of déjà vu . Indeed, the city looked somehow similar to Faro in Algarve. Not sure if it was for the type of architecture of the Clock Tower, but the vibes were very similar.

History of a name

There is no better way of knowing a place than by its name. Essaouira’s one have quite an interesting twist. Indeed, we can say that the current name Essaouira (spelled as ESS-ə-WEER-ə) is the modern name of the more ancient city of Mogador . This was actually the official name of the city until the 1960s, when it was changed to the current Essaouira. There’s a debate about the origin of this name. In fact, some believe it originates from the Phoenician word “ migdol ,” meaning “small fortress.” Some others, assume that the name came from a Muslim saint buried in the city called Sidi Mogdoul. The truth is yet to be determined.

Portuguese and French Mogador

Day trip to Essaouira - ruins of Castelo Real of Mogador in the coast of Essaouira - view from a balcony

Portuguese, started the occupation of the Moroccan coastal cities in 1415. By 1515 they were already occupying 6 different cities and 6 other stand alone fortresses. Cities included Tangier and Azamor at just 15 mins from Casablanca. Fortresses included Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gué that later became Agadir and Castelo Real of Mogador in what it would become Essaouira. Nevertheless, the fortress had a short life. Indeed already in 1541, after the fall of Agadir, was abandoned to its destiny and fell in the hands of local pirates. French tried to occupy Mogador in 1629 but this initial occupation never happened as they returned back to Sale’ after gaining a good trade agreement with the Sultan. The fortress of Mogador was later destroyed in the late 18th century.

The foundation of Essaouira

The current city of Essaouira is relatively modern compared to the rest of Moroccan cities. Indeed, it was founded by the Moroccan King Mohammed III in the mid 18th century. His main objective was that of building a royal port known to the world that was as close as possible to Marrakech. The construction of the city started in 1760 under the direction of the French architect Théodore Cornut in collaboration with other European and Moroccan architects.

It is widely recorded that Cornut’s work was influenced by the work of the military engineer Vauban at Saint Malo. Indeed, both cities have similar appearance with their large bastions and the citadel enclosed within the walls. Cornut itself wanted to be in charge of the Kasbah area’s construction. Since its completion in 1770 till the 19th century, Essaouira was regarded as Morocco’s most important port. It was famous as the Port of Timbuktu thanks to its straight road to the central Morocco leading to the Atlas Mountain and desert.

Even after the bombardment and destruction of the Mogador fortress in 1844 and the French Protectorate until 1956, Essaouira remained a central location for sea trade.

Today, the medina of Essaouira (former Mogador) is regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This because it represents an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context.

Essaouira travel information

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Here below you will find all the essential information to plan a perfect day trip to Essaouira.

How many days do I need in Essaouira?

Essaouira is a relatively small city. We found that one day trip for us it was satisfying to check-off all its main landmarks. However, if you want to savour more the local cuisine or have a better understanding of the city off the main beaten path, 2 days would be the right amount of time to explore.

Getting to Essaouira

Reaching Essaouira is very straightforward. Indeed, the city has been purposely built to be the closest port city to Marrakech. So, it proposes itself as a natural destination to visit for a day trip. We personally drove from Marrakech but, if without car, Essaouira is well-connected also by public transport.

Driving to Essaouira

Driving to Essaouira is very simple. The city is at less than 3 hours from Marrakesh and you’ll drive a route called N8 than R207 that is all straight (so you can’t get it wrong). As the route is straight and boring, I recommend you to download a podcast or a playlist to listen along the way.

We rented a car from Avis Downtown in Marrakech and this is my recommended rental for the trip as they were very professional with zero attempt to scam us (yes, I am looking at you Jordan ).

The only thing you should pay attention when driving along this road, are speed cameras and police checkpoints. Indeed, it looks like this is one of the most surveilled routes in Morocco and speed infringements are heavily fined. The maximum speed you can go is 80 mph. Therefore, don’t expect to arrive earlier than you should. At the entrance of Essaouira, you’ll see a big police checkpoint where the maximum speed is 20 mph. Don’t go faster, or they’ll stop you and fine you.

Key swingers in Essaouira

As soon as we entered the city and passed the main police check-in, we saw something very unusual. Quite a lot of people jumped in front of our car or tried to approach us while driving by swinging some keys up in the air. I looked at Alessio and I literally said “what’s going on with these people?”. Some of them swinged their keys in the distance, some others were more aggressive and literally jumped in front of the car (yes we risked a few times to hit one of them trying to find parking). It took a while for us to figure it out what was going on. Especially because there was no info online about this weird “phenomenon” and nothing similar happened during our days in Marrakech.

We later discovered those people were trying to sell rental accommodations to possible tourists/local visitors in Essaouira. I honestly never seen anything like this before. In fact, it wasn’t just a matter of 1 or 2 people. A single road had at least 20 swingers. So, imagine how many we had to avoid until reaching the parking.

They are totally harmless, of course (if one doesn’t consider the possibility of getting hit by a car). But I thought I would write a few words about them because you will likely encounter them, yet finding information about them is difficult.

We saw some key swingers also in Chefchaouen but not as many as in Essaouira.

Parking in Essaouira

Parking in Essaouira, particularly during summer, can be a problem. Indeed, the city is quite popular for its beaches and summer festivals, so many Moroccans head there in summer. In this regard, on my map I saved a parking called “Parking Moulay Al Hassan” that turned out to be closed for some kind of festival that day. This was the biggest parking close to the city. After a moment of panic, we found another parking that on the map is just called “Parking lot”.

This is free to use (the other parking has a fee) and it’s just by the beach and just 6 mins walk from Sqala du Port. I pinpointed it on the map above. Not sure if the other parking will open on regular days but this one is a great alternative.

Arrive by public transport

Essaouira, is well-connected by public transport. In fact, there are two main coach services you can use to reach the city if not self-driving.

These are CTM and Supratours . CTM is the national company in Morocco, they provide newer and reliable buses with routes all around the country. The only downside is that they don’t have multiple departure times for certain destinations (e.g. for Essaouira), therefore if a slot is complete you should check different providers.

Soupratours is managed by ONCF and the tickets can be bought from the same website . Conversely to CTM they have multiple departures for certain destinations and their bus stations are generally closer to the city centre/medina than CTM. Soupratour bus tickets are 100 MAD one way. CTM tickets are slightly cheaper (90 MAD) but there is only one departure for Essaouira at 8.30 am.

Day trip to Essaouira. Getting around the city

Day trip to Essaouira - View of the sea from the city bastions

Getting around Essaouira is very easy. In fact, the city is fully walkable and you don’t need a car or public transport to move from one place to another. However, if you have mobility problems, please note some part of the city are not accessible. This regards particularly a part of the ramparts and walls.

A perfect day trip to Essaouira

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The below is exactly the itinerary we followed for our day trip to Essaouira. If you depart early enough from Marrakech (e.g. around 8/8.30 am), you should arrive by 11/11.30 am. This will give you plenty of time to explore the medina before heading for lunch.

If you arrive by 11 am, you have at least 2 hours to spend around the medina before lunch! This is perfect to explore the Medina markets and the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum .

Explore Essaouira Medina and its souks

marrakech day trips reddit

The Medina of Essaouira corresponds to the former Mogador. It’s surrounded by the 18th-century bastions and regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you have already visited Marrakech, you will notice a lot of differences between the two medinas. Indeed, Marrakech is chaotic and loud, full of vendors and tourists walking any walkable space (without counting the motorbikes!). The Medina of Essaouira couldn’t be more different. In fact, most of it is made of very quiet roads where children play football and residents live a quiet life.

In the central area, particularly in the main street Avenue de l’Istiqlal , you can find the souqs and fish markets. You’ll feel the smell of the fish markets much before you’ll see them as the air in that area is completely pervaded. As much as I don’t like fish, this smell reminds me a lot of the Pescheria in Catania (the city where I grew up). So I couldn’t help but feel somehow at home. One of the souks to check-out is certainly the one at Place du Marché aux Grains that has a lot of lovely shops.

Tips for photographing the Medina of Essaouira

Day trip to Essaouira -  Place du Marché aux Grains

It’s already known that Moroccan people don’t like much being photographed (who can blame them after all?). Nevertheless, people from Essaouira are particularly sensitive about the topic. You have to be very careful and trying to don’t photograph people’s faces directly (even at distance). Of course, sometimes is unavoidable due to the crowd, but be careful as much as possible.

In fact, I believe they don’t like people with cameras regardless of what they are photographing. I tell you this because I was trying to photograph a cat and a random man came to me telling me I couldn’t take pictures on the street (whaaat?). Other two people wanted to see what picture I shoot fearing they were in it. Of course they weren’t, but they saw me shooting at distance so they thought I was catching them. If you are a woman traveling alone, people (men) approaching you and asking you (not very politely) to see your shots can be quite intimidating. Therefore be careful. Better safe than sorry!

Visit the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum

Day trip to Essaouira -  Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum carpet hall

The Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum is the history museum of Essaouira. This has been named after the city’s founder, King Mohammed III. This museum is hosted in a 1800 colonial house and displays some of the oldest items belonging to the Gnawa ethinic group. These can’t really be found anywhere else. There is also a carpet hall displaying some beautiful handcrafted items of the area.

Nevertheless, my favourite part was actually the building itself. Indeed, this old building is one of a kind. Before hosting the museum, it was a seigniorial riad with a large number of rooms. Where now appears the staircase, there was a lovely courtyard with a large central fountain. The riad was transformed into the City Hall during the French protectorate. During this period, the courtyard was transformed and the staircase was built instead.

Day trip to Essaouira -  Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum exhibition

To me it still looks like a riad, but with a modern twist makes it a unique type of building. As you can expect, not many people know about this museum (the all coming for the Game of Thrones location uh?). Therefore, when we visited, it was absolutely deserted. This gave us a lot of time, not only to visit the exhibition but also to take some lovely pictures.

On a side note, I noticed that most explanatory cards on the item displayed were only in French or Arabic. Therefore, if you don’t speak those languages it’s hard to determine what are you are looking at. Nevertheless, you can ask at the entrance the mini English guide and the lady will give this to you (it’s free of charge).

Information for visit

The entrance fee to the museum is 60 MAD to be paid in cash.

The address is 161 Avenue Mohamed Zafzaf, Essaouira 44000, Morocco

After our morning tour it was time for a lovely lunch!

Where to eat in Essaouira

Day trip to Essaouira -  Mandala society outdoor and indoor pictures

The food scene in Essaouira is exciting! There are a lot of nice places. Little rooftop cafes, terrace bars, traditional restaurants and, of course, the best places where to have grilled fresh fish. There is literally something for everyone. After days of tagines in Marrakech, when I heard of this little brunch place called Mandala Society I was super excited to try it!

The restaurant is located on the main street of Essaouira. The space of the restaurant is very cosy and organised in multiple levels. There are not many tables and the restaurant is super popular. Therefore is better to book in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Day trip to Essaouira - Brunch at Mandala society

Mandala Society serves brunch until 2 pm and this is amazing because the brunch board includes a brunch dish, fresh orange juice and coffee. I personally take the Mandalavoca (but with bagel) and my husband enjoyed a Mandala quesadilla (all pictured above).

If by any chance Mandala Society doesn’t have space, another nice place for lunch is Cafe’ Clock.

Mandala Society Address

Av. de l’Istiqlal, Essaouira, Morocco

After a very filling lunch, it’s time to check off some well-known places. I am talking about the Essaouira Ramparts and the famous Sqala du Port , both set locations of Game of Game of Trones in Morocco. We ended up our tour with a walk in the fishing harbour of the city.

Walk the Essaouira Ramparts and walls

Day trip to Essaouira - Essaouira ramparts

The Ramparts of Essaouira and the remaining walls are located towards the northern part of the city. These surviving walls and their ramparts are fully walkable and free to access for visitors. They wall part is also accessible to wheelchairs. Nevertheless the Rampart of Mogador (central picture) is separated from the walls by some non-accessible steps.

The Rampart of Morgador is part of the original wall belt. Also the cannons on the walls date back to the 16th century. During the day, this part of the city is very crowded. So a better option for visiting is getting here at sunset time. Moreover sunset from the Essaouira ramparts is really special!

Don’t forget to explore the lower part of the walls. Here you can find a lot of pottery stores and handicraft boutiques. If you have some additional time, end your walk with a visit to the little museum La cité heureuse Essaouira hosting some lovely reproductions of the city walls.

Have a GoT moment at Sqala du Port

Day trip to Essaouira - Sqala du Port different bastions and monumental gate

Most tourists think that Sqala du Port is just the famous GoT bastion (first photo). Nevertheless, Sqala du Port is the entire fortified area of the harbour. Sqala du Port was built in 1769, ordered by Mohammed III. It was built over the Castle of Mogador of which stones were used for this fortification.

The entire fortification functioned as a defensive artillery for the port area. It was built in Manueline style and is formed by two main bastions (first and third photo) and a central monumental gate (second photo) called Bab el-Marsa, which served as access to the city. The most famous (and photographed) bastion is called Borj el-Barmil.

Unfortunately, climbing Borj el-Barmil is forbidden. To take some nice pictures, you have to get down to the boats’ floating platform (trying to not fall into the water). The bastion close to Bab el-Marsa instead is accessible, although I though was inhabited by someone giving the hanging clothes.

Explore the Essaouira fishing harbour

marrakech day trips reddit

If you want to see some action, the fishing arbour of Essaouira is the best place. In the space of 30 mins we saw: children and teens jumping into the water from the bastions, boats coming and go with fresh fish cargo, people queuing to buy fish and even people cooking fish.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t take many pictures because it was quite a crowded area and I didn’t want any issue, but I really wish I could! The port area starts at Borj el-Barmil and continue for about 2 km. Most of the area is currently under renovation so it’s not fully walkable as there are works in progress.

If you are a big fan of fish dishes, you probably should’t miss the Marssa Grillade restaurant. I would say that more than a restaurant is just 4 tables under two parasols. However, the special thing about this place is that they grill fish that was just caught or you can bring your own fish and grill it there. So, you can’t find anything fresher than this in the city. We saw a long queue of tourist waiting for a table and many other sitting already there and looking like they were having the best meal of their lives. So I suppose the fish was delicious.

For your convenience I pinpointed the place in the map above.

Sunset goodbye drink at Salut Maroc

marrakech day trips reddit

After a full day exploring this lovely city, it was time for us to say goodbye and get back to Marrakech. But not before having a sunset (in our case pre-sunset because it was 5.30 pm) drink at one of the nicest restaurants/bar in Essaouira: Salut Maroc.

The restaurant and bar of Salut Maroc are located on the rooftop of a 18th-century riad just on the walls of Essaouira. This was former Merchant’s house and later a Consulate building that is now been converted into a lovely boutique hotel (and restaurant at the top).

It’s one of the nicest places where to have a drink (or even a meal) as it offers an unbeatable view on the coast and the historic ramparts of Essaouira. From here you can spot also the small Îles Purpuraires (Purple Islands). Ancient islands where the Romans used the purple dye extracted from molluscs plucked from the bay, to dye their imperial togas. One of the two small islands is the Isle of Mogador where the ruins of the former fortification still lie.

Where to stay in Essaouira

I haven’t personally stayed in Essaouira because I visited just for a day trip. However, I worked long enough in this sector to know when a place is worth the extra cash. I selected below a few places that I would personally choose if I had to plan an overnight stay in the city.

Luxury stay in Essaouira

marrakech day trips reddit

There are not many luxury hotel chains in Essaouira or, more precisely, there are many places that call themselves “luxury X” but they are not real 5 stars hotels. A name that can grant certainly a more luxurious experience is Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa . This is located slightly off the city’s area but this is repaid by a quiet environment, sophisticated interiors and access to the beach.

If you don’t want to give up to a city stay but still want to enjoy a luxury vibe Heure Bleue Palais – Relais & Châteaux is centrally located. It offers breathtaking views on the Medina in a historical charming house.

Boutique hotels in Essaouira

marrakech day trips reddit

If you have a mid-range budget but still want to enjoy a lovely place and great service, boutique hotels are usually the best. As I mentioned before, Salut Maroc is principally a hotel, which happen to have a fantastic rooftop bar! The whole place is super colourful and the rooms are decorated with fantastic patterns.

Hotel Le Médina Essaouira Thalassa sea & spa – Mgallery is also a valid option if you want an upscale stay rather than a historical house.

Budget stays in Essaouira

marrakech day trips reddit

If you want to stay within a budget without compromising on the quality, Vent des Dunes is cheap, highly rated, close to the city and they even provide an airport shuttle. An additional lovely option is Riad Chbanate. This lovely riad is finely decorated, has a spectacular rooftop and even some impressive bath tubes with a view on the Medina.

Eco-friendly stay in Essaouira

marrakech day trips reddit

I decided to post also about eco-friendly places to stay because it’s a cause I care a lot and there are a growing amount of people in search of places that are proud of their respect for the planet. One lovely eco-friendly stay in Essaouira is Les Jardins de Villa Maroc. Particularly their Ecodomes, that according to the description from the hotel are “based on a sustainable architecture model, the Ecodomes are built from local materials, only using what can be found in the region of Essaouira. The round constructions are naturally anti-seismic and autonomous in energy. Each room is an individual Ecodome as part of our boutique hotel concept, ensuring the privacy of every guest”.

Day trip to Essaouira. Map of all the locations

Find here the map of all the locations mentioned in this blog to find them easily. This includes also the hotels and restaurants mentioned. Some hotels are outside the city and you’ll need to move the map a little further to find them.

Plan your trip to Morocco

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I loved the detailed information you provided. Essaouira is actually my favorite city in Morocco. It’s more laid back in our experience, and was a great respite after the craziness of Marakech.

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What a detailed blog post, loved the location map which makes finding everything easier!

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Wow what a detailed guide!! I would feel very prepared 🙂

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I love doing day trips when traveling! Would love to try out essaouira! Looks like a picturesque place to visit. Thanks for sharing all your recommendations!

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COMMENTS

  1. Visiting Marrakech for 6 days, any recommendations why to do ...

    Jardin Secret - small private garden very peaceful and fairly empty. A day trip to Essaouira w tour- not cheap but worth it - 2.5 hours away - this trip is 1400dhr for driver/lunch and 600dhr for great tour guide while there or about $200 total for both of you and private. A day trip to the Atlas Mountains. A hammam and massage.

  2. Day tours or experience suggestions in/around Marrakech : r/travel

    Day tours or experience suggestions in/around Marrakech. I am traveling alone to Marrakech in a few weeks and will be joining a trekking tour for a week. I have two extra days in the city after the trip, though, and as a female traveling alone, I am erring on the side of caution and planning to book a couple of day tours or experiences with a ...

  3. Tips for Marrakech : r/travel

    Get the Reddit app Scan this QR code to download the app now. Or check it out in the app stores   ... *Day trips - I'm looking at Viator because it seems like the most organized and established option for visiting Atlas Mountain range, Essaouira, and camel trekking. ... being an 18-year-old solo traveler on a mini trip to Marrakech, felt ...

  4. Marrakech Day Trip Recommendations : r/Morocco

    Welcome to r/Morocco!Please always make sure to take the time to read the rules of this community, follow them and help us enforce them by reporting offenders. And remember that we have a zero tolerance policy for non-civil discourse and offenders risk being permanently banned.

  5. One Day in Marrakech

    Leaving for a multi-country trip on Saturday. As part of this trip, I'll have 2 nights (one full day) in Marrakech. I'm a woman traveling solo. Not terribly concerned about safety, because I'm a pretty conscientious traveler, but definitely mindful about sticking to spaces that are friendly to solo female tourists.

  6. full or half day trips from Marrakech? : r/travel

    Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns. 3 days for just Marrakesh seems about right. You can rent a car and do a day trip to Cascade Ouzoud, beautiful waterfall... Big af. Cascade Ouzoud is a good 1 day excursion. You can also do 1 day camel treks or ATV excursions from the city.

  7. 17 INCREDIBLE Day Trips & Tours in Marrakech (that are worth the $$)

    1 The Best Tours in Marrakesh. 1.1 Desert Quad and Camel tour. 1.2 Sunset camel ride in the Marrakech Palmeraie. 1.3 The Majorelle Gardens. 1.4 Off-road bike tour. 2 The Best Day Trips from Marrakech. 2.1 The Atlas Mountains and Three Valleys. 2.2 Ouzoud Waterfalls. 2.3 Hot Air Balloon Ride.

  8. A Perfect Week: Best things to do in Marrakech in 7 days

    The other 5 days we spent in Marrakech exploring the Red city and doing some side trips. Our 7 day Marrakech Itinerary 2 days in the Atlas Mountains 1 day to Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast 3 days in Marrakech 1 day to the Agafay Desert . We flew directly from our desert adventure at Agafay to the airport to catch a flight to Porto, Portugal.

  9. Day trips Advice : r/Marrakech

    Posted by u/SuchGain0 - 2 votes and 7 comments

  10. 3 Days in Marrakech Morocco: Best Things to Do

    Although the tombs are open daily from 9 am until 2 pm, and 3 pm until 6 pm, late afternoon is the recommended visiting time due to the popularity of the tombs by tourists. Cost: 6 €. Open: 9 am -5 pm (Monday to Sunday) Plan to spend: ± 30 minutes. Distance to Bahia Palace: 7-minute drive / 16-20 minute walk.

  11. The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech

    With SunnyCarsyou can already rent a high quality car for as little as €32 per dayfor 1 week in April! The 7 Best Day Trips From Marrakech. 1. Ouzoud Waterfalls. 🚗 Driving time from Marrakech- 2,5 hours. If you're looking for a more lush scenery then a day trip to the Ouzoud waterfalls is the perfect idea!

  12. 11 Top-Rated Day Trips from Marrakesh

    11. Ramble around the Fortress of El-Jadida. Map of Day Trips from Marrakesh. 1. Have a Taste of the High Atlas in the Ourika Valley. Ourika Valley landscape. About 77 kilometers from Marrakesh, the mountain valley villages of the Ourika Valley are one of the most popular things to do outside the city. The little villages and towns, surrounded ...

  13. Best Marrakech Day Trips & Excursions

    Explore the enchanting landscapes and cultural treasures of Morocco with our Marrakech day trips, meticulously designed for an immersive and hassle-free experience. Discover the allure of the Ouzoud Waterfalls on our Ouzoud Waterfalls day trip from Marrakech, where cascading waters amidst lush surroundings create a mesmerizing spectacle.

  14. Marrakech Itinerary

    Accommodation. Take a sensory journey through the vibrant streets of Marrakech, where ancient tradition meets modern appeal. Discover the magic of Morocco's capital with our designed 3 or 4-day Marrakech itineraries, passing through bustling souks, ornate palaces and the timeless Majorelle Garden. How to plan a perfect Marrakech itinerary.

  15. 16 Really Useful Tips for Visiting Marrakech

    13 Wonderful Things to Do in Marrakech. The Six Best Day Trips from Marrakech. The Best Riads in Marrakech For Those on a Budget. Riad Porte Royale | An Oasis of Calm in Hectic Marrakech. Marrakech to Merzouga | Our Moroccan Road Trip Itinerary. 21 Things to Know Before a Moroccan Road Trip. Our Night in the Sahara Desert

  16. The 9 Best Day Trips From Marrakech

    Bus Via Asni | Firstly you will need to take a bus from the Gare Routiere de Marrakech to Asni and then from Asni, you can take a minibus or a shared taxi (around 10 MAD) the rest of the way. Grand Taxi | Either hired privately or shared with other passengers, a grand taxi is an easy way to reach Imlil from Marrakech.

  17. THE TOP 10 Marrakech Day Trips (w/Prices)

    These day trips from Marrakech offer a fascinating insight into Morocco's diverse landscape, vibrant people, and rich heritage without having to venture too far. 1,630 results. Revenue may affect this sort order. Atlas Mountains and 3 Valleys & Waterfalls - Camel ride Marrakech. 9,229. Journey to Morocco's Atlas Mountain area and spend the ...

  18. Four Days In Marrakech Itinerary: Best Things To Do In The Red City

    Multi-day tours from Marrakech. Check out more of the most popular multi-day tours from Marrakech below. 3-day safari tour from Marrakech to Merzouga. 3-Day Sahara tour to the Erg Chebbi Dunes. 3-Day desert tour to Fes. 3-day tour from Marrakech to the blue city of Chefchaouen with stops in Fez, the most traditional city in Morocco, Rabat and ...

  19. The 9 best day trips from Marrakech

    7. Day trip to Marrakech's Palm Grove. Marrakech's beautiful Palm Grove, also known as La Palmeraie, is less than an hour outside of Marrakech so it's an ideal day trip to escape the busy city. La Palmeraie covers 13,000 ha and has about 150,000 palm trees providing shade where camels can escape the heat of the desert.

  20. 15 Best Day Trips from Marrakech

    From deserts and waterfalls to Berber villages and rocky valleys, there are many day trips to take from Marrakech. 1. Ouzoud Falls. Source: Alberto Loyo / shutterstock. Ouzoud Falls. The Ouzoud Falls are an incredibly impressive set of waterfalls that plunge from high cliffs far down into a huge basin.

  21. Atlas Mountains and 4 Valleys Guided Day Tour from Marrakech 2024

    Atlas Mountains and 3 Valleys & Waterfalls - Camel ride Marrakech. 9,150. from $33.24. Marrakech, Central Morocco. Marrakech: Atlas Mountains Tour with Camel Ride. 4. from $9.00. Marrakech, Central Morocco. A day in Ouarzazate and Aït-ben-Haddou from Marrakech.

  22. Marrakech Day Trips: 8 Unforgettable Escapes

    Explore the Historical Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou Near Marrakech. Embarking on a day trip from Marrakech to Kasbah Aït Benhaddou and Ouarzazate, the remarkable twin destinations located southeast of Morocco promises an unforgettable experience for travelers exploring the wonders of Morocco. Situated southeast of Marrakech, these two captivating locations have garnered international acclaim for ...

  23. A day trip to Essaouira from Marrakech. Plan your perfect journey

    Day trip to Essaouira - Medina of Essaouira. The below is exactly the itinerary we followed for our day trip to Essaouira. If you depart early enough from Marrakech (e.g. around 8/8.30 am), you should arrive by 11/11.30 am. This will give you plenty of time to explore the medina before heading for lunch.