Magical Weekend in Marrakech: Local’s Guide

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Welcome to Marrakech, a unique city in Morocco where the ancient meets the modern as the souks of the Medina merge with the modern buildings and contemporary art of the Gueliz district.

It’s a vibrant city where you can explore the narrow labyrinth of streets in the Medina. See giant piles of spices, admire handmade Berber carpets, and take pictures of colorful lanterns.

Enjoy the unique atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site before visiting local attractions like the Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, Majorelle Jardin, and more.

Luckily for you, many of Marrakech’s top attractions are well-located in and around the Medina.

So, you can quickly and easily enjoy some of the city’s most amazing attractions if you only have a weekend in Marrakech.

Let’s take a look at all of the exciting landmarks that you can explore and see why everyone who visits falls head over heels in love with the red city.

What to do With a Weekend in Marrakech

1. Visit Jemma el-Fna Square

Jemma el-Fna Square is the beating heart of Marrakech. It is a great place to visit in the evening as musicians, snake charmers, belly dancers, and monkey handlers all converge in this main square on the outer edge of the Medina..

For the best experience, arrive about an hour or two before sunset. This way you can explore the square and soak up the atmosphere before heading to the roof of a nearby cafe, like L’Adresse Cafe and Restaurant.

Sit at a table overlooking the square and watch the sunset as all the people wander around the square beneath you. The views are stunning and you will love this unique bird’s eye view.

2. Enjoy Koutubia Mosque

Built in the 12th century, this is one of the largest and most important mosques in the city. Sadly, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. But, if you visit on a Friday then you can catch a glimpse of the interior as locals enter and exit the mosque.

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Otherwise, admire the 250-foot tall (76-meter) minaret that proudly stands across the street from Jemma el-Fna Square. You can then walk around the shady paths of the gardens that surround the mosque. Sit on a bench, admire the fountains, enjoy the shade of a date palm, and check out the ruins of an old prayer hall during your weekend in Marrakech.

3. Go Shopping in the Medina

Shopping at the Medina Marrakech.
Marrakech Medina

If you only visit one place during your trip to Marrakech then let the Medina be it. The narrow cobblestone lanes and old-world markets that fill up this narrow, cramped, and pedestrianized part of the city are a must-see.

Everywhere you turn you’ll uncover historic hammams, souks (markets) filled with textiles and exotic spices, and ancient city walls. Bring cash and get ready to haggle as you shop for colorful tagines, magical lanterns, amazing carpets, and pure argan.

Some of the best souks in the Medina include Souk Semmarine, Souk Cherratine for leather goods, Souk des Babouche for traditional Moroccan slippers, and La Criée Berbère for handmade Berber carpets.

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4. Visit Bahia Palace

Moroccan tiles at Bahia Palace.
Bahia Palace

Visiting Bahia Palace in Marrakech is an experience to remember since this 8,000-square-foot complex is filled with stunning architecture and intricate designs.

Time your visit for the morning so that you can avoid the tour groups and explore the 150 rooms that are open to the public.

Visit the Petit Riad and Grand Riad to see the exquisite tilework, traditional Moroccan zouak (wood carving), and incredible plasterwork. Just don’t forget to look up at the exquisite ceilings too.

Afterward, visit Cour d’Honneur. It’s a breathtaking courtyard where you can relax and walk along a vast Italian Carrara marble floor.

5. Stand in Awe of the Saadian Tombs

Recently rediscovered in 1917 as the result of aerial photography, the Saddian Tombs were built by the Saadian Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour Ed Dahbi. He wanted to create a burial site fit for a king and transformed the cemetery next to Badia Palace into a grand mausoleum.

Palace in Marrakech.
Palace in Marrakech

The tombs are a bit small and cramped because Sultan Moulay Ismail tried to conceal the tombs in 1603 to erase the previous king from memory.

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But, the site is still well worth visiting since you’ll get to see rooms filled with Italian Carrara marble, intricate muqarnas plasterwork, and stunning gold.

Must-see spots include the Chamber of the 12 Pillars, which is renowned for its exquisite tilework, as well as Lalla Massouda’s Tomb, the Garden Tombs, and the Chamber of Three Niches and Prayer Room. You can take a joint tour of the Medina, Bahia Palace and Saadian Tomb.

6. Jardin Majorelle

Houses at Jardin Majorelle.
Jardin Majorelle – Marrakech

Easily one of the best and most beautiful gardens in the city, Jardin Majorelle is famous for housing over 300 varieties of plants and for a stunning blue building.

This structure was originally built by Jacques Majorelle as his home in 1924. The property later fell into disrepair and was eventually bought and refurbished by Yves Saint Laurent in 1980.

Today, the building is home to a Berber Museum that features over 600 authentic items relating to Berber culture. Explore the small museum and complex at your leisure.

You can avoid the crowds by visiting when they open. Opt for a combined ticket that includes admission to Jardin Majorelle and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum to save money. Also, be sure to purchase tickets online to avoid a long queue once you arrive.

7. The Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Dedicated to preserving the fashions and memory of French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, this museum in Marrakech is home to an array of handmade outfits and accessories that were designed during his 40-year career.

Stop by to watch a film about his life, see some of the designer’s amazing sketches, and understand why Yves Saint Laurent loved Marrakech so much. You can even explore various temporary exhibits that regularly rotate in and out of the museum.

It’s also a great place to get tickets to Jardin Majorelle since queues here tend to be much shorter than at the garden down the road.

8. Dar Bacha Museum

This museum is the Medina is a great example of traditional riad architecture and was originally built for Pacha Thami El Glaoui. Today it is a stunning museum filled with exquisite plasterwork, vibrant zellige tiles, and elaborate cedar lintels.

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The museum’s serene courtyard offers a tranquil space to unwind after exploring the main salons, seeing a 12th-century Mediterranean map, and exploring the inner workings of a traditional hammam.

Since Bacha Coffee is located inside the museum, put your name down for a table and then explore the museum while you wait.

9. Bacha Coffee

Coffee at Dar Bacha Museum.
Bacha Coffee

Easily one of the prettiest cafes in Marrakech, Bacha Coffee sits inside the Dar Bacha Museum and is a great place to relax after a long day of sightseeing in Marrakech.

The coffee and croissants are absolutely delicious and surprisingly budget-friendly, which is why many people come here regularly for brunch in Marrakech.

The elaborate decor includes opulent black and white tiled floors, an ornate wooden coffee bar, classic furniture, and intricate wallpaper.

Just select from a menu filled with hundreds of coffees and watch as a golden pot of fresh coffee is brought right to your table, with fresh whipped cream and vanilla on the side.

Also order a delicious almond croissant, as well as another flavor since two croissants come in each order, and relax during your weekend in Marrakech.

10. Ben Youssef Madrasa (Ibn Youssef School)

Easily one of the most fascinating places in Marrakech, this college was originally built in the 14th century and was once the largest school in North Africa.

It was designed for Sultan Abu Inan Faris and was built to accommodate over 900 students

Today it is the largest madrasa in Morocco and is a gorgeous building where you can see fabulous tilework as you explore the various prayer halls, courtyards, and dormitories that can be found here.

Bio: Kelly of Travel Morroco Today

Kelly from Travel Morocco Today.
Kelly from Travel Morocco Today

Kelly first traveled to Morocco in January of 2023 and has been here ever since. She now lives in Essaouira and created Travel Morocco Today to help travelers enjoy all of the beautiful things that Morocco has to offer. Follow Kelly from Travel Morocco Today on Pinterest or join her group on Facebook.

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Pinterest images of shopping at Medina and Moroccan tiles at Bahia Palace.
Pinterest images of Badia Palace and Jardin Majorelle.

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