20 Top Things to Do in Marrakech in Your 20s

Colourful hats for sale in Marrakech | © EyeofJ / Flickr
Colourful hats for sale in Marrakech | © EyeofJ / Flickr
Photo of Sarah Williams
13 June 2017

Morocco’s Red City is an enthralling destination for people of all ages. A plethora of attractions and activities ensure that there’s never a dull moment. There are certainly plenty of reasons to visit Marrakech. Budget-friendly activities ensure it’s a top destination for all. Here are some of the best things for younger visitors to enjoy in Marrakech.

Stay in a Sociable Riad

Marrakech has a wealth of traditional homes, known as riads and dars, that have been converted into enchanting guest houses. Usually brimming with exotic designs and patterns, staying in a riad is one of the best ways to experience a little part of local life. Some riads cater especially to younger guests, with sociable common areas and a program of activities to help people to make new friends and mingle. There are enough budget accommodations in Marrakech to keep your bank account happy.

Traditional riad in Marrakech | © Jorge Cancela / Flickr

Find the Tastiest Street Food

Marrakech, as with Morocco in general, is famous for its delicious cuisine. The local street food is especially tempting for younger guests, being both wallet-friendly and tasty. Meat skewers, soups, sandwiches, pastries, and pizzas are among the city’s street fare. There are plenty of places to dine on a budget too, if you want a sit-down meal.

Street food in Marrakech | © www.twin-loc.fr / Flickr

Spend a Day at a Water Park

What better way could there be to cool down and have fun on a hot summer’s day than to head to a water park? Race your buddies down the chutes and slides, feel refreshed in the pools, and enjoy varied features such as lazy rivers, inflatable toys, and sunbathing areas. Oasiria, Aqua Fun Club, and Eden Aquapark are a few to add to your list.

Ride on the Back of a Camel

While many people think of camels when they think of Morocco, it can come as a surprise to find that camels are typically only found close to the desert areas. Head to Palmeraie, a palm oasis just outside the city centre, and you’ll be able to experience the fun of a camel ride.

Camels in a palm oasis | © GGuillaume / Flickr

Enjoy the Thrill of Quad Biking

Another popular activity in Palmeraie is quad biking. The sandy and rocky terrain, surrounded by lush palm trees, is ideal for adventures.

View over the handlebars of a quad bike | © Jeremy Salmon / Flickr

Explore in a Horse-Drawn Carriage

Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city for a different perspective. Especially loved by young couples, a ride in a calleche can be super romantic in the right company.

Calleche in Marrakech | © Michael Button / Flickr

Enjoy the Local Art Scene

Artsy youngsters may appreciate the city’s diverse art scene. There are several small galleries in Gueliz, in addition to studios at Sidi Ghanem and museums that contain beautiful local artwork. There’s also plentiful street art to admire.

Haggle Hard in the Souks

The colourful souks of Marrakech draw visitors of all ages. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, seeing the range of wares and experiencing the lively atmosphere are must-dos. If something does catch your eye, don’t forget to indulge in some friendly haggling to secure the best price for your gifts and souvenirs.

Spices in Marrakech’s souks | © Feliciano Guimarães / Flickr

Navigate the Streets of the Medina

The old medina of Marrakech is another top city attraction regardless of age. Spend at least a few hours getting lost in the maze-like alleyways and seeing how local people live within the high outer walls.

Local Marrakshi man sitting in the medina | © tjabeljan / Flickr

Learn More about the Local History

Young and old alike cannot help but be interested in Marrakech’s long history. A former imperial city, Marrakech’s splendid historic spots include the Saadian Tombs, Badi Palace, Bahia Palace, and Koutoubia Mosque.

Ornate tombs inside Bahia Palace | © Chris / Flickr

Take it Easy in a Hammam

Even youngsters need a little TLC at times! Treat yourself to a little pampering with a visit to a Marrakshi hammam. The public hammams let you bathe with the locals and enjoy lower costs. If you want a little more luxury, however, you’ll also find a good selection of high-class spas too.

Get Comfortable in a Shisha Café

Ornate shisha pipes are among the goods you’ll find for sale in Marrakech’s many markets. There are also several shisha cafes where you can chill out in ambient surroundings and enjoy a smoke while listening to hypnotic music.

Shisha pipe | © Jan Krömer / Flickr

Discover Your Favourite Roof Terrace

Visit a few cafes with roof terraces and find the best views and most laid-back atmosphere in the Red City. Those around Djemaa el Fna are especially enthralling, although those that overlook the medina’s rooftops can be equally as endearing. While you won’t usually find alcohol on the drinks menu you can enjoy a refreshing glass of mint tea, fruit juice, or other soft drink.

Relaxing rooftop terrace overlooking the medina | © Nick Anstead / Flickr

Experience the Energy of Djemaa el Fna

Djemaa el Fna is Marrakech’s main square. A hive of activity by day and by night, it is a magnet for most visitors to the city. A world of enchantment awaits, with monkeys and snake charmers, fortune tellers, story tellers, magicians, acrobats and more.

Djemaa el Fna at nighttime | © Oriol Martí / Flickr

Decorate Yourself with a Henna Tattoo

Probably more appealing for female visitors, there are numerous women at Djemaa el Fna who will decorate your hands, arms, feet and legs with an intricate temporary henna tattoo. The dye eventually fades away, leaving you with no permanent skin patterns. Choose your design and relax as the women skillfully apply the henna to your skin. Be sure, however to only use brown henna; black henna can cause allergic reactions and chemical burns.

Intricate and attractive henna designs | © SheltieBoy / Flickr

Go Bar Hopping in Gueliz and Hivernage

Gueliz is the newer part of Marrakech, built during the French colonial era. It is also where you will find the highest concentration of bars and nightclubs. Alternatively, the high-class hotels of Hivernage boast a terrific assortment of clubs, bars and shows. Put your glad rags on and head out for a night of dancing, drinking and merriment in the diverse nighttime entertainment venues.

Belly dancing show | © Matt Kieffer / Flickr | © Matt Kieffer / Flickr

Feel the Rush at Terres d’Amanar

Terres d’Amanar is within the wider Marrakech region, 41 kilometres from the city centre. It offers an array of adrenaline-inducing activities, including a long zipline across a gaping gorge. Other activities include horse riding, mountain biking, rope courses in the trees, climbing, and archery.

Hike a Waterfall at Ourika Valley

Located 40 kilometres from the heart of Marrakech, the lush Ourika Valley is a great place for visitors to admire mountain scenery and hike a multi-level waterfall. The riverside restaurants at Setti Fatma are ideal for refueling.

Beautiful scenic views of Ourika Valley | © Bryce Edwards / Flickr

Go Surfing in Essaouira

Essaouira is a coastal destination that is a popular day trip from Marrakech. In addition to a charming medina, an old fortress, laid-back souks and a collection of cool bars, the windy conditions on the beaches make it an ideal place for surfing, windsurfing, and kite surfing.

Ready to surf in Essaouira | © Tanel Teemusk

Take a Day Trip to Ouarzazate

Another top day trip to make from Marrakech is to Ouarzazate. Located on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, it is often referred to as the ‘Door to the Desert’. The beguiling mud-built kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou draws scores of visitors, and there is also a movie museum and filming studios in the area. You might be surprised to discover the amount of movies that have been shot here and in other parts of the country.

The kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou | © Maureen / Flickr

Other things that people in their 20s may enjoy around Marrakech are visiting the city’s varied museums, getting up close and personal with former working donkeys at Jarjeer Donkey Sanctuary, hitting the modern shops of Gueliz, and shopping for crafts and handmade goods at Sidi Ghanem. Additionally, you could explore the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, take a day trip to Ouzoud Waterfall, visit Marrakech’s tanneries, watch the Fantasia Show at Chez Ali, and, if time permits, take a three-day trip to the mighty Sahara Desert.

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