With vibrant markets, street food delights and a pulsating nightlife, Marrakech is as thrilling as it is ancient. Here is our guide to getting the most out of this singular city, as well as the stunning natural surrounds of Morocco.
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Best time to visit Marrakech
We don’t advise visiting Marrakech, or much of Morocco, in the heart of summer. June to August can be uncomfortably hot, with temperatures regularly exceeding 40°C, making it incredibly difficult to make the most of a city that is ripe for exploring.
The best time to visit is unquestionably the shoulder seasons of spring – March to May – and autumn – September to November. You’ll get gorgeous weather but milder temperatures, basking the city in a warm, comforting glow. In spring, temperatures range between 20°C and 30°C, while the surrounding countryside is lush and green, making it an ideal time to visit the Atlas Mountains. In autumn, the temperatures are similar and the crowds are not as intense as in summer. There’s no better time to do some proper touristy sightseeing. Do remember to pack layers during shoulder season, since the days will be warm but things can get chilly quite quickly when the sun goes down.
Don’t discount winter as a time to visit Marrakech either! The winters are extremely mild here, with daytime temperatures still regularly hitting 20°C. The nights will get cold, so do pack appropriately, but conditions are perfect to explore the city. Crowds will also be reduced and, if you like to travel during Christmas – nothing here closes on the 25 December!
What to do in Marrakech
The best thing you can do in Marrakech is stay central. The old Medina is where all the fun lies, with its narrow streets, tightly packed market stalls and ancient works of Islamic architecture. Koutobia Mosque is the star of the city’s skyline, as well as a must-visit, while the most famous attraction by a distance is Jemaa el-Fna. The giant market square is alive with colour, aromatic smells and the sound of local businesses in full swing. Be sure to spend plenty of time perusing the stalls here, chomping on street food delights to keep your energy high, and stopping for a mint tea with a view from the rooftops of one of the restaurants surrounding the square.
Our general advice is walk, stroll and meander your way about town. Get lost, get un-lost and get lost again. Pop into a local bakery, try out a traditional hammam or go on a mini shopping spree.
Don’t neglect the area’s surrounding natural beauty, either. Marrakech is right at the foot of the stunning Atlas Mountains. Hike along epic gorges, visit traditional Berber villages and stay in authentic accommodations just outside the city. Alternatively, you could spend a night in the desert by heading to Agafay, where luxury camps and camel rides await.
The ultimate Marrakech tour
Call us bias, but we think our Myriad Morocco trip is the perfect Marrakech tour. Our Travel Experts have planned out an itinerary that blends city, mountain and desert within just five days. The logistics are all taken care of, just book your spot and meet us in Marrakech. Our Local Insider will be waiting, too, ready to offer priceless cultural insights and local recommendations.
Our time in the city kicks off with a welcome dinner in the Medina, followed by free time to explore Jemaa el-Fna lit-up at night. Our first full day starts with an expert guided tour of the old town’s maze-like streets. You’ll get a better grasp of the main square and visit Koutoubia Square, before being led to a bakery that’s been making pastilla, tagine and traditional Moroccan bread for centuries. You’ll also get to see a traditional wood-burning furnace, which offers insights into the ancient wellness art of hammam.
After another evening spent in Marrakech we’ll flee to the mountains. The Atlas Mountains, that is, and a traditional Berber village perched on the hillside. Marvel at the breathtaking vistas, wander around the old village and chat to locals over an authentic Berber lunch. You’ll have some free time to explore before spending a night in a traditional riad and embarking on a guided hike the next morning. Trace mule tracks, cross olive groves and orchards en route to the dusty clifftop drops of the Azaden Valley.
Jaw suitably dropped, it’s time to lower the altitude as we head out to the Agafay Desert. We’ll be staying at a luxury camp that looks out over this surreal red-rock expanse, with the opportunity to go on an unforgettable sunset camel ride. After that it’s time for a classic desert dinner made with local ingredients, before a night of stargazing around the campfire. Not bad for a city break, right? We’ll head to Marrakech in the morning, where we part ways, perhaps with some time to go souvenir shopping in the souk before you leave.
Other Trips featuring Marrakech
We have more Marrakech for you, don’t you worry. Our 11-day Epic Morocco trip is a far more comprehensive exploration of the gateway to Africa, starting in the equally famous city of Casablanca. From there we’ll head to the surreal blue town of Chefchaouen, the Roman ruins of Volubilis and Fes, perhaps the most authentically ancient city in the country. Next up is the Sahara, where we’ll stay at a riad and later a desert camp, exploring the dunes of Merzouga, meeting locals in a Gnawa village and sampling wine under the stars. You’ll also get to enjoy an incredible desert astronomy experience and go for a sunrise camel ride. After that we’ll head up to the Atlas Mountain, where we’ll sip sunset cocktails at the hotel and hike around Todra and Dades Gorges. We’ll stop off at Kasbah Ait-Ben-Haddou – one of the most historic and beautiful sights in all of Morocco – before finally reaching our ultimate destination, Marrakech. You’ll be guided on a sensory street food extravaganza, as well as an expert cooking class the next day. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the city for yourself.
How about embracing train travel with our continent-crossing Rail Trip? Madrid to Marrakech by Train is an extraordinary journey that traces the cultural, historical and culinary similarities, differences and evolutions from the heart of Spain to the gateway of North Africa. You’ll explore Madrid, Cordoba and Seville on the Spanish side, before hopping on a ferry to Tangiers. From there it’s on to Casablanca and Fes, before reaching our final destination, once again the magical city of Marrakech. You’ll embark on a tasting trail of the old Medina, as well as a morning tour of the city, including visits to Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs.
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