Planning to visit Marrakech and looking for an itinerary? You're in the right place! Continue reading for a complete guide on how to spend 3 days in Marrakech, Morocco listing what to do, where to eat, and important Marrakech travel tips.
I never expected to become as enamored with Morocco as I did. Our introduction to this wonderful country began in the artistic city of Marrakech.
Beautiful chaos is how I would describe this quickly growing tourist destination. A city filled with contradictions; gorgeous palaces found on dusty roads, serene rooftop tea houses steps above frantically driven donkey carts and speedy scooter bikes.
Jake and I weren’t sure what to expect when we booked our trip to Morocco.
Once we overcame our initial feelings of culture shock and learned how to navigate our way through the customs of this unique city, we fell in LOVE!
We both agreed we will be revisiting many times.
This 3 days in Marrakech itinerary will focus on getting to all the major sights while leaving enough time to relax on a tranquil rooftop while sipping Moroccan mint tea (it’s part of the culture and must be enjoyed at least twice a day!).
Everything is ordered to make geographical sense and save you time from retracing your footsteps.
I hope this Marrakech itinerary inspires you to visit this beautiful city soon.
How to spend 3 days in Marrakech | Itinerary
This map shows everything listed on this 3 days in Marrakech itinerary. Click the icon in the very top left to see a list view of each pinned location. Click the top right button to enlarge the map. Click the star to save to your own Google Maps account. To access this map once saved (after clicking the star), open Google Maps (on your phone/computer/tablet), click the menu button, go to "your places", select "maps", and you will see this map listed.
- Red - day 1 sights
- Purple - day 2 sights
- Blue - day 3 sights
- Black - restaurants, cafes
Day 1 in Marrakech | Itinerary
If this is your first time to visit Marrakech, it makes the most sense to book a Riad (aka Moroccan bed and breakfast) in the Medina so you're close to all the sites.
I'm a big fan of joining a walking tour when you're new to a city. It makes the most sense to do this on your first day.
A 3 to 4 hour tour will give you a glimpse into the history of the city and take you by some of the top sights. This is a great way to get your bearings.
I think joining a tour is especially important in Marrakech. Many first-time visitors are a bit nervous about the culture and the Medina can be quite confusing with all the twisting streets and lack of signage.
A tour will get you comfortable enough to explore on your own later. It's also nice to have a tour guide at your disposal to ask any questions about sights you'll visit later, restaurant recommendations, and overall culture/etiquette questions.
Try to pick the first morning time slot for your tour. These tours hit many of the top sights and have wonderful reviews:
*Marrakech is extremely affordable. This is a great place to splurge on a private tour*
- Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Marrakech Private Tour - 3 hours. $65 a person.
- Highlights of Marrakech: Private Half-Day City Tour - 3 to 4 hours. $90 a person. This includes skip-the-line tickets to attractions/sights on the tour.
ROOFTOP TEA OR LUNCH BREAK
Now is a great time to find a good rooftop to enjoy a coffee, tea, snack, or lunch break. These are some great options that are a short walk from Madersa Ben Youssef (our next stop):
- Cafe Des Epices
- La terrasse des épices - LOVED this rooftop
- Atay Cafe - small, but cozy rooftop
- Un déjeuner a Marrakech
- Naranj Restaurant
Madersa Ben Youssef
Make your way to one of the most photographed buildings in Marrakech.
Madersa Ben Youssef was once an impressive medieval Koranic school built in the 14th century. It also served as a library and mosque and was later expanded in the 16th century.
This is a beautiful place to introduce you to the beauty and history of Marrakech.
Gaze upon colorful tiles and carved stucco and enjoy the tranquil courtyards. It's open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Tickets are 40 DN and can be purchased at the door.
Walk about 15 to 20 minutes from Madersa Ben Youssef to Koutoubia Mosque. You'll go by Jemaa el-Fnaa, a famous square jam-packed with vendors and stalls. Don't linger as we will visit tomorrow morning when it's less crowded.
Non-muslims can’t go inside Koutoubia Mosque, but the exterior is especially striking. If you have time, come back at sunset!
A shaded 6-minute stroll through the Koutoubia Gardens (aka Parc Lalla Hana) will take you to Hotel Mamounia. The gardens are located just south of the Mosque.
Grab a cocktail or tea and take a break at this famous hotel.
Walk the gardens once your feet have gotten enough rest.
Hotel Mamounia, most notably the spa, has become popular for Instagram photos with it's gorgeous tiles and columns.
Enjoy a multi-course affair of traditional Marrakech food at a quaint Riad.
Some of the best restaurants in Marrakech are found in Riads. Pepe Nero, La Maison Arabe, Dar Anika Kitchen, and La Table Du Riad at Riad 72 are all solid Marrakech restaurants.
2 Days in Marrakech
Most riads include breakfast with their rates and will offer delicious items on the rooftop. Take advantage of this and enjoy your riad!
If you got your fill of Jemaa el-Fnaa yesterday, feel free to skip it this morning. I won't blame you one bit as this was my least favorite area in Marrakech (Jake felt the same way). BUT, if you want to wander it more in-depth...morning is the time to do so.
After breakfast, visit the busiest square in North Africa. The action hits full force later in the afternoon. To get a taste without being too overwhelmed, it's a good idea to go first thing in the morning.
Take in the colorful stalls and all the food options, but please do not:
- get henna (many of the henna artists in the square are working illegally and many use harsh ingredients like gasoline in their ink, gasp!)
- support snake charmers and monkey handlers by taking photos, paying for photos, etc. They steal these monkeys from the Atlas Mountains and treat both monkeys and snakes terribly.
Wander the stalls and take it all in. Buy some freshly squeezed juice or pomegranate seeds.
Don't be surprised if you are hassled to buy things. Just be firm in your "no", keep wandering, and keep a smile on your face.
My best Marrakech travel advice is to stay friendly, but firm and confident.
The most ornate tombs in Morocco. The Saadian tombs are the only remains of the Saadian dynasty which reined over Marrakech from 1524 to 1659. 7 sultans and 62 family members are buried here.
The tombs cost 60DH (about $6) and are open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
Try to arrive as early as possible. It gets crowded the The Room of the Twelve Pillars (the most beautiful area of the tombs) often has a line of people waiting to get photos.
Kasbah Mosque (aka Moulay El yazid Mosque) and neighborhood
Take some time to wander the Kasbah area and enjoy how quiet it is compared to the hustle and bustle of Jemaa el-fnaa.
The Kasbah Mosque was built around 1185 and remains one of the most historically important mosques in Marrakech.
Like the Koutoubia Mosque, non-muslims cannot enter. But it's still beautiful to admire from the outside.
El Badi Palace
Impressive palace ruins and a perfect photo opportunity. An interesting fact is that the El Badi Palace design was influenced by the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
Entrance costs 70DH (about $7) and opening times are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
Depending on how interested you are in ruins, you can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half at El Badi Palace.
A 5-minute walk from El Badi Palace, Bahia Palace is a wonderful example of Arabic architecture. Comprised of over 160 rooms and multiple courtyards, you'l have ample opportunities to gaze upon Tornate tiles, beautiful doorways, and lush courtyards!
This was one of my favorite attractions in Marrakech. The style of the palace reminded me a lot of the Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada.
The Bahia Palace is open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily and costs 70DH ($7).
Plan to spend about 2 hours here.
Marrakech Henna Art Cafe
A must if getting a henna tattoo is on your list! This hippie cafe is owned by a South Dakota native who is passionate about supporting and empowering the women of Marrakech.
The henna ink is safe and the local artists are top quality.
If henna isn't your thing Marrakech Henna Art Cafe is still a great stop for tea or lunch on the chill rooftop.
End your busy tourist schedule with a visit to a hamman and enjoy the weekly bathing ritual of Moroccan culture.
This unique experience involves a steam room, a full body scrub done by an attendant, and a massage.
Come with an open mind because it is not your typical spa experience and is something that should not be missed on your trip to Morocco.
After reading endless reviews we decided not to pay the money for the two famous spas (La Mamounia and Royal Mansour). The reviews were not that great and it seemed you were paying for the atmosphere, not the service.
The owners of our Riad suggested Les Bains de Marrakech. The price was MUCH better and the facility was gorgeous!
Dinner in Gueliz
Take a cab to the modern area of Gueliz to enjoy a second night of memorable Marrakech food.
Azar Restaurant à Marrakech is a popular restaurant serving Moroccan mezze in a plush atmosphere. Dameh Restaurant is another good option for mezze. Restaurant - Le 68 Bar à Vin Marrakech is the perfect spot for wine and light bites. Plus61 is simple yet refined and offered Australian-styled cuisine.
Reservations are strongly recommended for all listed restaurants.
3 Days in Marrakech
Pack your camera and take a cab to the Villa Nouvelle area to see the most iconic sight in Marrakech.
Try to arrive at Jardin Majorelle slightly before opening time to avoid lines and crowds.
The gardens are open 8:00 am to 6:30 pm daily. Tickets can be purchased online and start at 150 DH.
This twelve-acre ornamental garden was created in the 1920s and 1930s by French painter Jacques Majorelle and is now owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Striking blue backdrops make for great photo opportunities. Check out the famous YSL museum next door if you feel inclined.
Take a cab to the Royal Mansour and prepare to see the most beautiful hotel EVER!
This is one of the best hotels in Marrakech as well as the most expensive. You must have reservations for something to get in (the hotel is very prestigious and they don't want wandering tourists everywhere).
We made a reservation for afternoon tea (offered daily 3:00 to 6:00 pm). It was $45 and they were happy to let us split it.
Worth every penny and more in order to enjoy walking around the hotel and awing over the glamorous details.
The Garden Restaurant is gorgeous if you'd like to enjoy lunch or dinner outside instead.
You could spend days on end exploring the souks. This Marrakech itinerary (and your walking tour on day 1) gave a brief introduction to the souks. It's worthwhile to explore the souks in-depth with a guide.
Having a guide will not only help keep the hustlers at bay, but they can also cater the tour to what interests you or what you'd like to buy whether that be shoes, rugs, spices, etc.
A Note on Tanneries
Other blogs and guidebooks recommend visiting, but I opted out. Just read the reviews about the scams and hustlers. Also, it's quite smelly.
Read the reviews and decide if it's worth the trip...I don't recommend it though.
Time to change it up and opt for a food tour instead of a sit-down dinner. The tours below have options to start around 6/6:30 pm.
- Marrakech Street Food Tour - 4 hours, $50 a person.
- Authentic Moroccan Food Tour in Marrakech with Dinner - 3 hours, $55 a person.
For my culinary travelers, consider a cooking class for dinner!
- Moroccan Cooking Class Marrakech with Chef Khmisa - this is one of the few cooking classes that has a later start time (6:00 pm). It's 4 hours and includes going to the souk to purchase your ingredients as a class.
I hope this helped plan your 3 days in Marrakech. This city surprises in the best way possible! A little uncomfortable at first but then an absolute delight once you get your bearings. If you're like Jake and me, you'll be planning a return trip in the future.
Here are some additional things to do in Marrakech: