Planning to visit Marrakech soon & 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 tips.
I never expected to become as enamored with Morocco as I did on our first trip. Our introduction to this wonderful country began in the artistic city of Marrkech. Beautiful chaos is how I would describe this quickly growing tourist destination. A city filled with contradictions; gorgeous palaces found on dusty streets and 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! Being home just two months from this trip we are already talking about going back and how silly we were for being nervous to visit Marrakech.
My 3 days in Marrakech itinerary focuses on getting to all the major sights while leaving enough time to relax on a tranquil rooftop 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 helps plan and inspires you to visit Marrakech soon.
How to spend 3 days in Marrakech
1 Day in Marrakech
This is your first full day in Marrakech! If you arrived the night before, enjoy a leisurely dinner and rest up because day 1 will be filled with lots of walking and exploration! 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 are close to all the sites.
- Madersa Ben Youssef - put on your most comfortable walking shoes and hit the streets of the Medina to get to one of the most photographed buildings in Marrakech that was once an impressive medieval Koranic school. It was closed for renovations when we were there in early 2018 (major disappointment, but an excuse to go back, right?). If it's open for your trip go early to avoid the crowds.
*The latest update is that Madersa Ben Youssef will be closed for renovations until 2020
- Jemaa el-fnaa - walk 10 minutes to find the busiest square in North Africa. The action hits full force later in the afternoon, so 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 1) get henna (many of the henna artists in the square are working illegally and many use harsh ingredients like gasoline in their ink, gasp!) and 2) avoid the snake charmers and monkey guys (who steal these monkeys from the Atlas mountains and treat both monkeys and snakes terribly).
- Rooftop tea or lunch break - Nomad, Un déjeuner a Marrakech, and Naranj Restaurant are 3 really good Marrakech restaurants close to the square.
- Koutoubia Mosque - a beautiful, storied Mosque 10 minutes from Jemaa el-fnaa. Non-muslims can’t go inside, 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.
- Hotel Mamounia - 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.
- Dinner - Enjoy a multicourse 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
- Breakfast - most riads include breakfast with their rates and will offer delicious items on the rooftop. Take advantage of this and enjoy your riad!
- Saadian Tombs - 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.
- 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 arround 1185 and remains one of the most historically important mosques in Marrakech.
- 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.
- Bahia Palace - a 5-minute walk from El Badi Palace, Bahia Palace is a wonderful example of Arabic architecture. Take in the ornate tiles, beautiful doorways, and lush courtyard!
- 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.
- Souks - make your way north of Jemaa el-fnaa and wander around the souks. There is enough to see to fill up the rest of your day!
- Dinner in Gueliz - take a cab to the modern area of Gueliz to enjoy a second night of memorable Marrakech food. Libzar is a popular Marrakech restaurant that won't disappoint. Reservations are strongly recommended.
See additional Morocco posts:
3 Days in Marrakech
- Jardin Majorelle - pack your camera and take a cab to the Villa Nouvelle area to see the most iconic sight in Marrakech. Try to arrive to Jardin Majorelle slightly before opening time to avoid lines and crowds. Tickets are 70 Dhs for the gardens and 30 Dhs for the YSL museum and can be purchased at the entrance. 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 opps. Check out the famous YSL museum next door if you feel inclined.
- Royal Mansour - keeping the posh vibe going now that you visited a famous site owned by a prestigious fashion icon, 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. It was $35 and they were happy to let us split it. Worth every penny and more in order to enjoy walking around the hotel and aweing over the glamorous details. A beautiful brunch was being served outside in the gardens if that's more up your alley.
- More souks or the tanneries - if you didn't get enough of the souks yesterday, have another go (you could spend an entire week in the souks and still not see everything). Another option is to visit the tanneries. This did not appeal to me (especially after feeling all fancy after our tea) due to the many warnings of the horrible smell. Many say it is worth the trip, so the choice is yours.
- Hammam - 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, having an attendant scrub you (roughly) with a special glove and scrub to reveal bright and shiny skin and a massage. Come with an open mind because it is not your typical spa experience and is something that definitely 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 or Royal Mansour). The reviews were not that great and it seemed you were paying for the atmosphere, not the service. We went with our Riad owners suggestion and headed to Les Bains de Marrakech. The price was MUCH better and the facility was gorgeous!
- Dinner - Enjoy your last Moroccan meal. If you don't mind feeling like a tourist try a place like Comptoir Darna. It's a popular concept that is basically a show with your meal. Or go pick one of the riad options listed for day 1 that you didn't try.
Here are some additional things to do in Marrakech:
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Did you know Spain has a long history influenced by the Moors? See my Spain and Morocco posts!
I hope this Marrakech itinerary helps you plan and map out your trip. If you've been let me know your tips on how to spend 3 days in Marrakech below!
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