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April 5, 2023

What to Do When Spending a Few Days in and Around Marrakech

What to Do When Spending a Few Days in and Around Marrakech

Marrakech is often the top destination in mind for travellers planning a trip to Morocco, and is perhaps the most famous and exotic place of all, evoking images of fabulous gardens, tea, rugs, Moroccan art and 60's counter-culture, all framed by snow-capped mountains not too far off in the distance.

The central square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, the Bahia Palace, the medina and the Majorelle Gardens are all wonderful starting points. A typical 7-to-10 day tour of Morocco will include at least a couple days in Marrakech, and enough time to visit those fundamentals.

What are some options though after you've ticked those sights off your list, have a bit more time and are ready to see more? If you can manage a trip to Morocco that's 14 days or longer, you'll definitely have the chance to do much more in Marrakech and really start settling into a nice daily rhythm.

Activities and Advice for Travel In and Around Marrakech - Ep. 31

Marrakech is a great home base for everything from day hikes in the Atlas Mountains to exciting desert activities in Agafay, hot air balloon rides from the nearby plains or a day trip to Essaouira.

Or you can simply stay in town and check out the many fascinating museums that shine a light on Berber culture. Marrakech is the historic "big city" for Berbers of the south and southeast of Morocco, many of whom continue to hail from small mountain villages and rugged kasbahs, and either come to Marrakech to trade, or to live permanently, giving it the feel of a real cultural and economic capital.

A good tour company will give you the opportunity to have a true local experience that goes off the tourist path, whether it's a cooking class in someone's home, a henna art session or simply a home-cooked meal.

Food tours themselves are another great option to keep you busy. These could be anything from sampling different restaurants and dishes to touring the markets for safe, fresh street food, vetted by your local guide. And taking one of those cooking classes will give you some new skills to take home with you and make your own tagines!

On the Destination Morocco podcast, host Azdean chatted with the company's Marrakech-based operations manager Sam to share ideas of all sorts of activities and excursions that are great when you're based in Marrakech, whether for just a couple days or perhaps a week or more.

They talk about some of the types of street food you can find, how hot air ballooning fits into your schedule, what to expect and how strenuous the hiking in the Atlas Mountains is, where to find Berber and Jewish cultural sites in Marrakech, the differences between the nearby Agafay Desert and the more remote Merzouga camps in the Sahara Desert, the best time to visit Aït Benhaddou, and whether you should stay overnight in Essaouira.

Activities and Advice for Travel In and Around Marrakech - Ep. 31

It's a fun conversation with the man on the ground in Marrakech, bringing this vibrant city closer to home for podcast listeners and Morocco travel researchers alike.

Here are some of the activities covered:

  • Taking a Moroccan cooking class or cooking tour
  • Going on a food tour, and/or a street food tour specifically
  • Enjoying an early morning hot air balloon ride
  • Visiting Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains
  • Hiking in the mountains
  • Discovering four of the premier museums in Marrkech
  • Visiting the Sahara Desert and kasbahs
  • Making a side trip to Essaouira
  • Getting out to the Agafay Desert