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Best things to do in Marrakech

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Where in the world: Africa  /  Morocco  /  Marrakech-Safi  /  Marrakech
Things to do in Marrakech range from exploring narrow alleyways and labyrinthine souks of the walled medina, to soaring across the desert plains on a hot air balloon ride. Hosting daily performances by storytellers, actors, and musicians, Jemaa el-Fnaa is a great place to get introduced to Moroccan oral traditions. Housing a museum of Islamic art, Jardin Majorelle offers insight into the city's heritage. Marrakech also provides easy access to a number of hiking routes to High Atlas Mountains, dotted with snowcapped peaks, fertile valleys, and traditional Berber villages.

Marrakech is best known for its Gardens, Flea Markets, and Architectural Buildings.

Top 15 things to do in Marrakech

1. Jardin Majorelle

Founded by a painter and developed by a fashion designer, Jardin Majorelle is a 4.8 hectare (12 acre) site in which nature and art intertwine. A striking blue villa sits at the heart of the botanical garden, filled with numerous water features and over 300 plant species from around the world. Developed over a period of 40 years by the painter Jacques Majorelle, and bought in 1980 by designer Yves Saint-Laurent, the garden includes a museum of Islamic art.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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2. Jemaa el-Fnaa

The commercial and cultural center of the city, Jemaa el-Fnaa represents a UNESCO-designated Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The square hosts daily performances by storytellers, actors, and musicians. Merchants come and go throughout the day, selling fresh orange juice, traditional foods, herbal medicines, traditional water bags made from leather, and brass drinking cups.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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3. Nature & Wildlife Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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4. Koutoubia Mosque

Stand in reverence of the artistry and scale of Koutoubia Mosque, constructed during the 12th century CE. The mosque includes a large courtyard and gardens, while the main sandstone and brick represents the traditional Almohad style, with minimal decorations taking the form of geometrical holes and inscriptions. The towering minaret stands 77 m (253 ft) tall, with a spire of gilded copper balls.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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5. Bahia Palace

A royal complex of buildings and gardens, Bahia Palace dates back to the 1860s. The sprawling ensemble of courtyards and rooms boast ornamental flourishes all around, with intricate woodwork, stained glass, and gold decorations throughout. The harem stands as the most lavishly appointed area, in which the many wives and concubines of the resident grand vizier were once housed.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Menara Gardens and Pavilion

Take in the relaxing atmosphere of Menara Gardens and Pavilion, a set of botanical gardens offering locals and tourists a break from the lively activity and noise of the city. Originally created in the 12th century, the gardens wrap around a central artificial lake, which supplies water to irrigate the surrounding orchards and groves. A 19th-century pavilion stands on the shore, against the backdrop of the Atlas mountains. Stroll around the lake, taking in the pavilion from a number of angles, and explore the gardens of palms, fruit, and olive trees.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Saadian Tombs

Touring Saadian Tombs allows you to learn about the Saadi dynasty and the wealth and splendor enjoyed by its sultans. The mausoleum was constructed on orders of sultan Ahmad al-Mansur during the 16th century--the remains of around 60 members of the family have been interred here, including the sultan's mother, wives, and children. Each room has been decorated with great attention to detail, though the Chamber of the 12 Pillars boasts the finest marble, plaster, and gold ornamentation--a resting place fit for a royal, it contains the remains of Al-Mansur and his son.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Ben Youssef Madrasa

Admire the artistry and soak up the hushed atmosphere of reverence and studiousness at Ben Youssef Madrasa, once the largest center of Islamic learning on the continent. Founded in the 14th century as a complementary institution to a nearby mosque, the school underwent various refurbishments and changes over the years until closing in 1960. Opened to the public in 1982, the center still maintains its studious calm and ageless charm, its central courtyard decorated with wooden carvings and marble mosaics. The site contains many fine, ornamental entryways and arches, covered with geometric shapes and inscriptions from the Quran.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. El Badi Palace

Erected in the 16th century, El Badi Palace was crafted from some of the most expensive materials of the period. The sultan Ahmad al-Mansur ordered the palace's construction in gold and onyx, with marble colonnades and crystal embellishments. Sadly, one of the sultan's successors looted the palace, leaving behind a brick skeleton that today provides a home for a population of storks. The scale, the story, and the storks all make this an important and evocative monument to explore.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Climbing Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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11. Marrakech Museum

Learn about local history and art at Marrakech Museum, a cultural institution as notable for its permanent collection of antiques and artworks as it is for its setting. Founded in 1997, the museum occupies the main building and grounds of the Dar Menebhi Palace, a 19th-century structure. Artistic and architectural flourishes across the museum provide examples of a classical Andalusian style, with fountains and tile work throughout. The museum tells the story of the development of Moroccan art over the centuries, with a particular focus on pottery and embroidery.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Balloon Rides

Soar across the desert plains near Marrakech on a hot air balloon ride. As you peacefully float across the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and enjoy that perfect silence so rare in the modern world, you'll witness the country's unspoiled scenery from probably one of the best vantage points accessible to man. Most flights conclude with a traditional Berber breakfast and include a flight certificate, the perfect memento to take home. Hotel pickup and drop-offs are included in most options.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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14. Walking tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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15. Medina of Marrakesh

Explore the historic, chaotic, and culturally rich souks and public squares of Medina of Marrakesh, a World Heritage-listed area known for its dancers, musicians, storytellers, and merchants. See a whole collection of well-maintained riads, traditional Moroccan homes now housing teahouses, restaurants, hotels, and museums. A number of landmark buildings and monuments dot the neighborhood, including royal palaces, old battlements, traditional gardens, and tombs of rulers and royalty.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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