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The Perfect Three Day Itinerary for Marrakech

Marrakech three day itinerary

Marrakech had been high on my radar for a while. I’d seen countless photos of pretty riads, colourful souks and of sipping mint tea while overlooking the medina. I was completely inspired to visit, so decided to head to Marrakech for a long weekend.

A fabulous fusion of Africa and Arabia, Marrakech is a true delight on the senses, where you’ll be enchanted by spice-soaked markets and a kaleidoscope of colours. Known as the Red City due to its rose-red 12th-century walls, Marrakech is energetic with lots to see, from palaces and mosques to royal gardens and art galleries. What’s more, the staggering Atlas Mountains shadow the city to provide a mesmerising backdrop.

Spend your days wandering the many narrow streets and marketplaces, exploring Marrakech’s history and dipping into cafés for a refreshing drink or delicious dish of vegetable tagine. Here, I’ve created a three day Marrakech itinerary to help you see the best of this charming city in a long weekend.


3 day marrakech itinerary

3 DAY MARRAKECH ITINERARY OVERVIEW

DAY 1
Explore the souks
Visit Le Jardin Majorelle
Dinner at Jemaa el-Fna square

DAY 2
El Bahia Palace
El Badi Palace
Moulay El Yazid Mosque
Saadian Tombs
Ben Youssef Madrasa

DAY 3
Camel safari
Hammam Spa

Day 1 in Marrakech: Souks & Gardens

After you’ve arrived and checked into your riad, I recommend you start the day the Moroccan way: with a refreshing mint tea. Head to the main square of Jemaa el-Fna, where you’ll find many cafés to choose from. Opt for one with a rooftop terrace, so you can people watch and prepare yourself, as you’re about to throw yourself into the chaotic heart of Marrakech.

Dive straight into the medina to explore the maze of souks showcasing colourful ceramics, piles of heady spices and gorgeous textiles and trinkets. Spend a few hours getting lost in the medina’s labyrinth before stopping for a lunch of tagine – a delicious Moroccan dish where vegetables and spices are slow-cooked in a hotpot. There are countless places to eat around the main square and medina, so you’ll have plenty of choice.

Jemaa el-Fna souk, Marrakech
Souk at Jemaa el-Fna, Marrakech
Vegetable tagine in Marrakech
Vegetable tagine and mint tea

After lunch, head over to Le Jardin Majorelle. It’s about a 30-40 minute walk from Jemaa el-Fna, or you could take a taxi at about 30 MAD ($3) if you prefer.

Le Jardin Majorelle is a diverse botanical garden designed by Jacques Majorelle, an eclectic landscape painter. The garden was later bought by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who wanted to preserve Majorelle’s vision and open the garden to the public.

The garden features 300 species of plant from 5 continents, as well as an electric blue villa, a gorgeous café and a memorial and museum dedicated to the life of Yves Saint Laurent. It’s a pretty, peaceful place, and you’ll appreciate it after having spent the morning navigating Marrakech’s vortex of busy markets and streets.

Le Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech
Le Jardin Majorelle
Le Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech
Le Jardin Majorelle
Le Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech
Le Jardin Majorelle

As the sun sets on your first day in Marrakech, head back to Jemaa el-Fna Square, as the evening is when it really comes alive. You’ll find snake charmers, street performers and an array of stalls selling tempting market food.

Day 2 in Marrakech: Palaces & Mosques

Prepare yourself, because today is going to involve a lot of walking! After breakfast, head towards El Bahia Palace. Bahia means “brilliance” in Arabic and the palace truly lives up to its name, with dazzling architecture comprising of mosaics, columns and courtyards.

This nineteenth century palace covers eight hectares and took 10 years to complete! It was commissioned by the Grand Vizier Ba Ahmed ben Moussa, and there are theories on whether the palace was named “Bahia” due to its architectural beauty or after the vizier’s favourite wife.

El Bahia Palace, Marrakech
El Bahia Palace
El Bahia Palace, Marrakech
El Bahia Palace

Next, head to El Badi Palace. This impressive palace is mostly ruins now, with crumbling architecture and artefacts archived within some of the buildings. It was built at the end of the sixteenth century by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Dhahbi to celebrate victory in the Battle of the Three Kings. Explore the palace at your leisure and be sure to go up to the rooftop terrace, where you’ll be graced with a gorgeous view.

El Badi Palace, Marrakech
El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace, Marrakech
El Badi Palace
Lauren Pears at El Badi Palace, Marrakech
El Badi Palace

Next, head towards the Moulay El Yazid Mosque, which is situated in a pretty plaza about 10 minutes away from El Badi Palace. There are a couple of cafés here where you can have lunch, and they’ll provide a nice rooftop view over the mosque and plaza.

Walk just behind the mosque and you’ll find the Saadian Tombs. The tombs house Ahmed al-Mansur Dhahbi – the sultan whose palace you just visited. These tombs were actually not known to exist until 1917, where they were discovered through aerial photography. Carved in marble and gold, and boasting pretty cemetery gardens, they’re an impressive sight.

Moulay El Yazid Mosque, Marrakech
Moulay El Yazid Mosque
Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
Saadian Tombs
Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
Saadian Tombs

Now would be the perfect time to visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa, which is supposed to be the most beautiful building in Marrakech. It’s a 16th-century college, boasting glistening courtyards and mosaics. I wouldn’t know, however, because it was closed for refurbishment during my visit.

Day 3 in Marrakech: Camels & Hammam Spa

Did you know it’s possible to ride camels in Marrakech without venturing to the Sahara? Just outside of Marrakech is a stone desert known as Palm Grove – a verdant oasis away from the bustle of the city, where you can ride a camel through the palm trees. We went with Dunes & Desert, who I felt were an ethical company who treated their camels well.

Since visiting Marrakech and going on a camel safari, I have done more research into the treatment of camels used in tourism, and am not sure it’s something I now condone. I’ve left this part of the itinerary in for now, but I recommend you read Is It Ethical To Ride Camels? to decide for yourself.

On arrival at the camel base, we were given lockers to put our bags in and a headscarf to protect our faces from the sun. As we were in Morocco in December, the sun wasn’t too harsh, but the scarf definitely prevented my forehead from burning. We mounted our camels – mine was called Jamila – and we were off through the desert. It was a great way to spend a few hours, and we even stopped halfway for mint tea and pancakes at a traditional homestay.

Camel safari in Palm Grove, Marrakech
Palm Grove Desert, Marrakech, Morocco

After you’ve arrived back in Marrakech from your camel ride, I recommend taking some time to relax! Camel riding can be a little tiring on the legs, so head to a Hammam spa. Though the exact experience may differ across spas, the hammam is typically divided into three steps: relax in a boiling steam room to open up the pores; be exfoliated and cleansed by a black soap and kessa glove and finally, immerse yourself into cold water. It results in you feeling refreshed and invigorated, with baby-soft skin.

I hope this 3 day Marrakech itinerary has given you some ideas and inspiration for your visit to the Red City! The itinerary doesn’t consume every hour of every day, leaving plenty of room for free exploration and relaxation when needed. 🙂


Thank you for reading! If you found this post useful, I’d be grateful if you would consider using the affiliate links below when planning your travels. I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This will help me to keep this blog running. Thanks for your support – Lauren.

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11 Comments

  1. Hi Lauren,

    I like this post, it’s exactly what I’m looking at a blog: a lot of pictures with a bit of history!

    Annemarie

  2. This three day itinerary seems just about perfect. I’m not sure that the camels and I would get along, but the rest (gardens, markets, palaces, spas) is right up my alley.

  3. Love this! Great ideas, we are planning a trip to Marrakesh. We love so close, I can’t believe not been there yet !

  4. Your blog is beautiful! As I read it, I’m like “that looks beautiful”, “I want to go there”, “oh look at that!” lol Very inspirational and I hope to visit one day!

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