Epic Things to Do in Marrakech
Marrakech, Morocco is a city that is buzzing with vibrant colours and aromas. From the smells of raw spices and cooked Moroccan delicacies to the hustle and bustle of the world-famous markets and shopping. A visit to Marrakech will truly awaken your senses. In fact, there are so many epic things to do in Marrakech, you will have plenty of ideas and inspiration for your Marrakech itinerary.
Known as ‘the red city’, Marrakech is a labyrinth of many exciting souks, medinas and riads. In some aspects Marrakech is a modern city, with many trendy bars, restaurants, and high-class hotels and resorts. On the other hand, Marrakech is a traditional ancient city that will give you an authentic taste of Moroccan culture and history.
Marrakech is also the place you can let adventure run wild and explore the red rippling sand dunes of the Sahara desert on a buggy, 4×4 or quad bike. The remarkable scenery of the Sahara desert, framed by the beautiful aesthetic of the Atlas mountains will take truly take your breath away. Better still, you can experience the beauty that Marrakech has to offer on a camel ride!
So what are you waiting for? Take a look at the epic things to do in Marrakech and start planning your trip!
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1) Marrakech Sahara Desert Safari
Quick reference guide
A trip to Marrakech would not be complete without exploring the Sahara Desert! Can you imagine travelling all the way to Africa and not experiencing the vast desert that dominates a massive part of the continent? No, I didn’t think so, a trip to the Sahara desert is definitely an epic thing to do in Marrakech.
You can either have a day trip to the desert or have a more immersive experience, spanning a few days. Some of the most epic things to do in Marrakech are below:
- Marrakech to Merzouga 3-Day Desert Safari. Travel from Marrakech to Merzouga, spending the night at an authentic Bedouin camp in the Erg Chebbi dunes and experience a camel ride.
- Marrakech to Fez – 3 day Desert Tour. This trip has it all; a visit to the UNESECO world heritage site of Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, scenic drives along the Road of 1001 Kasbahs, camel rides and views upon views of the Atlas Mountains and surrounding canyons.
- Marrakech to Zagora – 2 day Desert Trip. If you’ve ever wondered what a Moroccan fortress looks like, then this tour is for you. Visit Ait Ben Haddou fortress, enjoy a camel ride and head into the heart of the Atlas Mountains
2) Hot Air Balloon
A hot air balloon ride is most definitely one of the epic things to do in Marrakech. What better way to see the red sand dunes of the Sahara desert and the peaks of the Atlas mountains than from the sky! There is no better view point than a hot air balloon can give and you get to tick a hot air balloon ride off your bucket list at the same time!
3) Take a day trip to the Ouzoud Falls
A day trip to the Ouzoud Falls is one breath-taking adventure. Delve into the Atlas Mountains to discover one of Morocco’s natural wonders of the world, the HUGE Ouzoud waterfall. The Ouzoud falls and the surrounding mountains provide the best views. The sounds of the water crashing against the rocks is both mesmerising and relaxing. Perfect for snapping some pics and capturing the stunning cliffs and waterfall for your travel photography collection. A trip to the Ouzoud waterfall and the associated hikes and walks around the area is definitely one of the epic things to do in Marrakech.
4) Pamper yourself and relax at a Marrakech Spa
Enjoy an authentic Hamman experience at a Marrakech spa. Experience authentic Muslim culture with a hammam (also known as a Turkish bath) followed by a range of relaxing spa treatments and pampering. This traditional Moroccan experience will provide the calm and tranquillity you might need after the hours you’ve spent in the medina. A hamman is a unique experience that you cannot just do anywhere, so it is definitely something you should do while in Marrakech.
5) Marvel at the Kasbahs of Ait Benhaddou
Visit the ancient Kasbahs of Ait Benhaddou. Expect to see magnificent ancient yellow clay structures that look as though they can be made of sand. Set within the winding roads of the Atlas Mountains, you will see first-hand why films such as the ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ were shot here. This is why this is why it is one of the epic things to do in Marrakech. Imagine yourself in those movies as you tour the sandy structures and learn all about the Moroccan history.
6) Rally around the desert sand dunes on a Quad Bike
Drive a quad bike through the desert. This is my personal favourite of the epic things to do in Marrakech. Quad biking through the stunning palm groves and the rippling sand dunes of the extensive Marrakech Desert. Stopping for mint tea in a local home within the traditional Berber villages, getting a taste of Moroccan culture. It was my first time quad biking but will not be the last!
7) Shop for souvenirs at the Medina
Be prepared to wonder at the beautiful market stalls that fill the Medina and spend an entire day shopping. Typical things you can shop for are traditional Moroccan spices, glass work, leather goods, mint tea, clothing, ceramics and argon oils. You will also see street performers such as snake-charmers. There are many beautiful restaurants, riads, cafes and bars around the Medina so you can relax after a hard day shopping. Again, it doesn’t get any more cultural than this, in fact escaping the labyrinth of the medina is one of the epic things to do in Marrakech in itself.
Epic things to do in Marrakech | Top Tips
- Brush up on your haggling skills. Be prepared to haggle for pretty much everything in the Medina. Have a clear price in your mind and walk away if the price isn’t right. A good rule of thumb is to half their initial offer and start from there.
- Grab a map for the Medina. The Medina is a maze and all the market stalls and narrow roads begin to look the same. If you don’t have a map with clear entry and exit points, you will undoubtedly get lost. Unfortunately, there are people that pray on tourists getting lost. You may receive unsolicited advice on which direction to go but this is either to divert you to somewhere else, or is done in expectation of money.
- Dress respectfully. Morocco is an Islamic country and therefore, you should dress appropriately for the culture. If you’re a woman, wear something that covers your shoulders and your knees. It can be unbearably hot in Morocco so wear light clothing that you are comfortable in and good walking shoes!
- Look at Hotels a little further out. Unless you’re wanting to stay in the heart of the action in a riad around the Medina, it pays to stay at a hotel a little further out. This gives you a moment to relax from the chaos of the city and you can typically have more facilities such as a pool you can enjoy.
Scams to avoid | Epic things to do in Marrakech
Sometimes people question whether Marrakech is safe as there are some well-known scams that unsuspecting tourists often fall for. That being said, if you know what to look out for, then you can easily avoid them and have a great trip. These are the scams I came across when I was in the heart of the Medina.
- The ‘leather tanning factory’ scam. You may get approached by someone telling you that there is a traditional ceremony happening only on that day that you must not miss. If you follow, you will get taken far away from the heart of the media until you eventually get to a place where they tan the leather different colours. They will usher you into the building and then demand money for seeing how the tanning happens.
- Don’t let anyone put anything on you unless you’ve asked them to. There are people that try to drum up business by putting a bracelet around your wrist or starting to design a henna pattern on your skin in exchange for money. They can do this quickly and it makes it much harder to say no or not to pay someone when they’ve already started doing something, whether you wanted it or not.
- Avoid following directions from people who you haven’t asked. If you get lost, always try and speak to another tourist or someone from one of the markets you’ve bought from. There are several people that will offer what seems to be friendly advice. They will ask if you’re looking for the main square/exit and if they point you in the direction to go, they will tip off someone else that route who will also give you directions. Typically, they expect money if you follow the direction, or they’re deliberately leading you somewhere you should avoid.
Epic Things to do in Marrakech | Final Ideas
Marrakech is a beautiful place, but it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, particularly if you haven’t visited a country like this before. Don’t be afraid to politely but firmly say no or keep on moving. I’d love to hear of other things to do in Marrakech, or how your holiday goes. So, come back and let me know in the comments.
If you like the thought of some of these things to do in Marrakech, but would like the stress taken out of your travel, then consider a group tour. If you’ve never done one before, you can read the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision whether a group tour is right for you. There are many options available but I have copied some of the varieties below.
- Classic Marrakech mini adventure
- 18-30 somethings Marrakech Mini Adventure
- Morocco, Markets and mountains
- Morocco adventure, culture and colour
If you’ve now got a bucket list full of epic things to do in Marrakech, why not look at other cool places to explore in Morocco?
If you’re concerned about booking a holiday or travelling during covid, then read my advice based on my experiences.