Marrakech travel guide

Everything you should know before planning a holiday in Marrakech, at a glance.

Everything you should know before planning a holiday in Marrakech, at a glance. When go, the best sights and attractions, food and drinks not to miss. And the best boutique hotels in Marrakech bookable online, just a click away.  

Marrakech or Marrakesh is one of the largest cities in Morocco and one of the busiest tourist destinations in Africa. The city grew during the middle ages because of its strategic importance for connections between northern and sub-Saharan Africa, and was also a major destination for Sufi pilgrims. Marrakech is also a former capital of the kingdom of Morocco.


When to travel to Marrakech

Marrakech's warm climate makes it a good destination for tourists year-round. Summer days can be very hot, and some businesses shut down during the most extreme heat. Winters are surprisingly warm during the day, but nights can be very cold. Probably the best time to plan a holiday in Marrakech is during spring and autumn. Be aware when scheduling a holiday in Marrakech during the holy month of Ramadan, as devout Muslims fast during the day and celebrate at sunset, that some shops and restaurants may be closed.


Climate


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Average Temperature
°C 13 14 17 18 21 24 29 29 27 21 17 14
°F 55 57 63 64 69 75 84 83 80 70 63 56













Average Rainfall
mm 30 40 40 30 20 10 10 10 10 20 30 20
Days 5 6 6 5 3 2 1 1 2 4 5 7

Sights and attractions in Marrakech

Marrakech's main attraction for a holiday in Marrakech is its Medina, or old city. The main square of this walled medieval settlement, Djemaa el-Fna, is filled with entertainers, food vendors and market stalls. This square, which as been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, comes alive most at night, when open-air grills serve street food to passers by and musicians and street theatre groups perform. The square is surrounded by networks of narrow, winding alleys leading to traditional souks or markets. 

Almost anything can be found in the souks, from clothing to spices, art, ceramics and more. Foreigners typically pay inflated prices, but everything is negotiable. For crowded places full of bargaining merchants, the souks are surprisingly relaxed, at least compared to other markets in the Middle East. 

Within the Medina is the Kasbah, which once enclosed the palace of the Caliph. This area, quieter and less hectic than most of the Medina, is home to amazing historical sites such as the Saadian Tombs. These tombs were built in the 16th and 17th century under the Saadi dynasty, and contain not only the burials of Muslims but also of members of Marrakech's Christian and Jewish communities.

It was also the Saadi sultans who built the El Badi Palace. Once a magnificent replica of Spain's Alhambra, built using materials imported from as far away as China, the palace is now a ruin. Some of its underground passages remain accessible, and the site provides spectacular views of the city. 

Less splendid than El Badi, but much more intact, is El Bahia Palace, a 19th-century nobleman's residence. Stepping inside El Bahia allows visitors to experience how Marrakech's wealthy and powerful created islands of calm and cool amidst the heat and bustle of the city. 

The major mosque in the Medina is the Koutoubia Mosque; its tall minaret is visable from throughout the city. Gardens full of fruit and palm trees are situated at the rear of this 12th-century house of worship. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside the mosque. 

Not all of Marrakech's attractions are in the Medina. For example, the Majorelle Gardens are located in the modern suburb of Gueliz. This botanical park hosts a collection of plants from all around the globe, and is much valued as a peaceful place to escape the noise and crowds of the city. The park is also home to the Berber Museum, which celebrates the history and customs of the indigenous Berber people. 

Main attractions of Marrakech: Koutoubia Mosque, Djemaa el-Fna, traditional souks, hammam bath houses

Food and drinks of Marrakech

The cuisine of Marrakech mixes traditional Moroccan ingredients with the legacies of French colonisation. 

  • Tajine
    Tajine or tagine is the archetypal Moroccan cuisine, and defines a cooking method rather than a specific dish. These stews are cooked slowly over coals in large clay pots, and contain meat or fish, often thinly sliced, cooked with other ingredients such as plums, eggs, dried fruit, almonds, olives and more. Combinations of sour and sweet flavours are a feature of many tajines. A tajine is often served with couscous or flatbread. Vegetable tajine is one of the few vegetarian dinner options in Moroccan cuisine.
  • Street Food
    Marrakech's medina is home to hundreds of street food vendors. Their wares can range from grilled sausages wrapped in flatbread to full meals with soups and starters. The classic street breakfast is riifa, a stretched and folded fried flatbread.
  • Drinking
    Alcohol is prohibited for Muslims, although Moroccan bars and restaurants do serve it most of the time. For most Marrakchis, however, the drink that gets them through the day and ties social occasions together is tea. Mint tea helps relieve the heat, while ginseng tea with cinnamon and ginger has an invigorating kick. Small vendors and large also sell orange juice, the product of the region's extensive citrus orchards. The traditional Marrakech way to enjoy this is with a pinch of salt. 

About

Size: 7 square kilometres 
Population: 1,063,415 people 
Neighbourhoods: Medina, Gueliz
Landscape: Narrow historic streets, foothills of the Atlas mountains


Places to stay in Marrakech

Riad Rafaele

Riad Rafaele

Assouel Medina, Riad Rafaele
Les Jardins de la Medina

Les Jardins de la Medina

Medina, Les Jardins de la Medina
Riad Idra

Riad Idra

Medina, Riad Idra