This guide to Marrakech in a day is designed for travelers who want to visit the most interesting places in the red city, making the most of all the time available.
Getting lost in the labyrinthine streets of the medina, crossing the great gates of the wall, staying in a riad, relaxing in the gardens, visiting the ancient palaces and mosques, haggling in the souks or enjoying one of the best gastronomies in the world, are just some of the best things to do in the most famous city in Morocco, which we are sure you will fall in love with as soon as you arrive.
If you are only in Marrakech for one day, this itinerary plan is for you! This guide will explain what you need to see (and what is realistic to see with just 1 day in Marrakech), and includes some other tips and advice for traveling to Marrakech.
1 day Marrakech Itinerary Plan Basic Overview
- Bab Agnaou Gate
- Saadian Tombs
- Bahia Palace
- Dar Si Said Museum
- Jemaa el Fna Square
- Ben Youssef Madrasa
- Museum of Marrakech
- Koutoubia Mosque
- Café Glacier
Keep in mind that although we could say that any time is good to visit the city, the best time to travel to Marrakech would be spring and autumn, when you will avoid the high temperatures and the high season of tourism, when the main cities are much more crowded.
How to get from the airport to the centre of Marrakech
The main airport of Marrakech is Menara, located only 6 kilometers from the city in which the best means of transport to go from this airport to the center of Marrakech are:
Bus: The bus 19 of the company Alsa makes the journey from the airport to the center of Marrakech in about 20 minutes for a price of 3 euros. It has several stops, among which is the Jemaa el Fna square, one of the busiest places in the city. Another bus that stops at the main square is the number 11, which costs less than one euro, although it does not have much space for luggage.
Taxi: The price of a taxi should not exceed 10 euros if your hotel is not far from the center. We recommend taking an official taxi, making sure before starting the journey that the driver sets the meter from 0 or agrees on a fixed price.
Private transport: With a slightly higher price than a taxi, this is the most comfortable alternative, as it avoids haggling or with drivers. With this service a driver will wait for you inside the airport with a sign with your name and will take you directly to your hotel in Marrakech. You can book it here.
If you want more information about the transfer you can check this post about how to go from Marrakech airport to the center.
Accommodation in Marrakech
One of the best things to do in Marrakech is to stay in a riad, which are small ancient Arabic palaces with an inner courtyard that have been adapted as hotels.
Our recommended riad for a day tour of Marrakech is Riad Assalam, located just 10 minutes from Jemaa el Fna Square which in addition to an excellent location, serves a delicious breakfast, has spacious rooms, a fantastic terrace with views of the city and above all, a very hospitable owners who will make your stay an experience.
Tips for Marrakech
This list of tips will help you have a good first contact with the city:
A good option if you visit the city for the first time and want to know its interesting history is to book this Free tour, one of the best free tours in Marrakech.
To buy, it is better to arrive at the souks early in the morning, which will allow you to bargain more easily and get better prices than in the peak hours of the afternoon.
Marrakech in One Day
The Marrakech route in one day begins by crossing the Bab Agnaou Gate early in the morning, a 12th century gate with bas-reliefs and green colours, which was one of the 19 main entrances to the wall surrounding the Medina. It stands out for its construction in clay and adobe and for its size of 10 metres in height and 15 kilometres in length.
Other gates in the wall, which are interesting to know if you have more time, are Bab el Robb, Bab Doukkala, Bab el Debbagh, Bab el Jadid and Bab el Khemis.
Near Bab Agnaou are the Saadian Tombs, another place to visit in Marrakech essential to be accessed by a small alley and opens at 9 am. It is here that Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur and his family are buried and his great jewel is the mausoleum of the Hall of Twelve Columns, where white marble columns held up a hand-made cedar wood dome.
Walking through the southern part of the Medina you will reach the Bahia Palace, the next stop in Marrakech in a day, although before reaching the palace we recommend stopping at La place des Ferblantiers, a charming square, full of shops selling products made of tin and other metals.
The Bahia Palace was built at the end of the 19th century to become the largest palace of all time and is notable for its huge gardens and harem, with a pond in the central courtyard surrounded by the rooms of the concubines. Although the interior decoration has disappeared, it is worth entering to see the decoration on the walls, doors and ceilings.
A good way to get to know the history of all the tourist spots and not miss anything interesting about the Medina is to book this free tour of Marrakech for free! or a private tour in which you choose the itinerary, both with an English speaking guide.
At this point, we recommend you not to pay attention to the guides who will be proposing routes through the medina and the souks, as the visit will surely end soon and in some shop of more expensive products than usual, so in the end it will not end up being what you expected.
The route continues through the narrow alleys of the Medina that will take you to the Dar Si Said Museum, which has the most complete collection of objects in the city and stands out for its patios and the cedar wood decoration of its ceilings, doors and furniture.
When you leave the museum you will head for Jemaa el Fna Square, the most famous square in the city and one of the most essential places to see in Morocco.
We recommend that you pass by the square at least once during the day and once at sunset because during the day you will find a frenetic activity in which sellers of natural orange juice and dried fruit such as dates mix with water carriers and at night the square is transformed into a huge space where food stalls appear and the atmosphere seems to be mixed with the lights and smoke from the kitchens of the improvised stalls.
To regain your strength after a full morning of visits, we recommend that you go to Dar Cherifa, one of the oldest riads and where they serve delicious tajines and couscous, which we are sure will make you fall in love with Moroccan cuisine.
In the afternoon, the Marrakech route in one day continues through the Souk, an area of narrow streets where the usual thing is to get lost, haggle, buy and get lost again and is a real hotbed of people and shops. In spite of being one of the most famous places in the city, we recommend that you take it easy, avoid the most aggressive sellers and look for your ideal gift such as the typical metal lanterns, slippers, chilabas, tea sets or spices.
Within this area, there are several interesting souks such as the dyers’ with their colorful sun-dried wools, as well as Rahba Kedima Square, next to the souk, also called the spice square, which is full of stalls selling medicinal herbs, fabrics, baskets and spices.
Other worthwhile souks are Henna which has cosmetic items, Kissaria Serrajine full of slippers and silk garments, Tillis where you will find carpets, Es-Seffarine known as the boiler souk and Nejjarine with many wooden items.
The next visit is the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the largest Muslim school in Morocco from the 14th century that impresses with its central courtyard with an incredible iron lamp, arches and walls decorated with tiles and walls covered with panels of zellige, cedar, stucco and marble.
Near the Ben Youssef Madrasa is the Museum of Marrakech, which is worth entering if only to see its inner courtyard, which we are sure, will not disappoint you. Next to the museum you have the Almoravid Qoubba, considered the last example of Almoravid art in Marrakech, to which we also recommend you to dedicate a few minutes.
To finish the route through this area of the Medina you can go to the Souk Foudouq Ouarzazi, one of the most famous souks that is located inside a foundouk, an accommodation for the old caravans of the desert.
After these visits we recommend you to walk towards the centre to see outside the Koutoubia Mosque, the most important one in the city and one of the biggest in the country with a minaret of 66 meters high, which will become one of the highlights of the trip.
Then, we recommend you go and enjoy the sunset on the terrace of the Café Glacier, where you can taste a mint tea and watch how the Plaza Jemaa el Fna transforms with the passing of the minutes and the sunset, filling with food stalls as the night approaches.
To finish Marrakech in a day you can have dinner in one of the stalls in the square or go to Dar Chef or Conrner Cafe, located among the best restaurants to eat in Marrakech.
Another option for extra time, is to make some of the best tours in Marrakech, including spending the night in the desert, the visit to the beautiful Essaouira or go to Ouarzazate or the Ourika valley.