This 2-day guide to Marrakech is prepared and designed to visit the most essential places in a city totally different from European cities, in a weekend.
To fully enjoy this magical city we recommend you to be prepared, as you will need all five senses to appreciate the scents of species such as cinnamon and saffron, its delicious cuisine, the calls to prayer of the mosques, the subtlety of the wooden decoration of palaces and medersas or the soft touch of silk and Pashmina scarves.
Although we could say that any time is good to visit Marrakech in two days, if you want to avoid the heat and the high season of tourism, the best time would be in spring or autumn.
Where to sleep in Marrakech
In Marrakech the best thing is to forget about sleeping in hotels and try the experience of staying in a riad, ancient Arab palaces with an inner courtyard and usually with a fountain in the centre.
We stay at Riad Assalam, located just 10 minutes from Jemaa el Fna Square, which serves a delicious and abundant Arab breakfast, which you can enjoy on its magnificent terrace overlooking the Medina.
For more information on the best hotels and neighborhoods we recommend you check this post of where to stay in Marrakech.
Transfer from Marrakech airport to the centre
Menara airport, which is only 6 kilometres from Marrakech, has several options for reaching the centre.
Taxi: When you leave the airport several taxi drivers will offer you a transfer service to your hotel. It is best to look for the official taxis and set a price in advance, which should not exceed 10 euros to the city center.
Private transport: If you take this service you will avoid haggling, scams and misunderstandings with the taxi drivers. A driver will wait for you inside the airport with a sign with your name on it and will take you directly to your hotel in the city. You can book it here.
Bus: The Alsa bus 19 makes the transfer from the airport to the center of Marrakech in 20 minutes, with a stop at Jamaa el Fna square. The total price of the trip is about 3 euros.
If you want more information about the transfer you can check this post about how to go from the airport of Marrakech to the center.
The route of Marrakech in 2 days begins early in the morning at the Bab Agnaou Gate, the most beautiful gate of the city, which crosses the great wall that surrounds the Medina.
A few meters from this gate are the Saadian Tombs, which include the impressive mausoleum of the Hall of Twelve Columns, which we recommend you do not miss.
After visiting the tombs you can go to the beautiful Place des Ferblantiers, a perfect stop to take a break and enjoy one of the most charming corners of the city.
From here, the route continues to the Bahia Palace, located among the best places to visit in Marrakech, which has in its gardens and the harem, its most interesting places.
It is recommended to know the history of several places in the city like this palace to have the help of an English speaking guide.
Ccontinue with the visit to the Museum Dar Si Said, with a great collection that deserves to know, besides being able to enjoy the decoration and the interior patios.
After this visit and before going for lunch, you will pass by Jamaa el Fna Square, one of the most famous places to see in Morocco, where you will see the great atmosphere during these hours of the day.
One of the best restaurants to eat in Marrakech, located in this area, is Dar Cherifa, one of the most beautiful riads where you can taste typical Moroccan dishes such as tajine and couscous.
In the afternoon, you arrive to alleys full of shops and people of the Souk in which among the most interesting places are the souk of the dyers, the Henna, Kissaria Serrajine, Tillis, Es-Seffarine, Nejjarine and Rahba Kedima Square full of stalls of species.
In the souk, a good stop while looking for your perfect gift, is the Medersa Ben Youssef, a Muslim school that impresses with its central courtyard and the decoration of doors and arches.
Near the school is the Museum of Marrakech, with a beautiful interior courtyard, which is also one of the most recommended visits in the city.
Next to the museum you will also find the Almoravid Qoubba, considered the last testimony of Almoravid art in the city, as well as an old desert caravan, which now functions as a souk called Souk Foudouq Ouarzazi. These are other visits that we recommend you not to miss in the city.
Next up is the Koutoubia Mosque, the most important of the city, which stands out for its minaret of 66 meters high and has become one of the most photographed images of the city.
This mosque is located very close to Jemaa el Fna Square, the perfect place to go after this intense day, where you can enjoy an incredible sunset from the terrace of Café Glacier.
For dinner you can choose from the stalls in the square or go to Dar Chef or Conrner Cafe, who specialize in local home cooking.
The route of the second day to see in Marrakech in a weekend begins with the visit to the area of the Palm Grove located 10 kilometers from the Medina, which with over a thousand years of history, has more than 100,000 trees from which are obtained dates and wood.
This place, besides providing these natural resources, is a place that has become a tourist attraction in the city thanks to the camel rides among the palm trees and the quad routes through the desert.
In our case we recommend you only to book the quad tour through the palm grove and the desert where you will pass by traditional villages, see the High Atlas and even find an oasis, as we believe it is the best option to know this area and be responsible with the animals.
On this tour, which is one of the best tours in Marrakech, you will be picked up from your hotel and will have an English speaking guide. Another option is to arrive by taxi to the Palmeral and hire the excursion there.
From the Palm Grove you can take a taxi to reach the next stop in Marrakech, the Majorelle Gardens created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle in 1924 and owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, which have become the most beautiful gardens in the city.
There’s a great diversity of trees and plants such as cactus, banana trees, jasmine, water plants, bamboo or palms, among other species and after the experience, for us to walk through this garden and feel the freshness of the vegetation on a hot day, is one of the best things to do in Marrakech.
Depending on the time you have after the visits, you can walk to Guelíz, the modern city that was created during the French protectorate in which its nerve centre is the 16 de Noviembre square, where the central market is located and where you can find good souvenirs.
From this square there are great avenues like the enormous Mohamed V Avenue, another of the busiest places in the city.
In this area you will find more western restaurants like Amaia Restaurant or Le Studio that serve French and Italian food and are among the most recommended. For dessert we recommend the delicious Arabian sweets of the Patisserie Amandine.
After lunch you can continue by taking a taxi to the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter.
Although the first day you passed through this area, it is worth spending more time if you have a weekend. The origin of the quarter goes back to the 16th century when the kings of Spain and Portugal expelled many Jews from their countries and these formed one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe in this area.
Nowadays the presence of the Jewish community is a testimony, although you can still see important places like the Al Azama Synagogue and the Jewish Cemetery, which we recommend you to visit.
Another interesting visit in this area is the Badi Palace built at the end of the 16th century and although the complex is in ruins and with very little decoration, after a sultan ordered it to be dismantled and forgotten, it is worth going in to see the courtyard and the grandiosity of this palace that came to have more than 300 rooms.
After the visits of the day, we recommend you to walk around the streets of this neighborhood where you can find local markets and shops with cheaper prices than in El Zoco.
To relax after a day full of visits, there’s nothing better than entering a hamman, a traditional Arab bath where you can enjoy a good bath and massage.
Keep in mind that you have to differentiate between the local hammams, which are not mixed and you have to take with you the products for the bath and those focused on tourists. The latter have a higher price, around 15 euros, but you don’t have to bring anything and you can enjoy the experience as a couple.
Among the most recommended are Rosa Bonheur and Spa Click, which you can book in advance here.
For dinner, you can go to the Comptoir Darna, a trendy place, where besides eating very well, you can see a very entertaining traditional belly dance show.
If you have more time you can follow the guide of Marrakech in 3 days or get to know the surrounding area: Essaouira, the Ourika valley, Ouarzazate, …