The Red City of Marrakesh is packed full of souks, small winding streets, mosques, palaces and Moroccan food that will tickle your senses.
With a history of over 1000 years, Marrakesh was not made the capital of the country until the turn of the 20th century; however, the city still displays the country’s history through its architecture which is second-to-none.
The gateway to the Sahara Desert, Marrakesh is central to many of Morocco’s main tourist spots, acting as a potential base or the beginning or end of your trip to Morocco with the option to do a plethora of day trips from Marrakesh.
With culturally immersive locations such as Jemaa El-Fna that marks the city centre, Marrakesh epitomises the chaotic city hustle that Morocco is known for. With this in mind, guided Marrakesh tours or day trips from Marrakesh come recommended, so you get the best out of your trip without being overwhelmed.
When to Go on a Marrakesh Tour
The best times to visit Marrakesh are the shoulder seasons which are known for their favourable weather. The best time to visit Morocco is in Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November) when European travellers are not on holiday. During this time, you’ll find that the temperatures allow you to do more activities.
As Morocco is in Africa, summers are scorching hot. It is advisable not to travel between July and August as temperatures can reach as high as 36 degrees celsius. Even if sunshine and beaches are all you are looking for, this may still be too hot!
Things to Remember While Travelling in Morocco
Touts and Scams
Morocco is high on the bucket list of countries for many travellers across the world. The country also has a reputation for being unsafe, particularly for female solo travellers; however, it’s not. It just takes a little research before you go. With a few tips, you’ll be prepared for what is to come in Morocco.
With high levels of tourism, comes a price. There are many scams out there, whether it’s the stereotypical ‘magic carpet ride’ or the seemingly friendly stranger offering to show you around, you will be asked for a tip for their services or to buy something that perhaps you cannot afford. Some may call this shady; others would call it tactical – it’s up to you to decide. A little ‘no, thank you’ goes a long way.
It’s vitally important to remember that Morocco is a conservative country. While men may be able to wear what they want, sadly, women will be treated differently for doing the same. To avoid unwanted attention, it is advised that women cover their shoulders and knees and avoid any clothing that is particularly ‘revealing’.
Cash or Card?
Morocco has its traditions at heart, with no high-risers to be found, developments seem to be kept at bay, creating the true Moroccan feel. With this in mind, you will be unable to pay by card, unless you are staying in 5-star accommodation throughout your trip.
All Marrakesh tours are paid for in cash unless you have arranged your tour with one of our Local Designers. However, to be prepared for your trip, you will have to be mindful to prepare your money before your trip to Morocco.
Hop in and Around Marrakesh With These Ten Tours;
Hot Air Balloon over the Marrakesh Plains
Head out of the city early morning for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on this Marrakesh tour.
With the city in the distance, you’ll rise over olive groves, farmlands and capture the peace and tranquillity of Morocco’s countryside, just moments from the city. With the fresh air of the morning and sun rising in the distance, the hue of the landscape is captivating.
Rising in the air offers a new perspective, particularly on a day trip from Marrakesh as you see the contrast of the city life with young farmers, some are just teenagers, preparing early in the morning.
Special moments like this hot air balloon tour can be added to your Morocco trip.
Cooking Class in Marrakesh
Learn the ropes of one of the most popular cuisines in the world during a cooking class in Marrakesh.
A tasty addition to your Marrakesh trip, there is no better way to immerse yourself in Moroccan culture than tasting your way through the country. A cooking class will take you into a local family home where, for an afternoon, you’ll become part of the family as you learn the tips and tricks behind making the perfect tagine, some sides, including bread, and a dessert.
Throughout your cooking class, you’ll sip on mint tea and get to know the local family before you sit down to eat with them when you have finished cooking. A cooking class is typically done in half-a-day and is one of the best food tours in Marrakesh as it demonstrates the beauty of Moroccan hospitality.
Marrakesh: Inside the Medina
Dating back to the 11th century, the Medina of Marrakesh is packed to the brim with old palaces, mosques and souks. Marking the middle of the city, the cobbled-stone streets of the Medina is where you’ll find donkey carts instead of cars; the faint sound of hawkers is never too far away, and shops spill out onto the street. City tours in Marrakesh that go inside the Medina will show you the city just the way it was nearly 1,000 years ago.
The extravagant past of Marrakesh is still present in the architecture that successors have left behind; you’ll stumble upon them as often as you do ceramics!
A tour of Marrakesh’s Medina can be done in a half-day or a full-day tour as it encompasses must-see attractions such as Saadian Tombs and Koutoubia Minaret. The Medina is also close to Jemaa El-Fna, where entertainment fills the square in the evening.
Exploring the Medina is a culturally immersive experience that you can add to the beginning or end of your Morocco trip, like in this Morocco tour.
Desert Quad Biking in Marrakesh
The perfect desert trip from Marrakesh, quad biking through the palm groves will take you past Berber villages across desert terrain and rocky trails.
To begin your quad biking in Marrakesh, you’ll be given a brief introduction where you’ll be shown how to use the quad bike and go through the safety instructions. Then, you’ll follow your guide as you see the city turn smaller and smaller following the 30-kilometre route through the palm groves of Marrakesh.
You’ll stop to rest in a village where you’ll sip some mint tea and get to know some Berber people and their way of life, which has changed very little over the last few hundred years.
Rested and replenished, you’ll head back out into the arid countryside where you’ll almost expect to see caravans before returning to the mud-brick city on your quad bike.
Spilling out into the El-Abid River, Ouzoud Waterfalls are a collective name for several waterfalls that shoot down from high gorges at once. This power sadly means that you cannot go swimming on this Marrakesh waterfall trip.
Just moments from the Middle-Atlas mountains, to get to Ouzoud Waterfalls you’ll walk through a path shaped by olive trees. You’ll hear the faint sound of the water falling grow louder and louder as you get closer. At the summit of the waterfalls, you’ll notice some mills that give them their name; Ouzoud translates from Berber to ‘the act of grinding grain’.
The second-tallest set of waterfalls in North Africa, the Ouzoud Waterfalls are a popular Marrakesh tour, particularly while either travelling to or from Fes like in this tour.
A Day in the Red City of Marrakesh
A complete day trip in Marrakesh will take you into the heart and soul of the city.
Starting at the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in the city with its famous minaret, you’ll move onto the Saadian Tombs, the royal necropolis, and Bahia Palace, built to be the most magnificent palace of its time, before breaking for lunch.
Your afternoon will be spent exploring the souks of Marrakesh, through winding alleys that vibrate as the beating heart of the city. Forming a large part of the Medina of the city, the souks of Marrakesh are the largest in Morocco.
The tingling smell of fresh spices lingers in the air as you hop from ceramics quarters to fabric sections and the brass stalls of Souk El-Attarine. The souks of Marrakesh are often considered as one whole; however, each souk sells a specific set of products that they are named after.
You’ll finish at Jemaa El-Fna, which has a very different atmosphere from day to night.
A guided tour of Marrakesh is essential to get to grips with the city, particularly if you are only there for a short time like in this trip to the Imperial Cities of Morocco.
Sunset Camel Ride in the Merzouga Desert
While not a day trip from Marrakesh, embarking on a camel ride on the edge of the Sahara Desert is a bucket list experience that is on everyone’s minds when visiting Morocco.
A Morocco desert tour from Marrakesh can take several days as the journey is long; however, it’s worth it! Being guided into the desert by a Berber nomad as the sunsets is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t forget.
As you cross the endless dunes, you’ll feel the heat start to cool as your camel takes you to your desert camp. At night, you almost won’t need a torchlight – there are so many stars in the sky!
A camel ride in the Merzouga Desert could be added to your trip as a Marrakesh to Fes desert tour.
If you do not have time, you could also do a camel ride in the palmeraie, a palm grove of Marrakesh.
Jewish Heritage Tour: the Mellah
A fascinating part of Morocco’s history can be discovered in its mellahs. Found in every city in Morocco, the mellahs of Morocco were Jewish quarters of the city to which Jewish people were confined to from the 15th century onwards. The mellahs flourished, creating a close community and its economy with markets and synagogues. Unfortunately, this quickly changed when the mellahs became overpopulated.
The mellah of Marrakesh was a fortified part of the city that was occupied by a Jewish population after they were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula during the Spanish Inquisition. With the establishment of Israel in 1948, many of the Jewish people of Morocco fled.
An alternative Marrakesh excursion inside the mellah of Marrakesh shows you another side of the city as you navigate through the souks, spying traces of the past as you stumble upon the Jewish Cemetery and Lazama and El Fasiines Synagogues.
Get a feel for what old Marrakesh was like, you can integrate the mellah of Marrakesh into a city tour such as the one seen in this trip.
A Day Tour to the High Atlas Mountains
Just moments from the Red City, a day in the High Atlas mountains is an easy alternative to a Marrakesh Sahara tour. Just an hour from the city, you are in the heart of the Berber landscape in Amizamiz, a rural village at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains.
Here, you’ll see a different side to Morocco’s landscape, where four valleys create fantastic hiking conditions to see the lakes, terraced fields, snow-capped mountains and grasslands.
Your day trip from Marrakesh will take you to hike around this beautiful landscape and hang out with the friendly Berber people who will host you for lunch before you return to Marrakesh.
Looking for a longer hiking trip in the mountains of Morocco? This 9-day Morocco tour might be for you.
Cycling through Marrakesh
Your initial response to cycling in Marrakesh may be a negative one; however, it can be one of the best ways to discover the chaos of the city. Promoting a more healthy and sustainable approach to exploring a city, you’ll almost feel like a local as you navigate the roads of Marrakesh.
With the option of a half-day or full-day tour, you’ll explore the Medina with its labyrinth of souks and beyond as you peddle past the main sightseeing spots of the city. This fantastic alternative excursion will take you deep into the alleys of the Medina and beyond, where few Marrakesh tours go.
A cycling tour in Marrakesh can be an exciting way to mix up a more extended tour of Morocco.
Want to Design Your Own Morocco Trip?
At Designer Journeys, we have a vast collection of trips that can be tailored to suit your needs, budget and travel style. Whether you are looking for a comprehensive tour of Marrakesh or would like to camp with Berber people in the High Atlas Mountains, there is something for everyone.
With such a vast collection of tailored tours, if you don’t quite find what you are looking for, you can always design your own trip. There are a host of Local Designers in Morocco ready to help you create the perfect tour that is tailored to your interests and within your budget.