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3 Days in Marrakech: What to Do in Marrakech

3 Days in Marrakech: What to Do in Marrakech

Marrakesh, also known by the French spelling as Marrakech, is a perfect spot for a long weekend trip from London, Amsterdam, or any other European city as there are plenty of cheap flights. Plus, it’s a place of immense beauty and culture, that sits beneath the dramatic peaks of the Atlas mountains and mystique deserts, what more could you want?

I visited Marrakech twice, as I absolutely fell in love with this place and I can’t wait to go back again. If you’re planning a weekend in Morocco, Marrakesh might be your best choice for its ease of access. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a group of friends, I’m sure it will meet your needs, just make sure to read my Marrakech travel tips before you go so you know exactly what to expect. 

How Many Days in Marrakesh is Enough?

As I mentioned in the intro, it’s quite easy to visit Marrakesh on a long weekend if you’re traveling from Europe and I would say that 3 days is generally enough to see all the main sites. This includes the Medina, souks, Jemaa el-Fna square, and a couple of palaces or gardens. 

That being said, of course, there is plenty more to do, especially if you plan on taking a desert tour or visiting other Moroccan cities like Chefchaouen. In this post, I have gone through all the activities you can fit into a full 3-day trip as well as given you some extra options in case you have more time and want to dive deeper into the culture. 

How to Get to Marrakesh

Getting to Marrakesh is quite easy and inexpensive. You can fly to Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK) from the UK, Netherlands, Spain, or Portugal for less than $100-$150 return with direct flights taking just 3.5 hours. 

It doesn’t even have to be a cheap airline like Ryanair if you’re not a fan of it. I used Transavia and Royal Air Maroc. I recommend checking on Skyscanner to find the best deals for flexible dates.

Getting Around Marrakech

Thankfully, Marrakech is a very walkable city as long as you are prepared to get lost, often! There are so many winding alleyways with hidden treasures and architectural marvels to explore that getting lost is half the fun and will certainly give you an insite into the city’s vibrant culture.

For longer distances you can take yellow “petit taxis” that are generally pretty affordable, just make sure to agree on a set price for your journey before getting in and be prepared to haggle. 

And if you want to go even further afield, you can consider renting a car in Morocco to take day trips or visit other cities. 

What to Eat in Morocco

Moroccan cuisine can seem simple to some, but it’s surely delicious. The basics of it are tajines/tagine, couscous, and kebabs, accompanied by hummus, baba ganoush, and Moroccan salad.

A tagine is a clay cooking pot with a conical lid that gives its name to a myriad of dishes. It can be vegetable only, chicken, beef, fish, or even a breakfast egg tagine. My favorite one is Kefta Tajine which is small meatballs and egg. 

Couscous is probably popular everywhere, but in Morocco, it’s often garnished with a sweet raisin preserve, or in the Berber tradition, with a bowl of buttermilk.

You can also try Pastilla, a sweet and savory Moroccan pie. The traditional filling is a pigeon, roasted almond, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs, but if you’re not that adventurous you can simply go for the chicken option.

Regardless of which meals you try, you can almost guarantee that everything in Morocco always comes with a sweet mint tea.

Moroccan tea

Where to stay in Marrakesh

​​Choosing where to stay in Marrakesh can be a daunting task as there are so many beautiful (and cheap) hotels. My recommendation is that you pick a Riad for at least one night of your stay. 

Riads are traditional Moroccan houses centered around an interior garden or courtyard, and are often beautifully decorated with bright tiles. They really do offer a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city and allow for a more intimate, authentic experience as they usually have just a few rooms. 

Here are my recommendations of where to stay in Marrakesh: 

  • Luxury Hotel: Riad Anya – Offering a slice of luxury in the heart of Marrakesh, this Tiad has incredibly beautiful decor, a relaxing spa and serene ambiance, perfect for those seeking the ultimate indulgence.
  • Mid-range Riad: Riad Palais Sebban – Beautifully marrying traditional Moroccan design with modern comfort, this mid-range Riad is another sanctuary of elegance and tranquility, just steps away from major attractions.
  • Affordable Hostel: Kasbah Red Castel Hostel – This budget-friendly hostel is known for its vibrant atmosphere and excellent location, making it a favorite among backpackers seeking both value and a social setting.
Weekend in Marrakech
Ben Youssef

Long Weekend in Marrakech: Things to Do in 3 Days

Depending on when you arrive and depart from Morroco, you may have 3 full days or just 2 if your flights arrive late. 

Below you will find enough activities to fill 3 whole days in Marrakesh covering all the most important sights. But if you don’t have a full 3 days or perhaps just want to relax after arriving at your accommodation on the first night, you can easily pick which are important to you. 

1. Relax in a Moroccan Hamman

Hammam is a steam room, similar to a Turkish bath, where Moroccans habitually go each week to cleanse themselves. It’s a hot steam bath followed by a massage. Sounds wonderful, but it’s not your typical spa. You’ll have to leave your shyness behind, as the first thing to do at the hammam is stripping down.

Don’t even think of wearing a robe. Someone will wash you and scrub you so hard that all your old skin will be gone. It’s sort of once in a lifetime experience. When you go to Morocco, you’d be crazy not to go to a hammam.

Most tourists choose to go to the hammam at either La Mamounia or Royal Mansour hotels, as they’re the most luxurious in town. Their spas are gorgeous, however, both of these places are extremely pricey when compared to regular Marrakesh spas. For a day pass to La Mamounia, you’ll pay $50 not including any treatments.

Recommended Tours:
Authentic Moroccan Hammam Experience in Mouassine
Comfortable Hammam & Experience Moroccan Berber Spa

2. Experience Jemaa el Fna

Next, start your exploration of the city from Marrakesh’s main square, just as it prepares for the afternoon madness. It’s easy to get to by taxi or walking, so you won’t start your trip in Marrakesh by getting lost.

The square is always crowded and filled with everything from snake charmers to medicine men, magicians, storytellers, musicians, and acrobats during the day. At dusk, it changes into a huge open-air dining area packed with stalls lit by gas lanterns. 

In order to actually watch any of the performers and take photos of the food stalls, you’ll have to give them a few bucks. But don’t worry – it’s worth it!

While eating at the square is amazing, be very careful as some of the food stalls prey off of unsuspecting tourists. They’ll bring you extra plates of food and say it’s complimentary. But at the end of the meal, they will stick you with a huge bill including all of the ‘complimentary food’. Unless it’s olives and bread (customary in Morocco) don’t let the vendors leave anything you didn’t order on your table.

Recommended Tours:
Jemma El Fnaa Food Tour with Dinner
Medina by Night Tour

Jemaa el Fna
Jemaa el Fna at night

3. Shop at the Souk

After filling your stomach, if it’s early enough, you can proceed to shop at the souk (they usually close around 8-9 PM). There are plenty of souks around Jemaa el Fna square, so you won’t miss them. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, wandering around the busy market streets of the souk is an experience in itself.

I definitely recommend buying some aromatic spices, especially saffron, as it’s way cheaper than anywhere else. If you like antiques and traditional decor, you might want to bring home a Moroccan lamp or a Berber rug. Don’t forget to haggle – you won’t be able to buy anything without haggling in Morocco!

Recommended Tours:
Hidden Souks Shopping Tour with Private Guide
Souks and Foundouks Walking Tour with Moroccan Tea

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souk marrakesh
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Marrakesh shopping

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4. Enjoy Your Riad

As I mentioned before, you absolutely must stay in a Riad for at least part of your visit so naturally, taking the time to actually enjoy your accommodation is an activity in itself. 

But even if you didn’t book the most luxurious option available, whether you decide to stay at a riad, fancy hotel, or cheap hostel, from my experience every place in Marrakesh has something to offer.

Locals love to eat breakfasts on the rooftop and take some time by the pool while drinking delicious mint tea, so you might want to do the same.

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marrakesh riad
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palais sebban riad
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5. Take Pictures at Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa is a place you’ve probably seen on Instagram endless times, even if you don’t realize it. With zellij tilework, intricate stucco, and finely carved cedarwood, it’s the most impressive medieval Koranic school in Morocco.

Everyone will be impressed by the arches, tiles, and corridors of this place and the inscriptions are quotations from the Koran, the most common being its opening invocation: “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful”.

Ben Youssef Medersa is also one of the few things that tourists can photograph because mosques are closed off from tourists’ eyes. I recommend going there semi-early (before 2 PM), as it gets busy in the afternoon and you might need to wait to enter.

Recommended Tours:
Ben Youssef, Secret Garden, & Souks Walking Tour
Private Half-Day Walking Tour Including 4 tickets

Ben Youssef Madrasa

6. See the Saadian Tombs

The tombs of the Saadian are the final resting place for the dynasty that ruled Morocco from 1554 to 1669 and are another must-see sight in Marrakesh. The site showcases the beauty of Islamic architecture through its intricate tile work, carved cedar wood, and ornate stucco. 

I suggest visiting with a guide who can give you the background and history of this site. I actually went without the guide and didn’t really find it very exciting until I read up on it after my visit so I wouldn’t want you to make the same mistake!

Recommended Tours:
Bahia & Badi Palaces & Saadian Tombs Guided Tour
Historical & Cultural Sightseeing Day Tour

7. Take a Hot Air Balloon Flight

If you can splurge a bit, I highly recommend you take a hot air balloon flight over the Atlas Mountains. Trust me, it’s totally worth your time and money. 

After the incredible flight, a Berber breakfast is served followed by a camel ride through the desert to top off a perfect experience in a short amount of time! 

Recommended Tours:
Early Morning 40-Minute Balloon Flight
Classic Shared Balloon Flight

8. Wander through the Jardin Marjorelle

Next you’re going to leave Medina for the Ville Nouvelle’s most important sight called Jardin Marjorelle

This wonderful twelve-acre ornamental garden with cacti and lily ponds was created in the 1920s and 1930s by French painter Jacques Majorelle. It took him 40 years to create the gardens, but after his death, it was set to be destroyed by bulldozers. Luckily, the fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent bought and saved the gardens!

Recommended Tours:
Majorelle Garden and Optional YSL & Berber Museum
Majorelle Garden Tour with Palmeraie Camel Ride

Jardin Marjorelle

9. Explore El Badi Palace & Bahia Palace

If you’re a slow explorer and prefer to take your time, I’d recommend focusing all your attention on just one palace in Marrakesh unless you have more time. 

I only have a first-hand experience at El Badi Palace, because even after my two trips to Marrakesh, I never made it to Bahia Palace. It was once closed for the king’s visit, and during my second visit, I got lost and never found it. But…

Bahia Palace is a nineteenth-century grand vizier’s palace that contains some of the city’s finest painted ceilings. South of the great courtyard is the large riad with fruit trees and an epiphany of Arabic architecture giving it a very majestic look.

El Badi, on the other hand, is an impressive ruin. It’s less touristy (in fact, there were barely any tourists during my visit) and costs less. If you pay only 10 dirhams extra you can also see the original Cordoban pulpit from the Koutoubia Mosque.

Recommended Tours:
Bahia & Badi Palaces & Saadian Tombs Guided Tour
Bahia Palace Guided Tour

El Badi palace

If You Have More Time – One Week or More, Add:

For those of you who are lucky enough to have more than 3 days for your trip, here are a few additional activities to add to your Marrakech itinerary. 

10. Take a Cooking Class

We’ve already talked about the delicious food in Morocco so why not take home a souvenir that will last you a lifetime; skills! 

Taking a cooking class will help you discover the secrets behind the fragrant spices and unique flavor combinations that make Moroccan dishes like tagine and couscous so irresistible. Also, classes often include market visits to choose fresh ingredients so it’s not just a cooking lesson; it’s a cultural experience, leaving you with recipes and memories to bring back home.

Recommended Tours:
Moroccan Cooking Class with Farmer’s Market Visit
Moroccan Dishes Cooking Class with a Local Chef


11. Visit Almoravid Koubba

For a bit more of a hidden gem, head off to explore the oldest monument in Marrakech, showcasing rare Almoravid architecture.

The Koubba is a small but fascinating part of Marrakech’s history, often overlooked by tourists. A visit here is a step back in time, perfect for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

12. Explore the Kasbah District

The fortified area of Marrakech called Kasbah is home to historical gates and the Saadian architecture of Badi Palace and tombs. You may have already seen some of it if you visited the palace but this district is a treasure trove of Marrakech’s history. 

Walking through its ancient gates, you’re transported to a time when sultans and royals roamed these grounds. From towering gates to quiet, shadowed alleys leading to hidden gardens with the historic ambiance of the Kasbah Mosque and the vibrant market life, Kasbah is a must-visit for anyone looking to understand the soul of Marrakech.

13. Enjoy Coffee at El Bacha 

For coffee lovers, a visit to El Bacha Coffee Room is an absolute must. Set in a historical palace, this café offers an extensive selection of coffees from around the world

Its blend of Moroccan and French colonial aesthetics creates an incredible ambiance and makes every sip feel like a luxurious indulgence

And if you like it subscribe to my YouTube channel

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What to See and Do in 3 Days
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Any questions about Marrakesh or traveling to Morocco in general? Don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!


Sunday 29th of May 2022

Hello there! I love your post and i will be subscribing to your youtube channel! We are planning to visit Marrakech from June 30 and perhaps (following your suggestion) just for the weekend. What would you recommend in order to enjoy this beautiful city at its max when you travel with a 13 and 15 years old kids? They want camel ride, markets and having the option of eating their regular fast food from back home (at least one day !) Will the heat allow us to enjoy the trip?

Thank You! We will make our decision based in your point of view! Good day!

Anna Karsten

Wednesday 8th of June 2022

You can ride a camel and possibly ATM without a full day trip (something like this, for example, ) to satisfy the teenagers :) In terms of fast food there are kebabs everywhere, but really Moroccan food everywhere. Heat... personally I'm used to the heat, but it depends on where are you coming from.


Monday 18th of January 2021

Hi Anna, I must say it is a really extensive and information article. You've mentioned probably everything about Marrakech. I am not planning to go there as COVID has made things a bit hard fro everyone but as soon as the situation gets ease down, I'll surely be visiting Marrakech. Thanks for sharing detailed article about it.

Tabatha Perez

Saturday 28th of September 2019

Hey Anna,

I've started a rough draft trip to Morocco. I plan on spending about 3 days in and around Marrakech. I am getting all different kinds of tips about definitely needing a tour guide, it's not safe because of people being very aggressive, and to be afraid. I'm super nervous and don't know if I want to go anymore. Help.

I've backpacked many times (even solo), I am not usually one to be scared but, after what people are telling me...I'm not sure.

Thank you! I loved reading your blog!


Anna Karsten

Sunday 29th of September 2019

Don't be scared. People were scaring my friends when they were going with two babies and they had a great time!

Gloria bellack

Thursday 29th of August 2019

What currency should we take US dollars or Pounds / euros also is There ATM Bank machines. How much is the Hot balloon rides and can we get six people in one .


Sunday 1st of September 2019

Click on the link in the post to check and book the hot air balloon as the price might change. Any currency is good to be honest, you can take out more out of the ATM or exchange at the airport :)

Mary Stern

Monday 29th of April 2019

Hi Anna

I am planning on taking a family group to Marrakesh next February/March for a special birthday celebration. I want to plan a special activity or event and was thinking of a trip to the Atlas Mountains. Is that something that you would need a couple of days to do (so therefore having to stay a night in the mountains)? Or would it be better in your opinion to do the hot air balloon trip and camel ride in the desert? Also, if we hire a driver, is that something we organise through the hotel when we are there?

Many thanks Mary


Tuesday 30th of April 2019

Hi Mary, You can surely get a driver through most hotels. There are day trips to Atlas Mountains and you could ride some camels near Marrakesh, so it can be done, but you could also stay overnight.

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