Marrakech is right up there on my list of favourite places in the world along with Barcelona (Spain) and Siem Reap (Cambodia). It’s a cultural and historical paradise with stunning Arabic architecture, Moroccan hospitality (hello mint tea!) and food that will blow you away! Oh, and bartering and getting lost in the souk is all part of the experience! I’ve been working on providing you with the ultimate 2 day Marrakech itinerary – and due to popular demand, here it is!
Of course I would argue that you should spend at least one to two weeks in Marrakech to fully explore the city and surrounding areas. But, if you are on a tight time schedule due to work or onward travel then it’s understandable that you may only have 2 days and want to make the most of it. You can still get a really good flavour of the city and see the main sites in this time. I hope that you enjoy this 2 day marrakech itinerary.
When is the best time to visit Marrakech?
The best time to visit Marrakech is spring or Autumn when the weather is milder and the crowds are less intimidating. Marrakech will always be busy, but I would definitely avoid Marrakech in August when the weather can get about 40 degrees and is almost too hot to function.
As Morocco is a Muslim country, you might want to consider the timing of Ramadan and how it may affect your journey. Some people like to travel during Ramadan because of the religious celebrations. Others like to avoid it due to the animal sacrifices you may see (Eid al-Adha) or the stricter regulations on alcohol and having to avoid eating in front of people who are fasting.
A few words of advice about Marrakech
- Explore the Medina and souks early in the day to avoid the heat and the con artists who linger around later in the day.
- Always carry a bottle of water to keep hydrated. In the Medina you will pay more for water that has been refrigerated than water that has not!
- Your French will help you out if you don’t speak Arabic because Morocco was a French colony from 1907 to 1934 and French is still widely spoken.
- Ladies take a head scarf – although you don’t have to have a head scarf but I would recommend that you take one and wear it in the Medina because you are less likely to get unwanted attention from strange men.
- It is unlikely that you will be allowed in any of the mosques of Marrakech as a non-Muslim tourist, but you can photograph them from the outside and sometimes from the courtyards.
- Consider how the timing of Ramadan may impact on your travel to Marrakech.
- Stay in a Riad which is a traditional Moroccan house or guest house with a central courtyard. I recommend Dar Zaman.
- Get the Lonely Planet Pocket Marrakech Guide – It has some great background information on the history of the city and some excellent maps.
- Try the Moroccan tagine – a meal cooked with meat, dates and potatoes (sometimes egg) that is cooked in a clay pot. You can get one for around 80 Moroccan Dirhams (around £6!)
And what to Avoid in Marrakech….
So what should you avoid when planning your trip to Marrakech?
- Avoid going to Marrakech in the middle of summer – August is a no go as it’s way too hot!
- Avoid taking directions from random boys and men in the street – they will try to charge you and end up being aggressive. If you need to ask, go inside and ask a shop keeper.
- Avoid the tanneries! They are stinking and disgusting….unless you have a real big desire to see how they make the leather from the animal skins then just don’t go! Also unofficial guides will often try to charge you for the privilege of being shown where they are!
- Avoid drinking alcohol in public and being drunk in the Medina – not only is it frowned upon but also dangerous.
- Avoid being alone in the Medina late at night – it can be more dangerous and it’s easier to get lost in the dark.
- Avoid the pick-pockets that might be lurking around in the souks and around Jemaa el Fna.
Now you are well prepared with the best travel tips, it’s time for the ultimate 3 days in Marrakech itinerary…
2 day Marrakech Itinerary
The first day of your 2 day marrakech itinerary will be spent exploring the southern part of the city including the Saadian tombs and Bahia palace. On your second day, you will focus on the Northern parts which will include the Marrakech museum, Ben Yousef Madrasa and either the souks or the Marjorelle gardens.
2 day Marrakech Itinerary – Day 1
When you arrive in Marrakech, plan your time carefully. Inside the Medina is it busy and easy to get lost! As you only have a few days there are certain sites that you should not miss. On your first day I would recommend that you focus on the Southern part of the city and visit the following attractions:
- Head straight to Koutoubia Mosque first thing in the morning for photographs of the mosque and cemetery. Non-Muslim tourists won’t be allowed inside but it is still worth a visit. From there you can walk to Agnou gate on the ramparts in about 10 minutes.
- Agnou Bab (gate) – Agnou Bab is the most beautiful city gate of Marrakech and dates back to the 12th Century.
- Saadian Tombs – Your next stop is the beautiful Saadian tombs (spend at least 30 minutes here). The tombs are of the members of the Saadi dynasty, which ruled Morocco from the 16th to the 17th centuries.
- Badi Palace – If you have time and are interested stop off at the Bad palace which is a ruin of a commissioned by the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian dynasty. If you are not interested or like to take things slow then skip this.
Lunch Stop – Rooftop Restaurant Koulchi Zine – Have lunch here which is one of my favourite rooftop bars in Marrakech (I recommend the beed and prune tagine!)
- Check out the Kasbah – it’s a slightly more relaxed feel than the souks and you are less likely to get taken out by the crazy motos!
- Bahia Palace – An ornate 19th century palace built by Si Moussa containing stunning mosaic tiles and marquetry (wood carved architecture). Spend at least 2-3 hours here to enjoy the architecture and take photos.
- Jemaa El Fnaa – After the Bahia palace it’s time to experience the craziness of Jemaa El Fnaa, Marrakech’s main square that comes to life in the evenings. Be prepared for snake charmers, touts and street food vendors! The food sellers stalls have numbers and it’s usual that the hotel or hostel receptionist will tell you the best numbers to go to for their favourite food. This can change frequently so don’t be scared to ask for your local recommendations!
2 day Marrakech Itinerary – Day 2
On your second day you will explore the sites nearer the souks including Marrakech Museum and the beautiful Ben Yousef Madrasa.
- Marrakech Museum – The museum is housed in Mnebhi Palace which has a beautiful central courtyard decorated with geometric tiles and intricately carved wooden doors. As well as admiring the building itself you can also enjoy the exhibitions of Berber Jewellery, pottery and artefacts that are on display.
- Ben Yusef Madrasa – Just a few minutes away from the Marrakech Museum is Ben Yousef Madrasa. This 14th Century Qur’anic school that once had around 900 students is one of my favourite places to visit in Marrakech. The well preserved blue and green tiles are complimented by the verses of the Qur’an in Arabic calligraphy.
Lunch at La Jardin (Inside the Medina) – this is my favourite restaurant in Marrakech. It’s in the beautiful setting of a secret garden with floors and walls covered in emerald green tiles.
- Explore the souks of Marrakech – Head towards Souk Semmarine on your map and you will get sucked in from there! The Marrakech souk has different sections including spices, fabrics and handicrafts. Remember that if you look at something, the vendors will expect you to buy! Be prepared to haggle…the first price is not the last price!
- Marjorelle Gardens – This botanical garden was once home to French artist Jacques Majorelle and is the most Instagrammable spots in Marrakech.
Extra Activities for Marrakech
If you still have time, you might like to do a Moroccan cooking class. Instead of eating tagine, why not learn how to cook it? I recommend this Tagine cookery class that you can book on Get your Guide. Also be sure to schedule some relaxing time on the roof terrace or enjoying the city.
Can you spare a third day in Marrakech?
3 Day Marrakech Itinerary
Let’s say you manage to find a third day in Marrakech and you want to spend some of your left over energy heading into the Atlas Mountains….there are a couple of day trips that I highly recommend. To turn it into a 3 day Marrakech itinerary then choose between these two options:
The first is Ouzoud falls – a beautiful waterfall in the middle Atlas where you will have stunning views and be greeted by monkeys.
The second is the trip to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazat, where you will be able to visit a traditional and well preserved Kasbah that was used in the filming of the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’. Ouarzazat is a city South of the High Atlas and known as the gateway to the dessert.
If you enjoyed this 2 day Marrakech itinerary then you might also like to read some more of my Morocco articles. I hope that you find them helpful….
- The best things to do in Marrakech
- What to pack for Morocco
- Morocco Travel tips for solo female travellers