How To Spend One Day in Marrakech: The Highlights Itinerary
Are you ready?! Are you ready for a one-day Marrakech itinerary?! Even with only one day in Marrakech, you can see a lot of the city’s highlights and must-see sights. Whether you’re exploring the Marrakech Medina, having mint tea from a rooftop cafe, or wandering through the bustling Jemaa el-Fna square, your one day will be a well-spent Moroccan whirlwind.
Unlike Marrakech’s sister city to the North, Fes, exploring Marrakech can be completely done on your own. However, if you’re wanting the background and history of the sights you’ll be seeing along the way, a Marrakech guided tour is the way to go!
However you choose to explore Marrakech, a guided tour or a self-guided tour, one thing is certain…bring some comfy shoes! You’re two feet is your best mode of transportation to navigate the Medina and to see the highlights of Marrakech.
Let’s get to it, shall we?!
One Day in Marrakech Itinerary
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Marrakech Medina Highlights & Map
Below is a map overview of the ground you’ll be covering during your one day in Marrakech. Click the icons within the map or use the + and – buttons to zoom in and out to get a better sense of the location of the attractions.
To set your barrings, the majority of the sights listed in this one-day itinerary are in the Marrakech Medina. So, you’ll be exploring the Medina throughout the day as you walk from one Marrakech attraction to the next.
The Medina of Marrakech is a UNESCO World Heritage sight. Yup. The whole Medina. Founded in the 1070s, this 5.5 mile / 19-kilometer maze of souk-filled alleyways is full of essential Marrakech things to see and not to mention, a shopper’s paradise.
We’ll discuss the Medina more below, but just so you know, you’ll be walking through it the majority of the day during this one-day itinerary. So don’t you worry! You’ll get your Marrakech Medina fill 🙂
Check out our one-week itinerary to Morocco!
1. Start at The Bab Agnaou Gate
Your one day in Marrakech begins at the Bab Agnaou Gate (also known as Porte de Bab Agnaou). And what better place to start your day?
Bab Agnaou is the main entrance to the southern part of the Marrakesh Medina. It’s quite an impressive entrance and one of the better-known gates of the city.
Built between 1188-1890, Bab Agnaou Gate is made of stone that has been intricately carved into the designs and detail we see today.
Plan to start your one day in Marrakech around 9:00 AM. If you’re close to Bab Agnaou Gate, walk on over! If you need to, hail a cab or coordinate a ride with your accommodation in Marrakech.
The goal is to get your one-day itinerary started early, as you have a lot of ground to cover!
2. Get Your Picture In Front of Moulay El Yazid Mosque
A few minutes walk away from Bab Agnaou Gate, you’ll find the Moulay el Yazid Mosque. A beautiful mosque that will make all those Moroccan vibes come to life.
It’s big and beautiful with stunning green mosaics nestled at the top. And if you time it right, you can hear the call to prayer echo from its minaret.
For all non-Muslims, you’ll have to view Moulay el Yazid Mosque from the outside and outside only. Only Muslims are allowed to enter the mosque and see it from the inside.
Regardless if you can enter the mosque or not, Moulay el Yazid Mosque is a quick, easy, and beautiful stop.
3. Visit The Saadian Tombs
Located right around the corner from the Moulay el Yazid Mosque, you’ll find Saadian Tombs. Don’t let the name fool you. These aren’t just any old tombs. They are beautifully decorated tombs with intricate mosaic pillars and details.
Built on an existing necropolis, the Saadian Tombs lay within a beautifully designed cemetery that was transformed into a lavish tomb sometime in the late 16th century by Saadian Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour Ed Dahbi.
Within the necropolis, you’ll find two mausoleums – Eastern Mausoleum and Western Mausoleum – each housing chambers and tombs that contain imported Italian marble, gold plasterwork, and geometric tilework. Just to name a few of the finer architectural features you’ll see as you explore Saadian Tombs 🙂
Open daily from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and cost 60MAD, about $6-7 USDs. Hours may differ on holy days and holidays.
4. Have Lunch At Kasbah Café
Are you hungry yet? Located across the street from the Saadian Tombs and Moulay el Yazid Mosque is Kasbah Café.
Kasbah Café is a great restaurant with a beautiful roof giving great views of the Moulay el Yazid Mosque you saw earlier this morning. Grab some mint tea and a bite to eat. Relax, recharge, and enjoy the bustling city around you as you take in the cool breeze and wonderful Medina views of the streets below.
5. Vist The Esquisite Bahia Palace
After lunch, you’ll have about a 15 to 20-minute walk to your next stop, Bahia Palace. This walk will take you through some of the alleyways of the Marrakech Medina. Feel free to take your time, and peruse the souks along your way!
Once at Bahia Palace, be prepared to be on mosaic overload! This palace may not look like much from the outside, but the inside is where it’s at! This sprawling compound has gardens and endless mosaic artwork for you to go photo crazy over.
Truly one of the more impressive attractions in Marrakech has to be Bahia Palace.
Built in the 19th century, Bahia Palace was constructed for the sole purpose of being the greatest palace of the time. The name “Bahia” in Arabic means “brilliance” and sheesh, this palace sure lives up to that name!
Open daily from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM and costs 70MAD about $6-$7 USD to enter. Hours may vary on holy days and holidays.
6. Walk Around Koutoubia Mosque
After you’ve had your fill of Bahia Palace, it’s time to head to Koutoubia Mosque, about a 15-20 minute walk away.
Founded in 1147, Koutoubia Mosque (also spelled Kutubiyya Mosque) is the largest mosque in Marrakech and another beautiful stop for some pictures.
Koutoubia’s minaret towers some 253 ft (77 meters) off the ground with its ornate details of geometric motifs and metal orbs.
Like the Moulay el Yazid Mosque you visited at the start of your day, only those practicing Islam are allowed to enter Koutoubia Mosque. For all non-Muslims, you can enjoy the mosque’s exterior architectural features and its surrounding gardens.
7. Shop The Medina Souks of Marrakech
Do you think we’d let you leave Marrakech without a little shopping adventure through its Medina souks? A short 3-5 minute walk from Koutoubia Mosque, you’ll find yourself in Jemaa el-Fna square (which is your next stop (#8)!).
Off Jemaa el-Fna square, you’ll find covered alleyways overflowing with life! Welcome to some of the main alleyways of the Marrakech Medina!
From stalls (souks) selling spices and dried fruits, to handmade lanterns, rugs, leather goods, and copper pieces, if you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, this is the place! As you wander the souks, be sure to soak in the beautiful chaotic hum that is Marrakech.
OPTION: If the shopping in the Marrakech Medina sounds a little overwhelming to you, you should book a Medina shopping tour with a local guide! Offering several time slots throughout the day, you can navigate the Marrakech Medina and shop with confidence with the help of your trusty local guide.
Tips For Shopping in Morocco’s Medinas:
- Make sure you have an offline map downloaded as cell service can be really spotty in the busy souks of the Medina (we use Maps.Me).
- Haggle, haggle, haggle, and haggle some more! Never settle for the first price given to you by a shop owner. In fact, whatever the first number is given, counteroffer with half of it (i.e. if they say it costs 100, offer 50). If the shop owner doesn’t agree, just walk away. There will be someone else selling the exact same thing a few stalls down.
- Don’t feel pressured to buy! Some sellers can be really pushy, more so than what you may be used to. This is just part of the Souk culture. Again, just walk away and continue with your shopping.
- If you get lost in the Medina and need help, be expected to pay a small fee, especially if a local walks you to your intended destination.
- Be aware of your belongings – i.e. nothing in your back pockets, backpack on your front, purse draped across your body, wallet out of sight and safely secured, etc.
- Kindly reject any offers for tours or gifts from locals. You’ll be expected to pay and it could potentially turn into some sort of scam.
Basically, just be aware and kindly assertive when you need to be, and you should be just fine! We encountered zero Medina issues or hiccups and in fact, LOVED shopping the Medina’s of Morocco.
They are charming in their own chaotic sort of way 🙂
8. Wander Through Bustling Jemaa el-Fna Square
After you’ve had your shopping fix, make your way back to Jemaa el-Fna Square, one of the iconic must-sees in Marrakech.
Jemaa el-Fna square, like the medina alleyways you just came out of, is the bustling epicenter of Marrakech. Today, Jemaa el-Fna remains THE main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists alike.
Grab a freshly squeezed OJ from a vendor, watch as cobras are charmed by their snake handlers, listen to live music, and watch street food vendors’ communal tables fill up for those seeking to calm their hungry bellies.
Jemaa el-Fna is a life force and one of the best places to watch the sunset in Marrakech. Surrounding Jemaa el-Fna are a handful of restaurants, like Hôtel Restaurant Café de France, offering rooftop access to watch the sunset as you overlook Jemaa el-Fna below.
TIP: Café de France admittedly doesn’t have the best food, but it’s a good place to take a rest and enjoy a beverage from. If you are not afraid to try street food, we suggest eating from the vendors in Jemaa el-Fna or consider extending your exploration into the night with a Moroccan Food Tour! A fun way to learn about the local cuisine, and of course TASTE IT 🙂
Regardless of how you choose to spend your time enjoying Jemaa el-Fna, it’s the perfect way to end your one day in Marrakech!
ALT Options For Your One-Day in Marrakech Itinerary
To ensure you are spending your one day in Marrakech how you want it to be, we are offing up a few more stops for you to consider. We advise only adding in one extra stop (perhaps El Badi Palace as it’s on the way to Bahia Palace!) vs. trying to fit everything into your one-day itinerary.
Or, consider swapping out one of the above stops (#1-8) for one of the below. It’s your day, so make it the best for you! Just do us a favor and don’t cram your day to where you overwhelm yourself 🙂
- El Badi Palace: An enormous ruined palace with some historic exhibits.
- Ben Youssef Madrasa (Ibn Youssef School): Historic Islamic college founded in the 14th century
- Jardin Majorelle: Two-acre botanical garden and oasis in Marrakech
For more amazing things to do in Marrakech, check out our latest guide here!
Where to Stay in Marrakech
- For The Budget Conscious: Backpackers Grapevine Hostel is clean, fun, and friendly! Also, it has one of the best locations in the city of Marrakech boasting a 2-minute walk to the famous Jam El Fnaa square.
- For The Luxury Inclined: Riad L’Etoile D’Orient is a beautiful riad situated in the heart of Marrakech. Featuring a delicious on-site restaurant to rooftop terraces and lounges, you can enjoy Marrakech in style.
- For Something In Between: Riad Chafia is a boutique-style riad that makes it feel like a hidden gem in chaotic Marrakech. From its great little terrace to being clean and centrally located, this riad is a great accommodation choice for Marrakech.
For more places to stay in Marrakech, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
One Day In Marrakech Essentials
Make sure you have your day bag packed with water, money (dirham), sunscreen, and your camera. Also, get those comfy shoes on, because you have a lot of stuff to get see and do with one day in Marrakech!
Also, a must is to download Maps.Me (or your favorite offline map) from the app or google play store. Maps.Me is an offline app that allows you to use GPS/maps if you don’t want to use your phone’s data internationally. Plus, using a downloaded map is a great way to navigate the Medina of Marrakech when reception or service is iffy.
Best Time To Visit Marrakech
The best times to visit Marrakech is during Morocco’s spring and fall months, which are March to May and September to November.
However, these months are also the high season, so expect higher accommodation rates.
During the summer, while there is little to no rain, the temperatures are HOT. If you’re traveling to Morocco during the summer, try and start your day early to avoid the heat. Oh, and opt for a Riad with a pool 🙂
If you are heading to Marrakech over the winter, don’t think it’ll be a warm getaway. Morocco experiences cold temperatures, so if you are heading this way for winter, make sure to bring a jacket and pack accordingly.
How To Get To Marrakech
Marrakech is very easy to reach and depending on where you are coming from, you can arrive in Marrakech by train, plane, bus, or rental car!
Marrakech’s international airport, Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK), is probably the most popular entry point for visitors flying into Morocco looking to explore the country.
If you are already in the country of Morroco, you can book train and bus tickets to Marrakech online through 12go Asia or other sites like ONCF (train) and CTM (bus).
Check out our guide to taking the train from Marrakech to Fes!
Alternatively, renting a car is very easy to do in Morocco, and loads of tourists visiting opt to drive themselves throughout Morocco. A little road trip always adds a memorable touch to any trip, agree?!
Best Way To Get Around Marrakech
Once in Marrakech, the best way to get around is to walk! The city is very walkable, especially for those looking to see the highlights of Marrakech. Plus, walking always (in our opinion) gives you a much better sense of the cultures. You’ll walk past and experience things much more intimately vs driving by them in a car.
However, if walking and navigating the streets of Marrakech, just isn’t in the cards for you, you can flag down taxis, coordinate with your accommodation for rides, or book a vintage sidecar sightseeing tour for either a 1.5-hour tour or a 3.5-hour tour!
Want More Info On Morocco?!
The Best Things To Do In Marrakech
14 Things You Can’t Miss in Fes, Morocco
What To Do In Chefchaouen, The Blue City of Morocco
The Train From Marrakech to Fes: Everything You Need To Know
8 Foods You Must Eat When Visiting Morocco
Safety Tips For Visiting Morocco
Things To Know Before Visiting Morocco
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stus)