Last updated on November 1st, 2020 at 05:39 pm
If you’ve heard anything about Morocco, you’ve probably heard of Marrakech. While it’s not the country’s capital, the Red City takes the cake as one of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations.
Marrakech is unlike any other destination I’ve ever been to. It’s fabulous yet chaotic, ancient and modern, desert-like but green. It will exceed your imagination, intrigue you, and maybe even intimidate you. However, if you give it a chance, Marrakech will mesmerize you with its colors, scents, food, and people.
I think that four days is the perfect amount of time to get to know the city, so I’ve put together this Four Day Marrakech Itinerary to help you plan your first visit to the Red City!
Four Day Marrakech Itinerary
Day One in Marrakech
Before you actually land at Marrakech Menara Airport, you’ll want to organize an airport pick up with your riad or hotel. Trust me on this one.
If it’s your first time in Marrakech, the last thing you want to do is be lost in the Medina, internetless, dragging your luggage around with no idea where to go.
Our riad offered an airport pick up service for 15 EUR. Though you might be able to get a cheaper rate by taking a taxi, your taxi will not be able to take you all the way to your riad. Cars are not allowed beyond the old Medina walls and your taxi will most likely leave you at the entrance gate closest to your accommodation, while your riad pick-up will park outside the walls and actually walk you directly to your riad. We definitely thought it was worth the 15 EUR.
Once you’ve checked into your riad, it’s time to go out and explore! On the first day of your four-day-Marrakech-itinerary, you’ll just be getting used to your new surroundings. I’d suggest you spend some time walking around the Medina and taking in the foreign spices that fill the air, the spellbinding souks, and the frenzied rhythm of the city streets.
When you make it to Jemaa el-Fna (the main square), have a good look around. This square comes alive at night when it’s filled with entertainers including live traditional Berber music, snake charmers, acrobats, and even monkeys on leashes. If you stop to watch them, be prepared to pay. Even if you only stop for a few seconds, as soon as the performer has noticed you, you can be sure they’ll be requesting cash for their entertainment.
While on Jemaa el-Fna, be sure to try freshly squeezed juice from one of the many juice stands. It’s hard to recommend a good stand, as all of them serve the same drinks made with the same types of fruit, but we stuck with stall 42.
After you’ve had a taste of the chaos on the main square, make your way to Le Jardin for dinner. This enchanting oasis in the middle of a 16th-century building is the perfect escape from the madness of Marrakech. Upon entering, we were met with a lovely courtyard garden and the soothing sounds of traditional live Moroccan music. It is at Le Jardin that we tried our first tagine!
Day Two in Marrakech
Begin your second day in Marrakech at the Majorelle Gardens & Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Be sure to get there early (right when it opens) due to the large amounts of visitors. This will allow you to get your tickets quickly and enjoy the gorgeous gardens without the crowds.
After wandering through the vibrant gardens, get lost in the souks! If you get lost, know that you’re doing it right.
The souks are like a giant treasure trove – each and every turn leads you to a new alleyway, a new stall filled with glittering trinkets, rugs, spices, ceramics, pashminas, lanterns and wood carvings. I really wanted to bring home a Berber rug, so that’s what we hunted for during our first visit.
Tip: If you’re looking to purchase an authentic, handmade, Berber rug, there are a few things you should know:
First, if the rug has truly been handmade, it will not have a completely symmetrical design. On a real Berber rug, the woven symbols usually vary slightly in shape and size. Second, to know that it is made from real wool, use the fire test. To do this, take a lighter and hold the flame up to one of the rug’s loose ends – if it does not light, it’s real. If it does ignite, it’s synthetic.
Follow your shopping spree at the souks with lunch at the Henna Cafe. The Henna Cafe is a cultural association registered in Morocco whose profits go toward providing education for the local community. This cafe also employs local women who are highly experienced in the art of henna and only use locally produced, natural henna (unlike the “henna” that is offered on Jemaa el-Fna). It’s a great place to grab lunch (they have a pretty basic menu, but are very budget-friendly), get traditional henna, and support the locals.
Next, pay a visit to Bahia Palace. This 19th-century structure is a true representation of traditional Moroccan design and architecture. There is no furniture, paintings or even explanations inside the palace, so I would highly recommend a guide to make the most of your visit.
For dinner, head to Cafe des Epices. This lovely restaurant can be found in the middle of the spice market and is the ideal meeting place to rest away from the souks. You can watch the hustle and bustle of the streets from one of the cafe’s three floors, or top terrace.
Day Three in Marrakech
On your third day in Marrakech, slip away from the pandemonium by taking a trip to the Atlas Mountains.
We chose to visit the mountains via Airbnb Experiences. The excursion we chose, along with our incredible guide, Mohammed, made our trip to Marrakech extra special.
You can read all about our amazing Atlas Mountains experience here.
After returning from the Atlas Mountains, you’ll want to relax for a bit. I’d suggest going to a hammam – a Middle Eastern type of spa ritual for cleansing the body that includes a steam room, exfoliation, and sometimes even a massage.
When you’re feeling refreshed, head to Nomad for dinner. Be sure to make a reservation in advance as this restaurant is insanely popular. In your reservation, make a note that you’d like to be seated on the top floor terrace – this will guarantee you’ll have gorgeous nighttime views of the city and an extra special atmosphere.
Day Four in Marrakech
Finish off your four day Marrakech itinerary with a visit to El Badi Palace. This former palace is not restored, but its ruins are rich in history. If you do decide to go, I would highly recommend reading up on El Badi Palace before you visit or have a guide walk you through as most of the descriptions inside are sadly in French.
If you’re up for some more Moroccan history, check out the Maison de la Photographie. This photography museum will allow you to plunge into Marrakech’s history through rich visual imagery of the Red City and the surrounding area.
For some last-minute shopping, head over to Ensemble Artisinal. This building is filled with various artisanal stalls where you can purchase souvenirs and other Moroccan goods in a more relaxing environment than the souks. The best part about it is that all of the products here have fixed prices, meaning you won’t have to deal with pushy salesmen or bargaining. The prices and products are pretty similar to what you would find in the souks, though some items seem to be a bit higher in quality.
End your Moroccan adventure at Cafe Kif Kif for a late lunch. Other than a beautiful view of the Koutoubia Mosque, Cafe Kif Kif has great food and super friendly staff. Honestly, by our fourth day in Morocco, we were tired of eating tagines, so we ended up going for the burgers on the menu. However, they do offer traditional Moroccan food as well, including tagines, salads, and kofte. Try their Moroccan spiced coffee for an interesting twist on the traditional drink – they add cardamom to it!
Need more inspo?
I hope you enjoyed this Four Day Marrakech Itinerary and that it’s useful in preparing for your first visit to Morocco. Check out my Marrakech Guide for First-Timers and Top Ten Foods to Try in Morocco to make the most of your visit to the Red City!