Marrakech Itinerary in 36hrs
Just beyond the cusp of Western civilization lies Marrakech, an old-world city overflowing with an enchanting display of scents, flavours, artistry, and design. Visit Morocco’s cultural powerhouse and get lost in the labyrinth of the walled medina, get heckled by leathery shopkeepers, fork over money to photograph snake charmers, and be hypnotized by Berber music. Marrakech is a place learning how to dance with modernity: hip restaurants and bougie cafes are wildly abundant, European shopping is easily available, and old historic buildings are being repurposed for new tastes.
If you only have 36 hours to visit Marrakech, it helps to have an idea of where to go, what to do, and how to get there. Luckily, AllTheRooms the world’s first vacation rental search engine, has created an itinerary to get a taste of everything Marrakech has to offer.
Friday, 4:00 pm
Ease yourself into Moroccan culture and start your trip on the outskirts of the city. The Gueliz region is the heart of the new part of Marrakech. A city known for its art, we recommend visiting either Matisse or Macma: both are home to an illustrious collection of Arabic artefacts and European paintings. Other options for your afternoon include a walk through the Jardin Majorelle, a magical garden with over 300 species of plants and tranquil babbling creeks. Alternatively, check out the Theater Royal, an unfinished architectural masterpiece hosting many cultural events, or stop for a drink at Le Grand Café de la Poste, where guests relax on old Berber carpets by the fireplace with live music.
Friday, 7:30 pm
For one of the best environments in the Gueliz region, head out for dinner at L’ibzar. Dishes include tapas, colourful salads, beef shank with candied lemons and chicken tagine with sweet tomato jelly. Another option for dinner is to spend an evening at Level Five, the restaurant below the famous Sky Bar. Boasting fusion dishes from French and Asian cuisines, Level Five offers live music and incredible views of the city from the Sky Bar above.
Friday, 10:00 pm
Depending on what kind of traveller you are, this very well may be your bedtime. If you’re open to an Arabian night on the town, there are a few great options in and around Gueliz. For the less club-inclined, 68 Bar a Vin is a cosy yet lively joint with an extensive wine list and smoking-permitted terraces. Elsewhere, Mama Afrika has a sub-Saharan vibe with funky décor, or, if raging is your forte, we suggest heading out to Theatro for its wild, circus-like show and thumping house music.
Where to Stay
From fancy hotels to budget-friendly hostels, Marrakech has something to offer everyone. If you prefer your own space, we strongly recommend you park yourself in a traditional Riad. Riads are ancient mansions, usually multi-storied donning pools and lookouts.
Saturday, 9:00 am
Wake up early and get to the beautifully preserved 14th-century Islamic school, Ben Youssef Madrasa. Walk around the courtyard, marvel at the architectural symmetry and intricate tile work, and check out the rooms upstairs that used to house more than 900 students.
Saturday, 11:00 am
This is your time to get lost. Head to the medina, the old town centre, and lose yourself in the maze. Walking among the ancient clay-coloured walls feels like stepping back in time. Wander into random souks (shops) and bargain with entrepreneurs for anything from handbags to literature, clothing and street food.
Saturday, 1:00 pm
An afternoon in the old city can take a number of different directions. Some great cultural options include visiting the Saadian Tombs or heading to a Tannery. The tombs are magnificently decorated with colourful tiles and ancient calligraphy, while the tanneries are Marrakech’s vibrant outdoor versions of production factories. For the more luxurious traveller, another great option for the afternoon is a hammam — the local bathhouse. Strip down and immerse yourself in a sauna, get an exfoliating massage, and after, take a dip in an ice-cold pool. Some of our favourite hammams are Les Bains, Hammam Dar el Bacha, and La Mamounia
Saturday, 5:00 pm
Complete your full day in Marrakech with the Jemaa El-Fnaa Market — the bustling hub of Marrakech. As the sun sets the huge square turns into a massive outdoor food market with vendors selling all types of cuisines. Stumble across snake charmers, busking musicians, and children playing games.
Pro tip: head to the rooftop terrace of Café Glacier around sunset and get your camera ready for the muezzin to call evening prayer. Watch the square fall into a quiet lull as the sky fills with beautiful shades of red.
Before you set off, knock off one of your bucket list gems with a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Watch the morning sun cast beautiful rays over the Atlas mountains and the Moroccan countryside — a magical lasting image of Marrakech.
Thanks to AllTheRooms for this blog written for So Morocco by Dillon, a travel-hungry outdoor enthusiast originally from Encinitas, California. He recently moved to Medellín to begin his next chapter as a content writer for AllTheRooms. Besides writing, Dillon enjoys live music, fútbol, cooking, and backpacking.