24 hours in Marrakech
Marrakesh is a vibrant, bustling and often hectic city with endless things to see, do and eat. On our Morocco challenge, you’ll be getting to spend some time here after your trek in the High Atlas Mountains; follow our 24-hour itinerary to make the most of it.
Begin your day with breakfast at the city’s main square, Jamaa El Fana. There are a number of cafes lining the square, as well as street food carts selling freshly squeezed orange juice for around 2 Dirham. The square is probably the city’s most chaotic spot, so it’s a good idea to get in there before the heaving crowds arrive.
After breakfast, head into the famous souks for a spot of shopping. Marrakech’s markets are an absolute must-see and have everything on offer from colourful pots and rugs, to cheap Argan Oil, to traditional Moroccan spice mix Ras El Hanout.
Once you’ve picked up some souvenirs, check out the Koutoubia Mosque (5-10 mins walk). The mosque is open to Muslims only, but it is still more than worth viewing from the outside.
Once you’ve had your fill of the mosque grounds, head over to the Palais el Bahia (20-25 mins walk), grabbing some street food for lunch on your way back across Jamaa El Fana. If you need a quick energy boost, Chebika, a sort of stuffed potato ball, is ideal. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you could try a warming bowl of snail soup, a staple for shoppers in the square.
Palais el Bahia is a tranquil and truly beautiful place. A lesser visited attraction, it is often overlooked by tourists who instead flock to Jardin Majorelle, a garden just north of the Medina. This is, above all else, what makes Palais el Bahia it so worth a visit - it is one of the only truly relaxing spaces so central in the city.
Built in the late 18th century, the palace is characterised by its crisp white walls, intricately tiled floors and towering palm trees. If you're keen to learn about its history, there are a number of guided tours available, or you can just pay the 10 Dirham entry fee and explore at your own pace.
No trip to Marrakech is complete without a visit to a local Hammam, or bath house. Early evening is a great time to go, allowing you to unwind before heading out for dinner.
The offerings range from very cheap, laid back establishments without even fully functioning plumbing, to upmarket places with more of a Western spa feel. If you really want to go for the Moroccan experience, stick to the simpler places. But be warned - if you’re not a fan of nudity, the Hammams aren’t for you!
End your day by treating yourself to a rooftop dinner at Cafe Arabe, a beautifully decorated restaurant with a lamp-lit roof terrace, just north of the main square. It’s a little pricey compared to most places in Marrakesh, but the atmosphere makes it well worth it. There’s a range of traditional Moroccan dishes on offer, as well as Italian and French cuisine and, as it is one of the few central restaurants which serves alcohol, you can raise a glass to a fantastic 24 hours in Marrakech.