Planning a trip to Marrakech but you don’t have more than 3 days? No worries! In this post, I will show you exactly how to make the most of your 3 days in Marrakech
Marrakech is a city like no other. The city’s vibrant colors, sounds, and smells will instantly transport you to another world. And with so much to see and do, it can be tough to know where to start.
Known for its bustling souks (markets), narrow Medina stress and more Marrakech can be an overwhelming destination for Morocco first-time visitors. But with a little planning, you can easily make the most of your short trip to Marrakech.
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- Top Things To Do In Marrakech Morocco
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- Beautiful Day Trips From Marrakech
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Are 3 days enough in Marrakech?
From my experience, 3 days in Marrakech is enough to explore the city of Marrakech and all its key sights and attractions. However, if you want to explore what’s outside the city, you will certainly need more than 3 days.
ULTIMATE MARRAKECH 3 DAYS ITINERARY
Here’s my suggested itinerary for how to spend 3 awesome days in Marrakech:
Marrakech 3 days trip (Day 1 Overview)
1. Settle in your Riad
In case you are wondering what a Riad is, it’s a traditional Moroccan house or small palace with an interior garden. Most Riads in Marrakech are now converted into beautiful hotels where you can stay.
There are of course plenty of standard hotels in Marrakech but I would highly recommend staying in a Riad. Not only are they more authentic, but they are also usually located in the more atmospheric parts of the city.
Plus, it’s always nice to have a little oasis to retreat to after a long day exploring the city!
I also wrote a guide about the most beautiful Riads in Morocco and many of them are actually located in Marrakech, check it out.
2. Visit Koutoubia mosque
One of my favorite things to do in any new city is to just wander around and get lost. And if you do so in Marrakech, you will inevitably stumble upon the Koutoubia Mosque.
The minaret of the mosque is visible from almost anywhere in Marrakech and is a great way to orient yourself in the city.
Located near Jamaa El Fena, the Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech and one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
The bad news is that non-Muslims are unfortunately not allowed to go inside but you can certainly admire and photograph the beautiful exterior of the mosque and its minaret.
3. Tour Jamaa El Fena
I’m not really a fan of busy and crowded places but there is something about Jamaa El Fena that I just love. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, the people, the smells, or the fact that this place is just a real representation of Morocco. But whatever it is, I always make sure to visit Jamaa El Fena when I’m in Marrakech.
Jamaa El Fena is the main square in Marrakech and is basically the heart of the city. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat, or just take in the atmosphere of Marrakech while sipping tea in one of the many cafes that surround the square.
During the day, Jamaa El Fena is a relatively calm place but it really comes to life at night. That’s when all the Moroccan street food stalls and snake charmers come out and the square is filled with people from all walks of life.
Pro tip: As I mentioned earlier Jamaa El Fna is a really busy area in Marrakech, especially at night so just be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you as you may come across scammers and pickpockets.
4. Shop at the Souk
If you are going to Marrakech go well prepared and bring an extra suitcase just for all the souvenirs, because believe me, you’re going to want to buy everything!
The Souk is a huge covered market in the old Medina where you can find pretty much anything and everything. From spices and Moroccan teas and herbs to handcrafted lanterns and beautiful Moroccan rugs.
You can easily spend a couple of hours (or even an entire day) getting lost in the maze-like streets of the Souk and bargaining with merchants for the best prices.
If you are sure what souvenirs and goodies to buy in Marrakech, I wrote a guide about the best things to buy in Morocco which includes some of my favorite souvenirs from Marrakech.
Pro tip: If you are planning on doing some serious shopping in Marrakech, make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking! I also recommend a cross-body bag to keep all your belongings safe.
Marrakech 3 days trip (Day 2 Overview)
- Breakfast at your Riad
- Madrassa Ben Youssef
- Bahia Palace
- El Badi Palace
- Food tour
1. Breakfast at your Riad
Most Riads will have a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy your breakfast with views of the city. If your Riad doesn’t have a rooftop terrace, then they will usually have a beautiful courtyard where you can enjoy your breakfast in peace.
Breakfast is usually included in the price of your room, you might as well take advantage of it and have a big and hearty breakfast before starting your day exploring Marrakech.
2. Visit the Bahia Palace
After breakfast, head to the Bahia Palace which is one of the most beautiful palaces in Morocco. The palace was built in the late 19th century and served as the official residence of the Grand Vizier of Marrakech.
Bahia palace is considered one of the most preserved examples of Moorish architecture in Morocco and is definitely worth a visit whether you are interested in architecture or not.
In the palace, you can easily spend a few hours admiring the beautiful architecture and intricate details and colors of the palace. Another highlight of the Bahia Palace is the stunning garden courtyard which is a great place to take a break from all the walking and just relax for a bit.
Pro tip: If you want to avoid the crowds, I recommend visiting the Bahia Palace early in the morning as it tends to get really busy later in the day.
3. Visit Madrassa Ben Youssef
After exploring the Bahia Palace, make your way to the Madrassa Ben Youssef which is the largest Koranic school in all of Morocco.
The Madrassa was built in the 14th century and used to be one of the largest theological colleges in North Africa. The Madrassa was closed in 1960 and has since been turned into a museum.
Since non-Muslims are not allowed to enter most religious buildings in Morocco, the Madrassa Ben Youssef is a great way to get a glimpse of what the inside of an Islamic school looks like.
Composed of a large central courtyard flanked by cell-like rooms, the Madrassa Ben Youssef served as a place of study and prayer for students coming from all over the Muslim world.
The beautifully carved cedarwood ceiling in the main prayer hall is one of my favorite highlights of the Madrassa Ben Youssef. Also, I heard the Madrassa is even beautiful at night when it is all lit up and the courtyard is illuminated by lanterns. I haven’t been there at night but I imagine it is quite a sight!
Pro tip: The Madrassa Ben Youssef is located in the Medina (old city) which can be a bit tricky to navigate. I recommend hiring a guide for the day or at least get a map of the Medina before heading out.
4. Visit El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace is one of the most iconic landmarks in Marrakech. The palace was built in the 16th century by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian dynasty and was once one of the most luxurious palaces in all of North Africa.
Note: The Saadian dynasty has their own tombs in Marrakech and the place called the Saadian tombs. It’s a popular historical and touristic landmark that you can add to your Marrakech itinerary. I’m not really a fan of the graveyard that’s why I didn’t include it in my 3 days Marrakech trip.
The palace was built using materials brought in from all over the world including Italian marble, Indian onyx, and gold from Sudan. The grandeur of the palace is reflected in its size as it covers an area of 3 hectares with over 360 rooms.
Unfortunately, not much of the palace remains today as it was largely destroyed by earthquakes and time. However, El Badi Palace still holds a lot of history and beauty underneath its rubble, and the shell of the palace is still an impressive sight to visit.
One of my favorite things about the El Badi Palace is that you can still see some of the original detailed mosaics and carvings on the walls and ceilings. It is really incredible to see how well preserved some of the features are after all these years.
The palace grounds are huge so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore. I also recommend hiring a guide as they can tell you all about the history of the palace and what it was like in its heyday.
5. Take an evening food tour
By the time you’ve explored El Badi Palace, it will probably be late afternoon/early evening. And what better way to end a day of exploring than with food!
I highly recommend doing a Souk food tour as it is a ƒ way to try a bunch of different Moroccan dishes in one go. I did a food tour with Interpid Urban Adventures and it was one of the highlights of my trip!
Our tour started around sunset and we have done multiple different tastings plus a splendid dinner in Jamaa El Fena. We started with a tour wandering through hidden shops in the souk selling all kinds of olives, and nuts then headed to the spice shop where we learned about all the different spices used in Moroccan food.
We then made our way to a local bread shop where we watched the baker make fresh bread in a traditional wood-fired oven. The smell of the baking bread was absolutely intoxicating!
Afterward, we tried some delicious Moroccan pastries filled with almond paste and honey. , and ended with a delicious Tangia dish in Jamaa El fena.
In between each stop, our tour guide told us about the history and culture of Moroccan food. I learned so much about the different spices and ingredients used in Moroccan cuisine and how they are all incorporated into each dish.
I would highly recommend doing a Souk food tour if you’re interested in trying some authentic Moroccan dishes and street foods. It’s also a great way to meet new people and explore Marrakech’s food scenes!
Check Interpid Urban Adventures food tour and dinner
1. Experience Marrakech on a Hot Air Balloon
Not many travelers know about this but you can actually go on a hot air balloon ride in Marrakech! I was lucky enough to experience this during my 3 days Marrakech trip and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
I highly recommend doing a hot air balloon ride if you’re looking for something unique and special to do while you’re in Marrakech. It’s the perfect way to see the city from a different perspective and get some amazing photos.
I did my hot air balloon ride with Ciel d’Afrique Hot Air Ballooning, and they were absolutely amazing. The whole experience was very well organized and professional from pick up to drop off. I felt completely safe throughout the entire process, and our pilot was very experienced.
We took off just before sunrise and it was absolutely breathtaking. The views of the palm groves of Marrakech as the sun came up were incredible and at the end of the ride, we were offered freshly made mint tea.
Check Ciel d’Afrique Hot Air Ballooning hot air balloon experience
2. Take a Moroccan Cooking class
The hot air balloon experience will probably take up most of the morning, once you are back at the Riad you can rest and have a bite then get ready for your next experience but this time it involves food! And what better way to experience the food in Morocco than actually cooking it yourself?
Cooking classes in Morocco are organized in Moroccan homes but some Riads offer them as well. You will learn how to cook the popular Tagine and you will learn how to make Moroccan bread (Khobz) from scratch.
In the end, you will enjoy your own food with your own group in a beautiful Moroccan house setting. There is also the possibility to book a private cooking class which is great for a romantic experience or if you are traveling with your partner.
3. Explore Majorelle Gardens
To end your 3 days in Marrakech on a high note, I recommend exploring the stunning Majorelle Gardens. The gardens were created by French artist Jacques Majorelle over the course of 40 years and they are now open to the public.
The gardens feature beautiful cacti, palms, bamboo, and flowers. There is also a stunning blue villa in the gardens that was once the home of Yves Saint Laurent.
The Majorelle Gardens are the perfect place to spend an afternoon after your cooking class exploring and taking photos.
The only downside is that the waiting line is always very long, so I recommend getting there early in the day if you don’t wait for too long which means you may need to switch your cooking class timing to the afternoon.
There is also the option of booking the Majorelle garden ticket online which will give you a time slot to enter the gardens and avoid waiting in line.
4. Relax at a Moroccan Hammam Spa
As they say best for last! The Moroccan Hammam Spa is a must-do while in Morocco. It is a cleansing and relaxing ritual that has been part of Moroccan culture for centuries.
Traditionally, the Moroccan Hammam was used as a place to have a bath, socialize, and relax after a long day of work. Nowadays, it is still an important part of Moroccan culture and you can find Hammams all over the country.
During your 3 days in Marrakech, I recommend trying a Hammam at least once, preferably on your last day before leaving. It is a very relaxing few hours and it’s a great way to detox after all the food you will be eating!
The Hammam experience usually starts with a steam room to help you relax and open up your pores. Then you will be scrubbed with a black soap that is made from olives and eucalyptus.
After the scrub, you will be given a traditional Moroccan massage with argan oil. The whole experience lasts around 3 hours, and you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed.
There are many Hammams in Marrakech, but I recommend trying La Mamounia as it is one of the most luxurious and famous Riads that offer private Hammams in Morocco. It is a bit more expensive than others, but it is worth it for the experience.
If you are looking for something more budget-friendly check out this Hammam Spa plus dinner at a Riad with a private transfer which seems like a great deal!
Bonus: Other alternatives for your 3 days in Marrakech
If for some reason you are not able to do some of the activities that I mentioned above, here are some other ideas for things that you can do during your 3 days in Marrakech.
Camel trekking in Marrakech palm groves
I know there are a lot of mixed opinions about camel trekking, and whether it’s ethical or not. I personally think that as long as the camels are well cared for and they are not being mistreated, then it is okay to go on a camel trek.
When it’s animal related, I always make sure I’m not contributing to any animal cruelty and only visit places where the animals are well treated.
With that being said, camel trekking is a great way to support the people caring for the camels as it’s the only source of income to feed these poor animals.
Also, it’s good to know that camels are some pretty strong creatures and can actually walk for days without food or water and they are adapted to live in extreme environments, both hot and cold.
So, if you are interested in trying the camel ride in Marrakech, Marrakesh Travel Services offers camel rides through the palm groves. The service includes pickup, camel ride tea break, and drop-off for a very reasonable price.
Read more about our camel trekking in Morocco article. It has everything you need to know before booking your camel trekking experience!
Pro tip: It’s important to know that this is not the camel trekking offered in the Sahara Desert. To go for a Sahara camel trek requires you to have at least 3 more days in your trip as it’s a 12-hour drive from Marrakech. The palm groves however are just a 30 minutes drive from the city center of Marrakech.
3 days in Marrakech budget
For me, budgeting is the hard part of travel planning, but it is also the most important. You don’t want to get to your destination and realize that you can’t afford anything because you overspent on your flights or accommodation.
I usually start by looking for the cheapest flights and then finding a place to stay that is within my budget of course. Once I have those two things booked, I start looking into activities.
For your stay in Marrakech, I assume you will be staying in a Riad. A double room in a standard Riad can easily cost between 50-100 USD per night. While I highly recommend staying in a Riad, there are also other options such as hostels and hotels which are a lot cheaper and you find plenty of them on Booking.com.
So, for 3 days in Marrakech, I would say a budget of around 200-300 USD per day is more than enough, especially if you are staying in a Riad. This budget includes your accommodation, 3 meals a day, any activities that you want to do and some spending money for souvenirs.
Transport and eating out in Marrakech are not expensive. You can get full meals from a local restaurant at 3 to 6 USD maximum (Budget for more if you are planning to eat at restaurants). For transport, you will be paying peanuts to take a taxi ride in the city.
What’s actually eating up your budget are the activities that you want to do such as camel trekking, Hammam Spa, Hot air Balloon riding, cooking class, and souvenir shopping.
So, to cut down on costs, I suggest that you either try just one of two of these activities and fill your 3 days in Marrakech with more attractions tours and you can explore the city on your own instead of hiring a guide or booking a tour.
Booking ahead can also help you reduce your travel budget as many activities offer a discount if you book online in advance. Also, by experience booking on the spot in Morocco is way more expensive than booking online.
To summarize, 3 days in Marrakech budget will look like this:
- Accommodation (Riad): 60 USD/NIGHT (3 days total: 180USD )
- Hotel transfers (both ways): 60 USD
- Transport: 15 USD/DAY (3 days total: 45USD)
- Eating out: 50 USD/DAY (3 DAYS TOTAL 150USD)
- Entrance fees: 20 USD/DAY (3 DAYS TOTAL 60USD)
- Hammam Spa day: 50 USD
- Hot Air Balloon Ride: 60 USD
- Camel Trek: 30 USD
- Souvenir shopping: The sky is the limit
3 days in Marrakech total estimated budget would be:
Of course, this is just a general estimate and it all depends on your travel style. If you are someone who travels on a tight budget, 3 days in Marrakech can be done for as low as 60 USD/day if you cut down on activities and other costly expenses.
On the other hand, if you are someone who doesn’t mind spending a little extra for some amazing experiences, Marrakech has a lot to offer and your 3 days trip in Marrakech can cost as much as you want it to.
I hope this guide was helpful in planning your 3 days in Marrakech! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a message on Instagram and I will be happy to help!
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