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most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech

10 of the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech

Otherwise known as the Red City, Marrakech is everything you would expect it to be – busy, chaotic and exotic. The North African city is also home to some of the most beautiful and interesting sites in the world. If you are visiting and looking for things to do in Marrakech or places to photograph, here are some of my favorite beautiful places to visit in Marrakech…

Also check out our visit to beautiful Marrakech…

Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace in Marrakech

The Bahia Palace will give you a taste of what life was like for the very rich in the 19th century. The site is said to be originally built as a harem’s residence by the infamous Si Ahmed ben Musa. For all its notoriety it’s an excellent example of Noveau-Riche Eastern Architecture. Expect to find lavishly decorated interiors, zouak painted ceilings, a tiled courtyard and beautiful 8 hectare gardens. A Marrakech site not to be missed.

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech

The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech. Built around 1150, the exceptionally beautiful and 65 metre high minaret dominates the city’s skyline. It’s also the oldest of the three great Almohad minarets remaining in the world. Although this is still a place of worship it’s one of the best places to visit in Marrakech and visitors are welcome if they dress appropriately.

Desert and Sand Dunes

Sahara Desert Marrakech

Easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech, desert tours are a great way to explore the Sahara safely. It’s possible to reach the world’s second-largest desert in two days. Sahara highlights include the Erg Chigaga sand dunes and visiting Bedouin camps with the chance of sleeping overnight under the stars.

Majorelle Garden

Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech

These unusual botanical gardens were designed in the 1920s by French artist and colonial expatriate Jacques Majorelle. Definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech, the peaceful Majorelle Garden offer a welcome respite from the busy streets and also some great photo opportunities. The gardens are cleverly designed with water features and over 300 species of subtropical plants including many types of cactus.

Souk Bazaars

spices in market Marrakech

The Souk Bazaars are an unmissable part of a trip to Marrakech. The Medina (the historic district of the city) is the best place to start your shopping. Here you’ll find endless labyrinths of souks selling everything from spices to kaftans and plenty of snake charmers, acrobats and musicians hanging out in-between. Just remember to haggle well.

Ali Ben Youssef Medersa

Ali Ben Youssef Medersa

This is an excellently preserved 16th-century Koranic school and North Africa’s largest such institution. It could also easily take the title of one of the most beautiful schools in the world. The building is intricately designed and exceptionally detailed featuring a courtyard richly carved in cedar, marble and stucco. As many as 900 students has passed through its doors over the years but has since been closed, refurbished and then reopened to the public as a historical site of interest.

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace - Places to visit in Marrakech on GlobalGrasshopper.com

While actually only the remains of a palace, the historical site is still one of the most important and beautiful places to visit in Marrakech. The original building was built by the Saadian king Ahmad al-Mansur in 1578 and was thought to have taken over 25 years to construct. All of the 360 rooms and courtyard were once was once richly decorated with no expense spared – Italian marbles feature heavily and large amounts of gold were imported from Sudan. You’ll even find a small underground jail where the king used to keep his unlucky prisoners.

Saadian Tombs

Saadian Tombs Marrakech

These Marrakech tombs were only recently discovered but they actually date back from the 16th century. The tombs are beautifully decorated with fine cedarwood, polychromic tiling and stucco work. Its a small site comprising of three rooms but they contain corpses of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty. Outside the building is a garden and the graves of soldiers and servants. As this is one of the most popular places to visit in Marrakech make sure you arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Menara Gardens

Menara Gardens - the most beautiful places to visit in Marrakech

Located to the west of Marrakech and at the foot of the Atlas Mountains are the Menara Gardens. Originally formed in the 12th century as olive, palm and fruit orchards the gardens are now a beautiful and peaceful visitor attraction. It also features a formal pool overlooked by a pavilion which was previously used by the sultan and his family as a summer residence.

Tizi n’Tichka Pass

Tizi n'Tichka Pass Marrakech

This is the highest pass through the Atlas Mountains – a long and winding road that links Marrakech to the pre-Sahara oases. Built by the French in the 1930s, it’s a well-constructed route offering incredible views. If you’re brave enough, you can follow the route through villages which perch precariously right on the edge of deep chasms. If you continue far enough you will also eventually reach the highest point in the road at the Tizi n’Tichka pass which stands at 2260 metres.

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With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a tiny coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat Tomb Raider-style as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights.

9 Comments

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    Timothy Kirigha

    4 September, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Great list, thank you. All those are some of the most wonderful places to see in or near Marrakech. I would also add El Bahia palace, the museum of Islamic art, the entire Atlas mountains range, and Djemma el Fna to this list.

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    Andy

    17 April, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I think my 1st comment didn’t make it through, so just wanted to say thanks for making such a beautiful post about Marrakech. I really wanted to visit Morocco a while back, and now I want to all over again.

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    Chris

    2 August, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    This was a particularly interesting article to me because I have never been to Marrakech, nor have I even heard of it! It seems to have all of the features of a desirable location to visit, though. It is very exotic in appearance, and I imagine the culture and local customs are equally exotic to your typical explorer from the United States. The architecture is particularly unique to me, and would be great to witness. Just look at the beauty of the Saadian Tombs! Just stunning!

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    Aisha

    7 July, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Great post, Becky! Those are all really lovely places. My favorite spot in all of Marrakech is the Majorelle Gardens, so I’m glad they made the list!

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    Carina

    4 July, 2011 at 1:14 am

    What a great choice of beautiful places Becky! I’ve been to Marrakesh, it’s really an exotic city and these amazing photos make me want to book a flight back immediately! Didn’t have the time to do a Camel trak last time and would really love to do it. Reading your post lets me almost smell the perfume of the city again, it was a mixture of incredibly many different spices…

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