Top 10 things to do in Marrakech for 4 days without going to Sahara Desert

Marrakech is the fourth largest city in Morocco. It is a major business district and home to places, mosques and trading centers. 
I love Marrakech as this is such a vivid city full of lively and busy people as well as interesting bits and pieces to explore. This city is chaotic and diverse that can confuse you, but also excites you at the same time. 
Here are my top 10 things to do in Marrakech :

1. Stay at a Riad

Staying at a traditional morrocan home gives you a better understanding and a taste of how Morrocans live inside the house. 

Of course you won't experience the exact way as Moroccans live in a riad as these are better designed for tourists or better yet converted into a hotel, but I was lucky to have a glimpse of one of the local houses who invited us  inside their house.

We chose a riad just a few minutes away from the heart of Jemaa El-Fnaa, it was very convenient and did not cost an arm and a leg as well.

2. Stroll around Jemaa El-Fnaa

No one leaves Marrakesh without visiting the famous Jemaa El-Fna, the market square where you can buy carpets, souks, leather bags, lamps, all those Morrocan dresses, herbs, argan oils and many more. 

I really wished to stop by at every shop and look around but it was a bit hard to do so because the sellers are quite aggressive I must say. You will need to bargain and they won't really leave you until you buy something from them. 

At night, this place is even busier due to the artists and food stalls that you can watch and enjoy. Our hotel suggested however not to eat at the market square if we wish not to have stomach problems the next day. And there is the saying, the choice is always yours. 

3. Visit the Bahia Palace 

There is an entrance fee to visit this Palace. We paid 70DH  for each (=7euro or 395Php).

The Palace of Bahia (Palace of the beautiful, the brilliant) was built in the 19th century. This Palace was owned by a Sultan, Si Moussa Ba Ahmed. He built equally four rooms for each of his wife which means all of his four wives are equal in status. 

There is also a beautiful 2-acre garden with rooms just like in this picture below :

4. Visit El Badi Palace :

El Badi Palace was once the greatest palace in Marrakech. The palace took 25 years to complete and was intended to show the wealth of the Sultan, Ahmad el Mansour. 

Nowadays however, you can only find ruins and sandstone as well as European white storks that guard the walls from above, as you can see in my picture. 

We paid 70DH (=395Php or 7euro) per person and even though it was a bit expensive in my opinion, it was still worth the visit.

5. Pass by the Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque is close to El Badi, so this is a nice walk to right after you visit El Badi Palace. Basically there is nothing to do except maybe have a shot of espresso or have a cup of coffee across the street as this mosque is strictly for Muslims. 

6. Take a break in one of their traditional cafes on the street

We actually visited Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace and Koutoubia Mosque all in just one day and took a break with shots of espresso on the street as you can see in the picture above. 

It was quite interesting to see tourists getting lost, locals trying to persuade tourists to buy from their stuff, local men trying to hit on the local women. I know it sounds strange but I enjoyed just sitting there and just observed the people passing by. 

7. Try Hamam and Morrocan Spa

For this one we had to ask our hotel to reserve an appointment for us as they can get quite busy. After walking around the bustling city, all we wanted to do was to relax and be ready for another beautiful day. There are quite many spas to choose from in Marrakech, but our hotel suggested Les Bains de L'alhambra to try. 
As I have never experienced a hamam before, I did not know what to expect. It was strange actually to let a stranger putting black soap on my body. Also, this spa allows couples to stay in one hot room together, which was nice. The only awkward part was the scrubbing and putting soap on our bodies by a Morrocan lady, but hey we were there exactly for this reason, to experience something new!

8. Visit the waterfalls in Ourika 

Ourika Valley is one hour away from Marrakech, and it is something you should not miss when you are here. We took a taxi that wait for more passengers and paid 30DH (= 3 euro or 150Php). You can find the taxi stands near Koutoubia Mosque and ask around how to get to Ourika. Locals will help you and teach you where to take the taxi. We saved definitely around 1000DH for doing it ourselves and not getting the private package tour. 

Please wear good shoes and not slippers however if you intend to see the waterfalls. The rocks can be quite slippery and you will need to climb a bit to see further views. There is no entrance fee to get here and you are pretty much free to explore the 7 waterfalls and mountains in Ourika Valley. I honestly did not find 7 waterfalls as Ourika is quite big and exhausting to explore, not to mention I am afraid of heights.

Nevertheless, this place was one of my favorites here in Morocco.  

9. Have lunch in one of the carpet cafes in Ourika

I just had to experience this before leaving this wonderful valley! You can also sit down while soaking your feet in the water if you prefer the ones with chairs, but in my case I was just contented sitting on the carpet. 

10. Eat traditional Morrocan food 

Every good traveller always try something traditional wherever they go and I must say this should not be missed in your list as well. Couscous, brochettes, tagines are the most common food you can see in restaurants or even street stalls. I tried them and I really liked it, unfortunately after days of eating the same thing again and again, I was starting to miss the European or Asian food. 

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