If you’re reading this, you probably know that Marrakech (also spelled Marrakesh) is a popular tourist destination in Morocco. Perhaps, you’ve already booked your trip to the “red city” and are now looking for how to spend 5 days in Marrakech.
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I traveled with my mom to Marrakech, Morocco in January 2023. This is considered the off-season for tourists since it is colder than during the summer months. However, we thought this was the perfect time to explore Marrakech! We found the weather great – it was a little bit chilly in the morning and night (a light jacket is fine) but when the sun was shining it was warm.
5 days in Marrakech is the perfect amount of time to see all the main sites and museums, explore Moroccan cuisine and culture, and get a real feel for the city. Before I go on trips, I usually like to plan a rough itinerary (while remaining flexible, as things always don’t go as planned). Below you will find how we spent 5 days in Marrakech, and the main highlights you should make sure you see during your trip.
Day 0: Consider this your travel day
We arrived in Marrakech on Sunday evening. After checking in and unpacking, all we did was go to dinner at a place called PointBar. This restaurant has a nice ambiance and the food was good. The restaurant allows smoking indoors (we were pretty much the only patrons not smoking), so keep that in mind!
Day 1: Let’s get things started
When arriving in a new city, I love to take a walking tour with a local tour guide. Since you are spending 5 days in Marrakech, it’s important to get acclimated to the city and culture. We began our day with a private walking tour booked through Civitatis. It cost $65, which I found to be a good deal since it was a private tour. I enjoy private tours because there is more flexibility. The guide can adjust things to your preferences, and you can also ask the tour guide as many questions as you want without feeling you are annoying other travelers!
On this tour, which ended up being about 5 hours, we learned a ton about Moroccan culture, politics, and religion. We saw many of the main sites including the Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, Mellah (the Jewish quarter), Jemaa el-Fnaa square (the main square in the medina, AKA the old city), and the souks. We also stopped in a traditional Berber pharmacy and were able to sample many natural products like argan oil (we also bought a few things). Lunch was at a place called Mythe, which was chosen by our guide, to enjoy some traditional Moroccan cuisine.
After this tour we were pretty tired, so we rested at the hotel before heading to dinner at La Trattoria. First opened in 1974, this Italian restaurant is honestly the most beautiful place I’ve ever dined. I mean, just look at this picture. Plus the food and wine were great! Since it’s quite popular I recommend making a reservation.
Day 2: Traditional hammam & food tour
We started our day with a traditional hammam at Alphais Spa. What is a hammam you may ask? In Arabic, hammam means “spreader of warmth.” A hammam is basically a bathhouse with multiple rooms where people go to purify the body and soul. Traditionally, hammams were built near mosques as a place to clean oneself before prayer. When we arrived for our hammam treatment, we had no idea what to expect. We were provided with disposable underwear and brought to a slightly steamy room where we were washed and scrubbed with Moroccan black soap, which is an essential part of the hammam ritual. The exfoliant was rather rough, but my skin felt so much softer afterwards and I found the process to be a cool experience. I definitely recommend getting a traditional hammam during your 5 days in Marrakech!
After your hammam, you will probably want to shower and change. After that, you have a few hours left in the afternoon to explore. I recommend heading to the Ibn Youssef School, an old Islamic college, and walking around for 45 minutes to an hour. It was really interesting to see the model of the school and admire the architecture, especially in the gorgeous courtyard.
Now, it’s time to immerse yourself in Marrkech’s marketplace culture and head back to Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Walk around and check out the different acts, like snake charmers, but be aware that if you take photos you will be expected to pay. Afterwards, veer off and start exploring the souks (marketplaces), which are one of the ultimate highlights in Marrakech. The souks can seem overwhelming at first and hard to navigate, but just make sure you keep an eye on your things and be willing to get a little lost!
You will end your day by doing a street food tour throughout the medina. The one I booked was through Get Your Guide. I booked this tour because I wanted to try the main Moroccan dishes, and was not disappointed! We were brought by our guide to multiple different stalls to taste things such as harira (lentil soup), olives, nuts and more. We ended the tour at a local restaurant with three dishes of tajine, shared between the 5 of us on the tour. Tajine is both a conical shaped pot and the traditional stew cooked inside. My favorite was the lemon chicken!
Day 3: Day trip to the Atlas Mountains
If you’re spending 5 days in Marrakech, you definitely want to commit one of your days to taking a day trip to the nearby Atlas Mountains. The Atlas Mountains are a series of mountain ranges extending across North Africa, separating the Sahara Desert from the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The Atlas Mountains are mostly inhabited by Berber tribes, the indigenous population of the Maghreb region of North Africa.
The trip we booked was through Get Your Guide, and included a stop at an argan oil women’s cooperative, a moderate hike through the Atlas Mountains to a beautiful waterfall, a traditional lunch at a restaurant in a Berber village, and a stop in the Agafay Desert to ride camels! Honestly, this day trip was definitely one of the main highlights of my 5 days in Marrakech.
We got back to our hotel at around 7:00 PM and were pretty exhausted, so opted for dinner in our hotel.
Day 4: Everything Yves Saint Laurent & dinner with a show
One of the most beautiful spots in Marrakech is the Jardin Majorelle, or the Yves Saint Laurent mansion. Beginning in the 1930s, this beautiful garden and villa was built by French artist Jacques Majorelle. In the 1980s was purchased by the Algerian fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), who worked to restore it. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the garden. Today, the villa houses the Berber Museum.
The Jardin Majorelle is a 100% must-do in Marrakech. It’s insanely beautiful and makes for amazing photos. However, it is crowded all year-round. You will need to book tickets at least 24 hours in advance to ensure you don’t wait in a long line. I got the combined ticket which included entry to the garden, Berber Museum, and the nearby YSL Museum, which chronicles Yves Saint-Laurent’s life and work. All in all, you will spend about 2.5-3 hours exploring these sights. Afterwards you can stop for a nice lunch in the garden’s cafe.
To fill the time before sunset we headed to two more sites: Dar El Bacha Museum, a palace which shows the best of Moroccan architecture, and the Women’s Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the culture of Moroccan women and showcasing their accomplishes. At 6:15 PM, we headed to Rooftop Restaurant DarDar to have a drink on their rooftop and watch the sunset over the main square.
Tonight’s dinner was at Comptoir Darna. Comptoir Darna is a fancy Moroccan restaurant, which hosts a traditional performance every night at 10 PM. We made the latest dinner reservation possible at 8:45 PM so we didn’t have to wait too long for the show. The restaurant was very busy, but the food and drinks were so good that it was definitely worth it. During dinner there was live music, and promptly at 10PM traditionally dressed dancers appeared balancing trays of candles on their heads! Soon after they were joined by belly dancers. The show lasted about 20 minutes and was very entertaining and engaging. All in all, it was a great night and felt like a really authentic experience.
Day 5: Squeeze in some final activities
Unfortunately, it’s the final day of your 5 days in Marrakech. That means it’s time to pack your bags and check out of the hotel, but also try to squeeze in a few more activities if you have time before your flight. We had three hours to spare, so headed for a quick lunch and then to the El Badi Palace, a palace from the 16th century. I am SO glad we saw the El Badi Palace! It is unlike anything else we saw on our trip. The two other palaces we saw are highly preserved, while this one is mostly in ruins. It’s a very large complex and you could easily spend over an hour here wandering and taking photos, but we only had about 30 minutes before we had to head to the airport.
Well, that’s how you spend 5 days in Marrakech, Morocco! As I mentioned, it’s important to remain flexible because there are things you can’t control like the weather, a tour going longer than intended, or even getting sick.
All in all, Marrakech is one of my favorite cities in the world. I have no doubt you will love your time there!
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