Planning a whirlwind weekend in Marrakech? From authentic food tours to magical palaces to adrenaline pumping activities, here’s all you need to know to plan the perfect itinerary for two days in Marrakech.
Marrakech is a patchwork of hectic bazaars, lush gardens and dreamy riads, offering intrepid travellers a sensory experience they certainly won’t forget. It’s got enough going on to fill a much longer visit, but two days in Marrakech is sufficient to experience the city’s highlights if you don’t mind a fast-paced itinerary.
I’ve had four separate stints in Marrakech across two Morocco trips, and each time I’ve discovered something new. I know it’s a cliche to say “it’s got something for everyone” but Marrakech truly does!
If you’re keen to get amongst the hustle and bustle, this is one of the best cities in the world for busy-bodies. The souks are a tightly-packed cluster of local artisans, aroma-filled spice stalls, authentic eateries and cheap and cheerful souvenir shops. Be prepared for loud noises, strong smells and a kaleidoscope of products you’ll want to take home.
For those of you who prefer calm over chaos, Marrakech can be a haven for peace-seekers too. Escape the craziness with a relaxing walk through a garden oasis, there are more than a couple to choose from, then pamper yourself with a traditional hammam spa experience.
And for history buffs, you’ll be kept busy with intricate palaces, ancient tombs and dramatic architecture throughout the medina and beyond.
Whether your two days in Marrakech are the jumping off point for a bigger Morocco adventure or you’ve just got a quick trip to this colourful and chaotic city, here’s the ultimate two day Marrakech itinerary for a brief but breathtaking city break.
A quick note: There was a devastating earthquake near Marrakech in September 2023 which caused significant damage in the city. It’s safe to visit now and there are many activities and experiences that are unaffected, but please be aware that some tourist spots might still be under construction or have limited access.
Summary of the perfect 2 day Marrakech itinerary
- Lose yourself (figuratively, of course) in the labyrinth of the medina
- Wander through the stunning Bahia Palace
- See the iconic Koutoubia Mosque
- Learn about Marrakech history at the Saadian Tombs
- Visit Badi Palace
- Sip mint tea on a rooftop overlooking Jemaa el-Fnaa at sunset
- My top pick in Marrakech: A Medina food tour
- Wake up early for a hot air balloon ride
- Head to the beautiful Jardin Majorelle and YSL Museum
- Marvel at the Islamic art and architecture of Madrasa Ben Youssef
- Visit Dar El Bacha Museum
- Indulge in a tagine for your final dinner or try out a local cooking class
- Experience a traditional hammam spa session
TOP TIP FOR MOROCCO: If you’re keen to explore beyond just Marrakech, consider booking a small group tour with the legends with G Adventures Morocco. I did this 11-day tour that included two days in Marrakech plus stops in the Sahara, Atlas Mountains, Taghazout, Ait Ben Haddou and more.
Marrakech in two days: All the FAQs
Is two days in Marrakech enough?
Spending 2 days in Marrakech will give you enough time to see the main tourist sights if you don’t mind two busy days from morning till night. Luckily many of the best things to do in Marrakech are within an easy walking or taxi-able distance from each other, which means you can avoid wasting precious time on transport.
If you’re able to extend your trip a little then three or four days will be more comfortable with a bit more free time and flexibility, but if you’re really pushed for time, spending 48 hours in Marrakech is still worth it.
How to get to Marrakech
Marrakech is easily reached by direct flight from major cities throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
If you’re travelling from further afield you can catch connecting flights from travel hubs like Istanbul, Dubai, Frankfurt, Paris and Lisbon. You can also fly direct to Casablanca from New York or Montreal, then catch a train from Casablanca to Marrakech.
If you’re travelling Europe without flying and want to head down to Morocco, the easiest way to get to Marrakech is to catch a train to Algeciras, then ferry to Tangier, then train to Marrakech via Casablanca.
How to get around Marrakech
I highly recommend booking an arrival transfer from the airport before you fly, the taxi drivers can be a bit overwhelming when you walk out of the airport and it’s a lot more comfortable to have someone waiting with your name on a sign!
The medina is car-free and best explored on foot, unless you’re a psychopath and want to take on the challenge of renting a scooter (but seriously, don’t do that).
For reaching sights beyond the souks, you can catch petite taxis. Taxis in Marrakech can be a bit hit-and-miss, many will refuse to turn the meter on and end up charging you an exorbitant amount, but you can avoid this by requesting a legitimate and trusted taxi through your hotel reception and then asking for the meter to be switched on immediately or negotiating an amount you’re happy with before the trip starts.
Is Marrakech safe for solo female travellers?
I’ve travelled solo to more than 50 countries around the world, and my personal experience during my time in Marrakech (and Morocco overall) was fairly trouble-free. In saying that though, it’s certainly not somewhere I’d recommend for your first solo trip.
Travelling solo as a woman in Marrakech comes with some additional safety concerns, from the pickpockets of Jemaa el-Fnaa Square to the aforementioned taxi scams to the discomfort of being stared at, so it’s best for those who are well-versed with the difficulties of travelling alone and who can distinguish the difference between discomfort and actual danger.
Stick to well-trodden tourist trails, dress modestly to respect local culture and blend in with the crowds, ignore any unwanted attention if you can, and be firm yet polite when declining any sales advances.
And if you’d prefer to travel with travel buddies but your friends and family aren’t available, consider joining a small group tour instead. I travelled on a G Adventures Morocco tour recently and had the time of my life!
When is the best time to visit Marrakech?
The best time to visit Marrakech is the spring season (March-May) and the autumn season (September-November). During these periods you’ll experience blissfully mild weather with sunny days without the overwhelming heat.
In terms of the crowds, Marrakech is a year-round destination. It’s particularly busy in spring and autumn because everyone wants to avoid the extreme temps, and Christmas/New Year is always bustling with European visitors wanting to escape the cold.
TOP TIP: If you can hack the heat and want to avoid peak season, summer in Marrakech (June to August) is a little less crazy because many locals leave for the coast and cooler temperatures. But this season isn’t for the faint of heart, I visited in August and we had temperatures that hit 45°C (113°F) every single day!
Is Marrakech worth a visit?
Marrakech is 100% worth a visit, even for a short trip. It’s a treasure trove of cultural experiences, where historic architecture blends seamlessly with cool, contemporary vibes and a thriving culinary and entertainment scene.
Where to stay during your two days in Marrakech
Mid-range | Riad Nirvana is my go-to for an affordable but stunning place to stay, they have simple but comfortable rooms, a gorgeous rooftop area and brilliant service. Other top-rated mid-range options are Le Bleu House, Les Rêves De Marrakech and Riad Vis Ta Vie.
Luxury near the medina | On my most recent trip to Marrakech I stayed at Indian Palace, a divine riad with exceptional interior design, a beautiful courtyard and unbeatable service. I genuinely cannot recommend them enough for an option that’s easy access to the medina (a short walk) while still being accessible by car, avoiding the need to wander through the alleyways with your suitcases.
Luxury outside of the city | If you’re keen for a more relaxing holiday in Marrakech then I highly, highly recommend Atlas Widan, a 5* boutique resort 15km from the city. They have huge, gorgeous rooms, a gigantic pool, impeccable service and delicious food, there’s a spa on-site, and they can organise activities if you want to do more than just chill out. They also have a major focus on sustainable tourism, and 70% of their staff are from local villages so you get a truly authentic experience. I can’t wait to go back!
Ultra-luxury | Marrakech does ultra-luxury reeeeally well, and there are some riads and resorts alike that will have you wanting to move in for good. For a once-in-a-lifetime accommodation experience the Royal Mansour takes the cake, offering three-storey riads with their own private plunge pools and rooftops. Other top-rated ultra-luxe options are the Oberoi, Palais Ronsard and Selman Marrakech.
Things to do in Marrakech in 2 days
Take a guided tour
If you’re trying to see as much as you can in Marrakech in two days, you’ll be able to make the most of your time with a guided tour.
Many of the main sights are within easy walking distance to each other, but what eats into your exploring time is navigating the souks and waiting in line for tickets. With a guided tour you’ll be able to see a bunch of the top tourist spots, skip the entrance lines, and get local info about the destination too.
Some of the top-rated guided tours in Marrakech are:
- Street Food Tour by Night (I did this one and highly recommend it!)
- Bicycle tour with a local guide
- Private shopping tour of the souks
- Private full-day city tour with Jardin Majorelle
- Eco-scooter city tour
- Medina by Night tour
- Bahia Palace, Saadian Tombs and Medina tour
- Ben Youssef, Secret Garden and Souks walking tour
- Colourful souks tour
If you want a longer tour to visit other spots in Morocco, the 15-day G Adventures Culture & Colours tour is incredible.
Explore the medina
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Medina of Marrakech is a labyrinth of wonders, the beating heart of the city where every narrow alley leads to a new discovery. You get get lost for hours in here if you wanted to, or even if you don’t want to!
Pop your sunglasses on (my top trick for avoiding insistent shopkeepers) and browse the medina’s souks for traditional crafts, handmade homewares, delicious spices and more, or wander the streets to find hidden teahouses and stairs leading to sun-soaked rooftop bars.
The medina is open daily, and the best time to visit is in the morning when the markets are bustling with locals. Be sure to wear a crossbody bag and try to avoid having your phone out if you can help it, there are opportunists who target tourists for their phones and bags.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking on the medina puzzle by yourself you can book a walking tour to explore with a local guide, that way you can learn about the city while exploring without the concern of getting lost.
Jemaa el-Fna Square
I would liken Marrakech’s main square to the epitome of chaos, where every sense is completely overwhelmed. Some travellers might hate it, while other might thrive on it!
By day Jemaa el-Fna is a bustling marketplace with snake charmers, henna artists and fresh fruit stalls. As night falls, it transforms into a lively food market serving up all kinds of local street food, from babbouche (snail soup!) to sheep’s head and everything in between.
It’s a symphony of sounds, a kaleidoscope of colours, and an energetic epicentre where the city’s vibes reach their absolute peak.
I did find as a female walking through the evening crowds that I was stared at a lot, I didn’t feel like I was in danger but I was acutely aware that I stood out in the sea of locals and I did feel a bit uncomfortable. If you’re not confident in this type of environment then I’d recommend sticking to the square during daylight and heading up to a rooftop bar to admire Jemaa el-Fna from above.
Do a food tour
A Marrakech food tour is the ultimate experience for any culinary enthusiasts like myself. Each tour will be slightly different but most of them include tasting traditional delicacies and dishes like olives, tagine, succulent mechoui (lamb cooked underground), mint tea, msemen (similar to pancakes) and more.
You’ll not only get to eat your way around the medina, you’ll also learn about the country’s gastronomic history, gain some insider knowledge of the best places to eat and perhaps discover a dish you never would’ve ordered yourself.
I did this food tour (rated 4.7/5 on GetYourGuide) and it was brilliant, our guide Ali was a local legend who was so passionate and knowledgeable about his city. A highlight of our two days in Marrakech for sure!
Visit Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace is a 19th-century marvel, showcasing Moroccan and Islamic architecture.
The intricate tilework, ornate ceilings and lush courtyards make it a photographer’s paradise, but you’ll want to get there right at opening time (usually 9am) to be able to shoot without too many people around.
When I visited (August 2023) it was 70MAD and cash only, with a very long line for the closest ATM, so make sure you’ve got that on hand. If you want a local guide to take you around you can book a top-rated Bahia Palace guided tour.
Jardin Majorelle, a 12-acre botanical garden, is a serene oasis in Marrakech.
Created by French painter Jacques Majorelle, the garden is known for its cobalt blue features and exotic plant collection. There’s a one way system to reduce the chaos but it still gets busy busy busy, so this is another one to try and visit early if you can.
They have limited tickets for different sessions to you’ll need to buy online before you go to avoid missing out. Be sure to book them on that official website, as buying a ticket through a third party will cost you a little extra.
While you’re in there there’s also the Pierre Bergé Museum of Berber Arts, a cultural gem that celebrates the rich heritage and artistic prowess of Morocco’s nomadic Berber population. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts including jewellery, textiles and traditional garments, offering an insightful glimpse into the Berber way of life.
Another must-visit in the Jardin Majorelle is the charming Café Majorelle, a little oasis within an oasis where you can refresh and refuel. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast here of argan butter and honey beghrir (like spongy pancakes) and beautifully fresh fruit juice.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
The YSL Museum in Marrakech is a tribute to the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his deep love for the city.
Located next to the famous Jardin Majorelle (where YSL’s ashes were scattered in 2008), it’s easy to combine the two to keep your two day Marrakech itinerary as efficient as possible.
The museum’s contemporary exterior alone makes a visit worth it, and inside there’s an extensive collection of YSL’s creations, original sketches and intimate photographs.
You can get tickets for the Jardin Majorelle that includes the YSL Museum, just don’t forget to visit the museum after the gardens as it’s a separate building. And yes, that specific tip comes from my own (stupid) experience of buying tickets for both and then leaving the garden totally forgetting about the museum until the next day 🙃
If you’re a true fashion fiend, there’s an epic YSL-focused guided tour that includes Jardin Majorelle, the Pierre Berge museum and the YSL Museum, with loads of info about Saint Laurent and his love of Marrakech.
Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech, is known for its towering minaret that can be seen from rooftops all over the city. Non-Muslims can’t enter the mosque but the surrounding gardens are open for everyone to enjoy.
Go at sunset to see the lit up minaret stand out against the darkening sky.
There’s no specific dress code to visit the gardens but it’s respectfully to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees, as it is a religious building.
A once-grand 16th-century palace, Badi Palace now stands in ruins and offers a unique glimpse into Marrakech’s history.
It’s definitely not as fancy as Bahia Palace, but its vast courtyards and reflective pools make it a worthwhile addition to your two day Marrakech itinerary. There’s a permanent exhibition showing the history and restoration of the palace but many of the explanations are only written in Arabic and French.
Don’t miss the rooftop where you can view the palace complex from above and look out to the Atlas Mountains.
Ben Youssef Madrasa
Step back in time with a visit to a 14th century Islamic school that was once the largest in North Africa.
This historical education complex is a stunning testament to Moroccan architecture and Islamic art, renowned for its carved plaster, cedar and marble as well as the mind-blowing tilework that adorn the central courtyard. It’s been beautifully restored and now proudly stands as one of Marrakech’s most beautiful buildings.
It gets super busy from 11am so if you want to get the best photos you’ll need to get there before the crowds. It’s just a five minute walk from the Secret Garden (next on this list) so you can combine the two, or you can book a guided tour that includes both as well as a tour of the souks.
Hidden within the medina not too far from Jemaa el-Fna Square is Le Jardin Secret (or the Secret Garden), a perfectly restored historical garden offering an escape from the bustling bazaars.
It’s divided into two main parts, the Exotic Garden and the Islamic Garden, showcasing an array of exotic plants and traditional Arab-Andalucian and Moroccan design.
When I visited here it was significantly less busy than Jardin Majorelle and the palaces I visited, even in the middle of the day, so I’d highly recommend adding it to your Marrakech itinerary if you prefer exploring places that aren’t too hectic.
If you fancy yourself a bit of dark tourism, the Saadian Tombs give you a peek into the lavish lifestyle and equally opulent death-style (that’s a word now) of the Saadi Sultan al-Mansour (also written as al-Mansur, Al Mansur and Al Mansour, if this name is mentioned in Marrakech they’re all talking about the same person).
This necropolis had no expense spared when it was renovated to its current state way back in the 16th century. Geometric tiles, Italian marble and gilded honeycomb muqarnas decorate the mausoleums which are the eternal resting place of more than 60 members of the Saadian dynasty.
After allegedly being closed off by Sultan Moulay Ismail in the late 1600s, the tomb sat completely forgotten about until they were rediscovered in 1917.
It gets particularly busy with tour groups from 10am to 2pm so visit outside of these hours for the best experience.
Dar El Bacha Museum (Musée des Confluences)
Once a palatial residence, the Dar El Bacha Museum is a newly-restored cultural museum showcasing a fusion of local Moroccan as well as international art.
The architecture of the museum is magnificent, with intricately carved cedar doors, vibrant mosaics and zellige-covered columns. The exhibits rotate but typically there’s a link to the juxtaposition of the cultures that have influenced Morocco over the past.
No visit to Dar El Bacha is complete without a traditional Arabic coffee from Bacha Coffee House, a world-famous coffee producer and possibly the best coffee in Marrakech. A pot of coffee will set you back about $4.40USD but you’ll get three cups from that, so it ends up being okay value. The line for a table is always long but tends to move fairly quickly, expect to wait 20-45 minutes or up to an hour at busier times.
Sip mint tea at a rooftop bar
Drinking mint tea is a multiple-times-daily Moroccan ritual, and there’s no better location for it in Marrakech than to be chilling out at one of the city’s charming rooftop bars.
Nomad might be the best-known rooftop bar in town, known for its Moroccan cuisine and impressive range of herbal teas alongside panoramic views of the bustling spice square below. This rooftop setting is perfect for watching the city transform as day turns to night.
Other popular rooftop bars/restaurants are:
Let’s see how many rooftop bars you can visit in Marrakech in 2 days!
Hot air ballooning
Get an epic birds eye view of the Marrakech region and out to the Atlas Mountains with a sunrise hot air balloon session.
Flights generally include a hotel pick up plus breakfast and you’ll get back between 10am-11am, so you will still have almost a full day to explore the city.
Dress in layers because even if it’s unbearably hot on the ground, it can be much cooler at higher altitudes.
If you have more than two days in Marrakech…
If you’re fortunate enough to have extra time in Marrakech, here are some ideas to fill out a longer Marrakech itinerary:
- An adrenaline-pumping quad biking excursion to Palm Oasis
- A whirlwind day trip to Agafay Desert or spend a night in a desert glamping tent
- An equally whirlwind day trip to Ouzoud Waterfalls or the Atlas Mountains
- Trying your hand at a local cooking class
- The Dar Si Said Museum
- Explore the Mellah (Jewish Quarter)
And there you have it, two days in Marrakech filled with the best things to see and do in the city.
You can tailor this 2 day Marrakech itinerary to suit your preferences, timeline and budget, slow it down and just visit half of what I’ve suggested, or tick a bunch of things off quickly with some well-organised guided tours and you might have extra time to explore beyond the city’s limits.
Either way, I hope you have an incredible time and please let me know if you have any questions!