Is it possible to actually have a chill Marrakech itinerary? In the busiest city in Morocco, it seems almost like an oxymoron! However, I think our 3 days in Marrakech were quite nice and relaxing, so I thought I’d share what we got up to!
By the time our bus rolled into Marrakech, Autumn and I were a little frazzled. We were at the tail end of our Morocco itinerary, and we weren’t exactly looking forward to another city experience. I only planned 3 days because we had no plans on shopping and knew our patience with the harassment and medinas were going to be quite low.
Well, on our 7 hour bus ride from Ouarzazate to Marrakech, I decided to go a bit further and try to make my time as relaxed as possible! This meant I skipped quite a lot of things Marrakech is famous for, but at this point in our itinerary, I was okay with that.
After all, I fully plan on coming back and really splurging on a nice, luxury experience. Gotta fill up my future apartment with all the gorgeous decor in Morocco and check out one of those iconic riads all the celebrities stay in when they come haha.
How to Enjoy a Chill 3 Days in Marrakech
Day 1 in Marrakech
Check In: Riad the Ocher City
For a nice, relaxing 3 days in Marrakech, start with checking into this cute riad! More on how much I enjoyed this place below, but it’s owned by Jessica, a lovely French woman and it’s absolutely beautiful! Plus, she owns the cheekiest cat named Simba. He barged right in our room twice, much to my delight haha.
Book a Hammam or Spa Experience
Even before you get to Marrakech, book yourself a hammam or spa experience. It’ll be absolutely amazing to get pampered, especially if you’re coming from the desert like we were. I had Jessica help me book it, and then her sister showed me where to go.
Now, obviously this is more of a touristy hammam experience, not like an actual Moroccan bathhouse, which reminds me of Korean saunas. It’s not exactly cheap, but I found it worth the slight splurge, and I even added on a nice pedicure because, wow did my feet need it. The thing about wearing Birkenstocks all the time in dry climates means your feet suffer.
Anyway, I will say, the hammam experience is obviously more of a bath experience than a spa one. I spent a lot of time alone, laying on tile, in sauna like room, and I was actually quite uncomfortably hot for most of it because in general, my body temperatures were super high after the desert. So if you think you might get too hot, I’d pick one of the massage options instead!
Get a Korean Fried Chicken delivery
Ha! Okay, maybe not. But as Autumn and I were coming in, we passed by a restaurant called Gon’s and did a double take. Was that a Korean place?! When we googled it, we discovered it was a Korean fried chicken joint, and our mouths started watering quite a bit. As good as tajines and couscous and shwarmas are… we were craving something different, and nothing is quite as addictingly delicious as true KFC (not that Kentucky stuff).
Anyway, we managed to get it delivered to our riad thanks to Jessica helping us, and enjoyed a nice, sticky feast up on the terrace. Simba even tried to come over and get a taste!
Day 2 in Marrakech (Well, Not Really)
Get out of the city and visit Ouzoud Falls
I guess one way to have a chill time in Marrakech is to get out of Marrakech on some sort of excursion! A lot of the big things to see are a bit spread out in the city, and the one big sight, Ben Youssef Madrasa, was closed for repairs. Plus we had plans to go to some of the sights on the third day, so I decided, why not see what kind of day trips there were? I went on Get Your Guide and immediately saw Ouzoud Falls, and knew where I was going!
At first I tried looking up how to do it on my own, but it was much easier to just book a tour. This is the tour I chose, and I had a lovely time! Autumn stayed behind because she didn’t want to be on a bus for 2-3 hours each way and had a bunch of grad school work to finish, so I just joined a mix of a group of other people.
It’s a full day tour, so I was picked up around 8:30 am and then came back close to 5 pm. In that day, we did a bit of hiking, swimming, and, of course, checking out those beautiful falls from just about every angle! Promise I’ll have a post all about it soon!
Eat at Corner Cafe
When I got back, Autumn and I decided to walk over to this cute restaurant for dinner. I actually didn’t eat much during the day because I wasn’t that hungry, but by the time I’d gotten back and showered, I was a bit ravenous!
We got some falafel and, my favorite, veggie harira soup (oh, and obviously some mint tea). Our stomachs were quite happy with the break from meat!
Day 3 in Marrakech
Head to the Jardin Marjorelle at 8 am
So even before we got breakfast, we walked over to Jardin Marjorelle to get there well before the crowds. It’s actually quite nice and peaceful to roam about and we were there before it got too hot out.
Recently the garden’s gotten quite popular on Instagram, but it actually was started back in 1923 by French artist, Jacques Majorelle. He and his wife resided there until the 50s when they divorced, and in the 80s Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought it to restore and live in. Besides the garden, there’s a Berber Museum, Islamic Art Museum, and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. I liked all the bold, blue colors of the architecture around the garden.
Definitely go early in the morning! Even when I posted about it on Instagram, someone told me they went at 9 and there were already lines. It opens at 8:00 am the whole year except for the month of Ramadan when it opens at 9:00 am.
Have lunch at the Amal Centre
After the garden, we had an easy morning with breakfast and just relaxing at our riad. By the time we left again, it was for lunch at this lovely place Autumn found! It’s quite a bit of a walk from where we stayed, but it wasn’t too bad. However, you could easily just go here after Jardin Marjorelle and not walk quite as much as we did.
Basically, the Amal Centre is an organization that hopes to empower disadvantaged women by giving them culinary and restaurant training and helping them find jobs. The women go through a year long program that’s split with six months of training and six months of interning — their living costs are taken care of the whole time, of course.
Anyway, they have a restaurant where you can try all the delicious things the Centre is cookin’ up! They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just make sure you make a reservation! Also when you go, get the lemonade, it’s delicious.
Do an evening food tour
By the time we ate and walked back, we had a few hours until our food tour, so we decided to chill. I may have tried to get Simba to love me a bit more. Then we went out to our evening food tour!
We were graciously given a comped ticket with Marrakech Food Tours, and it was such a fun time! Our group was small, so it didn’t feel like some giant crowd moving through the medina, and our guide, Saïd, was an absolute blast. I know the tour seems a bit expensive for Morocco, but they really know what they’re doing! Pretty much all the spots we hit were never anywhere I’d think to go on my own. You can see more of what we ate in my what to eat in Morocco guide.
Bonus Day in Marrakech
I mean Day 1 is technically only half a day, so this is another half day to make it 3 complete days. Anyway, if you haven’t already been paying a bit extra for breakfast, get it on this day. It’s so delicious, and you get a lot of food (this photo is only half of our table!). Plus, how nice is it to just walk up to the terrace and enjoy breakfast instead of going out to find a place?
Check out & Get the Bus
Andddd then it’s time to check out and grab the bus to your next destination or fly out if this is your last spot. We went to Essaouira next, so we got a taxi to the Supratours bus station.
Over all, I did actually enjoy Marrakech, so I’d love to come back and do a bit more sightseeing and, obviously, shopping on a return trip! I think we wound up having a nice mix for three days — a day trip, some sightseeing, and a lot of delicious food.
Marrakech Travel Tips
Weather in Marrakech
While still quite warm, I did find Marrakech much cooler than Ouarzazate and Merzouga though definitely not as cool as Essaouira.
Where to Stay
Cannot recommend Riad the Ocher City enough! Jessica was such a lovely host, and our room was so nicely decorated. Our bathroom was stunning, even came with robes, and the rooms have A/C to keep cool! Location wise, it’s a bit tucked away, but pretty easy to find when you know where you’re going. The biggest landmark is Collège Mohamed 5, which has this really gorgeous door. Check here for rates & availability
If it’s booked, we also looked at these:
How to Get There
We came to Marrakech from Ouarzazate and just grabbed a CTM bus. From there, we got a taxi to our riad. It actually took a bit of negotiating because everyone kept trying to rip us off.
How to Get Around
You can pretty much walk most places in the riad, though Marrakech is definitely more spread out than other places we’d been!
What to Wear
Basically the same thing as I’d recommend wearing in other cities! Marrakech is obviously the most touristed city in Morocco, so I saw plenty of people in tank tops, crop tops, and shorts. Personally, I wore a maxi red dress (above), a white top/black linen pants to Ouzoud, and a blue jumpsuit.
Oh my gosh, have I got a fun story here! Over all, Marrakech was similar to Fes in the harassment, but we didn’t walk around quite as much in the medina like we did in other cities. However, on our food tour we witnessed our craziest moment!
I forget what caused it, but I think some local on a motorcycle almost hit this Korean girl and her mom and yelled something racist and derogatory at them. So the mom starts yelling at him and saying “f*ck.” Then he gets meaner and starts trying to scare them, but when he goes to drive off, some guy in our group kind of nudges him so he the bike falls.
So while our poor tour guide and some pregnant wives are in the bathroom, you have a local guide ready to start fighting and a Korean mom still yelling at him! The daughter speaks English but the mom doesn’t, so I try to talk to her in Korean to ask if she’s okay, and we kind of gather around them to protect them. Then our tour guide comes out and gets the local motorcycle guy to go away as he’s trying to fight the guy in our group. Then the guy in our group’s wife comes out, and is like “I was only gone for a few minutes, what happened?!”
Anyway, be safe! Maybe don’t nudge some guy off his motorbike, especially when he’s already being quite mean and angry. Be aware of your surroundings, your purse, and don’t get into arguments you can’t win.
for more on morocco
As for transportation, check out my guide on how to get around Morocco. My top recommendation is to download Maps.Me and download the map of the cities you’re visiting so you have them offline. It’s often more detailed than Google Maps.
I’d also recommend getting some travel insurance in case anything happens! While things like rabies shots are actually free, you never know how expensive medical bills can be. Get a quote on World Nomads.
Have you been to Marrakech? What did you think of it?