Marrakech is the tourist hub of Morocco. There is so much to do here! I was a little surprised that Morocco was not as budget friendly as I thought it would be, but, if you plan ahead and are prepared, you’ll be able to navigate smart with your dollars while visiting this unique city. Here are 10 budget friendly things to do in Marrakech, Morocco.
1. Walking Tour
Walking tours are one of the first things I always do when I get to a new destination. You get to see the city from a local perspective and can ask any questions you may have. It helps orientate you with the new city.
The walking tours in Marrakech will give you a history into the country, city and people of Morocco. I suggest taking a free walking tour, like this one from Guruwalk, for your first experience in Marrakech. Free walking tours normally last between 2 and a half to 3 hours, depending on the tour and guide. They will typical take you to some of the most important sites of the city and give you a good idea of what else you’ll want to see later. Free walking tours are not completely free. Remember to tip the amount you think the tour is worth. I typically budget $15-20 USD per walking tour, depending on the guide.
2. Explore the Medina
One of the most fun things to do in Marrakech is explore the Medina. A Medina is an old part of the city, typically with very narrow walkways which means no room for cars to fit. The Medina in Marrakech is huge and full of places to go shopping. They are very similar to a bazaar or souk. You are sure to find any souvenir your heart desires. They have ceramics, lanterns, spices, argan oil, scarves, shoes, purses, magnets, keychains and much much more in the Medina.
Travel Tip: Be sure to barter (negotiate) with the sellers in the Medina! If you can make them laugh, it will be in your favor. I typically start with half of the price they offer and then meet in the middle!
It is very, very easy to get lost in the Medina. I suggest going after you have gone on the walking tour and have a general plan or idea of the direction you want to go. Be aware when asking for directions in the Medina that locals might try to lead you to their shop or tannery.
Travel Tip: Download Google Maps or Maps.me apps to download an offline map of Marrakech before leaving your hotel/hostel. This way you won’t need to ask for directions in the Medina.
3. Visit the House of Photography
This is such a special museum in Marrakech. It is a photography museum located in the Medina. The museum of photography has a collection of about 10,000 photos (not all of them are on display) from 1870 – 1960. It is such a beautiful way to see history of a region through gorgeous photos. The building itself is beautiful, and has a lovely rooftop cafe that gives you wonderful panoramic views of the city of Marrakech and the Atlas mountains if it’s a clear enough day.
The museum is not huge, but it does have 4 stories and a video documentary in it to watch. It is open from 9:30 am to 7pm every day. Entrance for adults is $50 MAD (about $5.23 USD) and children 12 and under are free.
4. Visit Le Jardin Secret
Jardin is french for garden, so this translates as The Secret Garden. Be sure to visit The Secret Garden in Marrakech. It is gorgeous and a great example of Moroccan architecture. It is a smaller garden, but there is quite a bit to do there. I highly suggest grabbing a map and following the numbers to see how they made the water system work more than a century ago. There are two different sections to the garden. One has exotic plants from around the world. The other has plants from Islamic areas and represents an 18th century garden where one could go to be in an oasis of peace.
The garden is historic and beautiful. It is open from 9:30am to 6:00-7:00pm, depending on the season. Adult entrance is $60 MAD (about $6.27 USD), 7-24 years old is $40 MAD (about $4.18 USD), and under 7 is free.
5. Visit Jardin Majorelle
This is one of the most famous things to do in Marrakech, Morocco. It is the garden of Majorelle. It is very popular and very busy. You will most likely have to wait in line to get your tickets for admission.
It took French painter, Jacques Majorelle, 40 years (from 1886 – 1962) to create and perfect this garden. It is quite beautiful, but with it being very crowded when I visited, I thought it was a bit overrated. I would suggest arriving when they open or right before they close to avoid the crowds.
It is open every day of the year from 8:00 am to 5:00-6:00pm, depending on the time of year. Adults are $70 MAD (about $7.32 USD), students are $35 MAD (about $3.66 USD), and children under 12 are free.
6. Visit Palacio de Bahia
The Royal Palace of Bahia (Bahia means brilliance in Arabic) is a must see while visiting Marrakech, especially if you aren’t going to be visiting more of Morocco. It was built in the late 19th century and supposed to be the greatest palace of its time. The palace is set near the Medina of Marrakech and features 150 rooms! Be sure to get there early to avoid the crowds as this is one of the most popular attractions in Marrakech.
Palacio de Bahia does not have an official website, but it is open from 9:00am to 4:30pm, unless it is a religious holiday. Adults are $70 MAD (about $7.32 USD), and kids are $30 MAD (about $3.33 USD) to enter.
7. Eat Local
The best way to save on your budget is by eating local food in Marrakech. Moroccan food is delicious, as is their tea! Some of their most famous dishes are Moroccan bread (delicious), vegetable tagine, chicken tagine with couscous, Kefta (lamb) meatball tagine, and Moroccan chicken bastilla. Marrakech in particular is a foodie heaven so be prepared for trying new and delicious things! And make sure to enjoy a cup of Moroccan tea!
Eat at Jemaa el-fna Market this the main food market in Marrakech which is popular with tourists and locals. This is street food available after about 5pm. It is huge and there is many options for new things to try. Many stalls have someone trying to get customers to come to their stall. I would suggest not going with them, but first standing back and looking through the stalls to see which looks and smells the most delicious to you.
Travel Tip: When finding somewhere to eat, look if there are locals eating there too. If there’s a line for ordering, even better!
8. Take a Cooking Class
Taking a cooking class is one of the best ways to learn about local culture. I recommend trying one during your visit in Marrakech. Depending on your budget, this could be a really fun option. Most cooking classes in Marrakech seem to be between $40-60 USD for a 3-5 hour cooking class. You will learn a lot and get a great meal that you can recreate when you return home! Here are two I have read great things about:
- Ateliers d’Ailleurs– They have many different cooking classes to take, but the Cuisine and Culture class making the classic chicken tagine seems like a great experience.
- Faim d’epices– This cooking class even gives you a spice workshop where you blindfold taste test the spices to really experience the different spices they use in their Moroccan dishes!
9. Visit Koutoubia Mosque
Non-muslims are not allowed in the mosque, but I suggest making it a stop on your itinerary as it is the largest mosque in Marrakech. It is also free to stop by and see the mosque grounds. On one side of the current mosque, you can see the ruins of the old mosque that used to stand, which was built in 1070!
10. Visit Dar Si Said Museum
Officially, in English, it is called the Museum of Moroccan Art. It has the largest collection of art in the whole city. They have a lot of ornate rugs on display also. The building itself is supposed to be gorgeous and it is lesser know than the other museums, so you may be able to have a more relaxed time compared to the other museums and gardens in Marrakech.
Dar Si Said Museum is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm, unless it is a religious holiday. Adults are $30 MAD (about $3.33 USD) to enter.