Marrakech is a city that was founded a thousand years ago as a trading hub. But today, it reverberates with pulsating energy and a millennium-old culture that has been borrowed from parts of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Located at the fringes of Sahara Desert, Marrakech with its old-world charm and bustling vigor breathes life into the heart of its desolate wasteland. Surrounded by the Atlas Mountains and towering palaces, Marrakech is a traveler’s delight and a photographer’s dream come true. From labyrinthine souks to dazzling gardens, there is no dearth of eye-catching moments as you traverse through the city. While there are dozens of touristic spots that one sees through their travel, read this article to find some of the most exclusive and best non-touristy things to do in Marrakech, Morocco.
1. Tour the famous leather tanneries of Marrakech
Marrakech is home to some of the finest tanneries that produce world-class leather items. Some of these tanneries have existed for more than a thousand years and give its visitors a sensory overload by engaging their sight and smell. Watch the laborious men work with pre-industrial era techniques that continue to produce quality products.
Address: outside Bab Debbagh, Marrakech, Morocco
Price: 10 USD
2. Experience lavish Moroccan lifestyle in a traditional riad
Moroccan riads are such a fun and exciting way to experience their culture up-close. You can either stay in a hotel or find a good-looking riad with sprawling gardens and a water feature to make you feel at peace. While most of these houses first belonged to wealthy people, they have now been turned into guesthouses that you can find speckled all across Marrakech. So be sure to work this into your itinerary to have a wholesome experience.
Stay in a Morrocan Riad
Price: 1000 USD (approx)
3. Take a leisurely stroll in Koutoubia Gardens
Located to the south of the Koutoubia Mosque, this garden is a nature lover’s paradise. No trip to Marrakech is complete unless to spend an evening exploring its rose and topiary lined pathways. This place is not only a major tourist draw but also attracts locals with equal intensity. If you want to sit back and relax underneath a palm tree, then this is the place to be! You will not only be able to spend some peaceful time after meandering in the skinny alleys of Marrakech but also get splendid views of Koutoubia Minaret.
Address: Medina Jamaa El Fenna, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Get the best views of Marrakech from the top! Fly away in a hot air balloon from the foothills of Atlas Mountain and witness one of the most stunning sunrises. You will not only enjoy what is to come but also the thrilling ride in a 4 x 4 vehicle to the launch spot. What’s more? Your activity doesn’t end there because once you land safely, you will be treated to a sumptuous breakfast and conclude with a fun camel ride through Moroccan Desert.
Atlas Mountains Hot Air Balloon with Camel Ride from Marrakech
Duration: 5 hours
5. Pamper yourself at a traditional hammam at Hammam de la Rose
Want to experience how royalties relieved their stress? Head straight to Hammam de La Rose, a traditional hammam which is designed keeping the customary yet sensuous Moroccan custom in mind. Give all your senses a chance to heal with its aromatic ambiance and just the right amount of warmth to melt all your stress and tiredness away. After a warm water bath and expert exfoliation inside the hammam, you will literally come out as a new person.
Experience the traditional hammam at Hammam de la Rose
Address: 130, Dar El Bacha, Medina, Marrakech, 40 000, Morocco
Website: Hammam de la Rose
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily)
Price: 70 USD
6. Spend a lavish evening at Le Jardin Secret
One of the most opulent and ancient palaces of Marrakech, Le Jardin Secret, will be your finest excursion. The museum houses timeless relics that hold immense cultural value and feature some of the finest architectural marvels and gardens. Also known as Riad Loukrissi, this extravagant residence once belonged to Qaid U-Bihi, the head of the erstwhile Haha Tribe. With its sprawling gardens and sumptuous architecture, it is certainly a place to visit when you are exploring Marrakech. Le Jardin Secret also houses two cafés, a bookshop, and a boutique within its complex.
Experience the architectural splendor at Le Jardin Secret
Address: 121 Rue Mouassine, Marrakesh 40030, Morocco
Website: Le Jardin Secret
Opening hours: 9.30am - 6.30pm (daily)
Price: 16 USD
7. Try a hearty meal of camel burger at Café Clock
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
When it comes to ambiance and tradition, Café Clock does not fail to amuse. Located in a medieval house, the look and feel of this café are quintessentially traditional. However, its biggest attraction is its signature camel burger that is made with great care and a secret ingredient! The famous Café Clock in Marrakesh is not only known for its famous camel burger but also live music nights and traditional Moroccan storytelling. Dig your nails in crunchy salads, juicy camel burger, and hosts of other items on their expansive menu.
Try the signature camel burger at Cafe Clock
Address: 224 Derb Chtouka, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Website: Café Clock
Opening hours: 9am - 11pm (daily)
Price: 25 USD
Pottery is of the most vibrant and interesting traditions of Morocco. You can not only explore the various pottery art forms but also learn a thing or two about sculpting and glazing your own pottery. Get a personalized guide and an experienced craftsman to teach you the art! Your tour will not only introduce you to this conventional art form but also take you through an adventurous ride on a 4WD vehicle. It’ll also introduce you to local Moroccan tea and snacks and provide a parting gift. Give yourself a gift of new skill with this workshop.
Hand and Wheel Pottery Workshop in Marrakech
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Have you experienced the tanneries? Good, because you can now learn how to do it yourself! Morocco’s famous leather goods are now just a weekend DIY away. Spend your day at a local workshop in Marrakesh and learn the art of making leather with your own hands. The master craftsman will give you a fun and interesting hands-on experience to make your own handmade leather product. Learn about the history of leather making and the art itself!
Half day leather workshop
Duration: 3 hours
Go for the architecture, stay for activities! This is what Marrakesh is all about. You can learn anything from pottery to leather handicrafts, even polo! Believed to be a game for royalty, polo is a fun sport that is perfect for the horse-loving enthusiast in you. Take lessons from a seasoned polo professional in the backdrop of Atlas Mountains and also explore the exclusive club’s amenities, including its luxurious restaurant!
Intro to Polo Lesson
Duration: 1 hour
Venture off the beaten track in Marrakech
Anyone who visits Marrakech does the usual tried and tested things. Give your trip a twist by trying out these non-touristy activities that will make your Moroccan holiday memorable and more enjoyable. That is not to say that you shouldn’t relish the touristy stuff! Find the right balance between these two to come home with a bag full of memories and a handful of new skills.
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