15 Dec 72 hours in Marrakech Morocco
Daily flights from the UK and major European destinations, and regular flights from New York and Montreal make Marrakech an accessible destination for those looking for a quick getaway, yet worlds away from the everyday. In our latest blog post, we’ve created the ideal 72-hour itinerary for a long weekend in Marrakech.
Day one – arrival day
Planning to arrive around mid-day will allow travellers to settle in to the riad, but also head out during daylight for the first time exploring the medina (and hopefully find one’s way back). In fact, the first day should be spent wandering, getting comfortable with getting lost and seeing where one ends up.
It doesn’t have to be far from Riad 72, there is lots to see and do just minutes from our doorstep. Wanderers who end up at Café des Epices always seem to welcome the opportunity to sit and watch the world go by in the colourful and lively spice souk. This is also a great time to pick up a trendy basket for your weekend wanderings.
A late-afternoon hammam is delightful followed by a one-hour massage. Then, if you had an early start to the day, we recommend dinner in the riad to sample some of the best homemade Moroccan cuisine. For guests dining at Riad 72, we suggest a cheese platter before sampling perhaps an Eid Mubarak tajine featuring lamb, pomegranate, honey, toasted almonds at La Table du Riad by Riad 72.
Day two – Exploring all that Marrakech has to offer
After breakfast, meet your local guide for a half-day historical tour of the Marrakech medina. Plan to visit the Medersa Ben Youssef, built in the fourteenth century and housed up to 900 boys studying the Koran. The zellig, cedarwood and carved stucco here are absolutely breath taking and the morning light shining through is the cherry on top.
Then head to the nearby Maison de la Photographie to admire the photographs captured nearly a century ago. Just don’t be surprised if what you see in the photographs could be taken as you step outside the door. And be sure to grab a tea on the rooftop terrace for stunning views of the Marrakech medina, Koutoubia Mosque and Atlas Mountains.
Lastly have your guide wander through the workshops in the medina, visiting the metal smiths, leather souks and even the weavers at the entrance to the photography museum.
Following your tour, grab lunch in the sun at Cafe Atay then prepare for a shopping tour of the area, Max & Jan and Sarah Maj for trendy Moroccan-inspired clothing, and finally Hanout Boutique for kilim boots and vests all located in the Sidi Abdelaziz area. If your arms aren’t too full from shopping, stop by the Secret Garden to witness an Islamic garden at its finest on Rue Mouassine.
After an afternoon siesta, plan to have cocktails at Cafe de la Poste before heading over to Casa Jose for tapas while rubbing shoulders with the local and expats in Marrakech. If you’re up for a night on the town, head over to Lotus Club for its dinner show Oh la la! or to Strass where the Waww dinner show is inspired by Moulin Rouge and Le Lido, filled with cancan and samba dancing and pop and jazz music.
Day Three – a day of adventure
On day three wake up at a reasonable hour for departure to the Atlas Mountains for a day engaging with the local Berber culture. For a truly unique experience, hop on a sidecar and let a local expat guide show you some of the most remote and gorgeous parts of Atlas Mountains. Arrive in the Atlas Mountains and have tea, explore the village, spend some time hiking, and enjoy a fresh lunch. As each tour is tailored, the sights you’ll see along the way are adapted to each travellers’ interests. Leave the village to head back to Marrakech via scenic roads with a stop in a 16th century Koranic school where Hassan I stayed.
For a true bohemian chic experience, plan a camel trek in to the Agafay Desert before having lunch at La Pause with a stunning view of the rock desert just 40 minutes from Marrakech. A change of scenery and pace is always a great idea!
Or if you prefer an early start to the day with breath-taking views, nothing beats a sunrise hot-air balloon ride over Marrakech with the Atlas Mountains in the distance. Be sure to pack extra layers as early morning temperatures can be quite chilly.
Dinner at the historical Dar Cherifa is relaxing and elegant option for dining on traditional Moroccan cuisine in a grandiose traditional palace in the heart of the medina.
Day Four – Departure day
Sleep in and lazy breakfast on the rooftop terrace or outside your room are a must-do before venturing over to Majorelle Gardens and soaking up the last rays of sunshine before returning home. Don’t miss the Museum of Berber Arts tucked inside the art-deco Majorelle blue house located inside the park. Round out your holiday with a bit of shopping at 33 Rue Majorelle where the finest designers are featured. Just up the street, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum will open its doors in autumn 2017 and will house 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 haute couture accessories as well as tens of thousands of sketches and assorted objects.