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Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

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Washington DC...
posts: 22
reviews: 38
Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Hi! We are going to be in Marrakech for 3 days (more like 2 full days, and 2 half days) and I was wondering if you could give me some advice on things not to miss out on. We arrive by plain in Marrakech on a Tuesday around 11AM, then we have the rest of the day (I was thinking of doing a Hop On/Hop Off tour), then two full days, and we leave on Friday night (the flight is at 7PM so we have until about 4PM). I looked into a day trip to Essaouira for one of the full days, and was considering doing a guided tour of Marrakech during the other full day. Then on the two half days, we would just wander around and try the food and markets. Would you recommend against doing what I planned, and maybe have a better suggestion? Should we not go to the coast? or should we skip the whole day Marrakech tour, and try to see it on our own? I booked the full day tour thinking that they 11h tour we should be able to see everything important in Marrakech. I also wouldn't mind doing something fun like camel trekking or 4x4 which is usually half day. Do you have any suggestions? We are staying in a riad in the medina, so at least we will be in the middle of it all. Thanks in advance!

Norwich, United...
posts: 575
reviews: 11
1. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

We went for 3 full days last weekend. We did one trip to the Atlas Mountains, 9am-6pm. We decided against Essouria, just because of our shortage of time. Saying that, we 'only' walked around the medina/souk, made our way down to the palace and back, eating and drinking along the way. I feel it depends what you want to see or how you like spending your time. I'm not much of a sitting on a bus for ages kind of person, but you might be. You can shop and eat after dark, so If you like spending the daylight hours doing something other than that, go for it. The Atlas Mountain trip was good and there is a chance for a camel ride on the way (only about 20 mins but that was just right for me).

I'm no expert, but ask away if you need to!

Monkey6870

Marrakech, Morocco
posts: 4,324
reviews: 55
2. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Your riad in Marrakech will provide all of the information that you need. Three days is far too short a time to even consider a day trip elsewhere. Avoid the hopon/hopoffbus - it doesn't really go anywhere interesting. The medina of Marrakech is the whole point of visiting here: the ancient culture, local cuisine, handicrafts and the famous souks. You do not need a guide for the medina. Have a decent map and wander. Get lost, it's part of the fun after all! Spend time chilling out on a cafe terrace people watching. Eat at the square Djemma al Fna with the locals and enjoy the street theatre. Click on "things to do" on the green bar at the top of your screen for many, many more ideas. I wish you an extraordinary trip.

Cardiff, United...
posts: 929
reviews: 31
3. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

You cannot really go too far out of Marrakech in the time you have, if anything, you could go to Setti Fatima in the Ourika Valley on a daytrip, it is a short daytrip, you leave Marrakech at around 10am and you are back at around 4pm, leaving you free to explore the medina in the evening.

Washington DC...
posts: 22
reviews: 38
4. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Hi Monkey6870, we decided on Essaouira instead of the Atlas Mountains trip, since it seemed it had more to offer. Otherwise the trip takes about the same amount of time, except that we leave at 7-8AM. Do you regret taking your side trip to the mountains and not spending more time in the city? We would probably do the same and just wander around the medina, and the souks; although there are a few places I definitely want to visit. How late were you able to stay out? I know in Spain there are a lot of places open past midnight and since it's warm out - we stay up late and have very late dinner...

Pilobolus2011 & MIB15, The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that we should drop the full day Marrakech tour and just do it on our own, but I still can't decide if we shouldn't spend the other full day doing a trip out of town. The way the Essaouira trip is scheduled, we should be back in town at 6PM which hopefully leaves time that day for a stroll in the medina. I wish we had more time in Morocco, but this is what our schedule permits, so we have to try and make the best of it. Do you know how far are the palm groves from the medina? I saw that they offer camel rides in that area. Also, do you know around what time it gets dark in July?

Thanks!

Norwich, United...
posts: 575
reviews: 11
5. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

No, we enjoyed our trip and I wanted a quick camel ride and got that so it was a good day!! It was slightly overcast the day we went out, which was quite a good,thing. Very hot the next day. We stayed out until 8.30ish, but that was our choice to return to our Riad but things were still happening after we left the square.

Washington DC...
posts: 22
reviews: 38
6. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

I agree about the quick camel ride - I would love to do it since we are going to be in Morocco but the 'tours' I've found so far are for 2-3h camel trek and I don't think I want to spend that long on a back of a camel. Was your riad loud because of all that's happening around? I read a lot of noise complaints from people who stayed at riads in the medina.

Marrakech, Morocco
posts: 4,324
reviews: 55
7. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Marrakech is a city where "early to bed and late to rise" is the norm. Completely unlike the Spanish cities of Barcelona or Madrid for example. Essaouira is a great destination but is better done as an overnight stay. Ouirgane (in the foothills of the High Atlas) for example would provide a peaceful contrast to Marrakech chaotic bustle! There are opportunities for camel riding in the Palmeries district, about 30 minutes from the city itself by taxi. Otherwise (unless you are keen golfers) little else. Sunset is around 2030 hours in July. A caleche (horse drawn carriage) tour of the ancient city walls - les ramparts - is worth considering too at this time.

Washington DC...
posts: 22
reviews: 38
8. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Thanks! That's really good to know. I was in Istanbul during the Ramadan last year and even though the city was pretty busy with tourists during the day, all the locals came out and night and we even had trouble sleeping because people were eating and hanging out until about 4AM. I will look into the carriage rides, usually (and from experience in other cities) they are not really worth the money. Thanks for the suggestion!

Norwich, United...
posts: 575
reviews: 11
9. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Our Riad was a 5 minute walk from the square, sdaidova. We heard nothing from the outside, oh apart from the calling for prayer, but you'll never get away from that! It quite quaint, in a way, but maybe not at 5am!

Washington DC...
posts: 22
reviews: 38
10. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

What about the Agafay desert or Telouet? I saw that those were closer to Marrakech but I can't find much about the desert in the forums and the reviews I find are on both extremes.