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

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Washington DC...
posts: 22
reviews: 37
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!

Cardiff, United...
posts: 906
reviews: 30
11. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

It all depends on how long you want to be on the road, the Kasbah at Ait Ben Haddou is one of my favourite sites in all of Morocco, it comes just after the Kasbah of Telouet, it means going up and over the High Atlas Mountains with some stunning views along the way. The drive itself takes around 4 hours each way and you need to spend at least 2 hours at the Kasbah, you could even take a detour to see the Kasbah at Telouet but that would add around 3 more hours to the journey and you would be exhausted by the time you got back to Marrakech.

Essouira is a lovely place to go, I have been there 2 times on daytrips and have stayed there on 2 seperate trips, it is so chilled out there and totally opposite to the hussle and bussle of Marrakech. But it takes 2½ hours to get there each way (5 hours in total), then you need to spend between 3-5 hours there, you will not get the feel of the place if you rush around, it is one of those places you just "chill out" and take everything at a slow pace. After coming back from Essaouira, you will be tired and will not want to be exploring around the medina of Marrakech, it is better to take more time in Essaouira and come back at the end of the day.

It is up to you to decide exactly what you want to see and how long you want to travel for.

In Marrakech, I have stayed out around the square until close to midnight, then strolled back to the riad I was staying in (a 5 minute walk away), even though it was quite late, there were still people around and it felt very safe. I suppose it all depends on how far your riad is from the square and which part of the medina it is located.

Edited: 7:41 pm, March 25, 2013
Marrakech, Morocco
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 1,790
reviews: 64
12. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Agafay is not the real desert experience so not worth the bother in your short trip. Telouet is further than you might think, seems close by distance but it is slow going through the mountain roads.

If you want a daytrip then stick to either heading south toward the Atlas or west to Essaouira - less travel time to the Atlas valley which is why people tend to recommend that for short trips like yours. However Ive done Essaouria as a daytrip a few times - it is a long day with an early start (upto 3hrs each way) but it is doable and you dont even need a guided tour, just take the bus.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 4,726
reviews: 33
13. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Personally I find the Ait Benhaddou Ksar too touristy whilst the Telouet Kasbah is more interesting because of its history, but the best way to view either (or both) is to stop overnight. There's a few (less than six) auberges and other accommodation options near Telouet and probably thirty or more places near Ait Benhaddou.

The best way to view these is to turn sharp right immediately (2-3km) after the Tizi n'Tichka, signposted 'Telouet'. After Telouet keep heading east then south on the same road and you will eventually come to Ait Benhaddou from the north. The road is a bit ropey in places for about 10km but improves dramatically after Anmiter.

Washington DC...
posts: 22
reviews: 37
14. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

Thanks for the replies!

MIB15: Having been to both, would you recommend going to Essaouira or one of the Kasbahs? I don't mind the travel time to each, if we can see something different, which is why I was thinking maybe we should skip the coast because isn't it just another city (smaller) like Marrakech with souks and medina? Looking at the itinerary for the trip, which is 11h long (we spend the whole day in Essaouira), it doesn't look like you see anything any different from Marrakech.It is clear to me that the day will be spent as a day trip and most likely we won't be able to go around in Marrakech that day, but we have the other 2 days to spend sightseeing. When you stayed out late, were you able to get dinner later at night, or do they close everything around 8PM and you are expected to have eaten/shopped by then? Our riad is called Diana (85 Derb Jdid, Riad Zitoune Lakdim, Marrakech 40008), it looks close to the medina on the map, but it's hard to tell sometimes.

TimCullis: It would be great to be able to spend the night there; however, if we went we would have to do it as a tour and wouldn't have the flexibility to stay the night. How long is the drive to Telouet only?

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

Essaouira is nothing like Marrakech. Yes it has a small medina with markets. It is not a city but a small fishing port town with Portuguese influences. You would be pushed to find a large settlement in Morocco which does not have a medina. Even Casablanca, a modern city, has what passes for one. Restaurants close at midnight normally, sometimes later. Your riad in Marrakech is in the medina, not close to.

16. Re: Short trip to Marrakech - too much to see, not enough time?

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