How to Select the Best Day Trips from Marrakech

How to Select the Best Day Trips from Marrakech

This post contains affiliate links. We may receive compensation, at no extra cost to you, when you click on or make a purchase using these links.

Morocco holidays are a wonderful adventure and I love experiencing the vibrant and lively atmosphere of this beautiful country. I am a pretty independent traveller however there are occasions where I would favour taking a local tour, as Marrakech tourism can be pretty hectic at times, especially if this is your first time. Indeed a lot of travellers wonder whether they should travel independently and what are the best day trips from Marrakech.

Day trips from Marrakech will take you to a beautiful oasis
Photo Thierry Mignon

There are many Morocco excursions to consider when visiting the country and I have selected several Marrakech day tours.

The Best Day Trips from Marrakech

Marrakech is a big tourist hub in Morocco, and for good reason. Marrakech is a vibrant and exciting destination, where you can experience the culture, food and natural environment of Morocco.

Take the high road of the Tizi n'Test
Photo Thierry Mignon

Visiting Morocco is a great adventure but it pays to be organised for certain things, starting with a good packing list

Day trips from Marrakech will take you to the mountains
Photo Thierry Mignon

There are literally hundreds of Morocco tour companies for travellers to consider and not all of them will deliver a good experience. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or to assume you can just turn up and hop on any bus… In my opinion, it’s worth doing some research to understand what tours are on offer, you may discover an activity you hadn’t thought of…

See beyond Marrakech on local tours
Photo Thierry Mignon

Also, there are a fair few dodgy operators around the place… Issues reported by travellers range from complaints about vehicles not being road-worthy or having no air conditioning, sub-standard accommodation to solo female travellers being harassed…

Discover the villages of the Atlas on a day tour from Marrakech
Photo Thierry Mignon

I have researched tours and operators carefully, and relying on established tourism companies with good customer reviews will ensure that you have a positive and trouble-free experience in Marrakech.

Booking through Get Your Guide also means you can easily cancel and get reimbursed if your plans change.

Desert Tours from Marrakech

Marrakech desert tours are one of the most popular activities to do and many travellers report the experience as a highlight of their time in Morocco. I also find that there are a lot of misconceptions and misguided expectations when it comes to visiting the Sahara desert camp. 

You can see adobe houses on a Marrakech day tour
Photo Thierry Mignon

 A lot of travellers seem to believe that the Sahara is just outside of Marrakech and that it’s possible to visit as a day trip. Just to be clear, this is not the case. If you want to experience the real Sahara desert, you have to dedicate some time to it.

Desert trips from Marrakech take a minimum of three days. The best Sahara desert trips are worth doing in four days. I will be writing about Merzouga desert tours and other Morocco desert excursions very soon.

Day Trips from Marrakech

Marrakech is a wonderful city that warrants at least a few days, but there are several Marrakech day trips you can take to see the surroundings. Some of these are the best Morocco tours.

Ouzoud Waterfall

The Ouzoud Waterfall is located 167km east of Marrakech and a popular day trips for Moroccans and tourists. The three-tier waterfall is 110m tall and a lovely swimming spot. The best time to visit is from March to June.

A fresh cued in the Atlas Mountain of Morocco
Photo Thierry Mignon

Monkeys will greet visitors and may steal your personal items such as sunglasses, so watch out! There is a sign asking that you don’t feed them, it only encourages their bad behaviour. 

This is a full-day tour and a long day, about 10 hours. Check additional information and current tour prices.

Tour the surroundings in Marrakech
Photo Thierry Mignon

As many Marrakech day tours, this one includes a hotel pick up in Marrakech.

Atlas Mountains and Ourika Valley

Only 50km south of Marrakech, the Ourika Valley is a beautiful drive. The best time to visit is from February to April, when the cherry and almond trees are in bloom. The Ourika Valley is a green and lush oasis valley with waterfalls and rapids. The tour will also take you to Asni and Oukameiden, with views of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in Morocco. 

The Atlas Mountains of Morocco are a great Marrakech day trip
Photo Thierry Mignon

Check additional information and current tour prices.

This Atlas Mountains day trip will take on some of the most dramatic roads of Morocco, but someone else will be driving

Ait Benhaddou

The Ksar (or fortified village) of Ait Benhaddou is a very popular day trip from Marrakech and it should be. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a well-preserved example of earthen clay architecture. A guided tour will take you around the fortress and lunch is included.

Visit the Moroccan desert
Ait Benhaddou in Morocco

Ait Benhaddou has been used as a film location for many years and the guide has many stories…

The tour also includes a visit to Telouet, an ancient and run-down fortress with beautiful views of the valley. Check additional information and current tour prices.

Essaouira Day Trip

Essaouira is an inspired and friendly coastal town, only three hours from Marrakech, as well as one of the best Morocco holiday destinations. The drive is uneventful and straightforward, and the ocean air is a welcome distraction from the dry heat of Marrakech.

La Sqala of Essaouira is a day trip from Marrakech
Photo Thierry Mignon

Essaouira has a cool coastal vibe and some really friendly locals. It is worth a few days if you have time but even a day trip will give you a great experience.

You will see goats in trees on your Marrakech day trip to Essaouira
Goats in Argan trees

Check additional information and current tour prices. I spent several days in Essaouira but you can see the essential in a day trip.

Marrakech Balloon Flight

A good alternative to a Morocco desert tour, if you don’t have enough time for a trip from Marrakech, is a balloon flight. You soar above the plain, which may seem like the Marrakech desert and admire the Atlas mountain chain in the distance. This is a truly unique experience…

Check additional information and current tour prices.

Marrakech Tours

Marrakech is a bustling city that never seems to sleep. In my opinion, the red city is one of the best places to experience the soul of Morocco. The biggest challenge for travellers is not to get lost in the medina, which is near impossible and not such a big deal after all.

The Menara in Marrakech at dusk
Photo Thierry Mignon

Taking a tour is a good way to get your bearings around the medina and to learn about the city’s history.

Marrakech City Tour

This private full-day tour of Marrakech will pick you up at your hotel or in a central location. The landmarks included in this Marrakech bus tour are the Bahia Palace, the Madrasa Ben Youssef, the Saadian Tombs and the Medina. In addition, the tour will drive you to the Majorelle Gardens, home of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and the Berber Museum.

Don't miss the Jardin Majorelle when you tour Marrakech
Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech

Check additional information and current tour prices.

If you have only 3 days in Marrakech, this will be a good way to see the main sights. Morocco private tours have an English speaking guide.

Walking Tour Marrakech

Expect to walk a lot in Marrakech… This tour is a great orientation around the centre of town and visits all the central landmarks: the Koutoubia Mosque (although non-Muslims cannot enter the mosque), the Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs. The tour will take you through the Medina and will finish at Jamaa El Fna Square.

Jamaa El Fna is in the heart of Marrakech
Photo Thierry Mignon

Check additional information and current tour prices.

Medina by Night

Mornings are quiet and slow in Marrakech… However, the town comes to life later in the day and the evenings are properly bustling. A visit to Marrakech wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the medina at night. Jamaa El Fna square is especially busy and lively at night, with dancers and various entertainers on display. 

Visit Marrakech by night
Photo Thierry Mignon

If you have only 2 days in Marrakech, I would highly recommend this tour. Check additional information and current tour prices.

I have experienced the main square of Marrakech at night before and it can be daunting. Be prepared to be accosted and for entertainers to ask for money if you take photos. This might be easier to manage with a guide.

Marrakech comes alive at night
Photo Thierry Mignon

Moroccan Cooking Classes

Moroccan cuisine is one of the finest in the world and should be part of your Marrakech sightseeing. The mix of sweet spices, slow-cooked meats and vegetables, and fresh salads requires skill and a great love of food… This art can be learned and there are various options for cookery classes in Marrakech. If you have 5 days in Marrakech 

Full-day Moroccan Cooking Class

Set in a large riad, this class runs for 6 hours and you will cook a broad range of dishes. This course is for those serious about learning the art of Moroccan cuisine and the pace is quite intense.

Enjoy the food of Morocco
Moroccan Pastilla

Check additional information and current tour prices.

Half-day Moroccan Cookery Class

This course also runs for 6 hours. You are picked up from your hotel and the class takes place on a farm outside of town. In this course, you will prepare a full Moroccan meal, complete with bread, salads and desserts.

Moroccan food is delicious
Moroccan Food

If you have 7 days in Morocco, this could be on your day tours from Marrakech. Check additional information and current tour prices.

Tagine Cookery Class

This is a shorter course, only 4 hours and it includes a visit to a market. 

Cook a real tajine in Marrakech
Photo Thierry Mignon

These marvellous Morocco tours will stay with you forever! Check additional information and current tour prices.

Marrakech Excursions: Specialist Tours

There are many aspects to Marrakech and there are some worthwhile special-interest tours.

Private Souks and Crafts

One of the greatest charms of Marrakech is its working soul. The constant activity of the markets, the circulation of materials and goods attests to the commercial and artistic creativity of Marrakech.

Shop for brass lamps in Morocco
Brass Lamps

If you are interested in learning the back story of how things are crafted in the souks and alleys. This tour will take you behind the scenes and will also enable you to recognise items genuinely crafted in Morocco versus the overseas copies…

Check additional information and current tour prices.

Shopping Tour

Shopping is one of the most exciting activities in Marrakech however it can also be a bit daunting. Most travellers report being put off with having to haggle for everything and not knowing how much to pay for things.

Shopping for textiles in Morocco
Shopping in Morocco

If you are serious about shopping, there are so many things to buy in Marrakech but some initial research is a good idea. On this tour, a Marrakech tour guide will help you gain confidence in negotiating prices and recognising quality items.

Check additional information and current tour prices.

Babouche Making Workshop

Are you a maker? Why not try your hand at making your own babouches? The traditional Moroccan leather slippers are so comfortable I always buy several pairs when I visit Marrakech.

Babouches are my favourite thing to buy in Morocco
Leather Moroccan slippers

In this workshop, you can actually create your own pair to take home, what a unique souvenir! Check additional information and current tour prices.

Hammam

The Moroccan art of living involves a certain degree of self-care. A visit to a traditional hammam is a great way to relax after a long day exploring, and even if you have only 5 days in Morocco, you should include this experience. A good scrub and massage will leave you replenished and relaxed. For this activity, you will need to find your own way to the hammam.

Check additional information and current tour prices.

Marrakech Transfers

Marrakech Menara

Even if you are not into Morocco group tours, an airport transfer can be a good idea. If you don’t want to deal with taxis, especially if you are arriving late at Marrakech airport, I recommend booking a transfer.

Morocco Guided Tours

Tours in Morocco can be a really good option to approach the country and its culture. You will find that the guides are most passionate about Marrakech and want to genuinely share their knowledge and experience. The best Morocco tour companies will offer you some good insights and will give you the confidence you need to explore further on your own.

The country outside Marrakech is quite dry
Photo Thierry Mignon

If you need more information in order to prepare your trip to Morocco, I have listed what you need to know about Morocco and the main reasons to visit.

Do you other suggestions for day trips from Marrakech? Tell me in the comments below!

Morocco holidays are a wonderful adventure and I love experiencing the vibrant and lively atmosphere of this beautiful country. I have selected the best day trips from Marrakech to help you plan your adventure.
#morocco #daytrips #travel

30 Comments

  1. Nina

    December 12, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Wonderful suggestions would happily do all of these. Essaouira is one of my favourite cities in Morrocco. I love the coastal vibe and the old town.

    1. Delphine

      December 13, 2019 at 8:15 am

      Hi Nina, I agree with you that Essaouira is a wonderful place. It has a unique vibe and the people are really nice, I would love to go back on my next trip!

  2. Annette Jones

    December 15, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Looks like some great options for day tours. I think I’d do the walking tours, markets and cooking classes. If I have enough time the 4-day desert tour too.

    1. Delphine

      December 16, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      I am definitely going to do a cooking class on my next trip, I need to learn more about Moroccan cooking!

  3. Sandra

    December 16, 2019 at 8:45 am

    There’s so much to see and do in and around Marrakesh! We decided a day trip to the Atlas Mountains wasn’t long enough so we spent the night in an incredible Kasbah in Imlil. It remains one of our all-time travel highlights ever!

    Sadly we did not get to Essouira. 3 hours each way is too long in one day for us although I bet the scenery is fascinating.

    1. Delphine

      December 16, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      I heard great things about Imlil and I was in the area on my last trip. I would love to dedicate more time to it next time!

  4. Sage

    December 16, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    The cooking classes sound like a phenomenal experience! And, forgive my ignorance, but the last thing I expected from Marrakech was snow-capped mountains. That was a surprise to see!

    1. Delphine

      December 17, 2019 at 6:49 am

      Hi Sage, Marrakech has a view of the Atlas Mountains which is only clear in winter. It’s very beautiful and it’s great to go there for a day trip!

  5. Samantha Karen

    December 17, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Wow who knew all these places were just a day trip from Marrakech! There is so much more to this area than deserts (as I had previously thought). I would love to visit Ait Benhaddou, looks amazing.

    1. Delphine

      December 17, 2019 at 6:52 am

      Ait Benhaddou is a really interesting visit, a very well preserved fortress. Contrary with the usual belief, the desert is actually quite green, it’s only a few places where you can find sand dunes.

  6. Jamie Italiane

    December 17, 2019 at 8:11 am

    I’ll be in Marrakesh for five days in April. I wish I had more time because there are so many things I would love to do. We are taking a three-day tour into the desert. I also want to visit a hammam. If I had more time I would also take a food class and visit the falls.

    1. Delphine

      December 17, 2019 at 9:58 am

      Hi Jamie, April is a great time of year to visit Marrakech. It will be sunny and warm, but not too hot as it can get in summer. I’m sure the desert tour will be a fabulous experience too!

  7. Renee

    December 17, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I will certainly reference your post when I visit Marrakech, which is high on my list. To know the tour operators you have used and recommend is a huge help. There are so many interesting ones, ones I wouldn’t have know about too. I think the cooking classes would be a great “souvenir” – to be able to bring home some new recipes would be a fantastic way to relive your travel memories.

    1. Delphine

      December 18, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Hi Renee, I agree that a cooking class is a great memory-building exercise. And you can recreate the experience at home, which is so much more valuable than buying things!

  8. Nicola Hilditch-Short

    December 17, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    We’re hoping to visit Morocco soon and it looks like Marrakech is a great place to base yourself to see how much of what the country offers. It seems like somewhere with great diversity too with the local culture and busy cities markets to the incredible mountains.

    1. Delphine

      December 18, 2019 at 8:12 am

      You will love Morocco, it’s such a great adventure! I look forward to going back next year and getting more adventure in the mountains!

  9. Alison

    December 18, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    I read your post with great interest as I am going to Morroco for the first time next spring. I haven’t mapped out my itinerary yet except for a hike to the second highest peak in the Atlas Mountains. ( obviously organized) . I have to decide whether to explore around Marrakesh before or after the hike! There are many things on this list I would like to do!

    1. Delphine

      December 18, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks Alison, sounds like you are planning a fabulous trip to Morocco! Don’t miss Marrakech on your trip, it’s absolutely fabulous!

  10. Ketki

    December 18, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Snow capped mountains, cooking classes and walking tours? I need to book tickets immediately which are pending forever! This post is seriously making me drool and consider Marrakech in first quarter of 2020!

    1. Delphine

      December 20, 2019 at 10:10 am

      You won’t be disappointed by Marrakech, it’s a great place to visit. Don’t miss the rest of Morocco though!

  11. Candy

    December 19, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Such great tips about visiting the desert. It’s good to know that one day just isn’t enough. I would really like to take the cooking class. I love cooking and especially want to learn how to cook with spices. I’ve never heard of a full day cooking class and that sounds fantastic!

    1. Delphine

      December 20, 2019 at 10:07 am

      Hi Candy, I look forward to a cooking class on my next visit to Morocco, that’s for sure. I cook some Moroccan meals but not enough, the food is really delicious!

  12. Annick Lenoir-Peek

    December 19, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Marrakech has always held a mysterious appeal for me. I love walking tours but I wouldn’t have thought to go in such a hot destination. The cooking tours sound like a great way to learn about the culture and the people. Great ideas for those visiting!

    1. Delphine

      December 20, 2019 at 10:06 am

      Hi Annick, Marrakech is not always hot, thankfully. Summer is really hot and it’s best to avoid the hours in the middle of the day. But early in the morning and later in the evening are perfect for exploring!

  13. Michael Hodgson

    December 20, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Bless you for pointing out a visit to the Sahara is NOT a one day possibilty from Marrakech! We would fully suggest that if folks have the opportunity in the planning phase of a trip that they plan two nights in the Sahara. So much to see and experience rather than blast in, ride a camel, snap a few photos and leave. As for Ait Benhaddou, while one CAN visit in one day, this is yet another place we would advise staying a night. After the tourist hordes depart, and they are hordes, Ait Benhaddou becomes a quiet sunset and sunrise paradise!

    1. Delphine

      December 20, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Hi Michael, Ait Benhaddou can be visited in one day from Marrakech but it’s a long drive. We got stuck in a works zone last time. One interesting thing to add to the day trip is Telouet, a very interesting visit!

  14. ania

    December 21, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Our favourite was Ait Ben Haddou but its hard to do it in one day, we stayed there for three days and kept exploring Kasbah

    1. Delphine

      December 21, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      The kasbah at Ait Benhaddou is pretty good, there is another one not too far at Telouet but it’s very run down. Hopefully it will be renovated someday!

  15. Meghan Emcee

    January 25, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Love these day trip ideas from Marrakesh, I’m hoping to go there on my next vacation so bookmarked it!

    1. Delphine

      January 26, 2020 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks Meghan, you’ll have a wonderful time in Marrakech, enjoy!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.