Free Things To Do in Marrakech
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The heart of Marrakech lies in its historic city center – a UNESCO World Heritage site. For centuries, the medina acted as a political and economic hub whose influence radiated throughout the Middle East. Royals resided here, international trade took place here and cultures developed here. As you stroll through this 11th-century labyrinth of alleyways, you'll see that Marrakech's history remains intact.
Past visitors said that the medina is a must-see, especially at night. Most of its popular food and merchandise stalls are situated in Jemaa El Fna, but for a less crowded atmosphere, explore the streets outside the medina's main square. It's easy to lose your bearings here, so some former travelers also suggest visiting with a guide. Companies that offer guided walks around the medina include Marrakech Guided Tours and Marrakech Tour Guide – both recommended by recent travelers.
- #2View all PhotosfreeJemaa El Fna#2 in Marrakech0.4 miles to city centerCafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Sightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND0.4 miles to city centerCafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Sightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
It's hard to miss Jemaa El Fna. Sitting at the center of the medina, this open-air square stands as the city's main gathering spot. By day, Jemaa El Fna hosts dozens of entertainers, from snake charmers to fortune tellers to herbalists. By night, the area fills with the aromas of piping hot couscous, grilled meats and simmering vegetables from the food stalls. From the square, narrow alleyways lead intrepid shoppers through a maze of souks (markets), composed of spice vendors and carpet sellers who will stop at nothing to get you to buy something. Here's a tip: Never settle for the original price. Half the fun of shopping around Jemaa El Fna is practicing your bargaining skills. Most hawkers will negotiate with you, but walk away if you encounter a stubborn seller.
Recent visitors praised Jemaa El Fna's bustling marketplace but suggested visiting at night when there's more to see. Several also stressed the importance of saying "no" when you do not want an item or service and suggested keeping a close eye on your belongings since pickpockets are regularly spotted here.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Marrakech0.4 miles to city centerChurches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.4 miles to city centerChurches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
In the southwest corner of the medina, within walking distance of the bustling Jemaa El Fna, lies Marrakech's most recognizable landmark, Koutoubia Mosque. Featuring intricate tile work, salmon-hued walls, expansive archways and an impressive 253-foot-tall minaret (or tower), this 12th-century Moorish mosque has served as the model for several other notable religious sites, including the Hassan Tower in Rabat, Morocco, and La Giralda in Seville, Spain.
Recent travelers enjoyed visiting Koutoubia Mosque, adding that it's a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Many were also quick to praise the building's beautiful architecture. However, if you're set on seeing the inside of a mosque, consider heading elsewhere, since this one does not permit entry to non-Muslims.
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