Now that you’ve spent your first night in Marrakech, hopefully, you’re feeling a bit more accustomed to the city. It is the perfect time to start exploring!
Marrakech is a plethora of really old and amazing architecture, riddled with incredible mosaics and delicious food.
Today you’ll start with a glorious breakfast at the riad, cab up to Jardin Marjorelle, pop over to the Ben Youssef Madrasa, have lunch at Le Jardin, explore the secret gardens, continuing on to the Saadian tombs and the Bahia Palace and finally, an epic dinner at the riad.
Day two is your busiest in Morocco so put on some comfy pants and walking shoes and
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Written by: Stephanie
Marrakech- Day Two
Breakfast at Riad Dar Attajmil is something special- bread, jams, pastries, fruit, cheese, nuts – anything you can imagine. Be sure to say yes to mint tea and definitely film Hassan pouring it!
Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech / 212 5243 13047
8 am – 6 pm
Afterward, let’s catch a taxi and head up to Jardin Marjorelle. From the
Do make sure you agree on a set rate for the taxi before leaving, our driver demanded more money from us when he saw we had extra, which ensued in a very uncomfortable argument.
Jardin Marjorelle is a beautiful place and I highly recommend it, even if it is “just a garden”. The property sits on about 12 acres and was completed in the 1920s. Back in the 1980s, the garden and house were in disrepair and were purchased and restored by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge. Along with the gardens, there is also the Berber Museum and the Islamic Art Museum. We just bought tickets for the garden, but I imagine the museums are nice, too.
Right away you’ll notice the incredibly vibrant blue and yellow…
…beautifully intricate carvings…
…an incredible variety of cacti species…
…and photo opportunities at every turn…
If your taxi driver waited for you, have him drive you as close as he can to the Ben Youssef Madrasa. It would be okay to have the taxi leave now, as you can walk everywhere else.
The cost to enter the gardens only – 70 dirhams.
Ben Youssef Madrasa
Rue Assouel, Marrakech
**Update 2018 – the Madrasa is currently closed for renovations until 2020** Boo! If you have FOMO I would either hold off on visiting Marrakech or just make two trips 🙂
This may have been my favorite place in all of Marrakech and an absolute must see. The madrasa is an Islamic school that was founded in the 14th century. There is a central courtyard with an ablution pool that is surrounded by about a hundred student rooms.
This was once the largest Islamic school in North Africa and at its peak housed around 900 students! That is a profoundly shocking number when you wander through the tiny student rooms. It must have been a very tight squeeze.
Spend some time, or a lot of time, exploring the school and student rooms. And the carving and tile work…it’s unreal how intricate and delicate it is.
Related: 33 epic reasons to visit Morocco
Next, head over to the Le Jardin cafe for some lunch. It can be a bit tough to find, like anything in Marrakech really, but it’s pretty close to the madrasa. If you ever get lost in the alleyways there is usually always someone around that can help you, but beware they will want to be paid.
The cost to enter Ben Youssef Madrasa- 2 Euros
32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakech / 212 5243 78295
11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Le Jardin is a very cute outdoor/courtyard cafe that offers a decent selection of menu options from the mixed briouates to a variety of tajines, and even an orange blossom creme brûlée. Though, like Cafe Kif-Kif, Le Jardin has some very short tables. What’s the deal? But, they had a free air conditioner in the form of wicker fans, so ya know, whatev.
I want that tile in my house.
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This friendly guy paid everyone a visit as well…
After Le Jardin the restaurant, take a short walk to Le Jardin Secret. I know I know, another garden – just trust me.
Related: An introduction to Marrakech
Le Jardin Secret
121 Rue Mouassine, Marrakech / 212 5243 90040
9:30 am – 7:30 pm
Le Jardin Secret is everything you want Jardin Marjorelle to be- secret, quiet, and tranquil. We were two of maybe 5-6 people, tops. There is something so special about the gardens in Marrakech. I truly think it is the stark contrast they provide to the intensity of the medinas. Walking into Le Jardin Secret is like walking into your most peaceful dream.
Beautiful pagodas, plants, and water features all come together to create an exotic garden and an Islamic garden.
Have a seat on the bench, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and bask in the peacefulness. A quiet Marrakech is a rarity.
From Le Jardin Secret take about a 5-minute walk to the Saadian Tombs. These can also be a little tricky to find, but there were large spray-painted signs pointing in the correct direction.
The cost to enter Le Jardin Secret – 50 Dirhams
Rue de la Kasbah, Marrakech / 212 5243 78163
9 am – 5 pm
The Saadian tombs were bit underwhelming, but I think they’re still worth a visit.
The tombs are from the Saadian dynasty dating back to the 1500s. When the Saadian dynasty fell and Moulay Ismail took power, he had the nearby Badi Palace destroyed. He kept the tombs as they were, likely out of fear of destroying a burial ground. He did seal off all entrance points to the tombs except for a small passageway through the Kasbah Mosque. They remained as such for a couple hundred years and were discovered by the French in the early 1900s from aerial photography. The area was restored and then open to the public for viewing.
The grounds are where the soldiers and servants are buried and while it’s nice, it’s not that spectacular or breathtaking.
The mausoleum, however, is incredible.
The Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur and his descendants were laid to rest here. You’ll quickly notice beautiful zellij tile and Italian Carrera marble.
Say hi to the cats who guard the area then make your last stop at the nearby Badi Palace.
The cost to enter the Saadian Tombs – 10 Dirhams
Ksibat Nhass, Marrakech / 212 665 958482
9 am – 5 pm
Badi Palace is a quick walk from the Saadian Tombs. The palace got its start during the Saadian dynasty and took about 25 years to complete. When it was finished it contained some of the most expensive materials of the time including gold and onyx.
There are several pavilions, stables, and dungeons onsite, all centered around a fabulously large pool and small pockets of lush gardens. You can take the stairs down and explore underground – it’s not too interesting though, just full of photographs.
You’ll notice the same style of tile that was used on the tombs.
I did enjoy wandering around the palace and peeking into the open doorways…wondering what life would have been like as royalty hundreds of years ago.
What I enjoyed most were the storks standing guard…dozens of them around every corner, standing alongside their gigantic nests.
The cost to enter Badi Palace – 10 Dirhams
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Riad Dar Attajmil
40000 Marrakech Medina / 212 5 24 42 69 66
Go ahead and make your way back to the riad– it’s been a long busy day and you deserve to relax a bit. Tonight would be a great night to let Fatima know you’ll be staying in for dinner.
If I were you I would take Hassan’s recommendation and go with the sardine tajine. It is Fatima’s specialty and it does not disappoint. I was not really stoked about eating sardines, but I went with it and I am glad I did. Grab a bottle of wine, enjoy the rooftop, and bring your appetite- that tajine would feed about four people.
After dinner, relax a bit on the rooftop and get ready for some traditional Moroccan experiences tomorrow!
Read next: A day of culture in Marrakech
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Stephanie is a travel obsessed, food-loving baby girl and dog mom from beautiful Minnesota! She is a mom to Ella, wife to Peter, yogi, baker, amateur photographer, and family-friendly travel blogger. Come along as she explores Minnesota, the Mid-West, and the world beyond…with a baby and sometimes, a dog, in tow!