Last December, we joined 4 friends in Marrakech, Morocco. There we enjoyed a fun winter city break. The 3 days in Marrakech celebrated Mike’s and our friend Steven’s birthdays. This last minute Marrakech trip was a perfect Moroccan holiday. We did some awesome Marrakech excursions. We also found an affordable Marrakech all inclusive hotel. Here are all the details of our trip and how you can find the best things to do in Marrakech.
The Best Time to Visit Marrakech
We stumbled into one of the best months to visit Marrakech – December. During the day, the weather in Marrakech was comfortable and sunny. We were able to spend our afternoons in the heated pool and our whole day outside. Average temperatures were 20C/68F during our 3 days in Marrakech. We never needed more than a light jacket, even at night when temperatures dipped.
Mid-December also allows you to enjoy the Geminid meteor shower. The lack of light pollution in Morocco gives you splendid views of hundreds of shooting stars. In late-December you get the Ursid meteor shower. Star-gazing, combined with reduced crowd sizes, made December the best time to visit Marrakech.
Getting to Marrakech
We flew from Copenhagen to Marrakech through Brussels on Brussels Air. A quick search of SkyScanner gives you flights on under 200 Euro from Copenhagen and many locations in Europe. From New York there are also round trip flights for under $500 USD. Check SkyScanner for these flights HERE.
From the airport we took a cab to our resort. They only took cash and negotiated for the price. Sometimes this is fun to do and Mike doesn’t mind, but I loathe negotiating for anything – especially a taxi. It can be a neat part of the experience for some people, but it that’s not you, consider a transfer. HERE is a link of a $14 USD Airport transport for up to 4 people plus luggage.
For more on negotiating for services while traveling, check out What to Expect in Istanbul
Where to Stay for 3 Days in Marrakech
We spent our Marrakech getaway at the Barcelo Palmeraie Marrakech all-inclusive resort. This property was fantastic, luxurious and well-staffed. The resort is located about 5 km from the city center of Marrakech and around 20 minutes from the airport.
The well-appointed rooms are spacious and can be booked for 120 Euro each. This rate can be upgraded to all-inclusive for an additional 50 Euro charge per guest. Amazingly, you can upgrade 1-2 nights or your entire stay. We decided to upgrade our two full days. This meant we could indulge in unlimited drinks at the main bar, in the buffet and the pool bar. We could also enjoy food at the pool’s snack bar, room service and the resort buffet. Dining at the other 5 specialty restaurants was an a la carte charge.
The resort has fantastic views of the Atlas Mountains and beautifully landscaped gardens. There are 2 pools, a fitness center, spa, playground and business center. We really enjoyed our stay at Barcelo Pameraie Marrakech and highly recommend staying with them.
Marrakech Day Tours
We had two full days during our 3 days in Marrakech. To maximize our time, we planned an excursion each day and then spent our afternoons relaxing at the pool. Luckily, we made it back to the resort during for a late lunch both days. We also enjoyed snacks at the pool and made the most of our all-inclusive status.
For both tours we of course left the resort and entered the public areas of Marrakech. This meant that we were walking into a new culture and we were conscious enough to fit in. This meant dressing conservatively and respectful. While Morocco is a liberal Muslim nation and most women don’t even wear a head scarf, conservative dress is the norm for men and women.
Marrakech Half-day Camels and Desert Quad Tour
Our first day was fantastic – we did a Desert Quad and Dromedary tour. The weather was perfect. We were picked up at the resort for our half-day Marrakech excursion. This day we started with a camel ride. First, we had a brief explanation of traditional Moroccan clothing. It was interesting to learn a little more about the Berber history, way to life and its impact on their clothing.
Once dressed, it was time to climb aboard our camels. This was a little scary, but it was a smooth ride on beautiful animals. We rode our camels for about 45 minutes and snapped quite a few pictures. There were many moments where I stopped to say “What is life?” Riding camels around Morocco was such a cool experience. It’s something I never expected I would do in my lifetime. Eventually, we ended up back at our transportation to head to desert quad portion of the day.
When we arrived at the desert quads, our guide gave us helmets and a very brief safety overview. We selected quads and pulled up in a straight line to wait for our guide to lead us into the desert. The experience was incredible. The landscape was gorgeous and the mountain views in the distance were stunning. We rode for about an hour and reached a small home in a nearby village. Our guide served us chai tea and some snacks. We rested for 20 minutes before riding back to our starting point to clean up and ride home.
I’m so happy we did this excursion. It was $45 USD well-spent and you can book it HERE.
Marrakech: Private 4-Hour Guided City Tour
Our 3 days in Marrakech continued with another morning pick up for a half-day excursion. This took us off on the Private 4-Hour Guided City Tour – a busy half-day excursion.
Our tour started with a drop off near the Koutoubia Mosque. This 12th century mosque is the tallest structure in Marrakech and a signature feature of the city’s skyline.
We next walked through city gardens and into the walled city to the Saadian Tombs. The tombs are sepulchers built by a sultan of the Saadian dynasty, Ahmad al-Mansur. About 60 members of the sultan’s family are laid to rest here as well as soldiers and servants who gained his favor. Ironically, this gorgeous mausoleum and was lost to time and history for centuries. It was built in the late 1500s but rediscovered in 1917 and renovated.
Our next stop was Bahia Palace. We wandered through the streets and found the palace. The name of the palace translates to “brilliance,” and I understand why after spending the time to walk through it. The palace was built in the late 19th century and intended to be the imminent palace of its time. The tiled mosaics, lush gardens and sunny courtyards are brilliant.
Finally turned our attention to the beautiful and colorful souks of the Marrakech Medina. The market was great! Our guide was extremely helpful as we engaged with shop owners. He handled all of the price discussions and made sure that we were not hassled or forced to haggle. A local guide that speaks the language is invaluable in such places. I picked up a soccer jersey for my nephew and paid only $10 USD.
Jemaa El Fna Square
We ended our day in the Jemaa El Fna Square. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is bustling, even in December. There were snake charmers and men carrying handfuls of live chickens. We took in the sights and wandered a bit before jumping back in our van and heading home to the resort.
Overview of our 3 Days in Marrakech
Our 3 Days in Marrakech were AWESOME! I can’t recommend planning your own trip there enough. The sun and time poolside was a perfect break from the winter in Denmark. We also loved spending the long weekend catching up with our friends, celebrating the birthdays and exploring a new region.
There’s a lot to see in Morocco, and we really want to return to see the other cities like Fez and Casablanca. We also want to return to do some hiking and explore the Sahara Desert and the High Atlas Mountains. 3 Days was enough for Marrakech but not enough for all of Morocco. We always like to leave something to go back for.
Plan Your Own Marrakech Getaway
From our hotel to the tours we chose – everything was fantastic. Here are links to those tools that can help you plan your own city break in Marrakech.
- Flights: Flying into Marrakech Airport via Skyscanner
- Airport Transfer: Shuttle for up to 4 People
- Hotel: Barcelo Palmeraie
- Tour: Camel Ride & Desert Quad Tour
- Tour: Private 4-Hour Guided City Tour
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