Africa,  Travel

The Beautiful Palaces of Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech was our final stop during our time in Morocco in February. And, to be honest, I didn’t love it. I thought the Fes medina was better than the Marrakech one and appreciated the vibes and architecture of Chefchaouen more. But I completely changed my tune when we visited the palaces of Marrakech.

The first site we visited in Marrakech was Jardin Majorelle, also known as the Yves Saint Laurent garden after the designer bought and restored it in the 1980s. We walked about 45 minutes to get there and then stood in line in the hot sun for another 45 minutes. After paying $10 to get in, I was majorly (or majorelle-y?) disappointed. The garden was small, crowded and it wasn’t even that impressive. I took a few photos, but really wasn’t wowed by any of it.

I thought Marrakech might be a bust after that, but am glad we pushed on and made our way to El Badi Palace and Bahia Palace. The palaces of Marrakech are totally worth visiting and were definitely the highlights of our time there.

PS: Marrakech is also spelt Marrakesh in French and is correct with either the C or S!

Before we jump into the beautiful palaces, check out some other awesome activities you can do in Marrakech:

Explore the beautiful palaces of Marrakech, Morocco on this photo tour of El Badi Palace and Bahia Palace! #morocco #marrakech #marrakesh #palaces #travel #traveltips #royalpalaces #castles #architecture #style

FAQs about the palaces of Marrakech

What are the palaces of Marrakech?

The two main palaces located within Marrakech are El Badi Palace and Bahia Palace. There’s also the Royal Palace, but you aren’t allowed to go in. If you’re interested in the architecture, it’s worth going to see the outside of the Royal Palace, but the other two palaces offer a lot more to discover and explore.

Where are they located?

The palaces are actually located quite close to one another, about a 10 minute walk away from one another. They are just outside the walls of the medina, to the south, and quite central in Marrakech. From the medina’s main square, Jemaa el-Fna, it’s only a 15 minute walk to the palaces.

And if you want to see the outside of the Royal Palace, it’s right next door too!

How much does it cost to enter the palaces?

When we visited, entrance to each palace was 70 MAD per person, or about $10 CAD/$7 USD.

How long do you need to visit?

I would say you’ll want about 2 hours for each palace. There are a few things to read, but not many. Most of your time will be spent exploring the different sections and taking photos.

When should I visit the palaces of Marrakech?

We visited Marrakech in February and I think that was the perfect time of year. The weather was warm but not hot, so it was easy to dress conservatively. It was also outside of peak tourist season, so there were no lines for either palace when we visited. I would suggest visiting in the morning, so you can ensure you beat any afternoon crowds.

If you want to see both palaces of Marrakech on the same day, I would suggest starting with Bahia as it is more popular and can get more crowded. El Badi is more spread out and won’t feel cramped even if you visit at a busier time. So head to Bahia Palace in the morning, break for lunch and take in views of the Royal Palace, and then tour El Badi Palace in the afternoon for a complete royal residence day!

Explore the beautiful palaces of Marrakech, Morocco on this photo tour of El Badi Palace and Bahia Palace! #morocco #marrakech #marrakesh #palaces #travel #traveltips #royalpalaces #castles #architecture #style

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace is the more historic and ancient of the two, as construction started in 1578. It was built during the Saadian dynasty and features materials from all over Africa and Europe. Today, the palace is in ruins, as it was neglected after the reigning sultan died in 1603, so exploring it will make you feel like Indiana Jones. Enjoy wandering through the wide open spaces and envisioning what they used to look like, walking over crumbled walls and broken tile floors, and spotting the heron nests in the cracks above.

El Badi Palace
Can you see the heron nests?

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace

view of El Badi Palace
An orange grove in the middle of the palace? I’m into it!

ruins of El Badi Palace

tile floor of El Badi Palace

courtyard in El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace

minbar in El Badi Palace
This is the famous Minbar (not mini-bar, as I first read it), a 12th Century mosque pulpit made in Cordoba, Spain

pools of El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace
A view overlooking the palace!

rooftop of El Badi Palace

Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace was my favourite of the two palaces of Marrakech that we visited. This palace was built in the 19th Century and it has been much better maintained than El Badi Palace. Bahia means brilliance and it really does live up to its name. I loved walking through the gardens, courtyards and palace rooms, admiring the ornate decor and Moroccan style architecture. The ceilings were so impressive that I was ready to move in!

ceiling of Bahia Palace
Look at these ceilings!

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Colin at Bahia Palace, Marrakech
Hi Colin!

ceiling of Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Colin staring at the ceiling of Bahia Palace, Marrakech, Morocco
I love this photo of Colin admiring the ceiling!
ceiling of Bahia Palace
That detail!

selfie at Bahia Palace, Marrakesh

Bahia Palace, Marrakesh

ceiling of Bahia Palace

ceiling of Bahia Palace

courtyard in Bahia Palace, Marrakesh

selfie in Bahia Palace, Marrakesh


Which palace would you rather visit?

 

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Explore the beautiful palaces of Marrakech, Morocco on this photo tour of El Badi Palace and Bahia Palace! #morocco #marrakech #marrakesh #palaces #travel #traveltips #royalpalaces #castles #architecture #style

Explore the beautiful palaces of Marrakech, Morocco on this photo tour of El Badi Palace and Bahia Palace! #morocco #marrakech #marrakesh #palaces #travel #traveltips #royalpalaces #castles #architecture #style

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