If you are looking for a sunny winter destination or somewhere to spend Christmas, Morocco will be a great option! There are many things to do in Marrakech in December and it’s a great time of the year to visit.
December in Marrakech is very pleasant. The weather is nice, the flights are super cheap and you can score some real bargains for your Christmas presents!
The city is one of the most touristy places in Morocco. It can get a bit overwhelming at times which is visiting Marrakech in December is great to get away from the crowds and explore! If it’s your first time, it will be more pleasant! Temperatures are mild and pleasant. It gets cold in the evening but during the day, it’s very nice.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about the best things to do in Marrakech in December!
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Weather in Marrakech in December
December to February are the coldest month in Marrakech however it doesn’t mean it’s cold per se. Spring and summer can get very hot in Morocco. The average temperatures in Marrakech in December are between 7 and 20 degrees.
As a general thing, it’s pretty warm during the day but it gets cold in the evening and morning. You will need a coat in the evening. Make sure to pack jumpers as well.
That said, the temperatures are very pleasant. It’s just warm enough! The weather and temperature are similar to the month of September or October in continental Europe.
If you are looking for a winter sun escape in December, it’s pretty much as good as it gets.
Flights to Marrakech in December
Marrakech is one of the main airports in Morrocco. There are loads of flights going there every day. Ryanair and Easyjet operate a lot of services to Marrakech so you can score some amazing deals.
As a general thing, December is the low season in Marrakech however, a lot of people (especially French people with houses in Marrakech) head there for Christmas. If you want to get the best prices, make sure to visit Marrakech between the 1st and 15th of December.
Where to stay in Marrakech in December
When it comes to accommodation, Marrakech has a lot to offer! Best of all, it’s pretty cheap!
The most famous type of accommodation in Morocco is the riad. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with a courtyard. They are absolutely amazing!
If you are visiting at the beginning of December, you will find loads of availabilities and will be able to score an amazing deal.
The best place to stay in Marrakech is the Medina. The Medina is the Old Town. It’s where you will find most of the main sites. There are loads of taxis so if you need to go somewhere else, it will be easy and cheap.
Here are some recommendations for places to stay in Marrakech:
– Mid-range accommodation: Riad Hôtel Essaouira is a beautiful riad ideally located in the middle of the Medina. The staff is so helpful and the breakfast amazing. They serve a different breakfast every day and it’s made with local products (I absolutely loved their homemade yoghurt!). Rooms are simple but have everything you need. Click here to see the latest prices.
– Luxury accommodation in Marrakech: Riad Medina Art is the ideal place to stay in Marrakech if you are looking for a luxury stay. Swimming pool, massages, garden… this riad has it all! It’s also particularly well located! See prices here.
Best things to do in Marrakech in December
If you love exploring cities and learning about new cultures, you are in for a treat! There are so many winter activities in Marrakech!
1.Visiting the Jardins Majorelle
The Majorelle Garden (Jardins Majorelle) was created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. It took him over 40 years to create this beautiful haven.
After he died, the garden ceased to be maintained until 1980 when Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge acquired them.
Inside, you will also find both the gardens and the Berbere museum. If you want to learn more about the famous French designer, you can also visit the Yves Saint Laurent Museum.
The entrance costs:
– Majorelle Garden: 70 DH
– Berbere Museum: 30 DH
– Yves Saint Laurent Museum: 100 DH
– Combined ticket: 180 DH
You can buy your tickets directly at the entrance or book a guided tour. See prices here.
2. Go on a Yves Saint Laurent tour
Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most famous French designers. He spent a great deal of time in Marrakech with his partner, Pierre Berge. As previously mentioned, they both took upon themselves to rebuild the Majorelle Garden.
But that’s not all! Yves Saint Laurent had a huge influence in Marrakech. He loved this city and did a lot there.
If that something you are interested in, you may want to consider going on an Yves Saint Laurent tour. The guide will tell you everything you need to know about YSL. The entrance fees to the Majorelle Gardens, Yves Saint Laurent Museum and transportation are included.
3. Visiting the Bahia Palace (Palais de la Bahia)
The Bahia Palace was built in the 19th century. Back then it was intended to be the greatest palace of its time. You can now visit it. You will find various rooms including a school and a set of gardens. It’s a beautiful example of Islamic and Moroccan architecture.
It is absolutely beautiful and a little piece of haven located in the Medina. It’s easily accessible from Jamma El Fna square and the Koutoubia.
The entrance price is 70 DH. You might find on the internet that the price is 10 DH, this is not the case! I saw that as well and asked when I got the tickets. Unfortunately, all site entrances in Marrakech have increased a couple of years ago and for some reasons, it hasn’t been updated on the web.
I must say that for that price they could give a bit more information but it is still a beautiful place to see, totally worth a visit.
There is no sign whatsoever which means you don’t really understand which room is what. Opting for a guided tour is totally worth it in this case.
4. Shopping in the souks of Marrakech
No trip to Marrakech would be complete without going to the souks. It’s THE ultimate thing to do in Marrakech!
The souks are the typical Morrocan markets. Located right in the centre of the Medina, it is a must-do when you are in Marrakech.
This is as Morrocan as it can get. It’s chaotic, it’s busy, there is everything you can possibly think of, all sorts of smells… a truly unique experience.
If you are after some leather bags or belts, silver jewellery, Morrocan cakes… this is the place to go to.
However, it can also be very overwhelming. Quick fun fact about that, in French the slang word “souk” means “mess”. This gives you an idea of how confusing it can be for an outsider.
There are a few things to bear in mind when visiting the souks:
- Always know where you are going (it’s easy to get lost)
- Negociate every price!
- Don’t say yes to everything
- Ask for a fair price and not something ridiculously low
When visiting the souks in Marrakech in December it can be harder to negotiate prices compared to the rest of the year. A lot of Europeans (especially French) fly to Marrakech in December to buy their Christmas presents and get amazing deals on leather products. For this reason, it usually is a bit harder to bargain. The closer you get to Christmas, the harder it gets.
5. Visiting the Saadian tombs (Tombeaux Saadiens)
The Saadian Tombs are located in the south of the Medina, in the Kasbah quarter, right by the Kasbah mosque. It’s about 10 mins walk from the Bahia Palace, you can easily do both in the morning.
You will find there a mausoleum with about 60 tombs of the Saadian dynasty members.
The entrance costs 70 DH.
Exactly like for the Bahia Palace, you will find other prices online but as of December 2019, the actual price is 70 DH.
6. Discovering the Koutoubia
The Koutoubia is the main mosque in Marrakech. The tower is 77 m high. You can not miss it, it’s visible from many places.
It’s also a great reference point that will help you know where you are and where you are going.
It’s considered as one of the main landmarks in Marrakech and it is indeed beautiful. It’s also surrounded by gardens, perfect for a stroll.
Only Muslims can go inside though, like every other mosque in Marrakech. If you are not Muslim you still get to enjoy it from the outside.
7. Grabbing food at Place Jemaa El-Fna
Jemaa El-Fna is the central square in Marrakech Medina. You literally cannot miss it. No matter what you do, you will always go back there at some point.
The interesting thing about it is that it is very lively. It’s like a completely different place in the morning, afternoon and evening.
In the morning, you will find all the taxis (perfect if you need to get back to the airport). In the afternoon you have a lot of fruit juice trucks and ladies doing henna tattoos.
In the evening, restaurants take the place over. You will find all kinds of food! It’s a very good place to eat. Prices are also very good as it’s not just for tourists. A lot of locals eat there too! That having been said it can get very overwhelming as you will get stopped by someone trying to convince you to eat at his restaurant for every step you make.
Don’t forget to get a mulled ginger tea! It’s a bit like a mulled wine but with ginger and other spices. It’s very good and cheap. It also feels very festive and will warm you up in the evening!
Pro Tip: Learn how to get back to your hotel from Jemaa El-Fna square. Everyone knows where this square is and you will always make your way back to Jemaa El-Fna. So if you know how to get back to the hotel from there, you will always be able to get back to your hotel.
8. Visiting El Badi Palace
Located by the Saadian Tombs, El Badi Palace is completely different from Bahia Palace. It is much older (16th century) and is in ruins. It was home to the Saadian dynasty and is an interesting place to visit if you want to know more about Moroccan history.
As everywhere else in Marrakech, there is very little information inside so if you actually want to discover the history of El Badi Palace, you may need to get a guide.
The entrance is also 70 DH. You can buy your ticket at the entrance directly or book a guided tour. Prices here.
9. Do a Pottery Workshop
Pottery is very Moroccan. You will find pottery products absolutely everywhere in Marrakech. If you are interested in learning how to make beautiful objects, taking part in a pottery workshop will be perfect for you.
You will learn traditional Moroccan methods! It’s very interesting and quite a fun thing to do in Marrakech in winter.
10. Visiting the Jardin Secret
Located in the heart of the Medina, near the Souks, the Jardin Secret was originally built by monarchs of the Saadian dynasty.
It was then passed on to a sultan. In 1912, it ceased to be maintained. In 2018, it was privately acquired and restored. 8 years later, the Jardin Secret finally opened to the public. You can now visit it for 70 DH.
It’s a beautiful garden, very similar to the Jardins Majorelle but inside a riad. You will find both an exotic garden and an Islamic garden.
The Jardin secret is much smaller than the Jardins Majorelle so if you only have time for one, I’d chose the Majorelle Garden. Either way, you won’t be disappointed, they are both great things to do in Marrakech in winter!
11. Take part in an Arabic language workshop
If you love learning new languages and cultural experiences, this one is for you!
This 90-minute workshop is a great thing to do at the beginning of your stay. You will be with a local and learn some key phrases in the local dialect. Not only is this culturally fascinating but it will help you to bargain your way in the souks!
Also, that’s an indoor activity which is good when it’s a bit cold or if it rains.
12. Visiting the Musee de Marrakech
The Museum of Marrakech is one of the oldest in the city. You will get to see a beautiful collection of Moroccan art in a beautiful palace.
13. Tasting the delicious local food
If you are a foodie, you will love Marrakech! Food is all around and most importantly, is delicious! There are loads of things to eat in Marrakech.
You can opt for the traditional Moroccan dishes such as couscous and tajines but make sure to try the local dish: the Tanja. This beef stew is cooked in a jar. It’s so good you might fall off your chair!
You will find these dishes in every restaurant in Marrakech however, opting for street food is the best way to find the most delicious ones! If you go to Jamaa El Fna in the evening, you will be spoilt for choice.
Another alternative would be to go on a street food tour with a local. See prices here.
14. Visiting Ben Youssef Madrasa
The Ben Youssef Madrasa is a beautiful Islamic school. This is where the principles of Islam are taught. It’s located by the Ben Youssef mosque, in the Medina.
This absolutely gorgeous building is definitely a must-do in Marrakech. As a matter of fact, it was described to us by locals as “the best thing to do in Marrakech“. Quite a statement, isn’t it?!
However, it is important to note that it is closed for renovations until 2022.
15. Take a tajine cooking class with a local
The food in Marrakech is so good that you may want to learn how to make all these dishes so you can keep enjoying them once you are back home.
A good way to do so is by taking a cooking class. You will start the workshop by going to the market to find local products. You will then get back to the kitchen and learn how to cook your own tajine with a local!
Food, local culture and markets, all at once!
16. Discovering the Maison de la photographie
La Maison de la photographie is a very interesting museum that exhibits photographs about Morocco. You will get to discover the Moroccan history and culture since photography exists. It’s a wonderful experience for history lovers.
It’s open every day from 9:30am to 7pm. The entrance fee is 50 DH.
17. Learn how to make your own babouch
Looking for something fun and unique to do during your holidays in Marrakech in December? What about learning how to make your own babouch?
The babouch are the typical Moroccan shoes. You will find them everywhere in Marrakech. They are very colourful and comfortable. A lot of people buy them as souvenirs but making them yourself is such a cool thing to do in December in Marrakech.
You will be spending between 3 and 4 hours with a local leather craftsman who will teach you exactly how to make your own shoes. The local translator will also take photos and email them to you later on so you will have plenty of photos to remember this fun activity.
Finally, you obviously get to keep your babouch!
18. Grabbing a drink in Guediz
Guediz is a neighbourhood located in the New Marrakech, outside the Medina’s walls. It will take you about 10 mins in a taxi to get there. It should cost you between 10 DH and 30 DH.
It’s the perfect place to go in the evening for a drink. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs. This very modern quarter is completely different to the Medina. If you want to discover the Moroccan nightlife, Guediz is the place to go to!
Guided tours of Marrakech
There is so much to discover in Marrakech in December and one way of making the best of your time is by going on a guided tour. Marrakech is one of the most ancient cities in the world. The French influences (due to the French colonisation) are very much present. You will quickly see how rich in history and culture this city is!
If you want to learn more about the history of Marrakech and Morocco, going on a guided tour is a great way to do so. Not only you will get skip-the-line tickets to all the main attractions and an amazing guide but it’s also very good value.
All these entrance fees add up in the end and booking a guided tour works out quite cheap. It’s definitely worth it.
What to wear in Marrakech in December
If you are wondering what to pack for Marrakech in December, this section will help.
As previously mentioned, the temperature in Marrakech in December is like autumn in Europe so you will need:
– Jumpers (they don’t need to be too warm unless you decide to go on an overnight trip to the Sahara. In this case, be prepared for very cold nights)
– Coat (autumn coat, not a winter coat)
– Comfortable closed-toe shoes
– A purse that you can carry at the front. Try to avoid backpacks.
– A light scarf can be good to have in the evening
Marrakech is a beautiful city and full of history. It was home to so many civilisations including the Berber, the Arabic and the French. This Melting pot has created over the century the gorgeous and dynamic city is now. Now that you know exactly what to do in Marrakech in December, you can pack your bag and go have fun!
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