The Best Photo Locations in Marrakech

by | Jul 20, 2017 | Africa, Latest Posts, Morocco, Photo Locations, Photography

With its colourful Medina streets, chaotic crowds and the scent of exotic spices filling the air Marrakech is an assault on the senses and the Moroccan city is crammed fulled to the brim of vibrant and incredible photo locations just waiting to be captured. Its combination of beautiful architecture, colourful crowds and stunning art make Marrakech a must see for all photographers. We’ve put together this list of the best photo spots in Marrakech: from the tranquil setting of Jardin Majorelle to the frenzied Jemaa El Fnaa you’re sure to capture the best pictures of Marrakech!

Marrakech Photography Tip: Be careful when attempting to take photos of the locals or their shops/goods in Marrakech – most locals who we encountered did not want their photos taken and can get quite aggressive if you attempt to take a photo without permission. It’s common to be asked for money in return for a picture: this can apply anywhere in Marrakech but especially it is especially prevalent in the tourist hub of Jemaa El Fnaa

1 | Jemaa el-Fnaa: from street level

Jemaa El Fnaa is the hub of the Marrakech Medina. By day it is a busy market place filled with stalls selling fruits, vegetables, spices and its famous fresh orange juice and the resident snake charmers, henna tattoo artists and performing monkeys fill any vacant spaces. By evening it transforms into a huge night food market surrounded by story telling locals hosting sing songs – the sounds alone are almost overwhelming! The square is great for street photography both during the day and at night and simply strolling around the square gives the best opportunities for great shots.

Marrakesh sightseeing tip: Our hearts broke our hearts for the monkeys and snakes who were part of the Jemaa el-Fnaa show and we strongly discourage paying their owners for a photo opportunity. We watched the comings and goings in Jemaa el-Fnaa for hours and it was difficult to see how poorly the animals were treated.

The orange juice stalls in Jemma el Fnaa – remember to get a fresh squeezed glass with no ice if you try it, it’s the best oj we’ve had!

Night photos in Jemma el Fnaa

 

The Best Riads in Marrakech

Marrakech is a city best explored on foot and the best way to do this is to stay in the Medina (the historic centre of Marrakech) in a traditional Morroccan hotel known as a riad. This will allow you access to all of the Medina at any time of the day, especially in the quieter evening and morning times when the photo opportunities are abundant. The best riads we recommend in Marrakech are:

  • Riad Joya: Where we stayed while in Marrakech. Riad Joya is a truely beautiful, luxury riad with all rooms facing onto the internal courtyard. We enjoyed breakfast on the roof in the mornings and Jemaa EL Fna is a 5 mintue walk from the hotel door – Check prices now
  • Riad Enchanté: another intimate riad located close to Riad Joya and also a short 5 minute walk to Jemaa El Fna – Check prices now
  • Riad Les Nuits de Marrakech :Literally one minute walk from Jemaa El-Fnaa this beautiful traditional Moroccan Riad is perfect for couples and, even though it’s in the centre of the Medina, it’s very peaceful. This riad also has a beautiful terrace and swimming pool – Check prices now

Click here for the best Marrakech hotel prices

 

2 | Jemma El Fnaa from above: Le Grand Balcon du Café Glacier

For the best view of Jemaa El Fnaa  make your way to the Le Grand Balcon, a café located on the edge of Jemaa el Fnaa square which has the most incredible views over the square. Although the café itself is pretty basic it’s all about the view so grab a drink and pull up a seat on the terrace. We were able to use our tripod but edging to the front takes some patience with everyone vying for the best spot!

Marrakesh photo tip: There is a small cover charge to enter and you’ll need to buy a drink: mint tea please!

The view from the balcony at Le Grand Balcone du Cafe Galcier

 

3 | The Marrakech Skyline: La Maison de la Photographie

Where better to take some great photos than an actual photography museum? It’s a fitting spot to capture some of the best rooftop views of Marrakech! La Maison de la Photographie houses a collection of 5,000 images which were repatriated back to Morocco by two Moroccan men and housed in a beautiful three story building in central Marrakech. The relaxed rooftop terrace looks over the Marrakesh rooftops towards the Atlas mountains and shows off the Marrakesh skyline at its finest!

4 | Saadian Tombs

This mausoleum is located in the southern area of the Marrakech Medina. It is packed full of beautiful decorative tombs dating back to the 1600’s and is the burial place of over 200 members of the Saadian Dynasty. The geometric designs and intricate wooden carvings of the tombs are truly spectacular and, coupled with the colourful gardens, the tombs make for an interesting and unique photo spot in Marrakech.

The patterns and symmetry provide great photo opportunities

5 | Medrasa Ben Youssef

Medrasa Ben Youssef was established as an Islamic college, once the largest in North Africa, which is now open to the now public for visiting. The main courtyard, with the beautifully reflective ablution pool, and the stunning engraved walls and arches, is the photography highlight of the college.

The incredible courtyard at Medrasa Ben Youssef

 

Photography Gear

My main camera is currently a Nikon D7200 with the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 and the Sigma 70-200 f2.8. Elaine uses the compact Fuji XT-10 for all her shots. We use Adobe Lightroom for editing all our photos and highly recommend (we pay €12.29 a month for a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop which is a fantastic deal and it’s even cheaper if you are US based).

Click here for the best Adobe Lightroom prices

Check out our photography gear page to see what else is in our bag.

6 | Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)

Majorelle Gardens is one of the most peaceful and serene places in all of Marrakech. The colourful botanical garden is located just outside of the Medina and was once owned by the designer Yves Saint Lauren who, upon hearing that the gardens were going to be removed to make way for a new hospital, purchased the gardens and lived in them. His ashes were scattered in Majorelle when he died. The water features and eclectic mix of flowers contrast beautifully with the vibrant blues of the buildings making Majorelle Gardens one of the best photography locations in Marrakech.

The beautifully vibrant Majorelle Gardens

7 | El Badi Palace

The ruined El Badi palace, located in the Marrakech Medina, was once a lavish complex of 360 rooms constructed and decorated using the finest materials of the 16th Century. Keep an eye out for the storks nesting on the palace walls for a unique photo opportunity.

A stork at El Badi Palace

 

8 | The 7 Saints (Place de 7 Saints)

The seven saints of Marrakesh are 7 Awlya men who Allah designated with a special rank among Muslims. Moroccans visit the tombs of the seven saints throughout the city to pray to Allah and the line of richly coloured tombs is nice photo capture.

The tombs of the 7 Saints

9 | Bahia Palace

With a name literally meaning ‘Beautiful Palace’ the Bahia Palace definitely lives up to its name. Originally a collection of houses, wandering the quiet rooms and open spaces of the palace provides some great photo opportunities.

The stunning architecture of the Bahia Palace

 

10 | Marrakech Medina Gates

It’s easy to visit Marrakech and completely miss the gates to the Medina of Marrakech. 19 gates mark the entry points to the city and the main entrance gate to the Medina, Bab Agnaou, is the most photogenic and gives a lovely glimpse into the history of Marrakech.

 

The Bab Agnaou Gate to the Medina

 

11 | Koutoubia Mosque

The largest mosque in Marrakech, the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque is visible from all across the Marrakech Medina. Like many mosques it is not possible to visit the inside of the Koutoubia mosque as a non-Muslim, however there are lots of great angles from which to capture photos from the outside.

The Koutoubia Mosque

12 | The Medina Souks

The souks of Marrakech are famous around the world and, the crammed stalls with their abundance of leather products and colourful wares, make for some awesome photo opportunities in Marrakech. Similar to many areas of the city the locals generally don’t like you taking photos of them or their shops so, before you pull out the camera to take a shot, it’s worth engaging with the people first and asking if its ok to take a photograph. We found this the best way to get some great shots and avoided any issues!

 

The colourful souk bathed in the morning light

The variety of leather makes for great photo ops

13 | Musee de Marrakech

The Musee de Marrakech is a museum located in old Marrakech, right next to the Madarsa Ben Youssef. It houses an impressive collection of jewellery, costumes, weapons, pottery and ceramics and, the building itself is stunning with a huge chandelier in the courtyard. There are endless photo opportunities.

The Musee de Marrakech is full of beautiful scenes to capture on camera

Any more?!

So there’s our list of the best photo locations in Marrakech. It is a compelling and we’ll definitely return many more times to explore more of Morocco. If we’ve missed any great photo locations in Marrakech please let us know in the comments and we can add them to the list!

Photography Gear

My main camera is currently a Nikon D7200 with the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 and the Sigma 70-200 f2.8. Elaine uses the compact Fuji XT-10 for all her shots. We use Adobe Lightroom for editing all our photos and highly recommend (we pay €12.29 a month for a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop which is a fantastic deal and it’s even cheaper if you are US based).

Click here for the best Adobe Lightroom prices

Check out our photography gear page to see what else is in our bag.

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