Secret Garden Marrakesh : A Hidden Oasis Within The Medina

Created by Colleen Sims * 11 December 2022 * Updated 18 January 2024

Secret garden Marrakech with it's brightly painted walls and wonderful planting
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The Secret Garden in Marrakesh

We love to visit gardens when travelling and both Majorelle and Le Jardin Secret were on our Must-See list. 

Are you like us?  Do you plan a great itinerary only to lose time by day 3?  Our time in Marrakesh flew by but thankfully we managed to squeeze in a visit and wow!  we weren’t disappointed.

Marrakech, often called the Red City, is most famous for its vibrant colourful souks but nestled within those ancient walls lies a hidden oasis: Le Jardin Secret. 

Le Jardin Secret, originally a 16th century palace has been transformed into a captivating botanical haven. Prepare to be transported to a world of fragrant flowers, water features and serene courtyards, and like most of Morocco, steeped in a rich history.

If you’re visiting Marrakech you need to add Le Jardin Secret to your to-do list.

What Are The Famous Gardens Of Marrakech?     

Of all the gardens in Marrakech, perhaps the most famous is what people often call the Yves Saint Laurent Garden but there are many wonderful green spaces within the city. 

  • Majorelle Garden : A glorious garden of cobalt blues and bright yellows made famous by its once owner Yves Saint Laurent.
  • Menara Gardens : A vast public garden and olive grove surrounding a large reservoir, established in the 12th century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Anima André Heller Garden : a modern magical space just outside the walled city.   With over 250 types of plants around modern art and sculpture.
  • The Agdal : On the edge of the city, another huge orchard, centred around an equally large reservoir.  Over 800 years old, locals come to feed the carp and picnic under the olive trees.
  • Le Jardin Secret : last but certainly not least is the beautiful secret garden.  Found in the very heart of the Medina in the centre of Marrakech.  We absolutely loved our visit!

Each of these gardens offers a unique escape from the noise of the city, but Le Jardin Secret holds a special charm.  With its a blend of history, lush greenery, and secluded corners it will transport you to another age. 

If like us you love exploring gardens then you can visit four in this excellent done for you Tour of the Gardens of Marrakesh

 

Beautiful Olive Tree in the Islamic Garden Marrakech

History Of The Secret Garden In Marrakech    

Le Jardin Secret in Marrakesh has a history spanning centuries.  Its roots lie in the 16th century when a palace and garden were built for a Saadian Sultan.  For almost 200 years the palace and gardens were a marvel but by the late 18th century the tides of power were changing and the estate fell into decline and disrepair.

In 1912, a new palace blossomed, mirroring the older gardens and mansions. However changing fortunes again led to further decline. It wasn’t until 2008 that a vision for this once great garden was again revived and Le Jardin Secret was born. 

Today, meticulously restored, Le Jardin Secret opens its doors and invites you to step back in time.  The lush gardens and architectural gems whisper secrets of an ancient past.   You are free to discover the blend of history, culture and botanical beauty that makes Le Jardin Secret such a unique and captivating destination.

Beyond this cafe in the secret garden is an exhibition charting the history of the Jardin Secret in Marrakesh

Le Jardin Secret or The Secret Garden

Morocco was once a French Colony and French is still widely spoken in the country.

Both names, Le Jardin Secret and The Secret Garden are correct and both are used and understood. 

Good To Know : Le Jardin Secret is French for The Secret Garden. 

I feel maybe the French version adds an air of exotic mystery that suits this glorious green space and it’s the name given to the garden.

Where is the Secret Garden in Marrakech?          

Le Jardin Secret is nestled in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech, just a short walk from bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa square.

Its unassuming entrance really adds to its allure.  We had walked by the entrance several times during our ten days in the city and it wasn’t until we set out to visit the garden that we realised where we were.

Google Maps worked well for us in both the souk and the medina so you can use this to guide you if you’re unsure; the address is :

  • Le Jardin Secret, Rue Mouassine 121, 40030 – Marrakesh Medina – Morocco

Good To Know : The Medina is old Marrakesh.  It’s everything that is held behind the kilometres of red city walls. And the wall is 18 kilometres long. Inside are streets and houses and mosques and shops.

In the centre of the Medina is the Souk or bazaar. It feels like there are layers of shops in the Medina, in ever decreasing circles, until you reach the Souk.

Inside the Souk the streets are narrow and its easy to get lost but keep going and you’ll eventually pop out the other side. 

We loved exploring both the Medina and the Souk and we always felt quite safe.

the medina in marrakesh.  lined with colourful shops and home to the secret garden

Can You Visit The Secret Garden?        

Yes.  The good news is that the gardens were remade for public visitors.   Do pay attention to the closing time of the garden, which can vary from month to month. And be sure to arrive in time as the last entry is 30 minutes before closing.

  • In February and October : Open 9.30 am – 6.30 pm
  • From March to September : Open 9.30 am – 7.30 pm
  • From November to January : Open 9.30 am – 6.00 pm

Check the Jardin Secret Website to confirm opening times when you visit.

How Much Are Tickets for Le Jardin Secret?

If you live in Marrakech then you can buy an annual pass or a book of entrance tickets. If I lived here  I’d be tempted to visit every day and go for a morning coffee.  For the rest of us though the cost to visit are :

  • Adult price : 100 dirhams (about 6$)
  • Students and up to 24 years : 80 dirhams (about 4.50$)
  • Moroccan citizens : 50 dirhams (about 3$)
  • Entrance is free for handicapped visitors and a carer and for children under 12,

Is it Worth Paying Extra For The Tower Visit?

We did pay for the Tower visit, I always have a fear of missing out so we had to go.  It is only a few dollars more but with hindsight I’m not sure it was worth the extra. 

It does grant you access to a panoramic rooftop terrace overlooking both the gardens and the Medina. However, the terrace is small and surrounded by a high wall and you take turns to stand on steps to peep over the top. 

It’s interesting and a curiosity but I’m not sure it’s worth the wait or the extra entrance fee.

Partway up to the entrance of the tower there is a small café and you get a great view from here.  My advice is to save the few dollars and have a cup of coffee here instead.

colleen and gerry and a view of the medina during the tower visit in the secret garden marrakesh

How Long Do You Need To Visit The Garden?    

We stayed for much longer than we intended.  If you love a garden and you love green spaces then leave a good couple of hours.  However, if time is short I would recommend at least an hour.

We toured the garden, we found quiet benches to sit and contemplate and plan how we could recreate this garden at home.  We explored the gallery which housed images of the gardens before and after the transformation. We had a cup of coffee (or two) and explored some more.  We really enjoyed our time here.

What to Expect When Visiting The Secret Garden

The gardens are larger than we anticipated and there are two very different styles.  The Exotic Garden was maybe our favourite.  It is more akin to a tropical garden and we’d love to make a space like this at home.

The Islamic Garden was restored to recreate the great Islamic Gardens from a different age. With echoes of 6th century Persian Gardens, this is an oasis of green, with shady small spaces and seating under the trees. 

The choice of planting is understated, reflecting the quietness of the space.  But there is colour and uniform planting with fragrant citrus trees and water features and fountains.  It’s an enchanting garden and one that almost demands a slow visit.

Wander around and you’ll find intricate tilework, carved cedarwood, and graceful arches, reflecting Arab-Andalusian-Moroccan architectural styles.  There are also a few hidden nooks and tranquil terraces.

unusual tree with thorns within the Exotic Garden in the Le Jardin Secret

On-site Café at The Secret Garden.

At either end of the Islamic Garden there are spaces for refreshments.  You can only access these cafés if you have purchased a ticket to visit the garden.

The Café Sahrij and Café Menzeh offer hot and cold drinks, along with traditional Moroccan mint tea.  They had a selection of sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and cakes although not gluten free.  They also make fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies.  Take a look at the Secret Garden Website for the menu.

The café follows the same opening times of Le Jardin Secret and it’s worth paying a visit to either or both.  They each offer a very different view of the garden and the mint tea never tasted quite as good as it did overlooking these wonderful gardens.

Do you love exploring gardens?

You get to visit four stunning gardens in this excellent done for you Tour of the Gardens of Marrakesh

Best Time to Visit The Secret Garden

In terms of seasons they say that the best time to visit Marrakesh or Morocco is either in the Spring (March to May) and the Autumn (September to November). 

In summer temperatures can soar and during school holiday times Marrakesh can be very busy indeed.

We visited in December and whilst the air might have sometimes been chilly, we experienced wonderful weather, blue skies and sunshine and would happily visit again in winter.

In terms of daily times, it might be best to visit earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon.  We visited later in the afternoon and it really didn’t feel busy; unlike the Bahai Palace which felt way too full when we visited.

Le Jardin Secret is not huge.  There aren’t acres to wander so if its busy it will feel busy.  But if you are staying in the Medina and can avoid ‘obvious group tour’ times or you are visiting out of season then I think you’ll manage to find yourself a quiet corner.

Do bear in mind that this isn’t a garden to be rushed so if there are people in front you, just pause and smell the roses.

beautiful Islamic garden in the Jardin Secret in Marrakesh

Are There Any Etiquette Rules When Visiting The Garden?

Before arriving in Morocco we had read that as a conservative country women should cover up and dress modestly.  And whilst this is sort of true, it simply means you need to cover your shoulders and knees and avoid showing too much cleavage. We visited in December and it was easy to wear trousers and a long sleeve top.  In warmer weather I simply recommend cool, lightweight and modest.    

Within the gardens remember too that this is a quiet space so be mindful of other visitors and avoid disturbing the peace.

Other things to remember include :

  • The entrance ticket gives you the right to one entry only.
  • Bulky and large items must be deposited in the cloakroom, there are spaces provided for items such as a backpack
  • The consumption of your own food and drink is not allowed inside of Le Jardin Secret..
  • Personal Photography and video is permitted using only hand-held equipment but be mindful of photographing other people without their permission
  • Pets are not allowed inside of Le Jardin Secret.
beautiful colour combinations within the secret garden marrakesh.  Bright pinks with green planting look perfect in this setting

Is Le Jardin Secret in Marrakech worth visiting? 

Absolutely! We really loved our time in the garden and just writing this post made me fall in love with it all over again.

Le Jardin Secret is a hidden gem in Marrakech, offering a unique blend of history, beauty and a haven for relaxation.

Make sure you leave time in your schedule to visit; it’s a little gem just waiting to be discovered.

we loved our visit to the exotic garden in marrakesh, with its tropical plants and terracotta paths

Looking For An Amazing Hotel In Marrakech Medina?

Look no further than the stunning Riad Al Loune.  The hotel is in a fabulous location, right within the Medina and an easy walk to the main attractions. 

The bedrooms are larger than many Riads, the spaces are impeccably clean and the beds very comfortable.  The staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome and it’s the perfect spot for a fabulous stay in Marrakech.

The Perfect Place to stay in Marrakesh
beautiful pool and seating area in the Riad Al Loune Hotel in Marrakesh Medina
  • Great location within the Medina
  • Swimming Pool and Spa
  • Very comfortable and feels like a special place to stay

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Whenever you travel overseas it’s imperative to travel with a good travel and medical insurance policy.  None of us expect anything bad to happen, but in the event of an incident, you want to be sure that your insurance will be there for you.

I’ve had the mis-fortune to end up in hospital in Peru, Indonesia, Portugal and Ireland; every time my insurance took care of everything. I would never leave home without full and comprehensive insurance.

Globelink : We have used and recommended Globelink for years and we’ve not heard of any issues. They are a great choice for European and UK Residents.

TrueTraveller : We have this policy now for an extended global trip and we are very happy with the cover, especially considering our ages and pre-existing conditions

Safety Wing : Many of my travelling buddies from the USA have recommended this company to me, although we’ve not used them personally.

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