Azrou, Village in Central Atlas Mountains

Town in High Atlas Mountains (Central)

CC BY-SA 3.0 / habib kaki

Azrou is a Berber town located in the Middle Atlas Mountains, at the junction of roads leading to Fez, Meknès, Midelt, and Khenifra. The town is surrounded by beautiful scenery, including cedar and pine forests and high meadows that bloom in the spring. Azrou is known for its relaxed atmosphere and is a good place to rest after visiting larger cities. The town takes its name from the outcrop that marks its western boundary, and the large Ennour mosque, finished with local cedar, serves as a landmark. Azrou is home to one of the largest weekly markets in the region, known for its Berber carpets, and is busiest on market day (Tuesday). A museum of the Middle Atlas has been under construction for some time, but its opening date has been indefinitely delayed. Instead of visiting the museum, it is recommended to explore the surrounding countryside, including the mountain air and great views, and possibly spot some local Barbary apes.

What to do in Azrou

When visiting Azrou, you’ll have plenty of outdoor activities to keep yourself busy with during your stay. Continue reading to discover activities to get up to when in Azrou.

Attend the Weekly Souk at Azrou

Every week, Azrou’s market attracts many local people from the surrounding areas. The market is a great place to observe the locals buying and selling goats, sheep, and cows, and to try local produce and cuisine. You can also buy Berber carpets and other garments, as well as hand-made souvenirs to take home as a reminder of your visit to this unique Moroccan town. Remember to use your bargaining skills to get the best prices for your purchases. The market takes place year-round, giving you the opportunity to experience it anytime you visit Azrou.

See the Monkeys at Azrou

If you’re interested in seeing the endangered Barbary Macaque monkeys in their natural habitat, consider visiting the Cedre Gouraud forest near Azrou. These monkeys are used to being around humans, so you’ll be able to walk through the forest and observe them up close. Your guide will provide information about the survey techniques used to count the monkey population and teach you about the monkeys’ behavior. All proceeds from these tours go towards supporting the local communities, staff, and conservation efforts for the Barbary macaques. It’s a great way to learn about and appreciate these fascinating primates while also contributing to their preservation.

Planned Hiking and Camping Trips

The Middle Atlas mountains offer breath-taking views and a variety of activities for visitors. Guided hiking tours through the region allow hikers to explore the vast forests and see the diverse array of flowers and butterflies that bloom in the spring. Tour operators offer private day hikes and multi-day hikes to suit various fitness levels. For an immersive experience, camping options are also available, allowing hikers to sleep under the stars and enjoy the stunning views of the Milky Way. In addition to hiking, visitors can also enjoy the local markets and see the endangered Barbary macaque monkeys in the Cedre Gouraud forest.

Visiting Azrou, Village in Central Atlas Mountains

Duration: 20 minutes

Tours and Activities from High Atlas Mountains (Central)

Imlil Village, Atlas Mountains

Town in High Atlas Mountains (Western)

Imlil Atlas Mountains, Morocco
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Luc Viatour

Many trekkers visit Imlil with the goal of climbing Jebel Toubkal, while other travelers simply stop by the village for a day or overnight trip from Marrakech. Located at an altitude of 1,740 meters (5,708 feet) in the Aït Mizane Valley, Imlil is a peaceful and quiet village surrounded by beautiful landscapes with almond, apple, cherry, and walnut trees. However, the village is situated near the Mizane River and can experience flooding during the winter and early spring, which can damage the road from Asni. In 1996, the village was used as the backdrop for Martin Scorsese’s film Kundun, set in Tibet, and in return, the village received a waste disposal system and a hammam for its residents. The hammam, built in 2004 through a fundraising initiative, has become an important gathering place for the people of Imlil and the surrounding villages. The film ‘Seven years in Tibet’ was also partly filmed in the village.

Imlil, which was originally just a collection of small communities in the valleys surrounding the village, was developed in recent years to accommodate the influx of tourists visiting Toubkal. These original communities, including Tamatert, Ait Souka, Tagadirt, Tacheddirt, Acheim, Taourirt n’Ait Mizane, Mzikene, and Arhrene.

The lower, forested slopes of the limestone Kik Plateau, located above the village, are a wonderful place to go for a walk, especially in the spring when the ground is covered in colourful alpine flowers.

Visiting Imlil Village, Atlas Mountains

Duration: 20 minutes

Tours and Activities from High Atlas Mountains (Western)

Asni Village, Atlas Mountains

Town in High Atlas Mountains (Western)

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Nicolas Lœuillet

Asni is a village right on the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. The setting is quite dramatic, with good views to the Toubkal Mountain, the highest in North Africa. Asni is not really a village, more than a cluster of villages spread around the river valley of Moulay Brahim.

The weekly Saturday souk in this village is a must-see, with a wide variety of local produce, livestock, and services such as dentistry and barbering all in one place. You may even come across a large group of mules with colorful saddles. It’s a great opportunity to buy supplies for your next trek at an affordable price, but be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds of tourists visiting for the day. The Kik Plateau, located above the village, is also a great place for a hike, especially in spring when the alpine flowers are in bloom. However, be aware that you may encounter persistent touts while in the village.

Tribal rules still have a great impact on lives here, and even if people are free to walk around the whole valley, social contacts, and marriage is never done without thinking about who you are and who you deal with. Asni can be cold in winter, and a pleasant hideout in summer, and it also serves as a possible starting point for trekking in the mountains. But the real place to start doing this, is Imlil, 40 km south.

Visiting Asni Village, Atlas Mountains

Duration: 20 minutes

Tours and Activities from High Atlas Mountains (Western)


Town in Isle of Mull

Tobermory Waterfront
CC BY-SA 4.0 / DeFacto

It is a bustling little harbour lined with rainbow coloured houses and shopfronts. It is located on the east coast of Mishnish, the most northerly part of the island, near the northern entrance of the Sound of Mull.  It’s the perfect place for a stroll, the pier is lined with fishing ropes and creels, a very scenic viewpoint overlooking the bay. In nice weather, grab an ice cream and hang out on a harbour bench or you can walk along Tobermory waterfront.

If the weather is poor try The Mishnish or MacDonald Arms, or join a Tobermory distillery tour. Arts hub An Tobar is well worth the short walk from the harbour. The Mull Museum, a small but with many interesting artifices about the history of Mull. A short walk from Mull Museum will take you to Tobermory Distillery, and enjoy the Whiskey tour.

Tobermory is the capital town of Isle of Mull and has the largest settlement in island.

Visiting Tobermory

Duration: 2 hours

Tours and Activities from Isle of Mull


Town in Isle of Skye

Portree, the main town on the Isle of Skye, situated on the east side of Skye overlooking a sheltered bay, is the capital of the island. It is surrounded by hills – Ben Tianavaig to the south and Suidh Fhinn or Fingal’s Seat to the west, both about 1000ft (413m and 312m respectively) and Ben Chrachaig, much lower (144m) to the north. Further north along the road to Staffin is the Old Man of Storr – a very popular walk. Across the bay to the east, the Island of Raasay can be seen with its distinctive conical hill, Dun Caan.

Portree is only about 200 years old and was created as a fishing village at the beginning of the 19th century by the then Lord MacDonald. The name Portree or Port Righ, King’s Port in Gaelic, (as on the road signs) is popularly thought to derive from a visit by King James V (of Scotland) in 1540 but the area around the harbour was called Portree or Portray long before the arrival of the king. Its name really comes from the Gaelic for Port on the Slope.

The village has banks, churches, cafes and restaurants, a cinema at the Aros Centre, a swimming pool and library at the school, gift and book shops, a tourist information centre, petrol filling stations and supermarkets, one in the village and a larger one out on the Dunvegan Road.

The village hosts numerous annual events, such as the Portree Show, the Isle of Skye half marathon and the Islands largest event the Skye Highland Games drawing visitors and locals alike.

A visit to the tourist office before leaving Portree is advisable. It is well sign posted and staffed by helpfully well informed locals. They equip visitors with maps and printable directions to attractions throughout the island.

Visiting Portree

Duration: 20 minutes

Tours and Activities from Isle of Skye