Best Trips from Marrakesh
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Marrakech is a renowned tourist destination in Morocco, known for its rich culture and history. The city evokes images of vibrant spices, bustling markets, and traditional architecture, including riads and ancient walled streets. Visitors can expect a vibrant and colorful experience, with a bustling energy that can be both captivating and overwhelming. The city boasts a wealth of history, culture and delicious Moroccan cuisine, with every turn revealing new surprises and experiences.
Marrakech also serves as a great starting point for exploring the surrounding areas. From deserts and waterfalls to Berber villages and rocky valleys, there are many options for day trips from the city. Marrakech, lies in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, it offers a unique gateway to the many natural, cultural and historical jewels that the region has to offer.
Ourika Valley Full-Day Trip from Marrakech
Located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, the Ourika Valley is a picturesque destination known for its blooming apple and cherry trees in the spring. It’s a great place to escape the summer heat of Marrakech and enjoy nature with the sound of a flowing river and sightings of Barbary monkeys. The valley also offers beautiful hiking trails leading to a series of waterfalls, and is shaded by snow-covered mountains during the warmer months. Setti-Fatma, a small village at the base of the valley, is surrounded by almond trees and Berber villages made of mud-brick. This is a popular starting point for trekking to the Ourika Valley waterfalls, and it’s easy to find an English-speaking guide here to show visitors around for a reasonable fee.
How to reach Ourika Valley
Buses to Ourika: These depart from the Alsa bus stop in Marrakech. Alternatively, the bus L25 from the Bab Rab bus stop also takes visitors to the beginning of the valley where shared taxis are available for the 10 MAD per person trip to Setti-Fatma.
Shared taxi all the way: Another option is to take a shared taxi directly from Marrakech to Setti-Fatma. Shared taxis leave from a terminal located 3km outside the Bab Er Robb medina gate, in the south of the medina. The journey takes around 1 and a half hour. However, during low season, there might not be many passengers, so you may need to pay for the whole taxi. An alternative is to take a private taxi for the whole day, which can be arranged to bring you there and back, it should be around 500-600 MAD for a day, but it is better to agree on the final price in advance and pay at the end of the day.
Hire Car: Driving from Marrakech to Setti-Fatma is a convenient option, whether you have your own car or are renting one. The journey takes approximately one and a half hours. To get there, take the P2017 highway towards the southeast and continue on to Ourika. From there, take the P2030 highway, which will lead you directly to Setti-Fatma.
Day Tour: Joining a tour group is a popular choice for visiting the Ourika Valley from Marrakech. Many tour companies located near Jemaa el Fena square in Marrakech offer day trips to the valley. The prices for these tours typically range from 200 to 250 MAD per person and include transportation to and from the valley in a comfortable minivan as well as a visit to a Berber market. Keep in mind that some tour companies may have additional or hidden costs, such as for a local guide or food at restaurants. It’s often better to book these tours online. The description clearly states what is included in the price so you don’t get any extra hidden costs.Read more about Ourika Valley
Splendid Imlil: Mount Toubkal Day Trip from Marrakech
Imlil, a small village located just an hour and a half from Marrakech, is home to the base of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the country. I had the opportunity to hike to the summit and it was an unforgettable experience! Although Mount Toubkal is often referred to as one of the easiest peaks above 4000 meters to climb, I found it to be more challenging than expected. Also Known as Jebel Toubkal in Moroccan Arabic, it summit stands at an altitude of 4167 meters. Despite the hike being hard, Imlil and Toubkal are excellent day trips from the bustling city of Marrakesh due to their proximity and year-round accessibility.
How to reach Imlil
Buses to Imlil: There are a few ways to reach Imlil from Marrakech. One option is to take a bus to the town of Asni, and then transfer to a shared taxi for the remainder of the journey to Imlil.
Shared taxi: Another way to get there is to take a shared taxi directly from Marrakech to Imlil. The shared taxi station is across the street from the Jemaa el-Fnaa bus stop, you can either take the whole taxi for 250 to 300 MAD or share with other passengers which is usually cheaper.
Hire Car: You can also drive to Imlil if you have your own car or rent one, but be careful as the road can be dangerous during winter time.
Day Tour: You can also go on a guided day tour from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains and ImlilRead more about Imlil Village, Atlas Mountains
One Day Excursion from Marrakech to Oukaimeden
Oukaimeden is a picturesque ski resort located approximately 80 kilometers from Marrakech, near Mount Toubkal. I was surprised to find such great snow for winter sports in a North African country. The resort offers fantastic ski slopes, as well as ski lift, accommodation, and rental options. The unique aspect of this resort is the ability to experience sub-zero temperatures on the slopes during the day and then return to the warm climate of Marrakech in the evening. A lift pass costs around 30 MAD for a half-day and 50 MAD for a full day, while ski equipment rental is around 70 to 80 MAD per day. Ski instruction is also available, with prices starting at 150 MAD for a half-day and 250 MAD for a full day.
How to reach Oukaimeden
Buses to Imlil: There are no bus services between Marrakech and Oukaimeden, as the road to reach there is winding and not wide enough for buses.
Shared taxi: One option is taking a shared taxi from the grand taxi station in Marrakech, which will cost around 300-400 MAD for a round trip.
Hire Car: Alternatively, if you have your own car or are renting one, you can drive from Marrakech to Oukaimeden via road P2017. The exit for Oukaimeden is near Aghbalou. It takes about 1 hour and a half to travel from Marrakech to Oukaimeden by car.
Day Tour: If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life in Marrakech and enjoy skiing and snowboarding with a group of like-minded people, a full-day trip to Oukaimeden is an excellent choice. You’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Marrakesh at around 8 AM, and transported to the ski resort in a comfortable minibus. During the trip, your guide will provide local knowledge and make stops along the way. Once you arrive, your guide will arrange for any necessary equipment rental and then it’s time to hit the slopes! After a break for lunch, you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon to ski or snowboard before departing for Marrakech around 4 PM.
Keep in mind that Oukaimeden also offers summer activities, and that you can visit it as part of an Atlas Mountains & 4 Valleys Tour, including the Ourika Valley.Read more about Oukaimeden
Desert Agafay and Atlas Mountains & Camel ride Day Trip
The Agafay desert is a small desert located close to Marrakech. Unlike other deserts such as M’hamid and Merzouga, it doesn’t have the typical sand dunes, but it’s still a captivating place to visit. One way to explore the desert is by going on a tour from Marrakech, where you may have the chance to visit local villages by quad. Another interesting aspect of the Agafay desert is the man-made lake situated on its edge, which was constructed to provide electricity for the city of Marrakech. Visitors can swim on the lake’s beaches, rent jet skis or pedal boats, and explore the waters. The desert also offers many hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails in the hills above the lake.
How to reach Agafay Desert
Public Transport: It is not possible to reach Agafay desert by public transport from Marrakech. The best option to visit is by renting a car or by booking a day tour.
Hire Car: If you have your own car or rent one, you can head to Lalla Takerkoust reservoir which is situated in the middle of the Agafay desert. It takes about 47 minutes to get there from Marrakech city centre by following P2009 highway towards the southwest.
Day Tour: There are many tour operators that provide trips to Agafay desert from Marrakech, it’s important to check what is included in the tour and look out for any additional costs. Many companies have their tours online, that can be helpful to know the details of the tour before making the booking.Read more about Agafay Desert
Day Trip to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate
Ait Ben Haddou is an ancient mud-brick village located between the Sahara and Marrakech, known as a Ksar, or “Berber castle”. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was used as a filming location for the TV series Game of Thrones. Reaching Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech by public transport can take about 3 hours, and involves a bus ride to Ouarzazate and then a shared taxi from there to Ait Ben Haddou. The best way to do this is to take a CTM bus from the central bus station in Marrakech to Ouarzazate, which will cost around 80 MAD. From there, ask the driver to stop at the crossroads in Taborah, you’ll find taxi waiting for passenger there, and the cost will be around 10 MAD. It is worth noting that visiting both Ait Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate in the same day is a good idea as they are only 30 km apart.
How to reach Ait Ben Haddou
Public Transport: The most convenient way to reach Ait Ben Haddou by public transport is to take a CTM bus from Marrakech’s central bus station to Ouarzazate. The bus ticket will cost around 80 MAD and you may have to pay an additional 10 MAD for your luggage. Once you get on the bus, ask the driver to stop at the crossroads in Taborah, from there you will be 16 km away from Ait Ben Haddou. At this point, you can take a shared taxi from Taborah to Ait Ben Haddou, which should cost around 10 MAD if the taxi is shared with other passengers.
Hire Car: If you have your own car or if you are renting one for the day, it will be even easier to reach Ait Ben Haddou. Although you won’t have to waste time looking for a taxi or a bus, you’ll still have to drive a bit slower than usual. The road between Marrakech and Ait Ben Haddou is quite winding and there are a few treacherous curves along the way so I would advise driving there with caution. Ait Ben Haddou is located 184 km from Marrakech. Driving there should take about 3 hours and a half. To get there, simply follow highway N9 towards the south.
Day Tour: This is the most popular way for people to go a quick day trip to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech. There are many different travel companies based in Marrakech that offer tours to the mud village thus the prices for that trip vary greatly. The base price for that trip is around 300 MAD per person (around 30 euros). Some companies will also combine this tour with a visit to Ouarzazate, raising the prices around 700 MAD per person. You can expect a smooth ride in a very comfortable air-conditioned minibus and a few stops for refreshments along the way. They usually leave the city around 8:30 am and do a few stops along the way to the old fortified city. The pick-up will be directly at your hostel or hotel in Marrakech or at the Jemaa el Fna square in the morning. Most tours will provide you with an English or French-speaking driver. Some tours will include a local guide at Ait Ben Haddou in their price while others won’t. You should check this beforehand with your tour operator or in the tour description. The tours do not include lunch so you should either bring snacks or have money for the restaurants near the old city.
Although the paths are very easy to walk on, we suggest bringing a good pair of walking shoes or some sandals. Also, bring some sunscreen and don’t forget your camera!
Ouzoud Waterfalls Guided Tour & Boat Ride
Visiting the Ouzoud waterfalls is an excellent day trip from Marrakech if you have access to a car. The journey from Marrakech is scenic, with many opportunities for taking beautiful photos along the way. The Ouzoud waterfalls are a series of tall and impressive waterfalls that cascade from high cliffs into a large pool of water. These falls are 110 meters high and are surrounded by lush vegetation. In the summertime, it is possible to take a refreshing swim in the water at the base of the falls, or take a boat ride closer to the falls for a small fee. The area around the falls is renowned for its olive trees and the presence of Barbary monkeys. It’s a place where you can enjoy nature, but it can become very crowded in spring and summer. The Ouzoud waterfalls are the second tallest waterfall in Africa and it’s very touristic place and one of the most popular and photograph natural sites in Morocco.
How to reach Ouzoud Waterfalls
Public Transport: One option for reaching the Ouzoud waterfalls from Marrakech by public transportation is to take a bus from Marrakech to Beni-Mellal, and then take a shared taxi from there to the waterfalls. This method is possible through CTM and Supratours, or local bus companies, but it can be time-consuming and more expensive than taking a shared taxi directly from Marrakech to Ouzoud. Please note that the bus ride from Marrakech to Beni-Mellal takes around 3h and 30 minutes, and the shared taxi from Beni-Mellal to Ouzoud takes around 1 hour, so the total travel time would be about 4h and 30 minutes.
Shared taxi: You can reach the Ouzoud waterfalls by taking a shared taxi from Bab Doukala in Marrakech. The shared taxi will take you to the village of Azilal, which is not far from the falls. The cost for a shared taxi from Bab Doukala to Azilal is around 50 MAD per person, if the taxi is full when you leave. However, some taxi drivers may not wait for the taxi to fill up before leaving, so the cost may be slightly higher. The cost for a taxi from Azilal to Ouzoud is cheaper, at around 25 MAD per person. If you prefer a faster journey, you can opt to pay for the whole taxi, which costs around 150 MAD.
Hire Car:If you decide to drive from Marrakech to the Ouzoud waterfalls, you can expect a scenic and picturesque journey. The drive will take you about two and a half hours along highway N8 and R208. Once you reach the village of Tanant, you will be close to the waterfalls and can park your car in one of the many parking areas nearby. However, it is important to note that there is a fee of between 10 and 20 MAD to park your car for the day, which can be paid directly to the parking attendant.
Day Tour: A tour to the Ouzoud waterfalls typically costs around 275 MAD per person, which includes transportation to and from the falls via a comfortable minivan. Additional expenses such as the cost of a local guide or food near the cascades are not included. By booking a tour, you will avoid the inconvenience of searching for public transport to the falls, and enjoy a comfortable, air-conditioned minibus ride with refreshment stops along the way.Read more about Cascades D’ouzoud
Address: Ouzoud Falls, Waterfalls les cascades d'ouzoud waterfalls, Ouzoud, Morocco | Hours: Open 24 Hours
Marrakech: Camel Ride in Palm Groves (Palmeraie)
The Palm Grove, or La Palmeraie, is a stunning location located just under an hour from Marrakech city. An ideal destination for a day trip, it’s a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spanning over 13,000 hectares and boasting about 150,000 palm trees, it offers a perfect spot for camels to rest in the shade and escape the desert heat. The grove features an ancient irrigation system that has been in use for centuries and visitors can expect a unique cultural experience, as there are many date sellers and growers working in the oasis.
How to reach La Palmeraie
Public Transport: Accessing the Palmeraie from the city center via shared taxi or public bus can be difficult, however a great alternative is to take the Hop on Hop off Marrakesh City Tour Bus. This bus features an open upper deck, providing comfortable panoramic views of the city. Additionally, the bus offers a special Palm Grove Tour route that takes you to the northern part of the city and the Marrakech Palm Grove. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in activities such as camel and quad rides. The route includes 13 stops and lasts approximately one hour.
Day Tour: I highly recommend this guided tour to the Palm Grove of Marrakech. It features a scenic camel ride through the palm trees of the Palmeraie, usually followed by an exhilarating off-road experience on quad bikes.
Address: Musée de la palmeraie, Art contemporain et nature, Marrakesh, Morocco | Hours: 9am-5.30pm | Price: adult/child Dh40/free |
From Marrakech: Essaouira Full-Day Trip
Essaouira is a charming coastal town that offers a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere compared to the bustling city of Marrakech. The town showcases an interesting blend of Moroccan culture and Portuguese architecture. Essaouira is a popular destination for young surfers and backpackers who come to the town for the great waves and nearby beaches, but also for the picturesque streets lined with beautiful handicrafts by local artisans. The town is known for its markets selling wooden crafts. It also boasts its own fortified old medina, delicious local cuisine, and a unique, fun and hip energy that sets it apart from other Moroccan cities. The town is conveniently located near Marrakech and is easily accessible from nearby coastal cities such as Casablanca and Rabat.
How to reach Essaouira
Public Transport: The small town is located two hours and a half west of Marrakech and is easily reached by bus or by shared taxi. Getting a bus to Essaouira from Marrakech is relatively easy. You can find a Supratour or a CTM bus to Essaouira near the main Marrakesh train station. The journey with bus from Marrakech to Essaouira takes about 3 hours with a twenty-minute break somewhere along the way. This is the cheapest option as a bus ticket costs around 80 MAD per person.
Shared taxi: The fastest way to get from Marrakesh to Essaouira – if you don’t have a car – is by shared taxi. The price per person in a shared taxi should be between 450 and 1000 MAD.
Hire Car: If you travel by car, the fastest way to get to Essaouira from Marrakech is by following the highways A7, N8 and R207. From Marrakech, you will have to drive north-west on the A7 until it merges with highway N8 and R207. Follow the highway R207 west until you reach Essaouira. The distance between Marrakech and Essaouira is 191 km and driving there will take about 2h40 minutes.
Day Tour: You can also prefer to go on a guided day excursion from Marrakech to Essaouira. The advantages of such tours is that you’ll travel by private transport and learn about the rich cultural mixture that has influenced the city’s architecture while walking in the medina of Essaouira with a guide. You’ll have time to relax on the beach and some tours also offer a visit to local women’s cooperatives that make argan oil.Read in our Essaouira Travel Guide
Day Trip To Casablanca from Marrakech
Let’s face it, Casablanca is a very busy city and probably nowhere as quiet and romantic as Essaouira. If you would have just a few weeks to spend in Morocco, it’s not necessarily a city I would recommend.
If you’re in Morocco for a while, however, it could definitely be worth spending some time in this city and then heading back to Marrakech or continuing north towards Rabat or Tangier. Casablanca is a city that has been featured in many movies and it has a fascinating history. It’s a great place to see how modern Morocco mixes with centuries of traditions and architecture.
How to reach Casablanca
Public Transport: Because Casablanca is a bit farther from Marrakech than the other destinations mentioned in this guide, I would only recommend taking the most comfortable buses in Morocco to get there. The most comfortable buses in the country are owned and operated by two companies; CTM and Supratours. The CTM bus stop and the Supratours station are located both very close to each other in an area called Gueliz in the suburbs of Marrakech. It will require a taxi to get there from Jemaa el Fenaa. These buses are much more comfortable than the ones owned by less reputable companies but they also tend to be a bit more expensive. The trains in Morocco are very comfortable and they are the best way to see the Moroccan landscapes while moving from city to city. There is a train that goes from Marrakech towards Casablanca every two hours. It takes about two hours and a half to get there and the ticket costs around 110 MAD.
Shared taxi: There are different taxis going from Marrakech to Casablanca. Shared ones and private ones. The shared taxis are usually old Mercedez Benz in which up to six people are squeezed together.
They are not the most comfortable option but they are definitely cheap. The price per person in a shared taxi should be around 110 MAD. Because this is quite a long distance, I wouldn’t advise taking a shared taxi if you’re traveling with someone else or a group of people and you have luggage. Paying for a private taxi for your group would be a much better option. The price for a private taxi from Marrakesh to Casablanca is around 1000 MAD.
Hire Car: If you have your own car, the fastest way to get to Casablanca from Marrakech is by following the highways A7 and N11. From Marrakech, you will have to drive north for almost three hours before reaching the coastal city.
Day Tour: It could also be nice to go on a guided day tour from Marrakech to Casablanca. You’ll travel comfortably by private transport and visit Casablanca’s main attractions such as the Mosque of Hassan II, Rick’s Cafe, and the Art Deco hotels while learning more about the city’s background.Read in our Casablanca Travel Guide
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