Explore the Beauty and Culture of Marrakech with Our Marrakech Excursions
Marrakech is a vibrant and bustling city in the heart of Morocco, but there are plenty of amazing excursions outside of the city that is worth exploring. Here are just a few ideas for day trips or longer excursions that will take you beyond the city limits of Marrakech and into the stunning landscapes and cultural wonders of Morocco. Here is an overview of some popular excursions outside of Marrakech:
1. ESSAOUIRA: This coastal town is located about 3 hours west of Marrakech. It is known for its charming medina (old town), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as its beautiful beaches and seafood. The town is also known for its strong cultural ties to music and art, and there are several music festivals held here throughout the year.
Essaouira is a vibrant port city found on the Atlantic coastline of Morocco. It’s a welcome escape from the desert and the dry climate of Marrakech, and a trip here makes for a long but rewarding day trip.
Enjoy the beautiful sea breezes along the coast, as well as the colourful culture and buildings of the city.
The Medina is begging to be explored, while the narrow maze of alleys and souks is as quintessentially Moroccan as you can get.
2. OURIKA VALLEY: This beautiful valley is located in the Atlas Mountains, about an hour south of Marrakech. It is a popular destination for its stunning scenery, including waterfalls, olive and fruit trees, and traditional Berber villages. Many tourists visit the valley on a day trip from Marrakech, and there are several options for guided tours that include hiking, river rafting, and visits to local markets and gardens.
The beautiful Ourika Valley is found 50-kilometers to the south of Marrakech in the cool shadows of the Atlas Mountains.
The valley is full of small, local villages that have stood here for centuries, while the cool climate makes it a lush and verdant place to explore, particularly during the hot summer months when Marrakech can become scorching.
There are waterfalls, a mountain backdrop, and epic scenery wherever you turn.
3. AIT BENHADDOU: This fortified village is located about 3 hours south of Marrakech, near the border with Algeria. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been used as a filming location for several movies and TV shows, including “Game of Thrones” and “Lawrence of Arabia.” Visitors can explore the village and learn about its history and traditional way of life.
Ait Benhaddou is an ancient, fortified town that has stood guarding the trade routes through the desert for centuries.
Today, the town is more famous for the huge number of movies that have been filmed here. You will most likely recognize the walls, towers, and streets from at least one film that you have seen.
Despite its now touristy, star-studded fame, the town is still an incredible and distinct example of Moroccan architecture and history and it’s well worth the dusty three-hour drive from Marrakech to see.
4. DADES VALLEY: This valley is located in the Atlas Mountains, about 6 hours southeast of Marrakech. It is known for its stunning rocky landscape, with towering cliffs and narrow gorges. The valley is also home to several traditional Berber villages, and visitors can take guided tours to explore the area and learn about the local way of life.
5. OUZOUD FALLS: These waterfalls are located about 3 hours northeast of Marrakech, in the Atlas Mountains. The falls are about 110 meters (360 feet) high, and are a popular destination for their beauty and for the opportunity to swim in the pools at the base of the falls. There are also several hiking trails in the area, and visitors can take guided tours to explore the surrounding countryside. If you want to spend the day in nature, we recommend you the Ouzoud waterfalls!
You can admire the most beautiful and high waterfalls of Morocco, enjoy a good tajine listening to the sound of water, and swim at the foot of the waterfall if the weather is nice. You may even have the chance to see monkeys! Here more info about our private trips to Ouzoud.
6. AGAFAY DESERT: This desert is located just outside of Marrakech, and offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and solitude of the desert landscape. There are several tour operators that offer guided excursions, including camel treks, sandboarding, and sunset dinners in the desert. Located just in the south of Marrakech, the Agafay desert is a surprising place you will never forget. The best way to visit it? With ATV of course!! We offer you private quad day with lunch in a luxury camp or at the locals. A private Camel Trip is always a great choice too.
You can explore lots of trails for all levels through eucalyptus forests, lush canyons and arid hills.
THE JBILET DESERT
North of Marrakech is an authentic stone desert, the Jbilets desert. A lunar scenery, with the Atlas Mountains in the background, in which you can do many activities: quad or buggy ride, camel ride, even hot air balloon ride.
7. TOUBKAL NATIONAL PARK: This national park is located in the Atlas Mountains, about 2 hours southwest of Marrakech. It is home to the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal, which stands at 4,167 meters (13,671 feet) tall. The park is a popular destination for hikers and mountain climbers, and there are several guided tours available for those who want to explore the area. Discover the magnificence of the High Atlas Mountains: snow-capped mountains (in winter), mountain lakes and Berber villages.
Dunes & Desert offers many day trips to meet the Berber people and discover breathtaking landscapes.
Whether you choose the walk in the wonderful valley of Ait Oucheg and its famous terraces between the small villages perched on the hills, or our “Pure Atlas” day that will take you to meet the Berber people, you will be speechless! Imlil, starting spot of Toubkal ascent is great as well.
THE ZAT VALLEY Discover the arid landscapes of the Zat Valley: red ground as far as the eye can see and rivers that wind between cactus. A typical Moroccan landscape, off the tourist trail, to see absolutely once in his life!
And if you are lucky enough to be there when the snow melts (spring), you can even go canyoning!
9. SAHARA DESERT
Marrakech is surrounded by desert, however, the really brutal and almost unbelievable landscapes of the famous Sahara Desert don’t truly begin until you are at least a few hour’s drive outside the city itself.
The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert.
It’s a place of extremes, where little water is found and sand dunes tower high on the horizon.
It’s an almost mystical place – especially locally – and a trip even to the edge of the Sahara is an enlightening experience.
Many people will choose to undertake multi-day expeditions through the desert guided by locals; however, if you are short on time, you can still travel to where the Sahara begins and admire the harsh, natural beauty before returning to Marrakech for the evening.
Agadir is another coastal Moroccan city that’s found a good three-hour drive from Marrakech.
The city is making a name for itself in tourist circles as a sun-drenched, windswept and relaxed place to visit.
There is an ever-growing number of resorts taking advantage of the beautiful beaches and coastline, while the city itself is an interesting example of modern Moroccan culture and life – it’s large enough to easily escape the tourist trail and discover something new.
11. ATLAS MOUNTAINS
The Atlas Mountains make up a vast and towering range that rises sharply close to Marrakech.
The mountain range stretches through three countries and the highest peak stands over 4000-meters tall. The Atlas Mountains are an integral part of not only local geography but local Berber history and culture.
Marrakech is an excellent location from which to launch yourself into the mountains; many of the valleys and villages can be reached on day trips from the city.
Imlil is a local Berber village that’s found high in the Atlas Mountains. Standing at 1800-meters, it’s set in spectacular surroundings.
Many visitors will use Imlil as a base for getting even further into the mountains on multi-day treks, including to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the range.
But it’s perfectly fine to simply explore here for the day – see the way the Berbers have lived here and adapted their lifestyle to the mountains and even make a few small hikes into the surrounding area.
Lower down than Imli but perhaps easier to reach, Asni is the gateway into the Atlas Mountains when you travel here from Marrakech.
It’s a quaint place of mud-brick buildings and dusty streets, where you can see local life happening on the streets.
Further along the road, to the south of Ait Benhaddou, can be found the fortified town of Ouarzazate.
Like its neighbour, Ouarzazate is also used as a filming location by many studios and has been featured in countless historical epics and desert-based movies.
This is really where the Sahara begins too – after the high plateau that the town is built upon disappears to the south, the sandy dunes of the desert truly begin.
Found in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, just an hour’s drive from Marrakech, Amizmiz is an excellent example of a relatively untouched Moroccan Berber town. Life here is slow.
The town is colorful but there is little of great interest to see except on a Tuesday, when the weekly market arrives as villagers from the mountains and surrounding area descend upon Amizmiz to buy and sell their produce.
Oukaïmeden is a very high-altitude resort that’s found in the snowy peaks of the Atlas Mountains.
At the right time of year, it makes for an incredible contrast to the lowlands and Marrakech. No longer is there sun, heat and desert, now there is snow, wind, and cold.
It’s a famous ski resort within the country, and being only a two-hour drive from Marrakech, you can quite literally spend the day skiing before heading back to the warmer climes of the city for the night.
Overall, there are many exciting and unique excursions to take outside of Marrakech, each offering the chance to experience a different aspect of Morocco’s rich culture and natural beauty. Whether you are interested in relaxing on the beach, exploring the mountains, or experiencing the desert, there is an excursion that will suit your interests.
Book now for unforgettable Marrakech excursions!