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5 BEST Day Trips from Marrakesh

Updated: May 30, 2020

Planning you Marrakesh adventure? If you have some spare time to dedicate to a 1 day trip to get to know a little bit more of Morocco, here is the ultimate list of 5 of what we think make the best day trip from Marrakesh!

1. Sahara Desert

Marrakesh is surrounded by desert all around, but it takes about 7/8 hours by car to reach the famous Sahara Desert, it is a very long journey, it is quite tiring and most of the time not very comfortable as there is usually about 6/8 people in the mini bus and the stops to stretch your legs are very few, but we would do it other 100 times!

The Sahara is a vast desert, in fact, it is the biggest hot desert of the whole world!

The Sahara desert of your dreams lies at Erg Chebbi (make sure that the tour you chose brings you there), one of Morocco's many ergs, or seas of sand dunes. Lying on the edge of the Sahara, Erg Chebbi is often used for films because of its stunning expanse of iconic fire-orange sand dunes!

It is indeed a lifetime experience!

We spent one full day and 1 night in the Sahara, sleeping in a Berber Camp, many people will chose to undertake a longer stay in the desert, there are lots and lots of tours of every sort, from the sand dune experience with a quad bike or a car to the camel ride! From the experience of a Berber camp to the extra luxury tent just for you!

Read More: Our Adventure in a Berber Camp in the Sahara Desert

2. Casablanca

The name "Casablanca" evokes the romance of the 1945 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart... well, forget the romance!

The city is very chaotic and polluted, we took the train from Marrakesh to Casablanca (What an experience! The train we took was really overcrowded, in a very hot day and it stopped for a while for several times, so if you consider to go by train, just keep in mind that you will maybe need extra time!), we walked from the train station to the Mosque Hassan II, and we could barely breath, but you know... this is part of the experience!

But we must say that the Mosque is worth everything!

The Mosque Hassan II sits on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, it is one of a kind place, the breeze from the ocean and solemnity of the minaret standing tall!

The pattern of the wall and floor decor of both the Mosque and the square just in front of it, are stunning pieces of art!

However it is a beautiful place to visit, it may not be worth it if you just have time for 1 day trip only, it might be better to consider other trips.

3. Essaouira

Essaouira is a stunning little port city situated on Morocco's Atlantic coast! Why does it make the perfect day trip? It is a soothing and relaxing experience, the fresh good air of the ocean and the colorful little boats in the port are worth the visit! The beach is quite popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.

The Medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s a marvelous place to explore, its narrow lanes and souks are the true essence of Moroccan culture!

There are nice little restaurant of traditional Moroccan food in the port.

Read More: What to eat in Morocco

4. Ouzoud Falls

Ouzoud Waterfalls is located just at about 25/30 minutes (150 km) away from Marrakesh by car, near the Middle Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, in the province of Azilal.

It is the best 1 day trip to get away from the chaotic character of Marrakesh!

The waterfalls are the second highest in Africa and the complex forms suggestive views of nature.

There are also cheeky monkeys waiting for you in the path! They are nice and very funny! It was actually my first time seeing a monkey and it made my day, they look so humane in their gestures!

5. Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the outskirt of the Sahara Desert.

It is not a very touristy place, but it is the place where lots of movies were filmed, one of them: The Gladiator!

To reach Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakesh Takes about 4 hours by car, but most of the tours going to the Sahara Desert will offer the option to include the visit to Ait Ben Haddou site, we recommend you visit it! We were glad we did!

To fully understand the town we really recommend to hop on a tour with a Berber guide, it is very interesting to get to know their origins and their lifestyle.

The Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is a perfect synthesis of earthen architecture of the pre-Saharan regions of Morocco: A ksar is a fortified collective grouping of dwellings, community areas of the ksar include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts, a fortification and a loft at the top of the village, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish) and the Sanctuary.

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