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Best Day Trips From Marrakech

Marrakech, Morocco - Jemaa el-Fnaa square and market place at dusk.

One of the main attractions of Marrakech, the red Moroccan city, is its vibrant souk, a bustling Berber bazaar where countless vendors are selling everything from spices through garments and boho home decor. Marrakech is also a tempting destination for foodies who want to learn more about the Moroccan cuisine and taste a large variety of fragrant, Moroccan dishes.

If you want to relax, we recommend a visit to one of the city’s luxurious hammams (traditional SPA baths), and if you are curious to explore Morocco beyond the red walls of Marrakech… have a read through our guide! We have gathered the best Marrakech day trips – from the Atlas Mountains, through Berber villages all the way to the Sahara Desert. You have got loads to explore!

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Day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira 

Home to the annual Gnawa Music Festival, Essaouira is one of the most popular spots for Marrakech day trips. Whether you want to arrange the tour on your own (the minibus ride will take approximately 3 hours 30 minutes) or join one of the organized day trips from Marrakech to Essaouira, we highly recommend a getaway to this cosy coastal city that uniquely merges the cultures and styles of North Africa and the Mediterranean. If you watch “Game of Thrones” you will recognize parts of the city, as Essaouira was used as filming location in several episodes.

The many cultural influences are easy to spot in Essaouira’s Old Medina. Formerly known as Mogador, the area is officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Compared to some of the other Moroccan cities, the old town of Essaouira is easy to navigate within. Expect to see the many stalls and local food vendors, but do not worry about getting lost in a maze of winding alleyways.

With its location on Morocco’s West coast, Essaouira is the perfect place for sunset-tours. Gaze over the Atlantic and watch the sun disappear behind the horizon line. You can admire the sunset from Essaouira’s ramparts or visit one of the many restaurants with a rooftop from where you can admire the views with a drink.

Day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira 

Aerial view on old city of Essaouira in Morocco

Day trip from Marrakech to Casablanca 

Romanticized in the famous Humphrey Bogart-movie, Casablanca is one of Morocco’s largest commercial hubs. Marrakech day trips to Casablanca are urban tours, but with the city’s stunning landmarks, Casablanca is still high on our recommendation list!

One of the most picturesque sites in the city is the Grand Mosque of Hassan II. This iconic landmark was completed in 1993 and it is the second-largest mosque in the world. It welcomes non-Muslim visitors (look into 1-hour-long guided tours offered at the mosque!), but the site is still most popular among Muslim worshippers; the building itself can accommodate up to 25.000 people and its vast courtyard has space for a further 80.000!

On your visit to Casablanca, explore the Old Medina too – it houses many local shops, cafés and restaurant as well as more cultural and religious sites like the Berber Mosque.

You can look into organized day trips from Marrakech to Casablanca or plan your journey on your own. Trains from Marrakech railway station leave every hour (the journey takes 2 hours 38 minutes, and the ticket fees are between 90 – 150 MAD, approx. 9,4 – 15,6 USD), and if you are on a budget, you can also travel by bus (tickets start at 75 MAD, around 7,8 USD, and the journey takes 3 hours 30 minutes).

Day trip from Marrakech to Casablanca 

Casablanca, Morocco - Panoramic view at the Mosque of Hasan II. in Casablanca. Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco

Ouzoud Waterfalls full day trip from Marrakech 

The collective name “Ouzoud Waterfalls” refers to a group of tall waterfalls located on the edge of the Atlas Mountains, around the El-Abid River Gorge. The Ouzoud Waterfalls are a popular bathing spot – perfect place to cool off with a dip in the pools. Prepare to hike around the waterfalls too, and remember to take your camera with you; the view from the car park (above the waterfalls) is breathtaking!

From the car park, there is a path down towards the waterfalls. Along the way, you will find small shops and cafés where you can stop for a refreshment and enjoy the pristine view before heading down for a swim! Hold onto your belongings on your way down! You will surely meet quite a few macaques who might be interested in snatching your bag (especially if there is food inside)! From the bottom of the waterfalls, the view is spectacular too, and the constant thunder of moving waters is an incredible (and very unique) sound-effect.

A getaway to the Ouzoud Waterfalls is one of the more remote Marrakech day trips. Rather than going on your own (there is no direct bus route) we recommend booking an Ouzoud Waterfalls full day trip with an agency, and be prepared for a 3-hour-long drive each way. 

Ouzoud Waterfalls full day trip from Marrakech 

Beautiful waterfalls called - Ouzoud in Morocco. Ouzoud Falls in Africa. Landscape

Day trip from Marrakech to Ourika Valley

Less than a 1-hour-drive from Marrakech, Ourika Valley is nestled at the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. It is one of the most common getaway-destinations from Marrakech, but the area is also a popular place to stay for visitors who want to spend their Marrakchi-holidays away from the city crowds and the urban bustle. Ourika Valley is home to many hotels and resorts, so if you want to stay in the area for longer, you will surely find accommodation that suits your needs (and budget). 

On a day trip from Marrakech to Ourika Valley, you will first drive through small Berber villages where you can stop to enjoy a serving of traditional Moroccan mint tea and taste some locally made pastries. Majority of the organized Ourika Valley day trips include a visit to the waterfalls of Setti-Fatma. With its scenic nature views, it is a great spot for pictures, and if you want to add more activity to your day trip, you can follow your local guide on a trek along the riverbank. 

Ourika Valley is also a great place to do some shopping! Ask your guide to take you to Safranerie de l’Ourika where saffron is organically grown. Admire the saffron orchards, learn more about cultivating the plants and buy some of the famous golden spice as a souvenir!

Day trip from Marrakech to Ourika Valley

Beautiful view of Atlas, Ourika Valley. MOROCCO.

Day trip from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains

With their (snowy even in the summertime) tops visible all the way from Marrakech, Atlas Mountains are a popular destination for Marrakech day trips. 

We recommend arranging day trips from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains through a travel agency. Not only will it secure safe (prepare for a challenging, winding ride up Moroccan mountain roads) and comfortable transportation, but you will also have a knowledgeable local guide with you at all times.

Your tour will start with a pick-up from Marrakech and before you reach the Atlas Mountains, you will pass through small Berber villages and very likely stop at an Argan oil cooperative where you can see for yourself how the world-famous Moroccan oil is produced. It is a great place to buy samples and oil product to take home as a souvenir, rather than purchasing them at the city souk!

Many tours through the Atlas Mountains include a visit to Three Valleys; prepare for scenic views and even during the drive, just ask your guide to pull aside if you want a photo-stop!

Other attractions you can add to your Atlas Mountains day trip include a camel ride, mountain hike and, of course, a traditional Berber lunch (with salad, tajine and fresh fruits or a piece of the locally made pastries for dessert) and the refreshing Moroccan mint tea.

Day trip from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains

Imlil city in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco

Day trip from Marrakech to Berber Villages

Come closer to the rural Berber life, learn more about the local culture and religious traditions and discover traditional Moroccan handicrafts during a day trip around Berber villages.

You will surely pass through small Berber towns during the organized tours to eg. the Atlas Mountains or the Sahara Desert, but we also recommend saving some time to visit the Berber villages and get a first-hand experience of the slow-paced village life. Visit a couple of villages and prepare for a diversified experience! Morocco’s Berber population is divided into more than 100 different tribes of different sizes, all spread across the country.

The Berber people are ethnically indigenous to North Africa. The word “Berber” is associated with a dialect of the Arabic language but it also refers to specific traditions, arts and culture. You might have heard of Berber carpets and tapestries; these are not only functional pieces, every piece tells a story!

The geometrical patterns on the woven carpets or blankets tell stories through symbols and geometrical patterns. In the old days, the Berbers were (nomadic) traders, crossing the Sahara Desert on camels. These days most people of Berber origin work as farmers, but you will surely be able to add a camel ride to your Berber villages day trip from Marrakech! Just ask your local guide to help you arrange a camel tour!

Day trip from Marrakech to Berber Villages

Small berber village located high in Atlas mountains, Morocco

Day trip from Marrakech to Agafay Desert

Extending over several hundred acres, the rocky Agafay desert is located 30 kilometres south of Marrakech. It can be likened to a sand desert, however, you should not expect to see huge dunes like in the Sahara Desert; the two have very different landscape formations! Agafay Desert is a popular spot for tourists and Marrakshis alike; it is a good place for a (single- or multi-day) getaway from the urban bustle of Marrakech.

On your Agafay desert day trip, you can try horse-riding or canoeing on the man-made Lalla Takerkoust water reservoir. Photography enthusiast will appreciate the views of the dry, moon-like landscape; remember to bring your camera with you. Even though Agafay is a desert, the view changes with seasons! In spring you can expect to see wild flora (wildflowers and wheat) whereas in summer and autumn you will mostly see bare rock formations.

We recommend booking a guided Agafay desert tour with a local guide and an experienced driver; on your way to the desert, you will pass through the Atlas Mountains and Berber villages. Your guide will tell you more about the landscape with its unique rock formations (you will probably drive past sellers offering crystals and minerals!) and explain to you the local traditions, introducing you to the daily life in the rural areas of Morocco.

Day trip from Marrakech to Agafay Desert

A panoramic view of a glamping site at sunset in the Agafay Desert, near Marrakesh in Morocco

Day trip from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert

With its ungraspable size of 9.2 million km², Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world. It has various land features, but it is surely most famous for its iconic dunes, known from motion pictures and… Microsoft Windows wallpapers! The grand desert spans over 11 countries, including Morocco, and day trips from Marrakech to Sahara Desert are popular among tourists and easy to arrange.

Note that some of the Moroccan roads leading to the Sahara Desert are only accessible to specially licensed cars, so even if you are tempted to make this trip on your own, we strongly suggest booking the tour with a professional tour agency. Most Morocco tours to the Sahara Desert visit one of the two most accessible sections: Erg Chebbi, near the town of Merzouga or Erg Chigaga, close to the town of Zagora.

Both areas are a bit of a drive from Marrakech, and while single day trips from Marrakech to Sahara Desert are possible, most tourists choose overnight camping excursions that also include activities like camel ride, sand boarding or partaking in traditional Moroccan dance and song performances. If you choose to spend the night in the desert camp (the camps offer premium accommodation options; Moroccan clamping is a thing!), you can also look forward to an abundant Moroccan dinner under the starry sky!

Day trip from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert

Merzouga, Morocco - Caravan walking in Merzouga Sahara desert on Morocco

Day trip from Marrakech to Ksar Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou is an ighrem – a fortified village situated along what used to be the main route for caravans travelling between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech. Apart from its significant position, Ksar Ait Benhaddou is an iconic example of earthen clay architecture, typical to Morocco. Due to its unique look, it has been featured in several films, like “Mummy”, “Gladiator” or “Babel”, and since 1987 the landmark has been listed as an official UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The oldest parts of the constructions date back “only” to the 17th century, but the architectonic style that the structures are based on, goes back to earlier periods and ancient building traditions of Southern Morocco. Within the ksar, there are private houses and public areas that include a public square, a mosque and even cemeteries (both Muslim and Jewish).

Ait Benhaddou (or Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou) can be a stop on your way to the Sahara Desert or you can look for guided day trips to Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou and the city of Ouarzazate. Ouarzazate is home to Atlas Film Studio which, if measured by acreage, is the largest film studio in the world! To get the best out of your day trip from Marrakech to Ait Benhaddou, rather than venturing on your own, we recommend booking the trip with a local guide.

Day trip from Marrakech to Ksar Ait Benhaddou

Fortified village and clay houses of an ancient settlement, Ait Benhaddou, Morocco with the atlas mountains in the background

Day trip from Marrakech to Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is known as “The Blue City of Morocco”. Nestled against a backdrop of majestic mountains, with picture-perfect azure blue walls, charming, winding alleyways and a wide array of stalls and vendors selling local products and handcrafts, Chefchaouen is a perfect spot for Marrakech day trips.

Chefchaouen’s early history dates back to 1471 when Moorish and Jewish people fled to the area, attempting to escape from the Spanish regime. Like other Moroccan cities, Chefchaouen attracts tourists with its beautiful Old Media. Smaller in size than the old city centre of Marrakech, Fez or Casablanca, Chefchaouen Medina houses beautiful Andalusian Gardens, a calm oasis that complements the city’s blue walls with its greenery.

Within the gardens, you will find the Ethnographic Museum, also referred to as the “Kasbah Museum”; the word “kasbah” describes the citadels of Northern African cities. Architectonically impressive on the outside, make sure to visit the museum and its expositions to learn more about the Moroccan culture and stop by the gallery wing to see classical and modern art pieces by local artists.

In the Old Medina of Chefchaouen, you will also find Plaza Uta el-Hammam. The main square is a fusion of Spanish and Arab cultures. It is a great place for lunch or refreshment-stop; you will find a wide range of street food stalls as well as restaurants.

Day trip from Marrakech to Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen aerial panoramic view at night. Chefchaouen is a city in northwest Morocco. Chefchaouen is noted for its buildings in shades of blue.

Marrakech Food Tour

Countless variations of seasoned olives, juicy dates, sweet, freshly squeezed orange juice and, of course, the fragrant mint tea… These are only a few signature foods that visitors associate with Morocco. Moroccan cuisine is abundant in various dishes, interesting ingredients and unique spice blends. To have a true taste of Moroccan dining scene (and hospitality!) we recommend joining a guided food tour in Marrakech. 

Your food tour will start at Jemaa el-Fnaa – the main square, located in Marrakech’s medina (central part of the old town). Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001, the square is bustling with vendors, sellers, performers and a wide array of different food stands.

Your guide will lead you through the many food stalls. First, you will sample on some of the lighter bites like nuts and olives and continue to the poultry and beef market. You will be offered to try local types of bread like msemen and beghrir — spongy Berber pancakes, and your guide will also lead you to the spice shops where you will learn about the unique seasonings used in traditional Moroccan dishes.

Do not miss your chance to buy some of the Moroccan saffron, due to its premium quality, it is now known world-wide! Conclude your snack-tour with a full dinner at one of the restaurants around Jemaa el-Fnaa.

Marrakech Food Tour

Marrakech, Morocco - Man presenting his shop with delicious baklavas located in old town of Marrakech

Day trip from Marrakech to Fez

Fez is often referred to as the cultural capital of Morocco, it is a great place to learn more about the Moroccan history, the many cultural and religious traditions and, of course, the flavorful gastronomy.

You can start your Fez explorations in the Old Medina (officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site), with Medersa Bou Inania. It is the former school for Muslim intellectuals. Built in the 14th century by Sultan Bou Inan, it has been beautifully restored and now features colourful mosaics, impressive plaster carvings and unique architectural elements made of cedarwood. We also recommend visiting the Merenid Tombs. The tombs house skeletal remains of Merenid Dynasty sultans and members of the royal family, and the site is especially popular to visit during sunset. The tombs are situated on a hill from where you can look over the 1200-year-old Medina. 

Another iconic spot in Fez is the famous Chouara Tannery – the oldest of its kind in the world! Even today it operates the same way as it did in the medieval times! Go there to learn about tanning processes and come closer to one of Morocco’s main industries!

Do not miss Fez’ Jewish quarter! The city’s Mellah formed in the 14th century and it is home to stunning examples of Jewish-style architecture, like the Ibn Danan synagogue.

Day trip from Marrakech to Fez

Fez, Morocco - Sightseeing of Morocco. Tanneries of Fez. Dye reservoirs and vats in traditional tannery of city of Fez

Hammam Experience in Marrakech

With countless options for Marrakech day trips, it is easy to become overwhelmed with planning excursions. Save some time during your Marrakech holiday for, instead of venturing out of town, a visit to one of the traditional Hammam SPAs for a relaxing break. 

The Hammam is an important part of the Moroccan daily life and culture, for both men and women. (Do note that many hammams will not allow you to share the SPA room with a person of the opposite gender, so if you are travelling as a couple and want to enjoy the Hammam baths together, you must find one with mixed-gender rooms.) A visit to the Moroccan SPA will include a relaxing bath with a body-scrub that uses all the essential Moroccan beauty products like the famous Argan oil and black soap. Depending on the session you book, the bath and body-scrub will be followed by a relaxing massage or a facial treatment.

Your hotel might offer traditional wellness facilities, but you will also find Hammams in the Old Medina and around Jemaa el-Fnaa – Marrakech’ main square and the city’s famous UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hammam Experience in Marrakech

Inside of a traditional Hammam in Morocco Africa

Recommended Day Trips From Marrakech

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Best Day Trips From Marrakech

Best Day Trips From Marrakech

Best Day Trips From Marrakech

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!