There are numerous things to do and places to visit around Marrakech.

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Below you will find a selection of popular excursions which are both great for a day out and also will give you a glimpse of the real Morocco. These are only suggestions, you are more than welcome to design your own day trip which we are happy to help you arrange.

THE OURIKA VALLEY – 1 day trip (or ½ day) 60km (just under 40miles) South of Marrakech

Easily accessible by road the Ourika Valley, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, is only 30 minutes drive from the centre of Marrakech. A very popular destination for both tourists and Moroccans alike. The road to the Ourika valley is bordered by lush gardens, palm and fruit trees, small picturesque villages with small roadside cafés and restaurants. Locals like to visit Ourika in the summer months when the air is significantly cooler than in Marrakech and the countryside is lush and green. At the entrance to the valley there is a fork in the road with one part leading to Oukaimden, Marrakech´s ski-station, and the other winds through the valley itself all the way to Sitti Fatma. Along the route there are shops selling beautiful handmade pottery, carpets, jewellery and Argan oil based cosmetic products. If you are after a calm, peaceful and relaxing day this could be one for you. There are many riverside restaurants serving tajines, barbecued meat and salads. Just one word of warning, agree a price before eating (very few have written menus) so as to avoid any ´misunderstandings´ when the bill is presented.

* You can usually choose your departure time for this excursion.

ESSAOUIRA – (formerly Mogador) 1 day trip – 170 km (106 miles) west of Marrakech

Why not take a break from bustling Marrakech and spend a day (or 2) in Essaouira. The recently completed highway between Marrakech and Essaouira reduces the journey time to this exceptional seaside town down to 2 hours. The temperature is often 10 degrees cooler than Marrakech and Essaouira´s Atlantic coast line has become a mecca for the windsurfing fraternity.
Despite ambitious plans to transform Essaouira into a major tourist destination, the town still retains its charm and appeal. In contrast to Marrakech with its ochre coloured walls and buildings, Essaouira is white with almost all doors and shutters painted bright blue (even the taxis are blue). The Medina (the old walled city) and the port are next to each other and can easily be visited on foot without a guide. Fishing boats land their catch at the port every morning and if you get there early enough you will witness the fish auction on the quayside which provides one of the many ´photo opportunities´ Essaouira has to offer.
The Medina of Essaouira (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is small compared to that of Marrakech and much ´cooler´ in the sense that the ´pressure selling´ which is sometimes present in the souks of Marrakech is generally absent in Essaouira. The medina is still home to many craftsmen selling souvenirs to foreign and Moroccan tourists alike. The town boasts many cafés and open air restaurants both on the beach and in the medina. Barbecued fresh fish are a local speciality.

* Your driver will pick you up at 8am and you will be back at your holiday villa in Marrakech early evening on the same day. (unless of course you decide you want to stay in Essaouira overnight…)

OUZOUD WATERFALLS – 1 day trip – 150km (90 miles) North East of Marrakech

One of the most stunning sites in the Atlas Mountains. This breathtaking waterfall (over 300ft high) with its accompanying rainbow is one of the most visited sites of the Moroccan Atlas. The bottom of the waterfall is accessible via a path which leads through lush olive groves (Ouzoud is the Berber word for ´olives´). At the top of the fall there are a dozen small mills which are still in use. In the evening you may be lucky enough to catch sight of a group of monkeys which are indigenous to this region. In an attempt to minimise the undesirable effects of mass tourism many local and national associations have undertaken projects to ensure that this magical site is preserved for future generations.

* Your driver will pick you up at 8am and return you at your holiday villa in Marrakech the same day around 6pm.

The Asni Valley, Imlil & The Toubkal Kasbah – 1 day trip – 60 km (37 miles) East of Marrakech

A fantastic way to see rural Morocco and the extraordinary way of life led by the residents of the Berber villages perched high in the Atlas Mountains. First stop is Asni (30 miles south of Marrakech). Whilst in itself perhaps not the most beautiful Berber village, it is well worth a visit just to take in the surrounding scenery. Whilst it is true that Moroccans are amongst the most hospitable people on the planet, some locals in Asni have developed a ´scam´ in which they invite you to eat with a local family. This friendly invitation is not all it seems and is best refused politely but firmly as the ´family´ will be expecting to be well paid for the meal. Saturday is market day in Asni.
A couple of miles outside Asni (on the road to Imlil) is Kasbah Tamadot.
Sir Richard Branson bought this palace from a Californian interior designer and has transformed it into a sumptuous boutique hotel hideaway (with prices to match). Moulay Brahim is close by and is a place of particular interest to Berber women. Legend has it that women who are having difficulties conceiving should tie a turban to a tree and, when it falls from the tree conception will soon follow!!
The road from Asni winds along the bottom of a magnificent valley until it reaches Imlil, some 10 miles away. Imlil is the starting point for the ascent of Djebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. The Toubkal National Park which encompasses the Mountain and the surrounding area is extremely popular with walkers and rockclimbers. If you are proposing to engage in these activities it is strongly recommended that you employ the services of a qualified guide.
The Toubkal Kasbah is at the foot of the mountain and well worth a visit.

* Your driver will pick you up at around 9am at your holiday villa and will take you back there approximately 4:30 in the afternoon. Just a word of warning, there are no ATM´s or bureau de change in either Asni or Imlil.

Barrage Lalla Takerkoust – 1 day trip – 40 km (25 miles) South West of Marrakech

A short half an hour drive from Marrakech on the road to Amizmiz is the impressive Barrage (Dam) Lalla Takerkoust. It was built in the 1930s by the French during the Protectorate of Morocco with the dual purpose of irrigating the surrounding Haouz plains and to generate hydro electric power for Marrakech. Behind the dam there is a huge artificial lake (about 5 miles long) fed by the melting snows of the Atlas. It is the closest thing to the seaside that Marrakech has to offer. This huge lake is a popular destination for Marrakchi and visitors alike. There are a number of waterside guesthouses and restaurants where you can enjoy both local and international cuisine with uninterrupted views of the peaks of the Western High Atlas. Alternatively there are plenty of shady areas beside the lake to enjoy a leisurely picnic. For the more adventurous, there are a number of quad rental businesses operating around the lake.
The lake is a relaxing destination with a minimum of time spent in the car and is a perfect family outing.

* Your driver will pick you up at around 9am at your holiday villa and you will be back at the villa around 5pm in the afternoon.

The “Kik Plateau” 1 day trip – Asni region 60km (37 miles) East of Marrakech

Marrakech/Tahanaoute/Tadmant/Asni/Moulay Brahim/Plateau de Kik/ Lalla Takerkoust/Marrakech-
An excursion for those who prefer to enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the air conditioned comfort of a four wheeled drive! The ideal time of year to discover the plateau is in spring time when the melting snows of the Atlas Mountains provide much needed water for the vast array of flowering alpine plants which turn this usually arid plateau into a carpet of flowers.
The route will lead you through magical and timeless Berber villages, stunning valleys, gorges, salt mines and many other places of interest.
There are plenty of stops along the way to enjoy both the scenery and the local cuisine. Photos opportunities galore!

* Your driver will pick you up (in 4×4) at your villa at 9am and you will be delivered back by the side of your pool with a cold beer by 6pm. (the cold beer is not included in the trip!).

The excursions described above are those which we consider to be easily and confortably ´do-able´ in a day.
Ouarazate is generally offered as a day trip. However it must be borne in mind that, although Ouarzazate is only 120 miles from Marrakech, road conditions (i.e. mountains etc…) mean you will spend a minimum of 7-8 hours in the car. If you don´t mind, that´s great as Ouarzazate is certainly worth a visit. We would suggest an overnight stay in order to fully appreciate the savage beauty of this part of the Atlas on the edge of the Sahara desert.