Trip to Morocco
Created: 2019-02-11
  • Seafood soup and Fish plata in Agadir

    Seafood soup and Fish plata in Agadir

  • a Berber in Koutoubia garden

    a Berber in Koutoubia garden

  • A place to buy argan oil in Essaouira

    A place to buy argan oil in Essaouira

  • A riad Le roses des Vents in Essaouira and the beautiful view to the Atlantic ocean

    A riad Le roses des Vents in Essaouira and the beautiful view to the Atlantic ocean

  • A viewpoint near the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Sidi Ifni

    A viewpoint near the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Sidi Ifni

  • Agadir's yacht port

    Agadir's yacht port

  • Ait Benhadou

    Ait Benhadou

  • Ait Benhadou during the sunrise

    Ait Benhadou during the sunrise

  • Alcohol in Agadir

    Alcohol in Agadir

  • Arcs in Legzira, Sidi Ifni

    Arcs in Legzira, Sidi Ifni

  • Arc in Legzira, Sidi Ifni

    Arc in Legzira, Sidi Ifni

  • Atlas Mountains

    Atlas Mountains

  • Beach and hotel Mirlefte

    Beach and hotel Mirlefte

  • Best restaurants in Taghazout

    Best restaurants in Taghazout

  • Canyons in the Atlas Mountains

    Canyons in the Atlas Mountains

  • Coast of the Atlantic Ocean near Legzira

    Coast of the Atlantic Ocean near Legzira

  • Carriage taxi near the Jamaa el Fna square market

    Carriage taxi near the Jamaa el Fna square market

  • Doors in Ait Benhadou

    Doors in Ait Benhadou

  • Chicken couscous

    Chicken couscous

  • Berberian omelet in Ouzoud

    Berberian omelet in Ouzoud

  • El Badi palace in Marrakech

    El Badi palace in Marrakech

  • El bahia palace in Marrakech

    El bahia palace in Marrakech

  • El had market in Agadir

    El had market in Agadir

  • El Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech

    El Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech

  • Essaouira, Moroccan medina at night

    Essaouira, Moroccan medina at night

  • El Massira fish market in Agadir

    El Massira fish market in Agadir

  • Evening in Marakech with a view to the Atlas Mountains

    Evening in Marakech with a view to the Atlas Mountains

  • Fish market in Essaouira

    Fish market in Essaouira

  • Fish port in Essaouira

    Fish port in Essaouira

  • Fishing on the coast of the Atlantic in Morocco

    Fishing on the coast of the Atlantic in Morocco

  • Forests in the Atlas Mountains

    Forests in the Atlas Mountains

  • Fresh pomegranate juice in Essaouira, Morocco

    Fresh pomegranate juice in Essaouira, Morocco

  • Goat tagine in the Atlas Mountains

    Goat tagine in the Atlas Mountains

  • Goats in the Atlas Mountains

    Goats in the Atlas Mountains

  • Hotel in Legzira

    Hotel in Legzira

  • La Majorelle garden in Marrakech

    La Majorelle garden in Marrakech

  • Jamaa el Fna market at night in Marrakech

    Jamaa el Fna market at night in Marrakech

  • Marrakech airport

    Marrakech airport

  • Making of a langoust

    Making of a langoust

  • Marrakech Jamaa el Fna market at night

    Marrakech Jamaa el Fna market at night

  • Minerals and fossils for sale in Tiznit

    Minerals and fossils for sale in Tiznit

  • Monkeys near the Ouzoud waterfalls

    Monkeys near the Ouzoud waterfalls

  • Mint tea in Morocco

    Mint tea in Morocco

  • Moroccan pancake with fried sardine and sweet argan oil sauce

    Moroccan pancake with fried sardine and sweet argan oil sauce

  • Moroccan souvenirs

    Moroccan souvenirs

  • Morocco, Agadir

    Morocco, Agadir

  • Oasis in Atlas Mountains

    Oasis in Atlas Mountains

  • Our room in one of the riads

    Our room in one of the riads

  • Ouzoud valley

    Ouzoud valley

  • Ouzoud waterfalls during the sunrise

    Ouzoud waterfalls during the sunrise

  • Ouzoud waterfalls, view from the top

    Ouzoud waterfalls, view from the top

  • Road N9 in Atlas Mountains

    Road N9 in Atlas Mountains

  • Promenade and the beach in Essaouira

    Promenade and the beach in Essaouira

  • Prices in a restaurant in Morocco

    Prices in a restaurant in Morocco

  • Restaurant Auberge Toufliht

    Restaurant Auberge Toufliht

  • Road N9 through the Atlas Mountains

    Road N9 through the Atlas Mountains

  • Road R307 in Atlas Mountains

    Road R307 in Atlas Mountains

  • Saadian mausoleum in Marrakech, Morocco

    Saadian mausoleum in Marrakech, Morocco

  • Saffron in Agadir

    Saffron in Agadir

  • Snowy Atlas Mountains tops

    Snowy Atlas Mountains tops

  • Snow in Atlas Mountains

    Snow in Atlas Mountains

  • Seafood tagine

    Seafood tagine

  • Squid tagine in Taghazout

    Squid tagine in Taghazout

  • Souvenirs in Marrakech

    Souvenirs in Marrakech

  • Streets of Essaouira medina

    Streets of Essaouira medina

  • Supermarket in Agadir

    Supermarket in Agadir

  • Surfboard rentals in Taghazout

    Surfboard rentals in Taghazout

  • Surfers in Taghazout

    Surfers in Taghazout

  • Sweets in Marrakech

    Sweets in Marrakech

  • Taghazout

    Taghazout

  • The inside of a riad BonHeur in Marrakech

    The inside of a riad BonHeur in Marrakech

  • The inside of a riad in Morocco

    The inside of a riad in Morocco

  • The stronghold of Essaouira

    The stronghold of Essaouira

  • The terraces of riads in the evening with a delightful view to the Atlantic Ocean in Essaouira

    The terraces of riads in the evening with a delightful view to the Atlantic Ocean in Essaouira

  • The valley of the Atlas Mountains

    The valley of the Atlas Mountains

  • Town of Legzira

    Town of Legzira

  • Valley oasis of Asif Ounila river and road P1506 in Atlas Mountains

    Valley oasis of Asif Ounila river and road P1506 in Atlas Mountains

  • Valleys of the Atlas Mountains

    Valleys of the Atlas Mountains

  • What to bring to a trip to Morocco

    What to bring to a trip to Morocco

The idea of visiting Morocco came up unexpectedly. We've heard so many negative things about the trip and about the country so that it did not seem as a great idea. We did not feel the eager to go to the country that is described as full of cockroaches in the hotel rooms, intrusive dealers and harassers in general, also, comments about diarrhea after a couple of days in the country. Even after we purchased the tickets, we still considered giving up on the idea of going. However, we had a couple of the initiators of this trip who strongly supported the idea.

We thought of several different possible routes. In order to achieve the best result, we chose and marked down places of interest to see, places of nearby hotels and other necessary points. We did not connect the dots in the map intentionally, leaving space for improvisation. The route is described step by step in the article "Morocco by car".

 

 

If I had to briefly tell what kind of trip it was, I would point out that when choosing this trip, you choose to visit a place that is very close to what is described in the folk tales One Thousand and One Nights. On one hand, it is all modern: internet and satellite TV even in small and remote mountain villages, new cars, and quality paved roads even in the mountains. On the other hand, you get the impression that the traditions of the Moroccan society have not changed since the ancient times. People are not trying to show others, poorer residents how rich they are; probably that is the reason why the cities are of the same height, meaning that the owner of every riad and every other resident of the town will be able to see the same view of the city. Even the royal palace does not stand out from the surroundings that much. The only typo of buildings that stand out from the skyline are the minarets of the mosques.

Maybe that is the reason why there are so much more people smiling in here - not in the foolish or goofy manner, simply sincerely and with dignity. Even the people in this country are good - beautiful and dignified. The beauty part is probably influenced by the mix of so many races and nations. Let's not forget the facts that even wars go around this country and leave it out of it, and people in here still adore their king, just like in ancient times.

El Badi palace in Marrakech

El Badi Palace in Marrakech. Marrakech is the major city of the Kingdom of Morocco and is considered to be the city of gods (even etymologically, from the Berber language "amur akush" - the Land of God), which reflects the city perfectly. If the gods would decide to settle down somewhere, it would probably be here. It is the hot African climate, which is cooled down so nicely by the waters from the Atlas Mountains and the clouds coming from the Atlantic, quite fertile soil and the general contrast so strong it is hard to describe. The El Badi Palace was built by the Saadian dynasty, which has strengthened the Morocco greatly.

Morocco is not shy of the beauty of nature as well. In just one day you can be in the dunes of the desert in the morning, have breakfast near snowy terrain, lunch in the wonderful Italian pine forest, and dinner in the mandarin gardens; and at night - fall into the warm Atlantic water. Yes, Morocco is rather small, as if everything would be cramped, as it may seem. However, a month would probably be too little to see everything, let alone the trip of the duration of 10 days - the one that we had.

a viewpoint near the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Sidi Ifni

The coast of the Atlantic Ocean near Mirleft. The beach of Tiboujaaratine. Start your trip here and feel the incredible abundance of Moroccan contrasts.

Plane tickets to Morocco

You can reach Morocco from almost every major European city with direct or connected flights, let alone flights from other continents. Even small countries, such as Lithuania have some direct flights to Agadir. There are several big airports in Morocco, including the biggest ones of Marrakech and Agadir and the flights are really frequent. A great site to find flights is azair.eu, where you can look for flights from several different airports or with several different destinations.

Marrakech airport

Airport of Marrakech is big and modern. The distance from the main city center is not that big as well.

How to travel in Morocco

People we know tried to scare us about the road traffic rules, despite the fact that the roads are good. Our own personal travelling experience shows that travelling by car allows you to see much more than any other way. Despite that, we didn't rent a car in Morocco in advance.

We found out the terms of the car rentals and marked down several different car rental points on the map. There are some big visible differences between international car rental companies and local ones. International companies rent cars for a little smaller price, but take a big deposit (about 1000 euros). Although there are not many complaints about the return of the security deposit, it is sometimes quite overdue. Local companies rent cars for a little more expensive but do not require any deposit.

While renting a car it is advisable to buy a full coverage insurance package which costs about 10 euros per day. This way, you will feel more confident because if anything happens, you will not need to pay anything.

road R307 in Atlas Mountains

Road R307 through the Atlas Mountains. It was quite tolerable even with our 1.2-liter Ford Fiesta. Highway N9 is much better even though it goes through the mountains. And considering the highways and roads of the flatlands, other countries, even European ones, should be jealous of them.

Even though the roads in Morocco are great, there are, of course, a lot of drivers who like to defy all the internationally known rules of driving. They get significantly braver during the night time. If you're driving in one lane road, it is sometimes extremely nerve-racking game between you and the rule-defying driver, as for who will move first and let the other pass. There are not a lot of roads going around the cities and the roads that go through the center of them are bound with even more complex rules. Luckily, through all 8 days of driving we avoided any serious incidents.

The ability to be flexible with your route, to spend more or less time in some places, according to your own wishes make the option of car renting the best choice while traveling in Morocco. The detailed route of the trip (of duration of 10 days) may be found in the article "Morocco by car".

 

This map shows places of interest, hotels, riads and other useful spots.

 

 

Traveling from one city to other is also possible while using public transport - buses. They do let you out very close to the center. Considering the town of Agadir, it is comfortable to go from the bus station to the center of the city by a cab. Taxi services are quite cheap in Morocco, except the monopolist taxi drivers from the airport. Agadir offers fixed price taxi rides. A small cab for 3 passengers costs 25 Moroccan dirham (around 2,5 euro) and a bigger taxi for 4 passengers costs 5 euro.

Every single place of accommodation you will stay at will probably have some travel agencies around it, places where you can easily go to have an excursion organized for you. Excursions by a bus are cheaper, and by a car (a cross-country vehicle with a driver) - slightly more expensive, but they do offer a stronger experience.

How to prepare for a trip to Morocco

According to new airline regulations, we were the last ones lucky enough to bring a free carry-on luggage (10 kg). When we were flying to Morocco, 10 kg of luggage was more than enough for two people, but when flying back - our luggage has doubled in size, since we did have a lot of goods bought. We went to Morocco in November, so the evenings where already quite cold, especially in the mountains, so a warm jacket or coat was useful. However, during the day time, all you need is a pair of shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt.

what to bring to a trip to Morocco

1. Short-sleeved t-shirt, several of them;

2. A long-sleeved shirt for nights and the mountains;

3. A warmer hoodie/sweater for the mountains;

4. Long pants/jeans;

5. Shorts;

6. Swimming trunks;

7. Underwear;

8. Socks;

9. A jacket/coat (of course you may not bring it and buy it in Morocco for about 20 euros);

10. A med-kit;

11. Hat/something to cover up your head;

12. Phone charger, accessories for the camera (charger, extra batteries); the diving equipment turned out to be unnecessary, since the Atlantic was stormy all the time.

The most important things to buy first in Morocco

International calls cost a fortune, the same with the mobile data. It is advisable to purchase a SIM card at the airport. We got a free SIM card from the operator Orange, with which we were promised to receive free mobile data. Sadly, we did not get it. The card is activated with SMS message. The additional add-ons, for example to add the mobile data, may be purchased in any small town. It would be very useful if you are traveling rather spontaneously and with no in-advance hotel reservations.

In Morocco, euros are considered to be more appreciated than dollars. There are money exchange offices in bigger cities, as well as money exchange ATMs. This cash withdrawal operation will cost you 2,5 euro.

How to communicate in Morocco

According to the stories of people we know, Moroccan people are quite intrusive and often turn out to be scammers. Personally, we would say that both of these statements are wrong. Of course, you may be scammed or deceived if you will let it happen yourself. In general, Moroccan people really know how to communicate in a fun and full-of-dignity manner. You should be aware of the "local guides" who are just trying everything they can to get a couple of euros. Sometimes they may try to come to you and offer their "help" of any kind, even though nobody asked for it. The easiest way to get rid of this kind of helpers is to give them those couple of euros, and they will happily leave you alone. If you do not look for any kind of assistance, be clear by stating "no guide", "no help".

fresh pomegranate juice in Essaouira, Morocco

Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice that you can find in every city. Don't miss out on them, just try not to overpay - there are places where the price is fixed and there are situations when you're more than welcome to bargain. You can always look at how much the locals are paying - you can be sure that they will never overpay.

In general, while communicating with the vendors, don't be afraid to hold an eye contact, be brave and speak freely, also, don't forget to smile with confidence while trying to bargain. Usually, you may reduce the price in half or buy something even for a mere one third of the original price.

Before you do any kind of action, reach an agreement on the price - don't even sit in the taxi before agreeing on how much you will be paying. Also, don't eat anything in a restaurant before you were given the menu.

Places to visit in Morocco

Agadir is a modern resort city. It has a wide and long sandy beach and wide well-built promenades. You will not find any hotels right on the beach, and the more expensive ones are further away from it, a little higher up with the amazing sea view. Right behind them you can find the cheaper hotels. All of the hotels are spacious with many green, closed zones and large rooms. Lots of the hotels have their own small kitchens in the rooms, which might be really useful if you're in the mood of cooking.

Morocco, Agadir

Agadir is a modern and well-planned out city. Here you will find Wide boulevards, many parks and beautiful promenades. And don't forget the beach that goes on for kilometers!

Agadir's yacht port

Yacht dock and luxurious houses in the fancy area of Agadir.

While relaxing in this city, you are able to go to a day trip to Essaouira, Marrakech and Sidi Ifni. You can also go to longer trips to the desert and to the Atlas Mountains.

The distances in the city are quite large so it is advisable to take taxi rides, instead of walking. You can catch a ride to the fish market that is right next to the port. Here, you can buy fresh fish and taste it as well, since they also make it right here, and there are also several small restaurants around. You have to know at least a little bit about the fish and try to look if you are getting fresh produce, instead of frozen fish and other seafood. If you want to cook fish at your hotel, choose it yourself rather than letting the vendor give you whatever he or she wants to sell, and, of course, don't forget to talk about the price in advance.

If you like cooking your own food, you should visit El Massira fish market. You can find it on the way to the city of Souk Al Had. In this market you may find fresh vegetables, very delicious and quite cheap bread and handicrafts.

El Massira fish market in Agadir

Be sure to choose wisely what you buy and don't forget to bargain. If you have no experience with fresh fish, it is advisable to buy from the vendors who specialize in a certain kind of fish. But be careful, even there you may come across some kind of bad product, and since it is so hot outside, these fresh products go bad very fast. You can find more information about the Moroccan food in the article "What to eat in Morocco".

El had market in Agadir

You can find very good quality spice. Personal recommendation would be ginger powder and saffron.

saffron in Agadir

In order to know if the saffron is of a good quality, you have to be at least a little educated in the field. Good quality saffron will never be cheaper than 2500 euros per kilogram, but if you know nothing about how it should look or smell like, you may get some cheap product instead.

supermarket in Agadir

There is a supermarket right next to the hotel Jasmin and everything is kind of concentrated around it. There is a sea right next to it, a good bread shop, restaurants and car rental. There is also a store that sells alcohol and condensed milk which will be very useful when making a fish soup.

seafood soup and Fish plata in Agadir

There is quite a common problem with hotel kitchens, which is a stove not being hot enough, so it is advisable to think more about soups. You can find a recipe in the article "What to eat in Morocco".

Considering the places to see that are close by, you can visit the Paradise Valley which is famous for its amazing nature and small waterfalls.

A little down the road along the beach you can reach a surfer's paradise - Taghazout. It is a great option if you are too lazy to go anywhere further to other cities and this is the closest place. There is also a crocodile farm worth to pay a visit.

Essaouira

Essaouira is an ancient Moroccan port town. It is known for its compact and cozy medina right next to the Atlantic Ocean and its narrow, sometimes misleading streets.

Essaouira, Moroccan medina at night

Moulay Youssef and Lalla Aicha Avenue separate the new Essaouira district and the medina. You will not be able to reach the medina by car, but you can easily find a place to stay for the night right on the line between the districts. If you plan to arrive when it's dark, it is better to rent out a riad outside of the medina, since it is hard enough to find a specific place during the day, let alone the night time.

the inside of a riad in Morocco

Personal recommendation to stay for the night - a riad called El Kasbah Souiria. You can go visit medina during the day after. Every riad is like a separate masterpiece of architecture and design.

We advise choosing only riads for the night stay. The outside and the inside of the riad are very contrasting. The hosts of riads are going the extra mile in order to transform the interior of their riads into something like the palace from the folk tales One Thousand and One Nights. Inside you will be able to find an abundance of colors, paintings, pools, fountains, plants and lights. Riad is a building consisting of 3-5 floors with a well in the middle. The well is where the light goes through into the building. The rooms are big, the ceiling is high and you can definitely feel the open space around yourself.

One very big advantage of a riad is its terrace. The terrace itself is usually consisting of more than one floor. The first floor usually has closed spaces and upstairs is wide, spacious and where the beautiful view kicks in. The stormy Atlantic is not scary even when the wind is strong, and it is very pleasant to simply sit on the terrace and have a dinner with an amazing view of the sunset.

the terraces of riads in the evening with a delightful view to the Atlantic Ocean in Essaouira

Even when the Atlantic Ocean is stormy, the wind is not as strong when sitting on the terrace at the riad Les Roses des Vents.

Another place worth visiting in Essaouira is the fishing port, where you can buy fresh fish and visit some local small fish restaurants that are close to the city. Same as with the Agadir, you will be able to choose your own fish to eat, but before you sit down at a restaurant table, agree on the price.

You may also visit the city temple, where you will be able to enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean and the harbor.

You can find more information on Essaouira in the article "What to do in Essaouira".

a place to buy argan oil in Essaouira

You may find the best argan oil, which would be a perfect gift for your friends and family in simple shops. Chefs and people who like cooking really appreciate this kind of oil with its specific nutty flavor. When used for cosmetic purposes, argan oil absorbs into the skin in no time. The argan oil for cosmetic purposes costs about 40 euros per liter and for cooking purposes - around 30 euros per liter.

Moroccan pancake with fried sardine and sweet argan oil sauce

Sweet sauce made of argan oil brings out very interesting combination when eaten with Moroccan pancake and fried sardine.

fish market in Essaouira

Amazing variety of fresh fish in Savira fish market, where the chances of accidentally buying not-so-fresh fish is significantly lower. But, going further from it, in small restaurants, you should still ask for the chance to be able to choose your own fish.

fishermen port in Essaouira

Fishing port in Essaouira. There is also a fish market and some restaurants around.

the stronghold of Essaouira

The stronghold of Essaouira defended the city from the pirates.

Marrakech

Marrakech is a very interesting big city where almost all the buildings are of the same height. You can simply climb up on the roof of the restaurant and you will be able to enjoy a beautiful view to the Atlas Mountains. Marrakech is situated in a very strategically comfortable place and the desert has transformed into an oasis thanks to the water going down the Atlas Mountains. The hot weather, fertile soil and water have turned all the surroundings into a one big garden.

evening in Marakech with a view to the Atlas Mountains

It is impossible not to mention the food culture of Marrakech. Here, even an ordinary street vendor could easily become a famous chef of a restaurant. You simply must try the fried sardines - they will just melt in your mouth. The amazing food is elevated up to the culinary ecstasy by marvelous views of Marrakech, Essaouira or any other city of Morocco from the rooftop terraces. The cities are always of a similar height which means that every single terrace turns out to be a perfect viewpoint. Almost every restaurant and riad has this kind of terraces. Here you can see the view from riad and a restaurant called Riado El Kennaria, where you can find the great prices for both, accommodation and the food.

the inside of a riad BonHeur in Marrakech

Riad BonHeur is a very calm place with an incredible view, big rooms and a great price. The host of this riad is a cook and gives out some lessons on cooking.

our room in one of the riads

A room in BonHeaur hotel with our persona terrace.

Same as with Essaouira, in Marrakech it is also advisable to stay in riads. You may find the riads that we personally recommend in the map below. If you come to Marrakech to stay for longer, you can choose some great excursions to Fez, which is the third biggest city in Morocco or book a two-day or three-day long trip to the desert through the Atlas Mountains. You can also go to Agadir or Essaouira.

The most impressive thing in Marrakech was wandering through the medina, which is quite big so it is important to realize the structure of it. East from Djemma El Fnaa Square you will find the Derb Dabachi Street. South from Jamma El Fna, towards the palaces of the sultans El Badi and El Bahia, you can find Zituon Lakdim Street. From all the points of the city you can see the Koutoubia mosque. If you find yourself in a place of being lost and you are not willing to pay anything for the directions from the local guide, all you have to do is go to the nearest riad and pretend to be interested in renting it out. Then go up to the rooftop terrace and you will see clearly where you are and where you have to go.

El Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech

The best landmark to help you navigate through the city is Koutoubia mosque. Close to it you can always find a space to leave a car and come to medina on foot.

La Majorelle garden in Marrakech

Here you can see the beautiful Majorelle botanic garden in Marrakech. There is a quite long walking distance to it, but it's worth it since on the way to it you can still see quite a lot of medina. This was one of the favorite places for vacation of a famous designer Yves Saint Laurent. Here you can see his villa and a museum dedicated to him.

carriage taxi near the Jamaa el Fna square market

To reach the museum, just like any other place, you can always use taxi services. You can even come here in a carriage!

Saadian mausoleum in Marrakech, Morocco

On the other side of the medina you can find a Saadian mausoleum, where the entrance fee is 7 euros, the same as to El Bahia and El Badi palace.

El Bahia palace in Marrakech

Here is the view to the El Bahia palace from the terrace of El Badi palace. To visit the palaces, you should have at least one and a half hour each. While enjoying beautiful views there, you will be coming closer to the Jamaa El Fna Square.

Marrakech Jamaa el Fna market at night

During the night, this typically empty square comes to life. There you can find an abundance of delicious food and not any less people inviting you to try everything.

Jamaa el Fna market at night in Marrakech

This is an example of one interesting dish that consists of sheep's stewed head, brain, and tongue and is typically eaten with bare hands.

You can find more about Marrakech in a separate article "What to do in Marrakech".

Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Atlas Mountains are for sure something that makes Morocco special. Special because of everything it has: nature, the culture of the people and climate. If you come to Morocco and don't visit the Atlas Mountains - you did not actually see Morocco.

The highness of the Atlas Mountains is a natural obstacle for the clouds coming from the Atlantic Ocean. The northern side of Morocco gets 5 - 6 times more rain than the southern side of the country and the water, coming to the desert through the mountain rivers turns it into a blossoming garden. The Atlas Mountains are rich in rare plants which makes their small area of habitat into like a small different island in this huge continent of Africa. When the nature looks so incredible now, simply imagine how it had to look like before the touch of urbanization.

forests in the Atlas Mountains

The Toufliht forest in the Atlas Mountains. In the map you can see a 15 kilometers long route on foot, sadly, we did not have enough time, but we do think that it would be worth the time. These rocks are full of beautiful quartzite druse and the surroundings are filled with trees of different kind, such as impressive Atlas cedar, cedar pine and black pine. On our path we saw a children camp, which was empty because of the autumn. A path going through it leads to the mountains. In a hot summer day, the aroma should be breathtaking.

There are three different routes going through the Atlas Mountains, two of which we tried out ourselves. Sadly, we did not have enough time to try out the third one, even though we really wanted to.

It is worth paying a visit to the Ouzoud Falls when you choose the R307 route through the Atlas Mountains, passing through Demnate. One possible goal of destination is Quarzazate if you wish to continue towards the Sahara Desert, but you can also go back through the N9 via Ait Benhadou - a route that runs through the Toufliht forest, where you can admire some impressive trees, such as the Atlas cedar, black pine and cedar pine, which are more than a hundred-year-old.

Another route through the Atlas Mountains is the R203. When choosing this route, you will be able to pass right through the highest point of the Atlas Mountains - Toubkal, which is 4167 meters above the sea level high. You can reach it by car and some distance on foot as well when you choose the route through the Imlil Mountain resort.

Ouzoud valley

A possible starting point of the trip through the Atlas Mountains may be the Ouzoud Falls, which is a great example of the green foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

Ouzoud waterfalls, view from the top

Beautiful Ouzoud falls in the morning, which is, personally for me, the best time to visit the falls. We chose the path to go to the very bottom, where you can find lots of small restaurants and souvenir shops, also, some places of accommodation. This is the view near the Samir house, which is a very cool hotel with affordable prices. That would be a great choice for those who want to stay further from the city and wants some peace and quiet. As soon as you enter the town, you get the attention from the boys, offering parking services.

monkeys near the Ouzoud waterfalls

In the early morning hours, these hillside tree monkeys rush to the tourist zone. The older monkeys have already proved their situation in the class and have their own spots. They find some Berber (a member of an ethnic group living in the region), who sells some nuts and together they ask for a small fee to help tourists take a photo with one of the monkeys on their shoulders.

Berberian omelet in Ouzoud

Berberian omelet is a rich and filling meal, perfect for breakfast to start the long day in the mountains. Later, in the R307 route we did not see any places to eat so fill your stomach up in advance. Grab some freshly baked bread, some fruit and boiled eggs and keep in mind that the road is quite long - 5 to 6 hours. And don't forget the factor of the weather, because the trip may even take longer after the rain and with some mudflows on the road.

Ouzoud waterfalls during the sunrise

The view of the Ouzoud Falls from the bottom of the hill. After a heavy rain, the strength of water is naturally bigger and you can definitely feel that strength, however, the water is not clear then. In my opinion, you can definitely spend up to a couple of days in here and enjoy the slow strolls near the river, beautiful surroundings and delicious food.

snowy Atlas Mountains tops

Right before the Denmate you can already see the snowy mountain tops, which is the view that will be there for two thirds of a whole route. It was actually kind of scary when we started thinking how will we be able to drive past it through the snow.

Atlas Mountains

When going up, the green color disappears from the sight and stays at the valley of the river.

canyons in the Atlas Mountains

The view of the canyons of the Atlas Mountains on road R307.

road R307 in Atlas Mountains

The R307 is a one lane road with quite steep slope. Our rather weak Ford Fiesta with its 1.2-liter engine did manage to conquer this road, even though we usually had to go on only the second gear.

goats in the Atlas Mountains

There are only goats and Berbers living on this barren.

Ait Benhadou during the sunrise

After the Atlas Mountains we passed through Quarzazate, but did not stop to look around. Quarzazate is famous for its movie making industry. It has a lot of big studios where movies with the desert are made. We reached the town of Ait Benhadou when it was dark already and we stayed at a riad La Baraka. We woke up to an incredible view - the sunrise gives the town of Ait Benhadou even stronger red color.

Ait Benhadou

You probably saw this little town in many famous movies and series, such as The Gladiator, Game of Thrones, Asterix and Obelix and Legionnaire. There are two main paths to the town - a normal bridge through the river and a path crossing the river made out of plastic bags. The visit to the town is free but some yards of the houses have their own "museums" installed and charge for visiting it.

Moroccan souvenirs

The souvenirs from Air Benhadou has some Sub-Saharan (also known as the Black African) vibe and specifics.

valley oasis of Asif Ounila river and road P1506 in Atlas Mountains

The valley of the river Asif Ounila, which is the same river that runs through Ait Benhadou. Right next to it there is a two-lane P1506 road, which later merge into N9 road. The excursions for the richer tourists that are being brought from Marrakech to the desert with jeep cars typically go through here and make stops at the most beautiful places.

goat tagine in the Atlas Mountains

We had one of the best lamb tagines in the Berber garden, Tiznit.

the valley of the Atlas Mountains

You can see amazing verdant green valleys on the northern side of the Atlas Mountains.

restaurant Auberge Toufliht

Here you can see Auberge Toufliht restaurant and hotel. If this place is full at the time you're here, you can try out the restaurant on top of it with even better view to the valley.

The desert in Morocco

By the south side of Atlas Mountains lies the Sahara Desert with tourist zones in Mhamid and Merzouga, which is a little further so in order to reach it at descent time, you should leave the Ait Benhadou pretty early in the morning. On the way you may make quick stops at Todgha Gorge and the Dadès valley. Merzouga is known for its higher sand dunes. It would take you few hours to reach the tourist zone in Mhamid.

In the desert you are offered the trip package that includes the camel ride and a night in the desert. You should consider adding a couple of additional days if you want to visit and really experience the desert.

During the longer summer days one day would be enough to pass the Atlas Mountains and reach Mhamid, but in order to reach the Merzouga, you should find a place to spend the night somewhere around Quarzazate or Ait Benhadou.

Sidi Ifni and Legzira Beach

On the south side of Morocco, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean you will find a whole different version of Morocco. These are the territories that Morocco took over from the Spanish not that long time ago. Sidi Ifni is a cozy small town and its most famous place to visit is the Legzira Beach. It is advisable to go there by a car taking the road P1905 and to take the time for an amazing walk along the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

a viewpoint near the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Sidi Ifni

Tiboujaaratine beach near Tiznit.

beach and hotel Mirlefte

Mirleft beach on the way to Sidi Ifni. In the picture - a luxurious and quite expensive Dar Najmat hotel.

arc in Legzira, Sidi Ifni

Most beautiful views in the Legzira beach while watching a sunset. Just don't forget to consider an important factor of the nature, because during the time of a flood the path may be under the water. You may find this natural arc about 15min outside Legzira and the furthest arc is about 1,5h away. You can reach it by foot, but comfortable shoes would be required.

arcs in Legzira, Sifi Ifni

The beautiful mystery-filled view of the arc during the sunset. In order to catch photos of it you might want to come back here and wait until the sun gets redder and comes close to the sea.

town of Legzira

Hotels of Legzira right on the beach. We paid 25 euros for a double room, but sadly it is quite hard to book a place in advance since it's difficult to find it on Booking.com.

hotel in Legzira

During the night time, the flood makes the sea line come really close to the hotels. Inside you may find the bed sheets wet and the surface of the furniture with water drops on top. It may seem as cold and uncomfortable, but personally I can't remember a time I felt more refreshing.

coast of the Atlantic Ocean near Legzira

You may find cliffs on the other side of Legzira that are as spectacular as all the others.

fishing on the coast of the Atlantic in Morocco

There are quite a lot of fishermen on the coast. Long fishing rods are swinging on the beach from the top of the cliffs. Sometimes they manage to catch some little fish, which are probably crucian carps, weighting around 150 - 200 grams.

Taghazout

Situated near the Agadir, fishermen town of Taghazout will surprise you with its contrast to the modern Agadir. You may find hotels and restaurants right on the beach and the food is delicious and cheap. This town is a real paradise for the surfers and you may find a surfboard rental on every single corner. There is a road marked on the map that goes through the town but when we were traveling, this road was closed. You may park the car before the town starts and party there with no worries.

surfers in Taghazout

There are so many surfers in here. On the way to Essaouira, there are many parking lots and spaces to stay in a tent or a camper along the beach.

Taghazout

Taghazout boat "dock". The boats are taken out of the water using a tractor and, in the morning, you may buy fresh fish here.

best restaurants in Taghazout

Restaurants on the beach in Taghazout which offer delicious and cheap food and great atmosphere.

squid tagine in Taghazout

Squid tagine in restaurants of Taghazout will cost you about 7 euros.

Useful information and tips about Morocco

As mentioned before, everywhere in Morocco you have to bargain. There are some places where the prices are fixed, but there are very few of them. In these places you may get the understanding how much everything should actually cost in Morocco. It is best to buy in the places where there are a lot of locals and small number of tourists. If you buy food in places like that, you can be quite sure that it will be delicious and the price will be fair. It is not that difficult to find great quality and prices, including in the restaurants. One sign that shows if a restaurant is good is a variety of tagines warming up on display.

supermarket in Agadir

Anaprix supermarket in Agadir is a place where the price is fixed and you may pay with your credit card, which is very useful.

alcohol in Agadir

It is best to buy alcoholic beverages in the supermarkets of Agadir. There is also a specialized store in Essaouira near the Bab Doukkala gateway that is worth visiting if needed. Moroccan vines are quite good, Sahara reserve is a nice white wine from the vineyards of Grenache, which costs around 7 euros. You can buy local beer for 2 euros, local vodka for around 18 euros per liter.

Moroccan bread patty will cost you 1 dirham each. It is advisable to buy different kinds of them, but only the amount that you will be able to eat in one day. Corn patties were amazing.

On the street you can buy fried sardine for 2 dirhams, fried meat skewers for around 5 dirhams. This meat is usually served in a piece of bread patty with some vegetables which makes it similar to a traditional hot dog - an incredible delicious one, by the way.

Traditional dishes like tagine and couscous will cost you about 6 euros. We would advise you to buy separate tagines each, because of the possible variety to choose from and the size of the dishes. Small individual plate will fill you more than a half of a large 2-people-plate.

A kilogram of good quality fresh fish in the market will cost you about 6 euros.

Taxi cars are available in different sizes - small and big ones and the prices are fixed accordingly. In Agadir a small taxi will cost you 2,5 euro and a big one - 5 euros. Don't forget to agree on the price before you sit in the car in Marrakech.

 

 

More information about Morocco may be found in the following articles:

Map of places to see in Morocco

What to do in Marrakech

Morocco by car

What to do in Essaouira

Traveling in the Atlas Mountains

Comments (0)
Sign in if you wish to comment