6 Day Trips To Take From Marrakech, The Red City - Updated 2024

6 Day Trips To Take From Marrakech, The Red City - Updated 2024
| 7 min read

As one of the most prominent cities in Morocco, Marrakech has encountered a steep increase in tourism since its airport was built. It plays a key role in Morocco’s economy and culture. While you don’t want to miss out all that Marrakech has to offer, the surrounding region also offers much to explore. If you find yourself with some extra time to spare, why not take a day trip out to somewhere nearby?

Each destination embodies a different aspect of Morocco that you will not be able to experience in Marrakech alone. Even though you are free to explore by yourself, tours are much more convenient. From hotel pick-ups and drop-offs to a complete itinerary, your journey will be completely stress and worry free.

1. Ouzoud Waterfalls (From 90 USD)

Cascade Ozoud Waterfalls Morocco Maroc II
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Masha maria used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located a 2.5-hour drive (160 kilometers / 100 miles) northeast of Marrakech, Ouzoud Waterfalls is a popular day-trip destination near Grand Atlas village. As the most-visited attraction in the region, this natural wonder is one you cannot miss. You will feel your breath get taken away by the 110-meter-tall (360-foot-tall) tumbling cascades.

The name Ouzoud directly translates to ‘the act of grinding grain’, reflecting the vast number of mills in the area. Surrounded by lots of greenery, this trip will completely immerse you in nature. If you’re prepared to find your own way there to explore, do note that the bottom of the waterfall is only accessible by walking.

However, day trip guided tours to Ouzoud Falls from Marrakech are available for your consideration too. The tour takes you to the waterfall through the Atlas Mountains in a 4x4 vehicle or a minivan. Driving through deserts and villages, you are given the opportunity to witness the rural grounds of Morocco.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to snap some photos along the way. You will stop at various viewpoints, all of which provide remarkable views of the landscapes. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of a local macaque monkey hidden amidst the trees or of a rainbow above the falls.

You also have the option to walk down to the base of the waterfall, or visit the caves that contains local mills. After exploring, you are invited to sit back and enjoy lunch served at a restaurant by Ouzoud Waterfalls. With only a maximum of 6 people on each tour, you are guaranteed an intimate experience that you will never forget.

Viator: Ouzoud Falls Day Trip from Marrakech

Address: Pick-up from hotel in Marrakech

Duration: Around 9 hours

Price: From 90 USD

Contact: +1-702-648-5873

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2. Ouarzazate and Ait Benhaddou (from USD 164.0)

Kasbah Ouarzazate
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user jsemidey26 used under CC BY 2.0

Nicknamed ‘the door of the desert’, Ouarzazate serves as a popular base for desert trips because of its close proximity. Sitting at an elevation of 1,160 meters (3,810 feet) in the Atlas Mountains, this traditional Moroccan city holds lots of historical significance. It was formerly a pit-stop for traders’ en route between Europe and Morocco.

Known for its Ouazguita carpets with stunning red geometric designs, Ouarzazate is recognized for its outstanding handicrafts. It has also earned the title of ‘Moroccan Hollywood’ because many Hollywood movies were filmed here. So don’t be surprised if the city looks familiar. You’ve probably seen it in a movie or on your television scene!

Just west of Ouarzazate lies the city of Ait Benhaddou. Consisting of 6 forts and around 50 palaces, this ancient city is a prime example of clay structures, a common sight in Moroccan architecture. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ait Benhaddou is a must-visit on any visit to Ouarzazate.

Tours are offered that can take you to both cities in one day. You will be able to spend some time in Ait Benhaddou first, before continuing on to Ouarzazate. What makes the experience even more unique is that you get to travel through the renowned Tizi n’Tichka, one of the highest mountain passes in Africa at 2,260 meters (7,415 feet) above ground.

Along the way, you will have the opportunity to drive a range of landscapes. From Berber villages and lush mountains to kasbah architecture, you can uncover hidden corners of Morocco. Other optional activities on this tour include a visit to Taourirt Kasbah, a renowned ancient town with one of the most beautiful kasbahs, or a short stop at a movie studio in Ouarzazate.

Tip from Content Creator

Ait Ben Haddou
Step back in time at a historic Moroccan fortress! The mudstone buildings of Ait Ben Haddou date back hundreds of years and look like something from a different world! It’s also a top place for film buffs as it’s featured in scenes from films and TV shows such as "Gladiator," "The Mummy," "Game of Thrones," and many more!
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Marrakech to Atlas Mountains and Ait Ben Haddou: Full-Day Tour

Duration: 10 to 12 hours

355 reviews

3. Three Valleys (Ourika Valley, Oukaimeden Valley, Asni Valley) (from USD 76.0)

Spanning Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, the Atlas Mountains are among the most prominent features of the northern African landscape. Among this mountain range sits three remarkable valleys, Ourika, Oukaimeden, and Asni, all worth a visit on a day trip.

Dividing the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines from the Sahara Desert, these valleys are surrounded by nothing but the sky and the mountains. Each valley is unique in its own way. Ourika is known for its waterfalls and argan oil shops, Oukaimeden is known for its snowy peaks and skiing opportunities, while Asni is known for its small villages and orchards.

Driving through the mountains in a 4x4 vehicle or minivan will offer you great views of the mountain range. As the tour takes you through all three valleys, you get to witness and explore what each valley has to offer.

Experience traditional Berber life on this tour. For lunch, you are given the choice between eating at a restaurant or a Berber family home. The latter is recommended for a true local experience. Visits to the nearby Takerkoust Lake and Kik Plateau can also be included in the tour at additional costs.

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Atlas Mountains and 4 Valleys Guided Day Tour from Marrakech

Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes

1543 reviews

4. Agafay Desert, Lake Takerkoust, and the Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains
Source: pixabay

As the closest desert to Marrakech, Agafay Desert is one of the few possible deserts to do in a day trip from the city. Most other deserts in Morocco require at least a 1-night excursion. This makes Agafay Desert the perfect destination for those who wish to explore a desert during a trip to Morocco, but only have one day to spare.

Especially popular among quad bikers to explore, this arid desert will fulfill your desires for an exhilarating adventure. Backed by the snowy peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Agafay Desert creates a distinct landscape unlike anything you have ever seen before.

Lake Takerkoust and the Atlas Mountains are also convenient stops added to your itinerary on a day trip to Agafay Desert. You get an opportunity to escape from the city for a while and just relax in the tranquil atmosphere of nature’s finest. With the top of the Atlas Mountains towering on the horizon, Lake Takerkoust is the peaceful oasis you need on this day trip.

Tours that take you to three destinations in one day are offered. Ride a mule or camel through Agafay Desert. Boat, swim, or sail on Lake Takerkoust. Visit a local Berber house. Encounter a traditional weekly market (on Tuesdays) in the Berber town of Amizmiz. Take a short hike through the Atlas Mountains. All of these experiences are unique to Morocco, and a must-do on the tour.

The option to ride a quad bike or buggy in the desert is also available for an additional charge. After doing all that, you will be given time to discover Tassa Ouirgane village, and admire the views of Azzaden Valley and Takerkhort Wildlife Reserve from the Atlas Mountains.

Marrakech Day Trips: Agafay Desert Day Trip

Address: Pick-up from hotel in Marrakech

Duration: Around 10 hours

Contact: +212-662-095-502

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5. Essaouira (From 48 USD)

Once known as Mogador, Essaouira is a well-known Moroccan port city that remains partially bound by fortress walls today. Recognized for its rich heritage, this ancient city showcases a unique blend of Berber, African, and Portuguese influences. Its medina is an ideal example of an 18th-century fortified town.

Within the medina lie countless small handicrafts businesses. Renowned for its wood carvings, Essaouira is home to some of the most elaborate wood works you will find. It has also served as one of the main fishing harbors in Morocco for years. Kitesurfing, windsurfing, quad biking excursions, and Berber massages are also popular activities for visitors here.

The Viator day-trip tour offered to Essaouira not only takes you to the city, but also makes a stop along the way at an Argan Women’s Co-operative. Observe how local women extract oil from argan nuts. You’ve probably used argan oil before, be it in cooking or in your hair, and learning about how its made will make you appreciate it even more.

A guided tour of the harbor, 18th-century sea fort, old handicrafts market, and jewelry quarter are all part of the itinerary. Free time is also provided for you to eat lunch and browse the souks on your own. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir before heading back! From handmade pottery to intricate woven rugs, you’ll be able to find something to remember your trip by.

Viator: Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakech

Address: Pick-up from hotel in Marrakech

Duration: 11.5 hours

Price: From 48 USD

Contact: +1-702-648-5873

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6. Palmeraie

La Palmeraie de Marrakech 701
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Viault used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Directly translating to ‘palm grove’ in English, Palmeraie was named after the hundreds of thousands of palm trees gathered in the area. Located just north of Marrakech, Palmeraie covers 54 square miles (140 square kilometers) area in total. It is also home to famous resorts (e.g. Palmeraie Resorts), perfect for those seeking a luxurious vacation.

Because of its proximity to Marrakech, Palmeraie is easily doable on a short day trip, only requiring around 3 hours. Get a true Moroccan experience by riding a camel here. A suitable activity for both children and adults, camel-riding will bring you an excitement like you have never felt before. Do try and choose an animal that looks well cared for though.

For your convenience, why not join a pre-planned guided tour to Palmeraie? The tour includes a 1.5-hour camel ride, photo-ops with camels, and a delicious cup of mint tea served in a traditional Bedouin tent. You also an opportunity to travel down old caravan roads that once defined the city.

No trip to Marrakech would be complete without a visit to Palmeraie. It is the chance for you to escape the bustling streets of Marrakech, even if it is just for a couple of hours. If your time is Marrakech is tight and you can’t afford to visit the other day trip recommendations listed above, you have to at least stop by Palmeraie!

Marrakech Desert: Marrakech Camel Ride in the Palmeraie

Address: Pick-up from hotel in Marrakech

Hours: 9 am - 12 noon, or 2 pm - 5 pm

Duration: 3 hours

Price: 28 USD

Contact: +212-661-792-104

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A Moroccon adventure beyond Marrakech

Tourism in Morocco is so much more than Marrakech. Even though the popular tourist city captures a lot of what the country has to offer, you can never truly discover a place just by staying in one spot. You need to venture out beyond the common boundaries for the most fulfilling experiences. Surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, cascading waterfalls, and dry sandy deserts, Marrakech is the perfect base for you to admire nearby landscapes. There is no better way to explore rural Moroccan lands than from the heart of the country.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Verena is currently a journalism student in New York City. Having to move around a lot throughout her childhood triggered her passion for traveling at a young age. She believes that exploring new...Read more

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