14 Best Day Trips from Marrakech: Explore Morocco Beyond the Pink City

Wondering what the best day trips from Marrakech are? Here’s a list of adventures you can have near the Pink City!

Marrakech is undoubtedly one of the best Morocco cities to visit, and while the city itself is a fascinating place to visit, it also happens to be a fantastic base to explore the rest of the country has to offer.

Whether you’re looking to explore ancient ruins, hike through stunning landscapes or simply relax in a peaceful oasis, there’s something for everyone.

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best day trips from Marrakech, so you can make the most of your time in this incredible part of the world.

14 Best Day Trips from Marrakech

1. Imlil and Toubkal National Park (High Atlas)

If you’re looking for the best day trips from Marrakech that will take you off the beaten path and into the heart of Morocco’s natural beauty, then head to Imlil and Toubkal National Park.

This area is located in the High Atlas Mountains and is only about an hour and a half drive from Marrakech.

Once you arrive in Imlil, you can take a guided hike through the Toubkal National Park. This park is home to the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal, which stands at 4,167 meters.

The hike can be pretty challenging, but the views are worth every single drop of sweat, not to mention there’s plenty along the way to keep you entertained. You’ll pass through small Berber villages, see stunning waterfalls, and take in the rugged beauty of the mountains.

If you’re not up for a hike, you can still enjoy the beauty of Imlil by taking a leisurely walk through the village. You can visit the local market, see the traditional Berber architecture, and enjoy a cup of mint tea at one of the many cafes scattered all over.

Best Day Trip Tours to Imlil and Toubkal National Park:

  • Private Tour to Imlil Valley including Guided Hike and Lunch: This full-day tour includes round-trip transport from your Marrakech hotel, a guided hiking tour, a visit to a Berber village, time at an argan oil farm, and a Berber lunch in the home of a local family.
  • Day Hiking in the Atlas Mountain: This small group tour is a great option if you’re more on a budget. You’ll get to hike the best trails in Toubkal, with great views of the valleys and villages along the way.
  • Imlil Day Trip with Camel Ride: This tour is a wonderful choice if you want to explore Imlil but don’t necessarily want to hike. Led by a certified local guide, you will have the opportunity to experience a camel ride in traditional clothing, visit several traditional villages, and gain insight into the customs and daily lives of the Berber people. You will also taste a delicious lunch made by a local Beber woman.

2. Ourika Valley

If you’re looking for a day trip from Marrakech that offers a mix of natural beauty and cultural experiences, the Ourika Valley is a great choice.

Day Trips from Marrakech

Located just 45 minutes from the city, this lush valley is home to Berber villages, waterfalls, and stunning scenery.

Once you arrive in the valley, you can explore the Berber villages on foot or by hiring a local guide. You can also visit the Setti Fatma waterfalls, which are a series of seven cascades that offer a refreshing break from the heat.

The hike to the waterfalls takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and you’ll need sturdy shoes and plenty of water.

After hiking, you can then head over to several villages and learn about traditional Berber culture. This makes Ourika Valley one of the best day trips from Marrakech for a mix of nature and culture.

Best Day Trip Tours to Ourika Valley:

3. Essaouira

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, Essaouira is a great option for a day trip. This coastal city is just a few hours away and offers a completely different vibe.

Day Trips from Marrakech

Once you arrive, you’ll immediately notice the laid-back atmosphere. The streets are lined with blue and white buildings, the ocean breeze is refreshing, and there are also great options for shopping in Essaouira!

A major tip is to start this day trip as early as possible as there are lots of things to do in Essaouira. If you’re interested in history, you can visit the old medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll find narrow streets, colorful markets, and plenty of photo opportunities. One of the must-see attractions is the Skala de la Ville, a historic fortress with great views of the ocean.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll fall head over heels in love with Essaouira’s seafood scene. There are plenty of restaurants serving fresh fish and seafood dishes, and you can even watch the fishermen bring in their catch at the port.

Best Day Trip Tours to Essaouira:

  • Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakech: This day trip to Essaouira is a great option if you want to skip the haggle of driving but still want to be able to explore the city independently at your leisure. The tour takes care of round-trip transportation, but once you get to Essaouira, you’ll be free to explore at your own pace!
  • Private Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakech: This private tour also gives you tons of freedom to explore on your own, but you’ll have your own private vehicle with a guide, so you’ll have even more independence.
  • Premium Surf Trip to Essaouira from Marrakesh: Surfing is one of the top activities in Essaouira and this tour focuses specifically on that! You will get to enjoy a 2-hour surfing session on the Moroccan coast, followed by lunch and a little tour of the city.

4. Ouzoud Waterfalls

Located about 150 kilometers northeast of the city, Ouzoud Waterfalls is another of the best day trips from Marrakech if a little nature is what you’re after. These beautiful falls offer stunning natural beauty that will leave you in awe.

Day Trips from Marrakech

The Ouzoud Waterfalls are the highest waterfalls in North Africa, with a drop of about 110 meters.

During your visit, you can take a hike down to the base of the falls, where you can swim in the refreshing pools or take a boat ride. You can also hike up to the top of the falls, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Along the way, you’ll encounter friendly local vendors selling souvenirs and traditional Moroccan snacks. You can also find several restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

Best Day Trip Tours to Ouzoud Waterfalls:

  • Ouzoud Waterfalls from Marrakech with Boat Ride: Take a journey from Marrakech to the Ouzoud Waterfalls and witness the magnificent mountain scenery, picturesque olive groves, and a collection of impressive cascades in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Throughout the day, you’ll have time to hike, explore the area, have lunch, and enjoy a boat ride for a unique view of the falls.
  • Ouzoud Falls Day Trip from Marrakech: Experience a relaxing day trip from Marrakech to the Ouzoud Falls, where you can cross the river on a hand-operated barge, explore the cafes at the water’s edge, and observe the Barbary apes residing in the lush river valley. 

5. Oukaimeden Valley

If you’re looking for day trips from Marrakech that offer stunning views and outdoor activities, the Oukaimeden Valley is a perfect choice.

Day Trips from Marrakech

Located about an hour and a half away from Marrakech, this valley is home to the highest ski resort in Africa and offers breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains.

When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful scenery of the valley and the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains.

You can take a leisurely stroll through the valley and enjoy the fresh mountain air or take a more adventurous route and go skiing or snowboarding if you happen to be visiting during the season.

If you’re not into winter sports, don’t worry! Oukaimeden Valley offers plenty of other activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. You can explore the valley and its surroundings while taking in the stunning views of the mountains and the Berber villages.

Best Day Trip Tours to Oukaimeden Valley:

  • Atlas Mountain Skiing including Ski Pass from Marrakech: This hassle-free tour takes care of all the logistics for you. Enjoy pickup directly from your Marrakech hotel and be transported to Oukaïmeden, where your guide will assist with arranging your lift pass and equipment rental so you can spend the day skiing without having to worry about a thing.

6. Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate

If you’re looking for a day trip from Marrakech that will take you back in time, you should visit Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate. These two destinations are located about 200 km southeast of Marrakech and can be visited in a single day.

Day Trips from Marrakech

Ait Benhaddou is a fortified village that dates back to the 17th century. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been used as a filming location for many movies and TV shows, including Game of Thrones and Gladiator.

The village’s narrow streets and mud-brick houses in Ait Benhaddou will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to old Morocco.

After visiting Ait Benhaddou, you can head to Ouarzazate, which is known as the “Gateway to the Desert.”

This city is home to the Atlas Film Studios, which is the largest film studio in the world. Many famous movies, including Lawrence of Arabia and The Mummy, were filmed here. You can take a tour of the studios and see the sets of some of your favorite movies.

In addition to the film studios, Ouarzazate has other attractions worth visiting, such as the Taourirt Kasbah, which was once the residence of the Glaoui family, one of Morocco’s most powerful families. The kasbah has been restored and is now open to visitors.

Best Day Trip Tours to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate:

  • Day Trip to Ait Ben Haddou Ouarzazate: This great tour will have you exploring Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate, and the Tizi n’Tichkha mountain pass, giving you the chance to see three incredible places in one day.
  • Private Ait Ben Haddou Tour: This private tour is a great option if you want more privacy and freedom to explore Ait Ben Haddou.

7. Dades and Todra Gorges

The Dades and Todra Gorges are two other wonderful day trips from Marrakech you can take if nature and gorgeous landscapes are what you’re after.

Day Trips from Marrakech

To get there, you’ll need to take a long drive through the Atlas Mountains, but the journey is well worth it. As you wind your way through the mountains, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the rugged landscape made of towering peaks and deep valleys.

Once you arrive at the Dades Gorge, you’ll be able to explore the area on foot, taking in the dramatic rock formations and stunning vistas.

The gorge is known for its looming rock walls, which rise up to 300 meters in some places and its winding river that flows through the heart of the valley.

After you’ve explored the Dades Gorge, you can head to the nearby Todra Gorge, which is equally impressive. Here, you’ll find a narrow canyon with walls that rise up to 160 meters in some places, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring landscape.

One of the best ways to experience the Todra Gorge is to take a hike through the canyon, following the winding river as it flows through the heart of the valley. Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Don’t forget to get travel insurance for your trip! As always, I recommend Safety Wing for great prices and coverage abroad. It starts at only $45 USD per month and will have you covered with everything you may need during your trip! Check them out here.

8. Agafay Desert

Unlike the Sahara, the Agafay Desert is a rocky desert with stunning views of the Atlas Mountains and a place most people don’t know too much about.

Day Trips from Marrakech

To get there, you can book a tour or hire a driver to take you on a scenic drive through the desert. Once you arrive, you can take a camel ride or a quad bike tour to explore the desert.

One of the highlights of visiting the Agafay Desert is the opportunity to have a traditional Berber lunch in a desert camp. You can enjoy delicious Moroccan dishes while taking in the beautiful scenery.

Moreover, if you’re looking for a more adventurous experience, you can try sandboarding or hiking in the desert. The Agafay Desert also offers stargazing tours at night, where you can see the stars in all their glory without the light pollution of the city.

Best Day Trip Tours to Agafay Desert:

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9. Agadir

If you’re looking for a beach getaway, Agadir is the perfect day trip from Marrakech. Located on the Atlantic coast, Agadir is known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather.

Day Trips from Marrakech

When you arrive in Agadir, head straight to the beach. The main beach is 10 kilometers long and is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. You can also take a stroll along the beach promenade, which is lined with restaurants and cafes.

If you’re interested in history, visit the Kasbah of Agadir. This 16th-century fortress offers stunning views of the city and the ocean. You can also visit the Agadir Memorial Museum, which tells the story of the devastating earthquake that destroyed the city in 1960.

For a taste of local cuisine, head to the Souk El Had d’Agadir. This bustling market sells everything from spices and textiles to pottery and jewelry.

Keep in mind that the journey takes around 3 hours each way, so it’s best to leave early in the morning to make the most of your day trip.

Best Day Trip Tours to Agadir:

  • Full-Day Tour to Agadir: Spend the day exploring Agadir on this full-day tour. Highlights include checking out the famous Crocopark to see Nile crocodiles, visiting the major attractions and monuments in the city, lunch at the beach, a walking tour through the market (Souk El Had), and more.

10. La Palmeraie

If an easy and relaxed escape is what you’re after, La Palmerie is one of the easiest day trips from Marrakech.

This palm grove is located just outside the city and offers a really serene atmosphere of greenery, palm trees, and Beber houses.

You’ll find plenty of activities to choose from, ranging from camel rides through the palm grove, renting a bike and riding through the area, and even visiting the Palmeraie Golf Palace, which is a beautiful resort with a golf course, spa, and restaurants.

If you’re interested in learning more about the local culture, you can visit the Musée de la Palmeraie, which is a small museum that showcases traditional Berber life. You can also visit the Jardin Majorelle, which is one of the best things to do in Marrakech.

Best Day Trip Tours to La Palmerie

11. Asni

If you’re looking for an easy day trip from Marrakech that takes you to the Atlas Mountains, Asni is a great option.

This small town is located about an hour’s drive from Marrakech and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

If you’re interested in hiking, Asni is a great starting point for exploring the Atlas Mountains. There are several trails that lead up into the mountains, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes. You can hire a local guide to take you on a trek, or simply set out on your own.

Another popular activity in Asni is visiting the nearby Berber villages. These traditional villages offer a glimpse into the local way of life, and you can learn about Berber culture and customs. Many of the villages are accessible by car, but some can only be reached on foot.

As a tip, if your schedule allows, I recommend doing this day trip from Marrakech on a Saturday. This is when the Asni Saturday market opens and it’s a great place to find local artisan crafts.

Best Day Trip Tours to Asni:

  • Day Trip to Asni and Imlil from Marrakech: This full day on a full-day excursion from Marrakech includes a stop in Asni and Imlil. You’ll be able to enjoy a 2-hour hike at the base of Mount Toubkal and explore a variety of landscapes that provide a wonderful introduction to the culture and stunning scenery of the High Atlas Mountains.

12. Imouzzer

Located just about 60 kilometers northeast of Marrakech, this small town is known for its natural beauty and picturesque waterfalls.

This day trip is all about exploring the town’s charming streets and traditional Berber architecture. You’ll also find plenty of local shops selling handmade crafts and souvenirs, too!

One of the main attractions in Imouzzer is the stunning Cascades d’Imouzzer, a series of waterfalls that flow down from the surrounding mountains.

You can hike to the waterfalls on your own or hire a local guide to show you the way. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try your hand at rock climbing or rappelling in the nearby mountains. There are several local tour companies that offer guided excursions for these activities.

13. Lalla Takerkoust Lake

If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip from Marrakech, Lalla Takerkoust Lake is a great option. Located just 30 kilometers from the city, this man-made lake offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.

One of the best ways to enjoy the lake is by taking a boat ride. You can rent a traditional wooden boat and explore the lake’s calm waters at your own pace. As you glide across the lake, you’ll be surrounded by dreamy views of the Atlas Mountains.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also try your hand at some water sports. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing are all popular activities on the lake. You can rent equipment from local vendors or book a guided tour.

If you’d rather stay on land, there are plenty of hiking trails and picnic areas around the lake. You can take a leisurely stroll along the shore or hike up to one of the nearby viewpoints for a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Best Day Trip Tours to Lake Takerkoust:

  • Private Day Trip to Lake Takerkoust,Asni, and Ourika Valley: This beautiful tour combines three of the best day trips from Marrakech in one single day! Highlights include traveling on an off-road vehicle into the desert, checking out the best of Lake Takerkoust, seeing the waterfalls of Setti Fatma, and having tea at a traditional home with mountain views.

14. Hot Air Balloon Rides over the Desert

A hot air balloon ride is one of the best day trips from Marrakech to take, especially if what you’re after is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As you lift off from the ground, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the city’s stunning landscapes, including the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, the lush palm groves, and the winding rivers.

Best Hot Air Balloon Rides from Marrakech:

  • Small-Group Hot Air Balloon Ride over Marrakech and the Atlas: This small-group tour is a perfect choice if you want to experience a balloon ride over the city and the mountains but don’t want to break the bank.
  • Private Sunrise Balloon Ride with Royal Breakfast on Board: This hot air balloon ride is a bit more expensive, but it’s completely private and perfect for a special occasion or couples. You’ll fly at sunrise and enjoy a delicious breakfast on board. Afterward, you will also get to ride a camel to explore what you saw from the skies.

Best Day Trips from Marrakech: FAQs

What are the best day trips near Marrakech?

Marrakech is surrounded by beautiful and historic destinations that make for great day trips. Some of the best day trips near Marrakech include Essaouira, Ouzoud Waterfalls, and the Ourika Valley.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Can you do a day trip to the desert from Marrakech?

Yes, you can do a day trip to the desert from Marrakech. The closest desert to Marrakech is the Agafay Desert, which is just a short drive away.

The Agafay Desert is a mesmerizing expanse of arid land located in the heart of Morocco, just a short drive away from the bustling city of Marrakech.

Unlike the traditional image of a desert, Agafay is characterized by its rocky terrain, dotted with scattered shrubs and cacti.

The landscape is a study in contrasts, with the rugged, brown-hued rocks jutting up against the clear blue sky.

Despite its harsh and unforgiving environment, the Agafay Desert is home to a surprising variety of wildlife, including birds of prey, snakes, and small mammals.

Agafay Desert

Some popular day trips from Marrakech include visiting the Atlas Mountains, exploring the historic city of Ait Ben Haddou, and visiting the seaside town of Essaouira, to name just a few!

Ait Ben Haddou

What are the best Atlas Mountain day trips from Marrakech?

The best Atlas Mountain day trips from Marrakech include visiting the Ourika Valley, hiking in the Toubkal National Park, and exploring the Berber villages.

You can also take a scenic drive through the mountains and stop at various viewpoints along the way.

Ourika Valley

When is the best time to visit Marrakech?

The best time to visit Marrakech largely depends on your personal preferences and what you want to experience during your trip.

Generally, the city experiences hot summers and mild winters, with the peak tourist season falling between October and May. During this time, the weather is cooler and more pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the city’s vibrant markets, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions.

However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest time of year, with higher prices and larger crowds.

If you prefer a more laid-back and budget-friendly experience, the summer months (June to September) are considered the best time to visit Morocco for that. This is when the city is less crowded and prices are lower. Just be prepared for the heat, as temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F) during the day.

What are the best day trips from Marrakech to avoid crowds?

If you want to avoid crowds, some of the best day trips from Marrakech include visiting the Agafay Desert, exploring the Atlas Mountains, and taking a hot air balloon ride over the countryside. You can also visit the Ouzoud Waterfalls early in the morning to avoid crowds.

The snow-capped Atlas Mountains

Can I visit the Sahara Desert on a Day Trip from Marrakech?

Technically, it is possible to visit the Sahara Desert on a day trip from Marrakech, but it would be a very long and tiring journey.

The distance between Marrakech and the Sahara Desert is around 560 km, which takes around 9-10 hours of driving. This means that you would have to leave Marrakech very early in the morning and spend most of the day on the road.

Moreover, the Sahara Desert is a vast area, and it would be impossible to explore it fully in just one day. You would only be able to visit a small part of the desert, such as the outskirts of the Erg Chebbi dunes or the nearby oases.

I highly recommended spending at least one night in the desert to fully experience its beauty and serenity and make the journey worth it!

The Sahara Desert

Luckily, there are plenty of Sahara Desert tours from Marrakech, ranging from 2-day trips to multi-day getaways:

Where to Stay in Marrakech

If you’re still in the planning stages of your trip to Morocco and wondering where to stay, one of the best options is to book one of the best riads in Marrakech for an authentic experience.

Here are a few options for every budget:

Luxury: Royal Mansour Marrakech – This stunning riad boasts a sumptuous spa, hammam, and restaurant with gorgeous views of the Atlas Mountains, not to mention it also has a glorious outdoor pool. Book here.

Mid-range: Riad el Maktoub – Riad El Maktoub is a cozy and tasteful riad set in the heart of the medina. Its beautifully decorated rooms and spacious courtyard make it one of the best mid-range stays in the city. Book here.

Budget: Riad Miski – This beautiful riad is located right on the bustling Djemaa El Fna and offers tons of amenities like a swimming pool. Book here.

Travel Insurance for Marrakech

Don’t forget about travel insurance to travel to Morocco, especially if you plan on taking adventurous day trips from Morocco. Having travel insurance to back you up is essential.

If you’re still on the lookout for travel insurance for your trip, I always recommend HeyMondo for great prices and coverage abroad (they’ll cover medical expenses in case of any accidents, travel delays, cancellations, and much more).

Check them out here. You can also get 5% off if you book via this link!

Marrakech city center

Conclusion: Best Day Trips from Marrakech

Marrakech is a city that offers a plethora of options for day trips.

Whether you are interested in exploring the stunning landscapes of the Atlas Mountains, immersing yourself in the rich culture of the Berber villages, or experiencing the tranquility of the Sahara Desert, there is something for everyone.

From the vibrant colors of the Ourika Valley to the ancient Kasbahs of Ait Ben Haddou, these day trips from Marrakech offer a glimpse into the diverse and fascinating culture of Morocco.

Whether you are a history buff, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a change of scenery, these day trips from Marrakech are a wonderful way to get to know more of what Morocco has to offer.