Marrakesh is so magical and full of culture, history, and fascinating surprises that it could occupy an entire vacation. But if you want to take a break from the bustle of the city and see some of Morocco’s incredible landscapes, natural retreats, and diverse communities, a day trip from the city is a fantastic way to experience the diversity of Morocco, just a short distance from the city.
The Ourika Valley is just a short distance from Marrakesh, and offers a beautiful excursion into the forested river valley, with small traditional Berber villages, and abundant flowering spring blossoms at the foothills of the Atlas mountains. A hike up to the village of Setti Fatma is rewarded with seven beautiful waterfalls, and a welcome retreat from summer heat and bustle of the city.
The Ouzoud Falls are one of the most beautiful natural sights in Morocco. The 330 foot high waterfall is an incredible site, and the easy approach through the lush valley makes it a nice walk. The hike to the top is rewarded with incredible views, cafes on the water, local villages and traditional handcrafts, and makes a wonderful excursion from Marrakesh.
Essaouira was once a Portuguese fortress, and the walls, ramparts, towers are a reminder of the historic conflicts in this coastal city. Today, however, it is a relaxed seaside town, known for its contemporary Moroccan art scene, and world-class windsurfing that attracts visitors from around the globe. The laid-back culture, local traditional music, ocean-fresh seafood, and natural beauty of Essaouira led to it being ranked one of the “Ten Happiest Destinations” of 2013.
The tiny mountain village of Imlil has been transformed by tourism in recent decades, so summer months can be a bit crowded and hectic. The gorgeous scenery, terraced orchards, and stunning views all attract visitors, but it is also the starting point for most excursions to climb the famous Jebel Toubkal, or simply to hike the Atlas mountains. But it’s also a lovely spot to simply have dinner with a spectacular view and hear the mosques’ call to prayer echo magically down the valley.
Stunning Takerkoust Lake was created during the French Protectorate in Morocco, by damming the river for electricity. The resulting lake has become a popular excursion from Marrakech, with incredible water, cool temperatures, lush vegetation, and incredible views of the mountains rising over the landscape. The fresh water and quiet beaches offer all kinds of water activities, including swimming, boating, and waterskiing. You can also bike, drive, and hike the surrounding landscape, or even ride a camel. Locals and visitors alike enjoy a visit to the lake to relax and cool off.