If I’m on a slightly longer city break (stretch over four days or three nights or more), I’ll always look for options to get out of the city for a day and see what else is on offer. It might be another local town like Sintra which I stayed in Lisbon, or this time when in Marrakech I decided to head straight for the Atlas Mountains.
I took time out of my Marrakech itinerary for an Atlas Mountains day trip, and it totally didn’t disappoint. I have to say I didn’t know that much about this mountain region, but you’ll actually find the Atlas Mountains across northwestern Africa, spanning Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Given that they are just 30 minutes from the medina walls in Marrakech, it’s a must do trip for any city break aficionado.
For what it is worth, I personally believe a proper tour here is necessary. Firstly, I’d suggest it is pretty easy to get lost, and also difficult to know where the best views are if you don’t know the area. Secondly, driving around the mountains is terrifying and you really need to be experienced to navigate the sheer drops into the abyss (and the other local drivers)!
We booked our 4×4 tour via British Airways for around £67pp which included your driver and guide, a full day tour and lunch – just search for experiences on the linked page and you’ll find it. Viator also offer some really cost effective Atlas Mountains day trips if you want a different itinerary.
We found that a good driver and guide can give an excellent overview of life in the mountains, and about the Berber people – the indigenous people of North Africa who in many ways are completely different to the Marrakshis you’ll find in the city. On our specific tour, after being picked up at about 8.30am, we made our way to the mountains via a local community pottery shop and the Ourika Valley where we could see first hand the Berber houses and villages carved out in the mountains.
As the clouds rose, so did we – stopping for breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains in the High Atlas, before stopping for mint tea and Berber biscuits at a traditional Berber house.
If I haven’t yet convinced you that this is the day trip for you, maybe this photo guide will. Because honestly? The view was breathtaking.The Atlas Mountains are one of the most beautiful and raw areas of natural beauty in the world. Thinking about visiting them? This photo guide will get you booking immediately!Click To Tweet
If this post has inspired and intrigued you to don your hiking boots and warm jacket (you’ll need them!) and get flights booked, you might also want to plan your full Marrakech city break. A trip here is totally magical, but the addition of the mountains just gives it the little more bang for you buck!
Let me know your favourite places to get away from the city in the comments!
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