Natural Marrakech: the Atlas Mountains


Marrakech is a popular Moroccan destination with very good reason – it’s home to some of the country’s most interesting historical sites, it’s where you’ll find some of the most vibrant cultural attractions and it’s a beautiful city with varied architecture.

However, a holiday in Marrakech doesn’t have to be all about spending time in among the hustle and bustle of the city, as it’s just a short distance from one of Morocco’s top natural attractions – the Atlas Mountains.

There are plenty of day trips to this stunning region from Marrakech, which makes it easy to escape the urban sprawl and discover a more peaceful side of the country. We’re going to take a look at what the Atlas Mountains have to offer, as well as the activities you can get up to when you visit them.

All about the Atlas Mountains

The Atlas – and more specifically the High Atlas – Mountains are a stunning range in Morocco that boasts the country’s, and north Africa’s, highest peak. Jebel Toubkal is a popular destination for serious hikers who enjoy the challenge of tackling the steep climb to the summit and, of course, the wonderful views they’re rewarded with at the top.

Aside from the mountains themselves, one of the most fascinating things about the region is the Berber communities who inhabit it – and who have done so for thousands of years. Many of those who still live in the mountains have a traditional lifestyle, giving you an insight into this side of Morocco’s heritage.

When you travel to this region, you will usually spend at least a few hours in a Berber village, where you can see the handicrafts they produce, as well as learn more about how they’ve survived in this landscape for centuries.

Trekking in the High Atlas Mountains

One of the most popular ways to see the High Atlas Mountains is on foot, and with numerous hiking trails in the foothills, it’s little surprise why. You can easily travel from Marrakech, go for a walk and return to the city in a day, so if you don’t want to spend a night in the mountains you don’t have to.

Imlil is a good starting point for a hike, as there’s a 4 km trail that leads to a couple of the Berber villages before bringing you back to your starting point. The Amizmiz Valley is another option that’s great if you’re after some easy to moderate hiking. This region is home to several villages and you can visit one or more of them during a day of walking.

The Tassa Ouirgane National Park is also worth exploring on foot if you have the opportunity – it’s home to vast orchards that are surrounded by picturesque peaks, and small communities tucked away in the foothills of the mountains, making it a beautiful area for a trek.

Anyone who wants a real challenge – and who’s prepared to spend a few days in the Atlas Mountains – can tackle Jebel Toubkal. The trail to the top is walkable for the majority of the year, although snow and ice makes it hard going in the winter months, so anyone without experience of using ice axes and crampons may want to avoid this period.

If this has piqued your interest in discovering this part of Morocco, but you’d still like to soak up the sights and sounds of Marrakech, check out the great deals on accommodation offered by Hotelopia – bagging a bargain here could mean you’ve got more money to spend on exploring once you arrive.

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