• Nick and Elen

An escape to the Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Exploring cities has always been something we truly enjoy during our travels, but we'd lie if we said that spending time in more rural areas and closer to nature, doesn't feel extra special! After a few days in bustling Marrakesh, we found ourselves in need of some fresh air and open views. Thankfully, an escape to the Atlas Mountains was up next in our itinerary, with Private Tours of Morocco.

Especially if you're traveling by car between Marrakesh and Fes and are not short of time, the best way to go is through the Atlas Mountains and all of the picturesque towns and villages you'll meet on the way. You can either rent a car or hire a local guide, like we did.

In this post, we've collected the ultimate highlights of our trip to the mountains, which we found to be Morocco's most authentic part. Visiting Ait Benhaddou

On the very top of our list (if this was a list!) lays Aid Ben Haddou. Ait Benhaddou is located along what used to be the caravan route between Marrakesh and the Sahara dessert and  UNESCO has named it as an excellent example of the ksar architecture style (according to UNESCO, the ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers). Having been used as a set for numerous Hollywood films, this town is extremely popular among tourists, so less authentic as you can guess, but it's still worth visiting, especially if you don't have more time to explore more of Atlas and decide to take a 4 hour drive day trip from Marrakesh.

Observing the locals' daily life

On our way from place to place, across the Atlas Mountains, we passed through untouched villages and small towns, where we could see how the locals live and work, in Morocco's non touristy areas. From caring for their livestock to selling goods on the corner of the street, it's moments like these, that we cherish the most!

Stopping over, to soak up the views

Such a cliché to say that it's the journey, not the destination that matters, but oh boy is it true! The roads that cross the Atlas Mountains are (apart from windy) filled with the most scenic of views and stopping over for photos every few minutes was a part of the drive we did not complain about, at all!

Spending a night in the Mountains

Imagine being in a place tucked in the mountains, with no big cities anywhere close, where the night sky shines the brighter! That's how we'd describe Eco Bio Riad, the hotel we checked in at and had the chance to get extra romantic, counting the stars.

Crossing Todra Gorges

It's not everyday we get to cross a canyon, so having the chance to walk in the shadow of a 300m high cliff, by the river where the locals enjoyed their swim, was a little too special for us!