Morocco has been lucky enough to be blessed with a variety of different landscapes, including some wonderful mountain ranges. From the Rif to the High Atlas, you can enjoy various activities and take in some picturesque scenery, even if mountain hiking isn’t your thing. Though be ready to strap on your most comfy shoes, because there will be a lot of walking!
The Wondrous Rif Mountains
The Rif is the northernmost mountain range with its feet at the crossroad between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The best thing to do to visit the area without getting short of breath is to stay in Chefchaouen, nicknamed The Blue Pearl. The small town will leave you inspired with its incredible blue streets, alleyways and mesmerizing views. Chefchaouen rests in the crook of the Rif. The atmosphere is invigorating. Even if you’re a little lazy (like me!) you’ll be excited just to wake up and explore!
Chefchaouen has several fountains with cool, fresh, delicious mountain water (yes, water can be delicious!). These fountains are a real blessing whenever you need to quench your thirst.
If you are a sunset lover, there is a short, 20 minute walk, mostly flat, to a hill just outside of the medina. There is a small mosque that hosts an incredible view of the entire city. The colors of the sky mix with those of the mountain and the city. This breathtaking view is ideal for a romantic moment, whether you’re alone or with somebody special!
The Artistic Middle Atlas Mountains
The Middle Atlas is, as the name suggests, the central mountain range of Morocco. Its streams, rivers, calm lakes and diverse flora can make you feel like you are visiting the mountainside of Switzerland.
The region is colored by Amazigh arts, crafts and culture. It is probably the best mountain range for non-hikers to get a breath of fresh air and collect a few souvenirs. Most places are easily accessible by car or bus.
The region of Ifrane and Azrou are the most comfortable if you want to enjoy slow walks alongside gurgling streams and babbling brooks. These are the cleanest cities in the country, are nostalgically beautiful after a good snow (yes Morocco gets snow!) and really come alive in the spring.
If you are adventurous, consider camping around Lake Ouiouane. Enjoy an illuminated night sky and the unique peace of this region. There are many faces of the Middle Atlas as it changes from valley to mountain to desert. The highways here are surrounded by forests, cultivated and uncultivated fields, lakes and mountain. All this makes for a road trip to remember.
The Soaring High Atlas Mountains
The High Atlas may be the most famous mountain range in Morocco thanks to its close proximity to Marrakech and the Oukaïmeden ski station in the Toubkal National Park. The High Atlas sports tricky roads, like the mountain pass Tizi n’Tichka that leads to the desert.
The Terres d’Amanar in Tahanaout is a natural energy reserve. It’s about a 1 hour drive from Marrakesh. Here, you can walk in fields and alongside trees. For those wanting a quick adrenaline rush, there is a zipline. For the rest of us, there are decidedly more calm pottery and archery workshops. A swimming pool is the center of palm-lined relaxation and, of course, there are delicious dishes to nibble made with fresh ingredients from the region.
The mountainside of Morocco is rich, diverse and will satisfy all tastes.
So pack up your boots made for walking!
Some general pieces of advice to have an excellent mountain sojourn:
Take all the basic sanitary items you may need
Pack comfy walking shoes and sport socks
Wear loose pants and a sunhat
Wear plenty of sunscreen
Don’t forget to charge your camera!
Otherwise, get ready to leave all your negative energy behind. You’ll come back brand new, ready to take the world and standing tall like a… mountain!
About the Author
Laïla Ouazzani is a Meknèsiya (a native of Meknès, Morocco) who loves discovering what her country has to offer. She is a born foodie. Lucky for her, there are plenty of delicious dishes to be discovered around Morocco. Besides food, she enjoys everything else that connects her to the roots of her country and shares her findings and experiences with everyone she can! Laïla is currently based in Casablanca.