Marrakesh is always an adventure and if you’re looking to explore Morocco a bit more, here are the best day trips from Marrakesh!
This bustling city in the south of Morocco is home to vibrant souks, palaces, mosques, and gardens.
While I can get lost in the city for a few days, there is so much that Morroco has to offer beyond the Marrakesh city limits that you just can’t miss. I recommend spending 2-3 full days in Marrakesh and then taking a day trip to explore the surrounding cities and mountains.
My favorite day trips from Marrakesh are exploring the Atlas Mountains, visiting the beautiful city of Essaouira, and touring the ancient city of Ait Benhaddou. All three have their unique charm that will make you never want to leave!
Thankfully with Marrakesh’s location, it’s easy to plan day trips and get back in time for a yummy Morrocan dinner!
For any of these day trips, the best way to get around is by hiring a private driver—and of course, I have a fabulous recommendation for you. Our driver Youssef runs Morocco Exotic Adventures and we did our Sahara desert tour with him.
Hiring a driver is affordable and comfortable and definitely the way to go for your day trip from Marrakesh. Youssef was absolutely awesome and he took such great care of us!
His contact info is on his website and he’s super responsive via WhatsApp.
Ok, let’s jump in and explore the best day trips from Marrakesh.
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6 Day Trips from Marrakesh
1. The Ourika Valley
The stunning mountain range of the Ourika Valley is a great day trip from Marrakesh. Dramatic mountains, lush forests, and green fields surround this beautiful valley. It’s no wonder why this spot has become one of Morroco’s top tourist spots!
It is only about an hour away from Marrakesh and can easily be seen in a day. Start early on the scenic drive and marvel at the lush green fields, villages, and markets along the way.
Once you get there, take a stroll in the sleepy Berber villages and explore the Berber markets. Or go on a hike up the mountains to see and swim in one of the many waterfalls.
You will find a path to follow but just be aware that there aren’t any handrails. It’s relatively easy to find your way around and you will see all ages on the trail.
This is also the perfect place to eat a traditional Berber lunch under the sun with a spectacular view. The food is cooked to perfection in the valley and is prepared traditionally by the locals!
Trust me, you will taste the difference. I recommend the lamb and vegetable tajine! YUM!
Another amazing place to visit in Morroco is the seaside city of Essaouira.
It is about 3 hours away from Marrakesh and is easily accessible by car or bus. It does make for a long day trip, but if you have some time in Morroco, it’s worth it.
This hidden gem is a coastal port town with white-washed walls, cobbled streets, and bright blue doors. You don’t want to miss it!
Take some time to explore the old town and you will find countless art galleries, souks, cafes, and restaurants. Make sure to visit the old city walls where you can admire amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The beach here is postcard perfect, with white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Even if it’s too cold to swim in February, it’s worth a stroll through the street and taking in the stunning views.
You can also visit one of the fish markets, grab some local seafood and enjoy an unforgettable seaside lunch. There are also plenty of boat trips to take around the harbor or out into the open sea—perfect for spotting dolphins!
3. The Agafay Desert
The Agafay Desert is a unique day tour that you can take from Marrakesh, and is a true adventure!
Many people want to experience the Sahara when they’re in Morroco. While a desert trip to the Sahara Desert is possible, it’s better suited for a longer tour than just a day trip. I’m talking a 12-hour bus ride… oof.
But if you still want to get your desert tour experience, then the Agafay Desert should not be missed!
This lunar landscape of golden dunes and rocky plains is only about an hour away from Marrakesh and can be reached by car or bus.
It’s a great spot for an off-roading adventure. You can drive past ancient desert villages, explore wadis (river beds), and get some amazing photos at the top of the dunes.
This desert landscape is filled with golden sand dunes, perfect for a camel ride or sand boarding. If you don’t feel like riding a camel or sandboarding, then this is also the perfect spot to wander and explore.
The Agafay offers stunning views of the nearby Atlas Mountains and you can get some incredible shots here. Plus, it’s a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh city life.
4. Ouzoud Waterfalls Day Trip from Marrakesh
The Ouzoud falls are one of the most stunning natural sights in the Marrakesh region. This waterfall is located in the Middle Atlas Mountains and is made up of three tiers, which measure over 330 feet (100 meters) high!
It’s about a 3-hour drive from Marrakesh, so it makes for a longer day trip, but it gives you a different perspective of Morroco.
Once you get to the waterfalls, you can take some time to explore the area and even swim in the pools at the base of the falls. They have different boat tours that you can take too, to get a closer look at the falls.
Enjoy a traditional lunch at one of the cafes that overlook the falls. Or buy some local honey to take home with you.
For those of you who are feeling adventurous, there is a steep climb that takes you to the top of the falls! It’s a bit tricky and requires some physical activity and stamina but it is worth it. The views from the top are simply breathtaking and will be sure to stay with you for a long time.
5. Marrakesh to Ouarzazate and Aït Benhaddou
If you want to explore the ancient side of Morroco, then this is one day trip you don’t want to miss. It is the farthest day trip on my list coming in at a whopping 4 hours from Marrakesh, but it is certainly worth the drive.
This trip takes you through the High Atlas Mountains, past stunning Berber villages and red-rock canyons. You will also pass by gorgeous mountain valleys, waterfalls, and forests of olive trees.
Your destination is the ancient city of Aït Benhaddou, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many movie sets used this stunning city as the backdrop, including Gladiator and Game of Thrones.
You can take a guided tour inside the Kasbah and learn about its rich history. Then proceed to the oasis town of Ouarzazate for lunch. The views here are A1.
If you’ll be visiting the Sahara Desert, you’ll definitely be able to visit Ait Benhaddou on your way to or from there!
We stopped by on our way back from the desert during our 3-day trip with Youssef, and he took care of the entire itinerary.
Did you know you can go skiing in Morocco?
If you’re in Marrakesh during the winter months, then get ready to hit the slopes on a day trip to Oukaimden.
Oukaimden is a great winter day trip from Marrakesh to the Atlas Mountains. The drive only takes two hours, and you’ll get to see one of the highest points in Morocco—Mount Toubkal which is located in Toubkal National Park.
If you’re looking for a fun day out, this hill has easily accessible ski and sled rental options. However, it’s not recommended for beginners or those with limited experience.
If you’re lucky enough to travel to this destination during the winter months, you’ll be treated to incredible views of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains on one side and the Sahara Desert on the other. But even if you miss out on winter, there’s still plenty to do here, like hiking or mountain biking—not to mention taking in all that stunning scenery.
No matter what day trips you decide to take from Marrakech, rest assured that each one offers something unique and unforgettable. So get out there and explore all the beauty Morocco has to offer!
Looking for more Marrakesh content? Explore my other Marrakesh travel guides here.
Exploring the Souks of Marrakesh: Everything to Know Before You Go
The 7 Most Incredible Riads in Marrakesh