Top 5 things to do in the Azores
15th January 2023
Pack a taste of the exotic into your long weekend with an energising break in Morocco. Just a short haul flight from Europe brings Africa within short-break territory, and what better way to enjoy your time out than with a 4 day snapshot of this enticing and colourful destination? Experience the sensory overload of Marrakech as well as the enchanting and peaceful High Atlas Mountains with their hidden valleys and intriguing Berber culture. Sample two contrasting facets of Morocco with this exciting itinerary from TravelLocal’s expert local partner.
When you arrive at Marrakech airport your transfer will be waiting to whisk you the short distance to the city centre, where you will be welcomed by your hosts at the Riad Imilchil. Located just ten minutes walk from both the Jemaâ el Fna square and the Bahia Palace, this stylish and relaxing hotel is small but perfectly formed. The term ‘riad’ actually refers to the courtyard garden found at the heart of traditional Moroccan town houses, but has come to represent the fabulous, intimate hotels and guesthouses that are now the mainstay of tourist accommodation throughout the country. Most riads are characterful, calm retreats with many exquisite touches of classic Moroccan artistry.
The Riad Imilchil boasts a small plunge pool, a relaxing lounge area with an open fire, and a fabulous roof terrace. Check in to your air conditioned, en suite room before heading out to explore Marrakech. Take in the spectacle of the performers in the legendary Jemaâ el Fna square and, when you need a break, grab a table at a rooftop bar and watch the crowds from your lofty viewpoint. Browse the intoxicating souks, but don’t forget your haggling skills!
Day 2 & 3
Your private transfer to the mountains will collect you for the scenic drive out to the High Atlas, with a pause to visit the caves at Demnate. The ever changing view along the route gives a fascinating insight into the local heritage and rural life. The flat plains around Marrakech give way to the green foothills of the mountains. Working donkeys are a frequent sight and the architecture gets lower and simpler as you go further into the hills. Just as it seems there can’t possibly be anyone making a living from the barren crags all around, the hidden valley of Aït Bouguemez reveals itself as an oasis of green. There are little clusters of houses dotted around the edges of the valley, seeming to grow from the earth with which they were built.
Once you have checked in for your two night stay in the chic simplicity of Dar Itrane kasbah, all that remains is to decide how to spend your time here. Ramble among the greenery of the valley, admiring the irrigation systems and lush orchards, or perhaps explore villages you pass through. Maybe a short climb to Sidi Moussa shrine for incredible views over the valley, or simply unwind in the hammam or on one of the panoramic terraces at the Kasbah. Dar Itrane is known for its contribution to sustainable tourism in the area, ploughing a percentage of profits into local community projects. Wherever you go, you will notice the strong sense of community cohesion, which has earnt this remote valley the nickname ‘Happy Valley’ after the fortitude of the Berber population. After a couple of days soaking up the views in this sublime corner of Morocco, you should be feeling that happy vibe too.
If you depart the Kasbah on a Sunday, you will be able to call on at the weekly souk at Tabant, the main village in the valley, on your way back to Marrakech. Don’t miss the chance to buy a few Berber souvenirs direct from the hills where they are crafted. Once you return to Marrakech the choice will increase but so will the prices. Continue your journey back down from the High Atlas, and enjoy another afternoon and evening soaking up the atmosphere in the beautiful surroundings of Marrakech with the tranquil Riad Imilchil as your base.
Make it happen
To see this itinerary in greater detail click here to head to the itinerary page. For more information and pricing for your long weekend in Morocco, contact our helpful and knowledgeable local experts. They can tailor this itinerary to suit your requirements.