Marrakech is an exciting city with lots to see and do, but it’s also a perfect base for exploring the surrounding areas. Within a 1-2 hour drive from Marrakech, you can experience the stark beauty of the Agafay Desert, the refreshing Ouzoud waterfalls and the scenic Ourika Valley. Here are three of the best day trips from Marrakech that showcase the diverse Moroccan landscape.

Agafay Desert

The Agafay Desert is a rugged area of dry valleys and rocky desert landscapes only a 30-minute drive southwest of Marrakech. This peaceful desert scape feels worlds away from the bustle of the city. You can take a camel ride at sunset, dine under the stars at a Bedouin camp, and sleep in a luxury tent. Wake up early to watch the sunrise over the desert hills before heading back to Marrakech. It’s a perfect short desert adventure without the long drive to the Sahara.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

In the Atlas Foothills, about 1.5-2 hours north of Marrakech are the scenic Ouzoud waterfalls. After hiking down a cliff path, you’re rewarded with breathtaking views of the multi-tiered falls plunging into the river below. Surrounding the falls are lush olive groves, natural pools ideal for swimming, and wildlife like monkeys and birds. It’s a popular spot for Moroccans to camp and picnic on the weekends. Take a day trip to escape the heat of Marrakech and experience the Moroccan countryside.

Ourika Valley

Only an hour’s drive from Marrakech, the Ourika Valley is nestled in the Atlas Mountains and follows a meandering river with the same name. The drive alone makes it worth the trip, passing by red rock cliffs, green terraced hills, and argan tree forests. You can stop for short hikes to hillside villages, have lunch at an outdoor restaurant with sweeping valley views, or visit a local botanical garden. As an easy escape to nature that doesn’t require strenuous activity, the Ourika Valley is a great day trip for all travelers visiting Marrakech.