Cultural Route 5: Essaouira – Tan Tan – Marrakech

EssaouiraAgadirTan TanTafrauteTaroudantMarrakech

From Essaouira to Tan-Tan in a minimum of 7 days…
…with a few changes in this circuit


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During 11 days, you will get to know the most southern area of Morocco. You will visit the southern Atlantic coast of Morocco, from the most tourist seaports to the most virgin beaches, from the Sahara’s most desertic areas to the colossal mountain range of the High Atlas, and from Souss-Massa National Park to Toubkal National Park.

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Days 1 and 2
The adventure begins: Essaouira

The journey starts in beautiful Essaouira, a Moroccan seaport north of Sim Cape. UNESCO World Heritage Listed City since 2001, it is a destination for lots of artists that flock there to render the medina, the walls, the harbour and the shore in their works.

The city economy turns around fishing, and wood, textile and food industries. The crafts trade, with many local cooperatives, is remarkable. The International Gnaoua Music Festival draws thousands of visitors into the city.

Day 3
The Atlantic coast:  Agadir – Souss-Massa – Tiznit

We move down the Atlantic coast until we reach Agadir, one of the most modern cities on the coast. Founded by the Portuguese around 1500, in 1526 it was invaded by the Saadians. From 1912 until 1956 it belonged to France and its sovereignty passed on to Morocco in 1956. On February 29th 1960 an earthquake destroyed the city, which was later rebuilt 2km south of the epicentre. The tachelhit (tassousite), one of the Berber languages, is spoken in this area. In July the city hosts the Timitar Festival, with amazigh music performances.

We move along the coast and we discover Souss‑Massa National Park, with its cliffs, sand dunes, crops, coastal moors and forests. Finally, we arrive to Aglou Beach, 14 km away from Tiznit, where we take a rest. Tiznit looks like a traditional walled village, with its 56 towers and 5 historical gates. The Khalifa palace and the great mosque are remarkable.

Day 4
From the beaches to the bay:  Mirleft – Sidi Ifni

We move towards Sidi Ifni and, on the road, we discover new landscapes and little villages such as Mirleft, with its six wonderful beaches. After a brief break, we restart our route until we reach the mysterious city of Sidi Ifni, capital of the former Spanish Ifni territory, with a population over 20.000 people and a fishing based economy.

The city enjoys a special microclimate, fairly softer than inland. From Sidi Ifni, we may visit several places, one of them, 10Km north, the isolated Legzira Bay, known for its awesome natural stone arches.

Day 5
The huge white beach:  Mesti – Abainou – Tan Tan

The next day we head towards Tan Tan. Before arriving to our destination, on the road to Guelmin, we visit the Berber villages of Mesti and Abainou. Afterwards, we cross the 125 km road that goes through the flat and rocky desert that stretches between Guelmin and Tan Tan, a city that belonged to the Moroccan territories occupied by Spain and that were recovered in 1958.

Days 6 and 7
An outlandish beauty:  Guelmim – Tafraoute

We head inland and we make a first stop in the city of Guelmim (Goulmime), former gate to the Sahara. We keep on moving inland until we reach the small village of Tafraoute, surrounded by gigantic boulders, in the charming Ameln Valley.

We let the beauty and the diversity of the landscape hypnotize us… the olive and almond crops, the parched land, the pink granite mountains…

The area is even more beautiful in February, during the almond trees blooming, a spectacular show of light and colour.

Day 8
The oasis and the fortress: Taroudant

We leave Tafraute behind and we head towards the charming city of Taroudant, an hour away from Agadir. The city displays its golden hues and its high pink walls in a combination of oasis and fortress, under the observant watch of the Atlas snowy peaks. The views to the mountain range are one of the main tourist attractions, along with the city souk, which, in spite of its limited size, offers a wide range of local crafts.

Day 9
We go on a tour: Toubkal Park

We set apart one day to visit Toubkal National Park, in the Western High Atlas, between the valleys of N’Fiss to the west and the Ourika to the east. It is the most accessible and explored area of Atlas, with the highest North African peaks, such as the Tazaghart (3843 m), the Ouanoukrim (4088 m) or the Toubkal (4167 m). Important rivers that guarantee the valley irrigation, such as the N’Fiss, the Rherhaya, the Rhirhaia and the Ourika, have their springs in the park.

Days 10 and 11
The red city: Marrakech

We spend the last days of our journey in Marrakech city, which original Berber name is Tamurt n Akkuc, Land of God. It is one of the most prominent cities of Morocco, 466 m high at the foot of the Atlas mountain range. The city hosts several monuments listed as World Heritage, which makes it the most visited city in the country.

Marrakech is also known as the red city, for the colour of its buildings. Founded in 1062 by Youssef Ibn Tachfin, it became one of the most prominent cities of medieval Islam and gave its name to the country of Morocco.

One of the most distinctive places in Marrakech is Jamaa el Fna square. This crowdy square has been listed Oral World Heritage by UNESCO. Almost every house surrounding the square is a food outlet or a café, and they usually have terraces that provide an overview of the square.

Remember, we may customize cultural route 5 to your needs!