A brief guide to Morocco’s Atlas Mountains

A peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Morocco’s lively cities, the dramatic and diverse Atlas Mountains are a truly tremendous area of Morocco that simply cannot be missed. Trekking amongst the mountain range’s deep valley and traditional Berber villages, with views of the several snow-topped peaks, is a truly unforgettable experience.

The Atlas Mountains are like nowhere else in Morocco, acting as a barrier between the more populated northern plains and the pre-Sahara. Only tiny villages, frozen in time and quietly buzzing with the traditional Berber culture, can be seen now and then throughout this incredibly remote and peaceful area of the country.

Like the rest of Morocco, the Atlas Mountains also change wildly from season to season. In the winter, metres of snow carpet the landscape; while by summer, you’ll be unable to escape from the blazing sun.

The High Atlas Mountains are perhaps the easiest section to reach, and arguably the most impressive series of mountains. Word has spread about the beauty that lies here and it is now one of the most popular trekking destinations in North Africa. Offering a mixture of both staggering peaks, known as jebels, and more well-travelled passes, known as tizis, the High Atlas Mountains have treks and climbs which appeal both to casual hikers and to more serious mountaineers alike.

Due to its easy-to-reach location, the Toubkal National Park is especially popular, offering a variety of walks and treks, including its impressive peak, Jebel Toubkal, which is 4167m high. If you’re looking to see as much of the Atlas Mountains as possible during your trip, there are mules available for hire, as well as mountain guides, who will use their expertise to show you the best off-the-beaten-track routes. Besides walking, a number of other activities have also become popular, including rock climbing, mountain biking and skiing in the winter.

Where to stay

You may choose to stay in the heart of the spectacular landscape at one of our Atlas Mountains hotels, or – if you prefer to stay somewhere a little livelier – you are just a couple of hours’ drive away from the major city of Marrakech. ‘The Red City’ is bursting with elegant boutique riads; but finding them by yourself can be tricky. Our boutique hotels in Marrakech are among the finest in the city: expect stunning interiors, cool courtyards and personal service.  After a day spent exploring the mountains, you will return to a welcoming host and an evening of relaxing by the courtyard pool or on a plush daybed – with a glass of wine in tow, of course!

See our full collection of boutique hotels in Morocco here

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.