1-Day Getaway to “Little Marrakech”

LITTLE MARRAKECH

Taroudant, or “little Marrakech” as the locals call it, is a great one-day destination about an hour’s drive from Agadir. Encased almost entirely within the remarkable ochre ramparts, Taroudant looks like a traditional Moroccan town but has a certain air of mystique about it. The provincial Berber town receives far fewer tourists than its “big brother” and is generally much quieter and more laid back.

Here is One Great Way to Spend Your Day…

CLIMB THE WALLS

Taroudant’s most striking and immediately apparent attraction are its magnificent and well-preserved city walls. They wrap around the medina in a thick 7km belt, appearing in different shades of brown, from natural tan to orange rust, depending on the time of day. Orange trees, planted on both sides of the road, adorn the main throughway into the walled city. Right next to the main entrance of Bab al-Silsila (aka “Bab al-Kasbah”) is a staircase leading up the rampart. This is the only place to walk on the wall and enjoy the views from up top.

RIDE A CALECHE

The town is relatively compact and can be easily explored on foot. A more fun, and surprisingly suiting this place alternative, however, is a carriage tour. For an equivalent of 6 Euros, I learn to operate a calèche, tour the medina, circle the ramparts and get delivered to a tennis academy on the other part of town.  A brief history of the place and a healthy doze of adrenaline

come free of charge – my enthusiastic driver makes a point of describing each landmark in detail, incessantly craning his neck to see right behind us, while charging at full speed through the crowds of the medina. I hold my breath, as bikes swerve from under our carriage, cars give way and pedestrians adeptly jump to the side, but no one objects or seems to mind.

SHOP THE SOUK

Sightseeing and shopping your way through Taroudant’s souks is a fun experience! It is much less intense than the one in Marrakech but not lacking in traditional items and souvenirs. The Berber souk sells fresh produce and home items; the Arab souk is known for its antique shops, jewelry and carpets.

Taroudant Tannery

Taroudant Tannery

The tannery next to Bab Targhount is nowhere as impressive as the Chouara tannery in Fez but still worth a visit. Along the tannery’s perimeter are leather workshops and boutiques selling bags, belts and sandals.

VISIT HOTEL SALAM

Visit of Taroudant is not complete without a visit of Hotel Salam right inside the ancient walls. It may be run down and only 10% full, but its former splendor and grandeur are ostensible the moment you step into the lush banana garden by the pool.

Palais Salam, just as its name suggests, is a former grand palace of the Pasha of Taroudant. Its massive size is not immediately manifest, as the hotel is spread out on several levels across a series of gardens and courtyards.

Take the time to explore all the nooks and crannies of the exceptional place and enjoy the elaborately decorated dining halls, painted archways, magnificent doors and ornately tiled fountains.

If you are staying elsewhere, make sure to stop by for Moroccan tea by the scenic pool and a walk through the Andalucian-style gardens with exotic birds and coy ponds. You won’t regret it!

Leave a comment