Ouarzazate, Morocco | All you have to know!
Ouarzazate in Morocco is around 200 kilometers south of Marrakech and is a popular stopover for round trips, but also for excursions and desert tours. The city itself is worth seeing, but the immediate area also has some great attractions to offer. Ouarzazate is best known for its film studios in which world-famous films were made, and for the Kasbah Taourirt, which is well preserved and can be viewed from the inside. However, one of the best things to do in Ouarzazate is a visit to the clay town of Ait-Ben-Haddou, which is not far from Ouarzazate.
In this travel guide you will find everything you need to know to plan a perfect visit to Ouarzazate in Morocco and we will share our most beautiful pictures. Additionally, we will provide useful tips and information about how to find the perfect accommodation!
General information about Ouarzazate
The city of Ouarzazate, which has approximately 80,000 inhabitants, is the capital of the same named province and is located between the mountain ranges of the High Atlas on an altitude of 1,160 meters. This city was founded in 1928 as a small Berber settlement but grew, due to its fantastic location, to an important center of handicrafts and trade. Nowadays, this place is an important traffic hub in southern Morocco and also very important as a tourist center. Ouarzazate is also a place that every tourist should visit during their vacation in Morocco!
From Marrakech to Ouarzazate it’s a distance of about 200 kilometers with a travel time of around 4 hours. Since the landscape of this route is very attractive and there are also some amazing things to see on the route, in our experience you should definitely plan more time for the trip.
Things to do in Ouarzazate
There are a few interesting attractions to discover in the city itself with almost everything revolving around films and film productions. However, also close to Ouarzazate are real highlights to discover, such as the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site Ait-Ben-Haddou. Here are the best things to do when you visit Ouarzazate:
The most important attraction right in the city of Ouarzazate is the impressive Kasbah Taourirt, a residential castle made of rammed earth, which was built in the early 20th century. This Kasbah is still very well preserved and a third of it has been opened to the public for visits. Guided tours can be booked on site.
Another interesting sight is the Cinema Museum in the center of Ouarzazate. It is located right across from the beautiful Kasbah Taourirt, so a visit to these two attractions can be easily combined. Statues, decorations, costumes, film equipment and other stuff from previous film productions are exhibited here.
Ouarzazate Film Studios
Ouarzazate is famous for its film studios, which can be visited as part of a guided tour, unless a film is being made. The Atlas Cooperation Film Studios, for example, are famous for their film productions, such as “The Pope”, “Gladiator” and “The Mummy”. But also the CLA Studios are worth visiting, because here some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed.
Tip: If you want to know more about the movies and to be able to visit the most spectacular film locations, it is advisable to book a guide on site.
The main attraction around Ouarzazate is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait-Ben-Haddou, which is located around 30 kilometers away. The beautiful mud brick city is one of the most interesting places to visit in Morocco and should not be missed on any trip. Built around 1,000 years ago, this village still enchants with a unique backdrop. It is no wonder that this location was also a set for many famous movies.
Tip: Many visit Ait-Ben-Haddou on an excursion from Marrakech. However, it is really charming to stay in this historic city, because this place is magical, especially during sunset! We recommend the Chez Brahim, wherefrom you will enjoy magnificent city-views. But also the Paradise of Silence with pool and really delicious cuisine is recommendable!
A visit to the Kasbah Amridil, which is located 40 kilometers away in the beautiful oasis of Skoura, is also wonderful and worthwhile. This Kasbah is very well preserved and had even been inhabited until 1960. There you get a great impression of the past Kasbah and Berber life.
Don´t miss a visit to the upper floor where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the beautiful landscape and the green oases!
Really cool and a must-see for horror movie fans is Gas Haven, the film set of “The Hills have Eyes”. This spooky place is on the N10 towards Anezal, around 35 kilometers from Ouarzazate.
Another popular thing to do in Ouarzazate is a visit to the nearby Fint Oasis. This oasis enchants with beautiful palm groves and a dreamlike river landscape. The red rocks and the mud structures provide a unique contrast. A beautiful attraction just 20 kilometers from Ouarzazate!
Where to stay in Ouarzazate
If you also want to stay in Ouarzazate, we can provide some great hotel tips. Here are our recommendations for beautiful riads, perfect for an unforgettable stay in the city.
- Riad Ouarzazate: The kasbah-style Riad Ouarzazate is located in the city center and convinces with many lovely details, clean rooms and delicious dinner!
- Dar Kamar: The Dar Kamar is a very pretty hotel in the old town of Ouarzazate, with a beautiful roof terrace. Due to the location in the center, you will find good restaurants nearby.
- Le Petit Riad: The Le Petit Riad is a lovingly designed accommodation which amazes with pool, beautiful rooms and delicious breakfast!
Conclusion: Ouarzazate is, as already mentioned above, a very popular stop on round trips through Morocco. If you are traveling by car, then you should definitely plan 1 or 2 nights here. And, don’t miss Ait-Ben Haddou and the film studios!
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