If you’re looking for somewhere a little more off the beaten track to visit, Taroudant Morocco is a winner. This picturesque city is packed with history, has some seriously cool experiences to offer and lots of fabulous places to stay.
All without the intensity that you get in Morocco’s other more touristy cities. A day here is probably enough time to explore, but if you do have a little more time there’s definitely enough to keep you occupied.
In this guide we’ll be covering a little about the city’s fascinating history, how to get there, where to stay, the top places to eat, plus all the best things to do in Taroudant Morocco.
Taroudant Morocco History
Okay we’ll try and keep this brief, but the story of how this beautiful Moroccan city came to be is integral to its uniqueness. So this guide wouldn’t be complete without a quick history lesson.
Having a strategic location between two mountain ranges, Taroudant was chosen as a base during the 16th century by the Saadian dynasty. A base from which to attack the invading Spanish and Portuguese armies on the Atlantic coast.
In order to defend what was at the time the capital of Morocco, in 1528 a huge wall was built around the city. Unusually for historic structures of this nature, it is still almost completely intact. And what’s more, almost the entire city of Taroudant is still located within its walls.
Taroudant City Walls
The city wall of Taroudant stands as high as 10 metres in some places, is up to 4 metres thick and stretches nearly 8 kilometres long. It has 130 towers, 19 bastions, and 9 entrance gates, the most impressive of which is the triple arched Bab Sesla.
It is the oldest city in the Souss Valley and has for centuries been a commerce hub for the Berber tribes living in the surrounding mountains.
With its magnificent red-mud walls and the snow capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains in the background it’s not hard to see why Taroudant has the nickname the ‘Pearl of Souss Valley’.
It is also affectionately known as ‘The Little Marrakesh’ or ‘Grandmother of Marrakesh’. This is because after 20 years, as they made advances on the European forces, the Saads moved the capital and their base from here to Marrakesh.
And the best bit is this place packs just as much culture as Marrakesh, but without the hordes of tourists and price tags that come with that. In fact, tourism still plays a very limited role in the economy of Taroudant.
Owing to its location in the extremely fertile Souss valley, the main source of income around these parts still comes from farming. The vastness of the lush green agricultural terraces lining the foothills mountains as you enter the city are testament to this.
How To Get To Taroudant
Situated in the Souss Valley between the High Atlas and Anti Atlas, Taroudant isn’t the easiest of places to get to without your own transport. But you do have options.
By Plane | The closest airport to Taroudant is Agadir Airport (AGA) which is 65 km away. Other nearby airports are in Essaouira (ESU) (250 km) and Marrakech (RAK) (270 km).
Unfortunately both only have websites in French so you’ll need to translate.
By Car | Though it might seem daunting at first, renting a car in Morocco is the most convenient and flexible way to get around. Plus you don’t need an international licence.
From Agadir specifically you also have local bus and shared taxi options.
You can also visit Taroudant as part of a day trip from Agadir.
Where To Stay In Taroudant
When visiting Taroudant Morocco, you absolutely have to stay in one of the traditional riads. Based on location, cleanliness, comfort, facilities and value for money, here’s our top picks.
Riad Amnay | Located in the heart of Taroudant, all rooms in this beautifully renovated riad have patios overlooking the stunning inner courtyard. Plus there’s a lovely rooftop terrace.
Riad Maryam | This central, peaceful family run hotel has a perfect combination of traditional Moroccan style with modern comforts. There’s family rooms and free parking available.
Riad Tafilag | A completely charming Taroudant hotel traditionally decorated with Moroccan carving and textiles. Bonuses include a swimming pool and terrace with panoramic views.
Alternatively if you happen to be visiting Taroudant Morocco in a motorhome or campervan, there is a basic campsite. It’s right outside the city walls, literally just through the gateway Bab Lkhmis on Av. Brahim Roudani.
Things To Do In Taroudant Morocco
After enjoying a leisurely traditional breakfast at your riad, it’s time to head out and check out the local shopping scene. There are actually two separate and distinct souks that form the Taroudant medina; an artisanal one and a traditional one.
The municipal market or Berber Souk as it is also known is a traditional one that sells food produce, and things like clothing and kitchenware. The fragrant fresh spices and dried fruits sections are particularly good.
The artisanal one or Arab market as it is also called sells leather, jewellery, pottery and metalwork. Owing to the highly skilled local craftsmanship, the quality of goods here is really top notch. The regional Amazigh (Berber) jewellery is lovely.
If i’s something you are in the market for, Taroudant is also a great place to buy a rug. You will still need to barter, but can generally get a better price than you will in the more touristy markets in Marrakesh or Fez.
There’s a huge range of gorgeous shoes, handbags and belts. And the leather comes from the tanneries just outside the city – more on that in a bit.
The souks are pretty big so you can’t really miss them. You’ll find the Taroudant medina stretching out either side from the main square of Place Assarag.
Other Taroudant Markets
On Sundays, there’s also a much bigger weekend market just outside the city walls. It’s near the future university district which is currently under construction. You can buy everything here including livestock such as camels and goats. It’s really fascinating.
There’s also a new regional products shopping area called ‘Foire des Produits de Terroirs’. It’s just outside Taroudant city walls through Bab Lahjer on Av. Moulay Ismail. This a great place to shop for the local speciality Argan Oil used both in cooking or as a beauty product.
Where To Eat In Taroudant
After working up an appetite with all that shopping it’s time to go and grab a delicious lunch. Here’s some of the best rated restaurants in Taroudant to treat yourself too.
Cafe Yasmina | Situated on the pedestrianised main square, Place Assarag, you can get in a good dose of people watching over lunch here whilst being charmed by the local musicians.
Cafe Restaurant Jnan Soussia | If you’re visiting Taroudant with kids, this is an awesome place to eat as it also has a pool. It’s just just outside the city walls through Bab Zourgane.
Complexe El Kasbah | This pretty oasis in the middle of the city has a lovely atmosphere and serves a huge range of food including traditional Moroccan and international dishes.
What To Do In Taroudant
Okay time for something a little more unusual to do in Taroudant as this afternoon we suggest visiting the tannery. Located just outside the city walls, Taroudant tannery is one of the more accessible places to see leather being made in Morocco.
Exiting through Bab Taghout, you basically just need to follow your nose along Boulevard Mohammed V to find it. The smell is potent and very unpleasant. But you will be given a sprig of mint to hold under your nose to make it a little more bearable.
It’s not really set up for tourists, however you will be able to find someone to show you around and explain the process in French or Arabic. This place is a co-op so each tanner here has a small souk where you can buy some beautiful leather products from.
It’s a really captivating experience, but definitely not for the faint hearted.
Mint Tea With A View
After what will likely feel like quite an intense experience, a good thing to do this afternoon is relax and decompress with a traditional mint tea.
You will of course find cafes serving this all over Taroudant Morocco, but we suggest heading to the terrace at Cafe Bachar. It overlooks picturesque Place 6 November and Bab Sesla.
This is the main entrance through which any formal convoys including the sultans came.
You can also actually climb up onto the ramparts here at Bab Sesla for some amazing panoramic views over Taroudant Morocco. But if you’re doing the next activity we suggest, you should get a chance to do it as part of that anyway.
Sunset Carriage Ride
Before heading back to your raid for your evening dinner, we suggest rounding your day off with a relaxing horse drawn carriage ride called a caleche. You can just flag an empty one down or head to the main square, Place Assarag to pick one up.
Expect to pay around 100 MAD for an hour tour. It’s likely your driver will only speak French and Arabic, but you might get lucky. There’s two benches inside facing each other which can fit four passengers comfortably and six at a squeeze.
The tour will take you all around the outer walls of the city and give you a completely different perspective of Taroudant. You’ll pass by or through each of the nine gates plus make stops at picturesque Taroudant landmarks such as Fontaine Passage Palmeraie.
Under the glow of the setting sun the city walls are even more impressive and you really get to marvel at just how grand the huge gates and square turrets are.
Impressively Taroudant has the oldest city wall in Morocco. And according to historian the A. Hermas, the third most robust after the Great Wall of China and India’s Kumbhalgarh Fort.
More Time In Taroudant Morocco?
Palais Claudio Bravo
If you have additional time you may enjoy taking a visit to the spectacular Palais Claudio Bravo. Once the home of Spanish hyperrealist artist, Claudio Bravo, this stately building has been transformed into a grand museum.
It’s free to wander around the vast 75 hectares of gardens and grounds, but you need to take a paid tour to go inside. The cost is 200 dirhams (20 €) per person and you should email email@example.com to arrange your visit.
To get there it’s just over a 20 minute drive north from Taroudant city centre. The magnificent building is also a hotel, so if you wish you can also stay here either.
Taiout Berber Village
Another option for things to do in Taroudant Morocco is to take a trip to the nearby Berber village of Tiout. Just a 45 minute drive from Taroudant lands you in this gorgeous palm grove oasis. It has of course a completely different vibe to the bustling city.
Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking Tiout Oasis there is an ancient Kasbah. Part of it has been transformed into a popular restaurant, Cafe Restaurant Kasbah. It has amazing views over Souss Valley and the vast expanse of Moroccan countryside below.
Address: Cafe Restaurant Kasbah, Douar Azour, Tiout 83224, Morocco
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- 24 Hours In Taroudant Morocco
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.