Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Day Trip from Fez - Into the Mountains and the Azrou Market Day

The city of Fez is perfectly located for use as a base to explore the countryside and towns in the region. Yesterday The View from Fez tagged along with two visiting Australians as they travelled to the "Tuesday Market" in the Middle Atlas town of Azrou

The Amazigh (Berber) name, Azrou, means "great rock" owing to a strange volcanic outcrop just outside the western edge of the town. As the town is at 1250 metres, it can be chill so go prepared. While the day was warm and clear, it was easy to imagine the cold the region must experience in winter when it is buried beneath deep snowdrifts. The highway has several snow barriers that are used to stop motorists when the road is impassible.

Just 89 kilometres from Fez, Azrou is in the heart of the Middle Atlas, close to the ski fields and the university and holiday town of Ifrane.

Azrou town centre
The road to Azrou has spectacular views

The country markets take place on the same day every week and each market is named for the day on which it occurs. It is said that on any given day there are over 800 markets taking place throughout Morocco.

Singer/songwriter Martin Pearson and Alex Prior teamed up with Rachida El Joukh to explore the markets and it was only minutes before Alex was discovering that (with a bit of bargaining) the caftans and djellaba's were inexpensive enough for her to buy several,

Rachida and Alex hunt down bargains
"This purple is fine... but pink? No"
"But this orange is stunning"

Meanwhile, in the Oak and Cedar forests there was a variety of wildlife...

Martin Pearson taking a stroll in the forest

Martin Pearson will be giving his only concert in Morocco at Riad Zany on Thursday night  (see details here)


If you have the money, then hiring a car and driver for the day is a good option and will cost around 850 dirhams for the day. A grand-taxi will cost 30 dirham a seat. There are also six buses (around 20 dirham) from Fez to Azrou every day. If you are traveliing by car, go via Imouzzer and take a coffee break in to the resort and university town of Ifrane. Most of the tour parties stop at the first hotel (Les Chamoix), but we would suggest going a little further into the town and trying one of the more reasonably priced cafes. Ifrane is a little like a European alpine village and the architecture will remind you an Austrian mountain village.

For more information, contact Plan-it-Fez

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