Ready, Set, Action in Aït Benhaddou!

Aït Benhaddou Morocco

AÏt Benhaddou is known as a popular daytrip from Marrakech or as a convenient stop on the road to the desert. This UNESCO site is the most famous Ksar in the valley and maybe even in Morocco. The red, ancient mud bricks shape this town since the 17th century. More recently they formed the backdrop for one of the most popular TV series of the 21st century. Read along to discover why this town deserves to be on your travel list.

Aït Benhaddou as seen from the bridge.
Aït Benhaddou as seen from the bridge.

The city might look familiar at first sight and it is. Aït Benhaddou has starred in office box movies like Laurence of Arabia and Gladiator. What might get you even more exited is its most recent appearance in Games of Thrones because let’s be honest, who can say no to that? I know we couldn’t 🙂 During our visit to Aït Benhaddou, we even stumbled upon a real-life movie set. And that’s how we got attacked by ancient Moroccan warriors! Luckily for us it were actors. Take the chance to star in your very own movie with a visit to Aït Benhaddou.

Panoramic view from the top in Aït Benhaddou.
Panoramic view from the top in Aït Benhaddou. You can spot part of the movie set on the right.

When you arrive in Aït Benhaddou, look for the bridge at the left side of town which will take you across the river. You will immediately arrive in the small, winding back roads of the Ksar. Conveniently, they placed signs all over the place to make sure you’ll find the way to the top and back. Once you climbed all the way to the summit, you will be rewarded with a stunning panorama of mountains, palm groves and desert stretches. We saw a 60+ year old Japanese man do it so I can promise you that the climb is quiet manageable 😉 Slowly stroll your way back down between the medieval walls until you reach the impressive main gate. To get back to the main road, you’ll need to tiptoe over some strategically placed sandbags across the river. If you make the terrific decision to spend a night in Aït Benhaddou, we can highly recommend Kasbah Isfoula. It was the best hotel of our entire Moroccan road trip.

Taking a break with tea and olives at kasbah Isfoula in Aït Benhaddou.
Taking a break with tea and olives at kasbah Isfoula.

If you’re on a road trip or have decision power of which road to follow, I would highly recommend taking the scenic route from Marrakech to Aït Benhaddou. This route starts just after the mountain pass of Tizi N’Tichka, where you leave the N9 for the P1506. It’s a small road that will take approximately 1,5 hour more of your time but this stretch offers some of the best views of the entire trip. It will take you past green valleys, untouched villages, Kasbah Telouet and some very deep gorges. If you want to go off the beaten track, this is the road to take. It can get a bit bumpy but the views are totally worth it!

Off the beaten path in Morocco.
Off the beaten path in Morocco.

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