For those who want to get away from the busy cities and tourist towns, we highly recommend cycling in Morocco. Read on to find out what you can expect on a Morocco bike tour.
(Don’t miss: Our guide to a Moroccan Hammam for first-timers and our review of this idyllic Moroccan retreat in cycling country.)
In 2006, we rented a car and drove around Morocco for a month. While Fez, Marrakech, and Chefchaouen all made a big impression on us, what we remembered most were the stunning landscapes and views as we drove through the Atlas Mountains.
On our recent return to Morocco, we knew we wanted more (much more) of that experience — and we knew just how to get it.
We had to go cycling in Morocco!
Enter the experienced and friendly team at Maroc Nature, who invited us out for a 2-day bicycle tour of the Atlas Mountains and the Ouirgane Valley.*
We were treated to stunning views and wondrous landscapes — and we loved every second of it.
Read on to discover…
7 Things You’ll Absolutely Love About Cycling in Morocco
But first, watch the video of our first day.
The landscape in the High Atlas Mountains is like none we’ve seen anywhere else in the world. Zipping silently along winding roads on our bicycles, with the fresh cool air in our faces and the sounds of nature all around us, we couldn’t think of a better way to experience this extraordinary part of the world.
Empty smooth roads
If you’ve only been to Casablanca and Marrakech, you might imagine that cycling in Morocco would be a frenetic experience. Not so!
The guys from Maroc Nature drove us to a silent and empty road to start our cycling adventure. During our two days on the bikes, we only saw a few cars. Though the roads in the High Atlas aren’t perfectly paved, most of them were smooth and empty – which left us free to gaze up at the mountains in awe.
(Related: If you want to see more of Morocco, steal this 3-week Morocco itinerary) →
Perfectly maintained, high-end road bikes
We’re used to our cycle touring bikes, which weigh around 25 kg without luggage (and closer to 40 kg when fully loaded).
It was such a joy to ride the lightweight road bikes provided by Maroc Nature, which we could easily lift over our heads in one hand. The bikes were perfectly maintained and the team took great pains to make sure they were adjusted perfectly for our bodies, too.
Experiencing another side of Moroccan culture
As a tourist in Morocco, you can start to feel like a target for every person who has something to sell. Frankly, it’s exhausting. Getting out on a bicycle changes all that.
Suddenly, you are not in tourist-oriented locations, meaning that you get to have real interactions with local people who are not part of the tourism industry. Being on a bike tour in Morocco leaves you feeling more like you’ve seen a bit of the “real thing”.
Visiting Tinmel Mosque
There are only two mosques in Morocco that are open to non-Muslim visitors. One is the incredible Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, the other is Tinmel Mosque (also known as Tin Mal Mosque), located in a tiny village about 100km from Marrakesh.
The Tinmel Mosque is no longer used, but in its heyday during the 12th Century, it was the pre-eminent mosque in the region. When we visited we were the only guests and were able to enjoy the soaring arches in perfect silence.
Completely customizable tour
If you’re not a regular cyclist, you might think biking in Morocco is not for you. However, Maroc Nature will happily customize a tour to your abilities and desires. Feeling quite out of shape after my bout of malaria a few months before the tour, I requested that they take it easy on us. On both days, we started high in the mountains and got to ride downhill for most of the way! Nice.
On the other hand, if you’re super-fit and looking for a hardcore cycling holiday in Morocco, the team will plan a challenging tour for you, for as many days and up as many mountains as you want!
Superb overnight accommodation
When we arrived at Domaine de la Roseraie, nestled in a green valley just outside of Ourigane Village, we couldn’t believe our eyes. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever stayed.
Not only is the landscape stunning, but the resort is designed for privacy and maximum enjoyment of nature. There’s a welcoming central pool, an expansive organic garden and orchard, hiking and horse riding trails, plus a luxurious spa and hammam where we had the best massages of our life!
What We Didn’t Love About the Tour
Too much time in the car
When you’re planning your cycle tour with Maroc Nature, be specific about what you want. The team sent us the itinerary before we set out, but somehow we didn’t notice that the 2nd day involved a lot of driving and not so much cycling. It was our fault for not checking the itinerary more carefully (and for requesting as little riding up mountains as possible), so be smart and check your itinerary!
Practical Details for Cycling in Morocco
When: Any time. Contact Maroc Nature to arrange your personalized cycle tour.
Where: Maroc Nature runs Morocco adventure tours throughout the country, including south Morocco, the High Atlas, the Sahara Desert, and the Atlantic coast.
Length: As long as you want. Completely customizable.
Transportation: Modern well-maintained bikes. Support vehicle is a comfortable SUV.
Food & drinks: Unlimited water and all meals included.
Additional expenses: Tips for guides and others (optional).
What to bring: Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, cycling shorts, and gloves (for longer tours). You can also bring your own pedals and saddle if you want.
Other Morocco Adventure Tours by Maroc Nature
Though we chose a road bike tour of Morocco, Maroc Nature runs a huge variety of Morocco adventure tours.
Mountain bike Morocco. If you want to try mountain biking the Atlas Mountains, visiting remote mountain villages and, of course, experience the breathtaking scenery, the Single Track Heaven multi-day bike trek sounds amazing.
Sahara trekking tour. Instead of doing the typical overnight-in-the-desert-plus-camel-ride that is so popular with tourists, doesn’t a 9-day Sahara trek sound more exciting?
Day tours near Marrakesh. If you’re short on time, Maroc Nature also offers several one-day tours to help you get out of the city and see the beauty of Morocco up close.
Other Tours in and Around Marrakesh
Hot-air balloon. Soar high above the plains outside of Marrakech as the sun rises over the Atlas Mountains! We did this tour with Marrakech by Air and had a fabulous time. The balloon ride is followed by a big Berber breakfast and a camel ride (which we skipped along with our animal-loving tour companions).
Ourika Valley Day Tour. For a taste of the Atlas Mountains without all the cycling, try this Ourika Valley Day Tour. You’ll get to see dramatic scenery, experience charming Berber villages, and cool off at the Setti Fatma waterfalls.
3-Day Desert Safari. Though we aren’t huge fans of camel rides (or any animal rides), the Merzouga desert safari is almost a rite of passage when you visit Morocco. Though riding a camel is mostly boring and very uncomfortable, spending the night in a Bedouin desert camp and playing on the Merzouga sand dunes was a highlight of our 2006 trip to Morocco.
If you found this post about cycling in Morocco useful, please share it or let us know what you think in the comments below!
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Stephen & Jane
*We were given this tour for free, but as always, we only recommend tours we know you’re gonna love! Also, some of the links in this post are our personal affiliate links, which means, if you use them to book something we get a small fee. It helps keep this blog afloat so thanks in advance!
Get 101 Travel Tips
Get our free ebook, 101 Travel Tips for Mindful Adventurers. It’s packed with our best tips for saving money, planning for travel, booking flights and accommodation, traveling sustainably, and staying on the road for longer! We ask for your email address so we can send you an email about once every month with our latest travel tips, destination advice, and personal stories about life on the road.