Nicknamed Little Switzerland, Ifrane is a charming place in Morocco where, however, instead of chaotic bazaars, there are manicured gardens, mountain chalets, and a chic alpine style. More than 1,700m, where people come in winter to ski: it is indeed famous for its ski resort that has five slopes and two ski lifts. But it is not only this that has earned it the epithet "mountaineer": clean air, order, and care, making it look like a small Swiss town.
In short, an unusual Morocco is really hard to imagine. Here is a guide to organizing a trip to Ifrane, Morocco: where is it, when to go, and what to see. Let's find out together!
- Inhabitants: 73.782;
- Language: Arabic, Berber, French;
- Local currency: Moroccan Dirham (MAD) / exchange rate: € 1.00 = MAD 10.89;
- Climate: continental, with a cold winter and heavy snowfall and hot summers, but never hot. Cool nights even in summer and even cold at high altitudes;
- Time zone: GMT + 1 (same time compared to Italy);
- Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of 6 months; visa not required for tourist stays of less than 3 months;
- Security information: not being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Morocco, there are no particular dangers in terms of attacks and crime;
- Nearest airports: The small airport of Ifrane is only served by charters from London and Casablanca. For the rest, the nearest airports are Fez (46.3 km) and Rabat-Salé (161.87 km).
Where it is located?
The City of Morocco, in the province of the same name, in the region of Fez-Meknes. It is located in the Middle Atlas Mountains at more than 1,700 meters above sea level. It is a winter tourist location where the ski slopes are a major attraction. It is nicknamed Little Switzerland and is considered the cleanest city in the world.
When should we go? Information about the climate and the best time to visit Ifrane
- Climate: cold continental due to altitude. In summer, it is hot the same day at fairly high altitudes, while the nights are more or less cool depending on the altitude. 1,100 mm of rain falls per year and in winter it often snows
- Best weather: from May to October, the temperatures are pleasant, varying between 20 °C and 25 °C. Winter is bitterly cold, yet it is excellent for skiers;
- Period to avoid: April, as it is the wettest month;
- Tips: when preparing your suitcase, remember to go to the mountains and not to Africa! Especially in winter, warm clothes and ski equipment.
10 things to see in Ifrane and its surroundings
You can't miss me Atlas cedars, the densest and most majestic woods of the Middle Central Atlas. A walk in this extraordinary place will really be a breath of fresh air! And don't forget to admire the Gourand Cedar, incomparable with its gigantic candlestick-shaped branches that reach up to 10 meters in circumference. During the excursion, rest assured that he will be waiting for you cute little monkeys (cute monkeys but also very nasty!).
Being a mountain resort, there are many rivers and waterfalls; the Vittel spring is the best known and is located in a beautiful maple forest and poplars.
Ideal for hikes or short walks. They also organize horse rides, a must in summer!
Another must-see destination is the Blue Mausoleum, located on the road to Meknes. It is a mausoleum dedicated to Sidi Abdesslam, a sixteenth-century saint. Tourists are amazed by its splendor: covered with blue zellige, it is a must for all pilgrims. Surrounded by cypresses and olive trees, you will find traditional houses now used as warehouses.
1. Ski resort: with five slopes and two ski lifts, it is the most popular attraction for tourists.
2. Ancient cedar forest: a few kilometers from the city center, an enchanted and uncontaminated place where you can relax, admire the hundred-year-old trees and take beautiful walks;
3. Source Vittel: one of the most evocative landscapes of Ifrane where you can admire impetuous waterfalls. It is accessed by a path that winds through maple and poplar forests and wide valleys. Possibility to reach the estate on horseback.
4. Circuit of the Lakes: hiking trail of almost 50 km where you can admire the delightful Lake Afennourir, located in the center of a stretch of cedars, then go up to the small mountain lakes like Dayet Aoua.
5. City center: the most modern part of the city where the theater is located, some characteristic clubs, the statue with the Lion, the park around the lake, and practically all the attractions related to skiing or university.
6. Typical houses: the historic center of Ifrane, of French origin, is characterized by its buildings with typical alpine basic architecture: wooden and sloping roofs.
7. Zawiya by Sidi Abdul-Salaml and the minaret: the typical monuments of the Moroccan tradition, the mosque, and the relative minaret that dominates the whole city. The entrance to the mosque is only allowed to Muslims, but it is absolutely worth the detour from the outside.
8. Rue de la Cascade: the main street of Ifrane where you have the largest gastronomic offer of the place. It is dominated by the Palazzo delle Poste, the Chamonix Hotel, and the famous block of houses with typical alpine characteristics.
9. Mohamed V Garden: the best urban park in Ifrane. These are very small gardens but very well maintained. There is a small pond and huge fir trees typical of this region.
10. Al Akhawayn University: Established in 1993, it is ranked among the most expensive universities in Morocco. It stands out for its typical French alpine architecture with ochre buildings and red roofs, inside there is a mosque and other luxury accessories.
How much does it cost to visit Ifrane?
In Ifrane, it is difficult to find cheap accommodation as most of the facilities are integrated into luxury complexes, often equipped with an in-house spa, or they are high-level international accommodations. For cheaper accommodation, you should turn to Azrou, a small town just 15 minutes away by taxi (the journey costs on average €1.00).
Another economical alternative is that of Renting an apartment, considering an average of 150.00 MAD (€14.00) per day. If you have a motorhome, just outside Ifrane is the huge 3 ARZ complex, an equipped and modern construction area designed for campers. Similar discourse also for meals: restaurants in the center of Ifrane have cost very similar to those of Europe.