It is not for nothing that knowledgeable people say that Morocco is a country of contrasts. The whole world knows its fragrant spices, oriental flavor, cozy courtyard-patios, chic beaches. Probably no mystery to anyone that on the territory of this country is a huge mountain range known as the Atlas Mountains. And few people know that in winter in Morocco, you can do an excellent skiing. In this case the alpine slopes will cost you a lot more! And this is the ski resort town Ifrane is known all over Morocco. It is located in the middle of the Mid-Atlas mountain range, not far from the city of Fes.
A little about the history of the city
Ifran was originally founded by Berber tribes. In translation, the name of the city means “caves”. This is due to the fact that the locals built their dwellings directly in the ground. In 1929, after the establishment of the French protectorate, Ifrane began to actively defend itself. Characteristically, the architecture of the city is made in the traditional European style, and it was developed according to the project “Garden city”. This idea implies a certain harmony between the arrangement of architectural constructions and nature. For example, in the city there are no straight streets, and each house has an adjacent territory with lots of green spaces. Among the first buildings in Ifrane are the Post Office and the Cathedral. And in 1995, Al Ahoin University was founded here.
The ski resort
Ifran is located at an altitude of 1665 meters above sea level.. Such a location also affects the weather conditions. In particular, it is here that the lowest temperature in Africa was recorded (-24 °C). However, this is rather an exception. During the winter is usually around 0 ° C, and from January to March, it often snows. All this combines to create excellent conditions for skiing.
The surrounding scenery is somewhat similar to the alpine. However, the fact that the same service and pleasure, as in the ski resorts of Switzerland, you can get at a much lower price. The only difference between Ifrane is a shorter duration of the slopes. The ski resort Michlifen itself is located 19 km from the city, at the foot of Mount Hebris. In their free time tourists can also occupy themselves horseback riding, fishing or just hiking, admiring the unimaginable beauty of the Atlas Mountains.
Today Ifrane is quite a popular tourist destination. In the summer, even the inhabitants of Morocco come here to rest from the heat. Among the main attractions of Ifrane are more famous for its natural phenomena and places. For example, there are wonderful cedar groves sprouting here. There are several picturesque lakes and waterfalls in the vicinity. In the national park, which is closely adjacent to the city, you can see packs of tame macaques. They do not show any aggression towards tourists and are very cute and funny creatures. In addition, the city is the starting point for many multi-day hiking trails.
Ifrane in Morocco can be a real salvation for people with allergies. This is due to the fact that at an altitude of over 1500 m above sea level, does not live a dust mite. The air here is fresh and pleasant, after the city smog and car exhausts contrast is very noticeable. And in general Ifran is considered one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Hotels and Restaurants
Ifrane has quite a few hotels, most of which are located on the slopes of the mountains. One of the most popular hotels is Michlifen Ifrane Suites & Spa. It is located next to the National Park, south of Fez. Here everything is saturated with chic and decorated in the style of luxury. Each room has a balcony, which offers a wonderful view of the forest and mountains. There is an outdoor pool, sauna, and spa. A more budget-friendly accommodation option is Hôtel Relais Ras El Maa. The Michlifen ski resort is a half-hour drive away, and the hotel itself is in close proximity to the Vittel springs.
Among the restaurants in Ifrane there are such places as Le Chamonix, Cafe de Paix, Auberge Berbère, Cafe Restaurant la Rose. Rest assured – here you will get a delicious and nourishing meal for a very reasonable price. The cuisine is predominantly international, but you can also taste the traditional Moroccan dishes.
How to get there?
Ifrane is located about 500 km from Marrakech and 60 km from Fez. There is an airport 45 km from the city, so the possible and most comfortable way to travel is by plane. You can get here by SMT shuttle buses. In a private car from Marrakech, take the A2, A3 and A7 through Casablanca and Rabat. It takes about 6 hours in total.