Have you ever heard about Imlil in Morocco? Maybe not! Morocco is one of the charming African countries to visit in 2021. It is well known for its metropolitan cities like Marrakech, Casablanca, and Fez, but not particularly for this quaint village of Imlil.
Imlil is not only an impeccable escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy cities in Morocco but also an opportunity to unwind and discover a unique side of this exotic country. So, here is everything you need to know about Imlil village in Morocco.
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Imlil in Morocco
Imlil is a very small village in Morocco that accommodates around 15000 inhabitants. Located in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Imlil is very close to the highest mountain in North Africa, Jebel Toubkal, 4160 meters high. While 90% of hikers consider this small village to be the perfect base when attempting to summit Toubrak mountain, others favor it for a relaxing break from modern busy life.
Imlil is the beating heart of the Atlas mountains. It offers breathtaking valleys, amazing trekking trails, and hiking landscapes. The village is also well known for walnuts, apples, and cherry production that support the local economy of the community living there.
For many, Imlil is an ideal hiking and mountain trekking holiday destination. However, the village isn’t only a heaven place for hikers and fit people who are willing to walk for miles, but also for anyone wishing to visit a magical mountain destination, enjoy the landscapes and unwind. What I’m sure of is that whoever visits Imlil will certainly fall in love as I did and wish to come back again.
How to Get to Imlil from Marrakech?
Imlil village is about 60-kilometer away from Marrakech therefore, Grand taxis (shared Mercedes taxis) run regularly between the 2 cities. The ride to Imlil in a Grand taxi will cost you about 3$ to 5$ (Yeah, I know it’s cheap!) You can also hire the same taxi as a private ride and pay around $30. The taxi station is just a few steps from Jemaa El Fna.
An easy and comfortable way to get to Imlil is using the shuttle bus operated by Souk to Surf company that connects Imlil, Marrakech, and Essaouira. You will pay approximately $10 for a trip from Marrakech to Imlil using this service. The ticket can be booked online with a known and set price and your seat will be guaranteed. You don’t need to waste time looking for a seat in a shared taxi or bargain for the price.
In addition to the grand taxi and the shuttle bus, there are other options that I consider more of a hassle to get to Imlil. Like taking the shared taxi to Asni and from Asni you take minibusses or taxis to Imlil (another 18 kilometers). There are also buses you can find at Marrakech central bus station, they usually operate with NO set schedule so just go to the station and try your luck to find a bus and a seat.
Imlil Weather: When is the Best Time to Visit?
While Winter in Imlil is very cold and almost unbearable for winter haters (like me), Summer in Imlil is the perfect travel holiday and an escape from the heat in Marrakech, especially between June and August when the temperature peaks. Imlil is surrounded by mountains and green valleys that help lower its temperature, compared to Marrakech.
According to trekking experts in the region, the best time to visit Imlil is between mid-May and mid-October. This time is when you can enjoy a warm trekking experience and avoid the snowy days in Imlil.
Top Things to Do in Imlil Village
1. Hike up Jebel Toubkal
When mountaineers are searching for trekking experiences in Morocco, the first thing that comes up is climbing to Jebel Toubkal summit (4160 m).
Imlil is the starting point of Toubkal mountain, and the hike to the summit is from 2 to 3 days from the village. Tourists and hikers tend to spend a few days before in the village enjoying what it has to offer while getting ready for the big adventure.
The trek might seem very easy for some but it’s actually not. This is the reason why having a mountain guide became mandatory – which means, you cannot climb Jebel Toubkal alone without hiring a local guide. The guide will take care of everything you need for a successful hike experience including food supplies, accommodation/refuge booking, mules, etc.
The trek to the top is really worth it to what it offers from landscapes, nature, and a sense of adventure. After a hard day’s hike, you can stay at one of Toubkal refuges, Refuge du Toubkal, or Les Mouflons for an overnight stay and continue your adventure the next day.
2. Trek Across the Atlas Mountains
One of the best experiences one can enjoy in Morocco is a trek across the High Atlas mountains. The mountains range along the Sahara Desert and accommodate Berber villages and endangered wildlife. If you are not interested in hiking to Jebel Toubkal, there are many easy and fun treks to enjoy.
You can either go for long or short hikes across the Atlas Mountains but never go alone. A guide is ALWAYS recommended when hiking or trekking in Morocco as the conditions may change and only locals know about it. Both High Atlas Hikes and Azzaden Trekking Lodge offer interesting hiking experiences that you will certainly love.
3. Spend an Afternoon in Imlil Waterfalls
Imlil Waterfalls is located just 30 minutes west of the village. The small cascade of waterfalls can be a lovely and refreshing afternoon trek. Walking to the waterfalls is also a great way to discover the culture and meet locals and villagers. Sometimes arranged tours offer visits to locals’ houses to learn about the Berber Moroccan culture and taste the homemade traditional food.
4. Try a Hammam Experience in Imlil’s local Hammam
You cannot leave Morocco without trying an authentic Moroccan Hammam experience. And the best place to have your first traditional Moroccan Hammam is in the High Atlas, Imlil. You can either stay in a lodge that offers a Moroccan Hammam (request it before booking, not all lodges have Hammam facilities) or pay a small entrance fee to Imlil Village Association to use their Hammam. I recommend going with Imlil Village Hammam if you want to experience a local hammam and not a touristy one.
Where to Stay in Imlil?
Kasbah du Toubkal | Kasbah du Toubkal is Imlil’s landmark hotel and one of Morocco’s famous hotels. Kasbah du Toubkal is an award-winning hotel and ecolodge in Morocco. Located at 1820 meters above sea level and set on a hilltop from their reception in Imlil it, offers amazing landscape views of the village and its surroundings. The walk from the reception to the Kasbah is 15 minutes and the hotel staff take care of your luggage by carrying it with mules which is so much fun to see! The hotel is open for non-residents for lunch and they also offer day excursions, trekking tours, creative workshops, and Yoga sessions.
Toubkal Ecolodge | Toubkal ecolodge is a Berber hotel in the High Atlas Mountains. Their accommodation offers six traditional rooms, all designed and furnished with local Moroccan products. Toubkal Ecolodge is a family hotel business set to promote the heritage of the high atlas mountains and Moroccan Berber culture through their services. Toubkal Ecolodge is also known to be a good choice for winter visitors interested in skiing in the Atlas mountains.
Dar Imlil | Dar Imlil is another great accommodation option in the village. Dar Imlil is a small guest house that offers delicious food and spectacular views of Imlil and the Toubkal mountain from a rooftop terrace. This wonderful little heaven is very close to many trekking trails which makes it a great option for hikers coming to enjoy the Atlas Mountains.
Riad Jnane Imlil | Jnane Imlil is an authentic guest house in the Atlas Mountains. If you like to enjoy a swim now and then during your trips, Jnane Imlil is one of the few Riads that actually has a pool in Imlil valley.
Where to Eat in Imlil?
Your hotel or guesthouse will definitely offer a rich menu, including tasty Moroccan dishes. But I personally like to try out different places when it comes to food. That’s why I listed a few options in Imlil village, in case you want to discover what’s there for you.
Kasbah du Toubkal | Kasbah du Toubkal is both a lodge and a restaurant. There is nothing better than enjoying a mouthwatering Moroccan dish on a roof terrace with mountain views. The restaurant is open for non-residents for lunch, so booking your stay somewhere else won’t prevent you from experiencing a delicious Moroccan meal with spectacular views.
Restaurant Talaoul | Talaoul guest house is located in a family-owned village called Talaoul. The guest house has a restaurant that serves Moroccan local food on the terrace with a full panoramic view over the valley and the mountains.
Imlil village in Morocco is not for everyone. It’s not the best place for shopping and you won’t find all the creature comforts there. It’s a place to retreat, relax, reflect and unwind. If you wanna run up some mountains, you can do that too. Imlil is different, as it should be. It’s a unique place that makes you feel like you have truly traveled, beyond borders, beyond time.
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