Hidden in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the Valley of Roses is a stunningly beautiful place that is home to an annual festival devoted to just roses.
The valley gets its name from the thousands of rose bushes that blanket the hillsides and fill the air with their sweet scent. Every spring, the valley comes alive with the blooming of the roses, and for 3 days, it is an absolute paradise.
While the popular destinations Dades Valley and Todra Gorge are the main draws for tourists to this region of Morocco, the Valley of Roses is a hidden gem that is definitely worth a visit.
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Where is the valley of rose located?
The valley of roses is carved out by the M’Goun river all the way to the town of Kalaat Magouna. On the way to the town, you will see plenty of small villages surrounded by rose farms.
The valley is about a 5-hour drive from Marrakech and the best way to get there is to hire a car and drive on the very scenic roads or go on a guided tour if you are sure about driving in Morocco.
Kalaat Mgouna which is the central town of the valley is located just one and half hours from the city of Ouarzazate. So, if you are visiting Ouarzazate or going on a Sahara desert trip through the city, it will be easy to arrange a day trip to the rose valley.
Casablanca is about 7 to 8 hours from Kalaat Mgouna. The best option to get to the valley from Casablanca would be to fly into Ouarzazate airport and then drive to Mgouna or drive to Marrakech, spend a few days and then drive to the valley from there.
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When does the rose festival take place?
The festival is usually held in May when the roses are in full bloom. However, the exact date can vary from year to year as it depends on when the roses are ready to harvest. The festival usually starts on a Friday and continues for 3 days.
What happens during the rose festival in Morocco
The locals of the valley rely solely on the harvest of roses for their livelihood, and the festival is a celebration of this. It is also a time when harvesters and local businesses from all over the valley come together to display the finest of their rose-made products.
You will see stalls selling rose-infused oils, and soaps as well as rose water. There are also a lot of food stalls selling local delicacies.
On the last day of the festival, you will see women dressed in traditional clothing and adorned with roses. This is followed by music, dancing, and plenty of feasting.
While this festival is mostly about locals celebrating their culture and heritage, tourists are more than welcome to join in on the fun. If you are visiting Morocco during this time, make sure to add the Valley of Roses to your Morocco itinerary.
Things to do in the valley of roses in morocco
The roses are undoubtedly the stars of the show in the valley but it requires you a lot of planning to time up your trip with the blooming of the roses which is usually hard to predict.
Even if you don’t catch the roses in bloom, there are plenty of things to do in the valley. Here are some ideas, there are plenty of other things to see and do in the Valley of Roses.
Explore the village of the valley
The valley itself is an oasis with many small villages located in it. You will be amazed by the tranquil and slow pace of life they have.
The best way to explore this side of the valley is by driving or arranging a tour with your hotel. This way you can stop and take in the scenery as well as visit some of the famous rose farms in the area.
The majority of roads leading to these villages are decent and easy to drive on. However, some of the side roads can be a bit tricky so it’s best to leave those out. For easy-access villages, I recommend both Hdida and Taberkhachte.
Visit rose distilleries in Kalaat Mgouna
In Kalaat M’gouna town, you will come across plenty of rose distillery. This is where the roses are turned into rose water. I learned that to make 1 liter of rose water, they use around 3000 kg of roses.
The best time to visit a distillery is in the morning as that’s when they start the distillation. The process is fascinating to watch and the end products make for great souvenirs.
Make sure to support locals by buying some of their products. I recommend buying rose water and rose oil as they are widely used as an essential Morocco beauty product. You can also buy rose-made soaps and jams.
I recommend Rosa Bio shop which is located on the main road to Kalaat Mgouna town. The store has plenty of rosy products to choose from and the seller is super friendly. If you are not successful in finding a distillery, he will be more than happy to show you his.
This is not the only store you can find in the area there are plenty.
Where to stay when visiting the valley of roses
The nice thing about visiting this part of Morocco is the unique accommodation you can find. From ancient kasbahs to guesthouses with lush gardens, there are plenty of places to choose from and I listed a few I fell in love with.
The rooms of this traditional Kasbah hotel offer a picturesque view of the valley of roses. The hotel staff is super friendly and they will go above and beyond to make your stay comfortable. The food is certainly a must-try here. Located about 10 minutes drive from Kalaat Mgouna and prices start at $50 a night only. >> Check Availability & Current Rates
Another great Kasbah to stay in if you are in the region. This one is closer to Kalaat Mgouna town about 5 minutes drive only. The lovely Kasbah is owned by a French couple living in Morocco. They made sure they kept the original Kasbah looking of the hotel. Kasbah Agoulzi is also located near the valley offering great views from the rooftop terrace and the rooms. Expect to pay around $50 to $60 a night here. >> Check Availability & Current Rates
Not far from the Kasbah Agoulzi is Dar Timitar hotel. It’s one of the best-reviewed stays in the region with great views, lovely rooms, and delicious Moroccan food. Prices start at $50 a night. >> Check Availability & Current Rates
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This looks like such an interesting festival!
Roses are so gorgeous, but I also LOVE the smell of roses! I would buy out all the rose oils! What a fun tradition and way to celebrate.