Why Your Morocco Itinerary Needs To Include Ouarzazate

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Door of the Desert is home to your favorite films and a giant fort that’ll leave your jaws wide open.

In Berber, Ouarzazate literally means “Door of the Desert.” If you’re heading to Morocco, this region in south-central Morocco absolutely needs to be a part of your planning process.

On the way from Marrakech heading down to the Sahara, Ouarzazate is the site of where your favorite films were made, including: Lawrence of Arabia, and Gladiator. The reason being that Atlas Studios is located in a large area of the city. As one of the biggest movie studios in the world, Atlas’ location is also showcased in television shows such as: Game of Thrones: Season 3, and Prison Break: Season 5. 

Movie fans may be fanatics about visiting Ouarzazate, history buffs may get their share of joy too. Aït Benhaddou is a jaw-dropping ancient city, made up of six kasbahs (or forts) and approximately fifty palaces. Constructed in earthen clay architecture that well represents the Moroccan engineering style, Aït Benhaddou is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is nothing more peaceful than reaching to the top of the fortification after a few hours of wandering through hundreds of petite steps. Staring at the limitless desert upon the giant citadel is a calming feat all on its own.

Berber-speakers were the ones who built the kasbahs, and many of them still reside in today’s Ouarzazate. There are numerous excursions to cross off your bucket list with guided tours. Here are a few recommendations:

Planning an entire week in Ouarzazate is certainly not necessary, but a day or two is absolutely ideal. Afterwards, spend a night or two in the Sahara Desert. THAT is a complete must!

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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