80 kilometers from Fes, on the Middle Atlas, is Ifrane, a small provincial capital city of the Fes Meknes region. Of alpine style, it is located at the bottom of an ancient crater and surrounded by wooded mountains, at an altitude of 1650 meters. It was created in 1930, with a European style and a pleasant atmosphere worthy of being known in all seasons, being ideal for lovers of fresh air and tranquillity.
Built by the French in 1929 as a mountain resort, it was inspired by the architecture of the Alps. Together with Azrou, it forms a provincial administrative centre. We will see the most interesting details of this tourist city.
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Ifrane is a good place to stay on a visit or on the way to the desert. The recommended hotels in Ifrane are:
Luxurious and expensive: Michlifen Ifrane Suites & Spa.
Modest but central: Gran Hotel Ifrane, Hotel Chamonix and the Farah Inn and the Residences de Ifrane.
There is also the possibility of renting apartments.
What To See in Ifrane
There’s a lot to do in Ifrane. There is a large royal palace on the Mischiflen road, Al Akhawayn University (AAI), a military school and many luxury villas that are scattered throughout the garden city surrounded by trees and well-tended streets. It is a city of leisure for summer and mountain sports.
In the center of the city it emphasizes a lake surrounded by forests, next to which we will be able to contemplate the Lion of Ifrane, a stone sculpture in which the tourists take the photo of themselves as a souvenir. As a souvenir of the protectorate there are some original chalets, the post office and the church of Cedros, built in stone.
The garden city quarter of the colonial period (called Riad), is still made up of summer houses and tourist complexes, empty most of the year.
Old streets and parks have been modified and replaced with more modern buildings and much of the city center was converted into a pedestrian mall – some green areas and trees were removed.
The popular neighbourhoods are to the north, Tidiqin with the weekly souk and to the south Bir Anzarane and PAM, where the Mosque, the bus station and other services are located.
In summer many national tourists come from the nearby cities of Meknes and Fez. It is also home to the International Summer University, of great prestige.
During the whole year you can practice the horse riding in the Royal Club.
Ifrane National Park
It is an impressive cedar forest, a magnificent natural monument and the largest in Morocco. It extends around Ifrane and Azrou, at an altitude of 1500-2000 meters. Its forest of more than 50,000 hectares, the largest cedar reserve in Morocco and the world, is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You will find incredible cedars over 100 years old, great walnut trees and imposing oaks that darken the road and give an air of mystery. The lakes of Dayet Asaua, Dayet Ifrah, the Valley of the Rocks, the waterfalls of Vierges and the summit of Jbel Hebri, next to the winter station of Mischiffen, are worth visiting.
The fauna abounds, highlighting the monkeys, wild boars, hares and partridges, which attract tourism in the season of hunting and fishing for trout, among its flora highlights the aromatic and medicinal plants.
It includes the Maison del Cédraire, a forest estate that houses a permanent exhibition designed around all the themes of cedar.
There is a circuit to see the forests that starts in Mischiffen- Jebel Hebri and ends in Ain Leuh.
There is a circuit of the lakes, taking the road to Fes, turning off at 16 km towards Dayet Aoua, ideal for eating, resting or watching birds, although the over-exploitation of the aquifers makes it dry in summer.
Continue by local road among pines and oaks, which leads us to Dayet Ifrah, in a beautiful landscape, although less visited. Continue along tracks to the valley of the rocks, with large petal formations, to return to Ifrane on road 707.
Ski station 2036 meters, 17 km. You can get there by taking road 707, after passing the Tizzi n Treten pass at 1934 metres. This area is a plain dotted with forests and areas of stones forming curious shapes. The station has some services and there is a chalet of the Ifrane Ski Club.
Close to it, we have the station of Jebel Hebri, at 2014 meters and 22 km, without services. It can be reached from Azrou on the Midelt road.
Before reaching Mischiflen, there is a local road to the east, which crosses a plateau where sheep graze, leading to Boulemane, 55 km away.
Zaouia de Ifrane
Located 5 km away, following a local road that goes along the Tizguit river, passing by the Virgin’s waterfalls.
This village, was the first settlement in the area with the remains of primitive Hebrew tribes and is the sanctuary of its founder Sidi Abdesselam, who is very revered. It is interesting to see the ancient troglodytic dwellings with caves.
At 8 km direction Azrou ,in the middle of the mountain, we find this rural commune, zaouia, with the rural hotel of Tamanoucht. The women of this area produce natural Camomile essence.
Its water is very appreciated, being bottled as a mineral with the name of Agua de Benismim.
In this place was built during the protectorate the anti-tuberculosis Sanatorium, of Bensmim, surrounded by forests. Today it is abandoned and its spectacular size can be seen.
At 17 km, N-8 south direction, is a mountain town of about 50,000 inhabitants. It is located in an important crossroads that links the region with the desert, through the road of Midelt, Er Rachidia, Erfoud, Merzouga and with Marrakech 400 Km. through the Khenifra road, Beni Mellal and near the imperial cities of Fez, Meknes,80 Kms.
City with a moderate hotel offer, highlighting the modest Hotel Panorama 2 * and in the forest, the modern LePalais des Cerisiers. A good alternative is to sleep in Fes.
Azrou can be a base for visiting the Middle Atlas Mountains and the desert or as an excursion from nearby Fez and Meknes.
More information about Azrou.
At 26 km in the direction of Fes we find this summer center and small village of the Atlas located at 1400 meters of altitude, in the Massif of the same name. It is a place of great natural beauty and fresh climate. Its fame is national.
With a lively main street and a lake in the center.
There is a two star hotel: Porte Atlas.