If you're traveling between the Moroccan Coast and the Interior, we suggest a detour to Taroudant.  Called the "Grandmother of Marrakech" it has the feel of a small market town on some caravan route.  Taroudant is noted for its local crafts and you can pick up some nice bargains here.

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It felt good to leave Agadir after two weeks, and the bus ride to Taroudant wasn’t bad.  We soon found ourselves in an old Royal Palace, converted into a luxury hotel. We enjoyed a nice lunch of grilled chicken by the pools and fountains in the incredibly lush courtyards, replete with scurrying wait staff in white coats, rushing around trying to keep all the tourists happy. 

The fountains were inhabited by turtles, the trees with lots of birds and lizards and the lush foliage was fabulous. We had orange, loquat, banana, date palm, hibiscus and bougainvillea outside our room in the courtyard. The ceiling and woodwork of the rooms are painted with some of the most colorful traditional Arabic graphics, bright colors on a white background. 

The Walls of Taroudant
Taroudant is called the "Grandmother of Marrakech" because it is a scaled down, slowed down town that resembles Marrakech with it's surrounding ramparts.  Unlike Marrakech, Taroudant contains almost the whole city within it's walls.  A good place to visit on your way to the desert or perhaps a day trip from Agadir.  Taroudant is known for it's jewelry and carpets.  It's a much more relaxed place to purchase these items.

Our room had two levels, with beds up and downstairs. The stained glass windows of mostly red and green let in enough light to see, while you relaxed on the sofas in the cool downstairs area. A large brass and glass chandelier dominated the room providing a bit more light. The huge bathroom had an enormous tub, really old style and opulent. The place even had air-conditioning.

Passageway at the Salam Palais Hotel
This hotel is the cool place to stay in Taroudant.  Situated in the old Kasbah it is full of atmosphere.  Lush tropical plants abound and provide shade in the garden, by the swimming pool and in the courtyards.  You will feel like a prince or princess here. 

We enjoyed getting lost in the maze of streets and alleyways in town that afternoon. Shopping is centered around the three main squares in town. Off one square were a bunch of jewelry vendors.  The local metal work is superior to the rest of Morocco’s. We should have bought a few more pieces as the prices were great! 

Restaurant, Salam Palais

The town itself is entirely within walls, painted a dusty red and topped with crenellations where warriors once defended the place from the barbarians. It was really nice to take a walk along the top of the old walls and see the traffic and bustle of humanity below. 

This fellow wearing sheepskins is celebrating the Moroccan holiday which commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Issac.  Of course he killed a sheep instead, and this important ritual is carried out by every family with sheep to spare.  The skins are then put in a place of honor.  (Tip: take your shoes off before walking on one of those sheepskins.)

Taroudant Tips
Taroudant is situated east from Agadir on the road to Ouarzazate. It can be easily visited as a day trip from Agadir enroute to the Sahara Desert.

Things to Do:The town is small enough to explore on foot.  The city walls provide some nice views, access is by the main gate.  The Kasbah has been converted to a hotel and it's a great place to explore and have a cool drink in the lush gardens.

Shopping: There are some interesting shops around town with a very good selection of jewelry and local carpets.  Prices are reasonable with little hassle.

Sights:The town walls and the Kasbah

Food:The Hotel Palais Salam, the old kasbah, has three restaurants and the food was good.  Another possibility is La  Gazelle d'Or, located 2 km out of town serves great Moroccan food.  You'll need reservations!

Accommodation: The Hotel Palais Salam, once the kasbah, is a great place and the prices are reasonable.  If you can afford it La Gazelle d'Or, located 2 km out of town, is one of the finest (and most expensive) hotels in Morocco!

Our next stop is Ouarzazate!
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