As I mentioned before, Morocco has a great diversity of geographical landscapes. Sahara Desert in the east, Atlas mountains in the middle, green coast of Atlantic. Ifrane is unique city in the Middle Atlas, around 70 kilometers away from Fez. Ifrane is mostly known for its nature and one of the best universities in whole Africa, Al-Akhawayan. Therefore, you can see many students hanging around in small but fancy cafés of the town.
Ifrane differs from other Moroccans cities, because of its strongly Europian alpine style architecture. It feels like you suddenly came to some small Austrian or Swizz town in the middle of Morocco. As a matter of fact, Ifrane has pretty decent ski resort which is developing all the time.
Ifrane enjoys snowy winters and it's holding record of the coldest temperature ever recorded in whole Africa (around -23C). Despite the cold winters, Ifrane is a great place for monkey spotting (well, Barbary macaques) even I didn't have luck last time! I will without doubt try it again one day.
Locals and visitors seem to love the relaxed atmosphere in the village. People from chaotic (and sometimes way too hot) Fez like to escape to Ifrane, for a day or two. I totally missed Ifrane when the temperature reached +47C inFez and I could only dream of having a picnic under a tree, big enough to give shadow from the burning sun. It is also very refreshing to breath fresh air and walk on extremely tidy streets after discovering big cities like Fez and Meknes. Ifrane was actually voted for one of the cleanest cities in the world, which I can totally agree.
The main attraction to see in this small town, is the surrounding nature, symphatic Alpine houses and of course, the ski resort. There are numerous parks worth visiting, I headed to Ifrane on a weekday, when it was quiet and calm. On weekends there are usually events such as markets, horse riding and other activities held in the parks so it can actually get quite crowded when it is a good weather.
If you ever have some extra time in Fez or even in Meknes stop by Ifrane. The only cons I can think of are that if you don't have a car in use, you most likely have to take a white taxi. They are very affordable (around 40dh/4€ one way from Fez) but these taxis move only when they are complitely packed, meaning 4 people in the backseat and 3 in front. There are no seatbelts and the driving style isn't the safest one, I must say. But if you don't mind taking super cheap and a little adventurous local ride, go ahead.
I truely wish to go Ifrane again next month and see how Ifrane looks in this time of the year. Maybe even try the ski centre and the spa they have. Fingers crossed. What are the things that you associate Morocco with?