Summer holidays in Morocco are becoming increasingly more nd more popular with thousands of people visiting the country each year. This is due to the country’s incredible beaches, many of them still undeveloped, the enduring authenticity of Moroccan towns and, unquestionably, the chance to have a unique experience in a country that just exudes charm.
From the Mediterranean waters of Tétouan to the wind-swept sands of Tarfaya, where the Sahara overlooks the Atlantic: Mediterranean or Atlantic? Chill out style or family atmosphere? With an exotic, local touch, on the edge of a cliff or on the side of the desert? How to choose the best beach in Morocco? This is no easy task, as more than 3,500km of coastline stretches from the Algerian border on the Mediterranean all the way to where the Sahara meets the Atlantic Ocean.
There are beaches for all tastes: small coves or sandy beaches under cliffs, next to promenades and ports. Below we offer a selection of incredible places to enjoy your summer holidays in Morocco:
1. Heading south: AGADIR
Heading south along the Atlantic coast, Agadir is the first destination in Morocco for seekers of sun, sand and a festive vibe . It has an air that is different from the rest of the country, with a very active port and a beach that sprawls out under the casbah. The long winding beach, clean, and well-lit at night, is filled with families ready to enjoy the summer virtually 300 days a year. From the northern end of the beach, near the port, three parallel boulevards run through the tourist area.
2. Marabout Beach: MIRLEFT
Further south from Agadir, in the direction of the former Spanish Sahara, you’ll find Mirleft. A long-time favourite of artists, musicians and travellers of the Sahara, this village is undergoing development owing to lovers of wind and water sports. The climate is pleasant, the air is clean, and the views are magnificent. With the sight of its wild rocks, Marabout is the most spectacular of Mirleft’s half-dozen beaches.
3. In search of wild beaches: TARFAYA
From Tan Tan Tan to Tarfaya, right on the Atlantic coast, there are 200km of monotonous desert stretches that will fill your head with dreams of adventure. Along the way, on the cliffs, you can see the huts of fishermen who usually sell their catch on the roadside, and the odd herd of camels slowly ambling along the hammada. South of Sidi Akhfennir, the journey becomes more visually engrossing, with wild and pristine beaches and ochre-hued dunes making up the horizon or bordering the road.
4. A village of artists: ASILAH
Bathed by the waters of the Atlantic and only an hour from Tangiers, this small city’s walled medina encloses picturesque spots where artists give free rein to their creative impulse.
The beaches of Asilah are also known as an ideal summer spot for locals and foreigners alike. Needless to say, if you go there, you must try the extraordinary fish in places like Casa Pepe or La Place. Three kilometres from Asilah is the Kahf El Hemam beach, which is an excellent place to kick back and relax.
5. Going for a swim with Hercules: TANGIERS
Neither on the Atlantic nor the Mediterranean: Tangiers is in the Strait, the passageway where Africa meets Europe and the waters of the great ocean and mare nostrum mix. Two good plans for a day trip from the city are to visit Ksar es-Seghir, also in the Strait of Gibraltar, or the Plage Robinson, south of Cape Spartel, on the north-western tip of the African Atlantic coast. Great for an invigorating stroll, about five kilometres from the Plage Robinson you’ll find the Hercules caves. From within, you can see one of the most commonly photographed views of northern Morocco, in a scene that recalls the map of Africa. Camel rides are available on the beach right near the entrance to the caves.
6. A town made for a movie: TÉTOUAN
This north Moroccan city, bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean, has served as the backdrop for many films and books, such as the Spanish novel and TV series The Time in Between.
Considered to be the most Spanish city in Morocco owing to its history, – cosmopolitan and modern, yet deeply Moroccan – it’s a delight to the locals both in winter and summer. The city’s nearby beaches are also very well known and make it easy to enjoy both the city and surf. Special mention should be made of the Martil beach and the three boulders which, although they are a bit further away, are worth a visit.
7. A stopover in the capital: RABAT
The political and administrative capital of Morocco had to be in this select list. This lovely city has several beaches in the immediate vicinity, but we would highlight the Oudayas, which is Rabat’s largest and best-known beach, boasting an incredible view of a 12th-century fortress.
To get a bit of local flavour, try going for a swim on beaches frequented by Moroccans, such as those around Rabat. La Plage des Nations, 17km north of Rabat, is very popular with the locals. It is a clean and sandy strip, with excellent waves that are just right for surfers, but also with currents that are perilous for swimmers. Further north along the coast, 50km away, is Mehdiya Plage, another stretch of sand full of holiday homes and beach bars. Although it also has those currents, in summer it’s full of people on day trips, while the rest of the year it is deserted.
8. The best oysters in Morocco: AL JADIDA
A famous summer resort among Moroccans, south of El Jadida is the Oualidia beach or lagoon. Its pretty, sandy beach and warm waters stretch out for 3km. It’s safe to swim there, and one can indulge in many water sports. When the tide is low, the view is spectacular with sandbanks and the ocean set against the horizon. Here you can enjoy the best oysters Morocco has to offer.
9. A Breton touch: ESSAOUIRA
Known as the favourite place for kitesurfing lovers, and fast becoming an international destination for the sport. When you see the fortified walls of Essaouira facing the Moroccan Atlantic, with its fishing port and the squawking of the seagulls overhead, you might think you have been transported to a village in French Brittany. It just might be, because Essaouira, now so fashionable, was designed by the same French engineer who devised the most famous port in Brittany: Saint-Malo. But once inside its walls, the effect fades: it’s 100% Moroccan, with its narrow streets, the scent of spices and women with white veils.
In the streets of Essaouira, the northern Arabs and the southern Berbers cross paths, in addition to Europeans who have made their home in the city’s artistic community, and the Gnaouna (Africans from the south). In summer, the beaches are crowded with tourists who play football, go windsurfing or kitesurfing. If you feel like walking, cross the Ksoub River southwards to see the ruins of the old fortress of Borj el-Beroud.
10. Surf heaven: SIDI KAOUIKI
The constant stormy winds, the rugged beach and the excellent accommodation of Sidi Kaouki (near Essaouira) are quickly turning the place into one of Morocco’s top destinations for surfing and kitesurfing. But, its waters can be dangerous for those who are inexperienced in these sports.