Morocco covers a vast area of land consisting of the desert, beaches, busy cities and beautiful mountains. With the inland cities being the main point of visiting for many tourists, much of the coastline cities are usually missed.
Aside from the refreshing port city of Essaouira, Morocco is home to several other coastline cities, with all promising to be the perfect place to relax, unwind and explore.
Starting With Essaouira
This port city which rests on the coast of the Morocco, provides some of the best views of the Atlantic Ocean and is heaven for surfers. The local town has a very authentic feel to it and has less crowds in comparison to Marrakech. It really is a refreshing place to start or end your trip to Morocco and interestingly has a lot to see for a small city. The city has a serene atmosphere all thanks to Theodore Cornut, the Frenchman who designed the city.
Be sure to visit the spacious beach and meander through the narrow streets of the Medina, where you’ll also see whitewashed houses all surrounded by a fortified wall. To get striking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the town, head over to the Portuguese Fort.
Safi is another port city that definitely deserves a lot more attention than it gets. We decided to drive here to discover if it was worth visiting. Whilst it was difficult to drive here because of the somewhat unstable roads, we were surprised to see that it has quiet beaches and a quaint charm which made us want to stay there longer. The city has less tourists in comparison to Essaouira, but that only made things better as we witnessed locals going about their daily routine.
One thing Safi is well-known for is it’s giant pottery works. Most pottery you find around Morocco is produced here and even has the word ‘Safi’ on the back of the pottery. It’s definitely worth coming to see workers in action producing fine pottery works.
Perched on the coast of the Mediteraenean Sea, you’ll find the beautiful coastal town called El Hoceima. It is north across the sea from the South of Spain and lies strategically at the northern edge of the Rif Mountains.
The main advantages of the town is that it has a number of unspoilt beaches all within walking distances from each other. Just in case you want a change from the beach and coastal setting, you will not run out of things to do as the Al Hoceima National Park is within a close proximity (20KM).
A great place for walking, running, hiking and biking, the park covers an area of 285 square kilometres, and is home to pine forest harbours, wild boar, various species of birds and rock canyons. Be sure to spot some of the Berber settlements to witness live pottery.
Known as the birth place of the well-known Muslim traveller, Ibn Batutta, Tangier is steeped in history. Whilst it has a long history, unfortunately the place is no longer visited for that reason. Acting as the gateway to Africa, this was also the place the young boy in Paul Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist‘ visited when he entered Africa.
Located across the sea from Gibraltar, Tangier is probably one of the best ways to enter Morocco if you’re coming from the north of Spain. Even though Tangier falls within Africa, it almost has a European feel to it, which may be down to the fact that it was not governed by Morocco for much of its history.
Aside from laying by the beach, going for a swim, eating delicious seafood, I highly recommend wondering through the Kasbah. Make your way to the top to get some breathtaking views of not only the Atlantic Ocean, but also the Mediterranean Sea.
Majestically facing the Atlantic Ocean, Casablanca is heaven for surfers and possesses one of the largest Mosques in the world.
Whilst most visitors end up in Marrakech or Fez, this densely populated city usually gets missed.
From all the coastal cities/towns we visited in Morocco, we found Casablanca to have the most liveliest scene. This could be down to the availability of local and international cuisines, and let’s face it, better prices than you’ll find somewhere like Marrakech. Plus, the city has a great mall which you can resort to called the Marjane Morocco Mall. Inside you’ll find a great range of shops and eateries to choose from. Come evening, the street scene, the beach and the Mosque really come to life, making it a great place to hang out.
Located approximately 80 miles from El Hoceima, Nador is a small, cosy and simple city located on northeastern side of the Morocco. Nador is not currently a highly visited coastal city, however, with redevelopments, I see it becoming a more visited place in the future.
The best areas to visit when in Nador are the Corniche and Mar Chica. Mar Chica a beautiful lagoon which is surrounded with greenery and palm trees whilst the Corniche faces the Mediterenean and is a relaxing place to walk. As with every other city in Morocco, be sure to visit the Souk for souveniors, spices and other random bits and peices.
I think Nador is easy to explore within a day and therefore I recommend visiting two other places if you’re still looking to explore. The first is Melilla, which is 17km from Nador and is a small autonomous Spanish city which is located in mainland Africa. The second is Mount Curco, which is a National Forest and is a great place to get away from the city to catch some pure air and be amongst nature.
History tells us that El Jadida, also known as the Portuguese City of Mazagan, was developed as a settlement by Portuguese travellers on their way to India. It is for that reason, visitors will witness a mix of European and Moroccan cultures when it comes to architecture.
As the city lies around 100km from Casablanca and 200km from Marrakech, it’s worth visiting for a day or two. One of the main reasons why its worth visiting, is because of the famous UNESCO site, the fortified Portuguese city which you can wonder through.
A beautiful beach that is worth visiting is Plage Sidi Bouzid, which lies about 15 minutes from the city of El Jadida. A gold sandy beach, this place is the perfect spot to get away from everyone. Be aware, if you go throughout the holiday seasons (Moroccan or European), it can get busy.
What made me put El Jadida on this list was the fact that it lies in between two of the greatest coastal cities of Morocco, namely Casablanca and Essaouira.