Discover Morocco’s Coastal Gems

While planning a visit to Morocco may conjure up visions of the rolling dunes of the Sahara, or the pleasant chaos of market places and sidewalk cafés in Casablanca and Marrakech, an increasing number of visitors to Morocco are discovering that the country’s coastal villages and cities are indeed gems worth seeking out. Located on the Atlantic coastline in the south of Morocco, Sidi Ifni started out as a Spanish port city before being ceded to Morocco in the late 1960s and the city features an interesting blend of Spanish and traditional Moroccan architecture. The year-round mild climate of Sidi Ifni, along with its rugged coastline makes it a popular venue for experienced surfers and kite boarders, particularly in the summer months when the cold Atlantic Ocean has lost a bit of its chill.

Moving north up the Atlantic Coast, travelers will come across the beach at Legzira, renowned for its spectacular sandstone arches, before reaching the small fishing village of Mirlift. Offering pristine beaches washed by the ocean, and some interesting caves to explore, Mirlift is a perfect chill-out destination. The city of Agadir, located further up the coast, is truly a holiday paradise and well worth visiting. Following extensive damage by an earthquake on February 29, 1960, the city was rebuilt around three kilometers south of the original site, with the infrastructure aimed at welcoming tourists. Visitors will find accommodation to suit every budget, as well as palm-fringed beaches, and boardwalk cafés and pubs, while the nightlife is reputed to be vibrant.

The early 16th-century Portuguese-built fortress at Essaouira is so striking that visitors will immediately see why it is featured in a number of films. The town is built around the well-preserved fortress and the cannons along its waterfront ramparts remain as a reminder that the city at one time needed protection from invaders. Essaouira’s wide sandy beach and prevailing off-shore winds make this coastal city a favored playground for kite surfers.

Although Rabat is located on the coastline, its main attraction is not its beach, but rather its bustling medina, fascinating history and majestic citadel. Located on the southern edge of the Strait of Gibraltar, the city of Tangier is considered to be the gateway to Morocco, particularly for visitors from Europe who arrive by ferry. Attractions in Tangier include the iconic Kasbah and Kasbah Museum, Teatro Cervantes, the Grand Socco, Museum of Moroccan Arts, and the Sultan’s palace – Dar el Makhzen.