Where to go for a Moroccan coastal retreat

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

Whether it's the port city of Essaouira, Taghazout fishing village or the coastal city of Agadir, a Moroccan coastal retreat introduces you to picturesque shores and lively ports backed by historic streets and dramatic landscapes. Surf, boat, and get lost in the medinas of these enticing retreats on the country's Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Exploration of the coast can be combined with a stay at any one of the exceptional hotels in Marrakech, from the palatial Royal Mansour near Djemaa El Fna square to Amanjena in a peaceful spot south of the city.


Wide sandy shores and a medina protected by seafront ramparts first distinguish this port city on the Atlantic coast. Living up to its moniker, the ‘windy city’, strong winds coming off the Atlantic also make this coastal resort a popular destination for windsurfing among other water sports. Away from the beachfront, visitors can wander the vibrant alleyways and squares of the culturally rich fortified medina, home to an array of cafes, local restaurants and art galleries alongside rug, spice and pottery shops of the laidback souks. See fishing boats arriving and departing at the working port where a fish auction takes place in the market hall and take in the sea views from the historic Skala du Port fortress, which is one of the locations used to film Game of Thrones.


Surf is one of the main draws for travellers coming to this fishing village north of Agadir on the Atlantic coast, with famous breaks like Anchor Point giving it the reputation for having the country’s best waves. This isn’t the only reason to come here though. Travellers come to soak up beach life, swim in the coasts’ calmer waters and horseback ride along their shores.

From Taghazout, you can set out on a guided hike to Paradise Valley – an oasis known for its pools and waterfalls in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. Opportunities abound for the traditional hammam experience in town and there are countless places to try the local food. Standout hotels in this surf town include the beachfront Hyatt Regency Taghazout, which is also close to Taghazout Golf Club, where you can dine with a view over the ocean.


Visited on a day trip from Marrakech or as a destination in its own right, Agadir is a popular coastal getaway for tourists coming to Morocco. This oceanfront city is famed for having the largest souk in Morocco and people come to wander the streets of the picturesque medina, which was sensitively rebuilt after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1960. Visitors can browse the thousands of stalls making up Souk El Had and venture to the city’s hilltop Kasbah, which dates back to the 1500s.

Along the city’s shoreline, water sports lovers come to surf and snorkel off the long stretch of beach and stroll along the beach promenade, which is lined with places to eat and drink. Just like Taghazout, this is a departure point for Paradise Valley, as well as to have a guided tour of Souss Massa National Park.

Al Hoceima

Over on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast, you’ll then find the popular beach destination of Al Hoceima, which sits between the blue Mediterranean Sea meeting picturesque sandy shores and the dramatic Rif Mountains backing this coastal city. The golden beaches, including the central Quemada Beach, are a major draw to the area, with cultural and natural highlights completing the Al Hoceima experience.

Hike or bike through the scenic Al Hoceima National Park, stroll around the city’s port and take in the views from the Corniche Morro Viejo promenade. Activities in and on the water here range from boat tours to scuba diving. Owing to its location, this coastal city is also known for its fresh seafood which features significantly in its gastronomy.


Also on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, Saïdia stands out for having one of the longest beaches in Morocco. Golden shores fringe this town, also known as the Blue Pearl for its blue water, where historic sites like the Kasbah are joined by other worthwhile places to visit including the town’s souk and promenade. During a visit to Saïdia, take time to enjoy the particularly long beach and take the opportunity to get to know the marina, which is also home to several restaurants, bars and shops. For active travellers, water sports on offer here include parasailing and catamaran cruising. The capital of Morocco’s eastern region, Oujda, is also within easy reach, with tours to the city focusing on traditional Moroccan culture.

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