Morocco: Why it’s got it all - Surf Towns
The numerous beaches and surf spots spread along Morocco’s coastline remain some of the lesser known characteristics of the country’s diverse landscape. Notorious for places such as the Sahara, or the many bustling, market-filled cities, one would not necessarily think of Morocco when planning a beach holiday. Nevertheless, within this majestic country lie some of the most beautiful seafronts, and perfect wave conditions for those ardent surfers among us. During my first trip to Morocco I stumbled quite by chance upon the scene, and am forever grateful for both the people and the waves this brought me.
TOP TIP: One particular benefit to a sunkissed Moroccan getaway: it’s sunny all year round! A perfect remedy to those awkward Easter trips where you can never be sure if your welcome will be one of sun, or of showers. Essaouira is one of the more renowned coastal towns in Morocco; relaxed and windy; it has become a focal point for windsurfing enthusiasts and beginners alike. The surviving fortress walls enclosing the city (canons and all), and the traditional Portuguese port, give Essaouira a touch of historical intrigue. But my favourite aspects remain the hassle-free shopping (although in Morocco it’s never completely hassle free), and the fresh food. Not only are there an abundance of market stalls piled with a towering array of olives, vegetables and nuts, in a spectrum of colours and smells; but some of the best fresh fish around. At the fish market, for an extremely decent price, you can pick your shrimp or octopus and have it grilled before you. Not something to miss.
Camels at dusk; Essaouira beach
Less known, but equally charming, is Taghazout, a small fishing village in southwestern Morocco. Nowadays better known for surfing than fish, it is a great spot to learn the ways of the waves or simply savour a laid back beach break. Surf culture dominates in this beach town, and luckily (for me) the conditions are sublime for both learners and pros. The village also offers a wide range of restaurants, from French crepes to burger bars; ideal for those growing a little tired of the more traditional Moroccan cuisine. Make sure to check out Auberge on the beachfront for an avocado-egg breakfast!
SUNSET/BOATS Sunset on Taghazout beach
Last but not least: Imsouane. Slightly smaller, and with fewer restaurants and tourists, this is worth a visit if you’re into your surfing and getting off the beaten track. Go with a book and a board; and don’t expect parties or large restaurants. That being said, there are a couple of great little bohemian cafes and places to eat freshly caught seafood. Without doubt, one of the highlights of my time there was my accommodation: old fishing boats converted into romantic cabins that sit atop sandy cliffs and boast beautiful views of the beach far below, and perfect stargazing spots at night. The boat-cabins are even equipped with fairy lights! (And some of the most comfortable beds of my trip.)
If riding waves does not sound quite like your ideal holiday, there are many alluring, calm-watered beaches across the north coast of Morocco, where the country faces Spain on the Mediterranean sea. Tetouan is just one of such places waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Tangier, the port at which you arrive if taking the ferry from Spain to Morocco, is not the most beautiful beach on the northern side but serves as an apt introduction to the country’s unique, vibrant culture. Tangier itself has a rich and diverse history, due to the cultural amalgamation of the different civilisations that have conquered the area in the past.
I have detailed only a few of my favourite beaches, and during my six week trip, I had nowhere near enough time to dip my toes into all the magnificent coasts that Morocco has to offer. Morocco’s sandy possibilities are endless. If it’s a relaxed beach break you desire; a slightly more intense surfing one; or if you simply want a little time to tan during a more prolonged Moroccan trip, bear these places in mind. And remember - at some of the beaches there is sunshine 300 days of the year. Imagine that.