Best beaches in Morocco

The North African nation of Morocco is synonymous with buzzing cities, vibrant souks and verdant mountains. However, the country’s Atlantic coast also offers charming seaside towns and many idyllic stretches of golden sands. Here is our guide to the best beaches in Morocco.
Camels on the beach at Essaouria, Morocco.
Camels on the beach at Essaouria, Morocco. Photo: Shutterstock

Essaouira

The windswept, fortified and whitewashed coastal town of Essaouira has long been a magnet for travellers, musicians and those seeking an escape from the hurried pace of life in other Moroccan towns. Jimi Hendrix stayed here for a few weeks in 1969, as did Bob Marley a year or so later, when the town provided a countercultural haven for hippies. However, despite its enduring popularity over the years, Essaouira remains amazingly unaffected. The peaceful medina – a Unesco World Heritage Site – is entirely pedestrianised and the souks are a joy to explore.

Essaouira’s endless expanse of pristine Atlantic beach stretches south towards the village of Diabat, a mecca for surfers, kite surfers and windsurfers. Along the Boulevard Mohammed V, which runs from the medina to the end of the beach, you’ll find the ION Club, where surfboards, kites and windsurfing equipment are available to rent. At the far end of Essaouira’s beach lies Diabat, a sleepy jumble of whitewashed houses. Further along the coast, narrow roads lead to what the locals call the plages sauvages (wild beaches) – long stretches of white sand backed by dunes fringed with prickly gorse and argan trees, disappearing into thin mists in the distance.


Tangier

With its whitewashed houses tumbling over seven hills into the Straits of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, and Spain just 14km (9 miles) away, Tangier rests at the most northwestern tip of Morocco, and Africa. It has for millennia been a vital crossroads – between East and West, Africa and Europe, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean – and has consequently adopted an eclectic and unique set of influences and styles. An enduringly popular hangout for artists and writers, Tangier is one of Morocco’s best-loved cities, with a charming medina, an elegant corniche and some wonderful beaches nearby. To the east lie the beaches of the calm Mediterranean, while to the west, long stretches of the Atlantic coast can be found. 

Tangier’s town beach is a vibrant destination, particularly in summer when it is thronged with Moroccans escaping the heat of Marrakech and Fez. Lined with breezy beach bars, it's a destination with artistic associations – creative souls from Tennessee Williams and Joe Orton to Edgar Burroughs and The Rolling Stones used to frequent venues such as the Atlas Bar and Tangerinn. To the west of Tangier, the lovely headland of Cap Spartel offers quieter alternatives to Tangier’s well-populated sands and, if the wind is blowing in from the east, more sheltered conditions for sunbathing. Be warned though, that the strong currents here can be dangerous.

Tangier city beach.

Tangier city beach, Morocco. Photo: saiko3p/Shutterstock 


Agadir

A magnificent bay, year-round high temperatures and a wide choice of hotels make Agadir Morocco’s top beach resort. It attracts thousands of international visitors every year and looks more like a location on the Spanish Costa del Sol than a Moroccan resort. Following a destructive earthquake in the 1960s, the city was rebuilt around a modern grid system and subsequently developed into Morocco’s most important port and the country’s leading tourist destination. Yet, despite its modernity and lack of historic monuments, Agadir is still an enjoyable city to visit, and an ideal base from which to venture into the deep south of Morocco.

The city’s prime attraction is its 10km (6 miles) of sandy beach, enhanced by an average of 300 days of sunshine each year. In summer, Agadir is cooler than the country’s interior, while the winter climate is often sunny and mild. The beach is huge and impeccably clean, while its promenade is lined with hotels, cafés, restaurants and bars. In the centre of the bay, a ridge of rocks, which is exposed at low tide, shelters much of the beach from Atlantic breakers and makes for safe swimming most of the time – flags warn bathers of dangerous conditions should they arise.

Agadir and its beach during the summer. Photo: Shutterstock


Oualidia

Located between Casablanca and Essaouira, the pretty resort town of Oualidia is famous for its oyster beds and popular for its calm, crescent-shaped lagoon. The resort area by the lagoon is home to a number good hotels, most of which offer excellent fish restaurants. The upmarket La Sultana Oualidia hotel offers luxurious accommodation and a private beach.

As the most popular beach resort south of Casablanca for Moroccans, Oualidia is often crowded during the summer, especially at weekends. Boats can be hired to cross the lagoon and reach less crowded beaches on the other side of the bay. Several secluded sandy coves can be reached by driving north out of town and over a sandy track to a long spit of land that separates the lagoon from the ocean.

Oualidia beach, Morocco. Photo: R.Lemieszek/Shutterstock


El Jadida

Bounded by beautiful Atlantic beaches, the port city of El Jadida was held by the Portuguese for 250 years, during which time they constructed a fortified and moated medina, which survives largely intact. Now protected as a Unesco World Heritage Site, this area – known as the Cité Portugaise – retains its original cobbled streets and distinctively Portuguese architecture.

El Jadida is currently in the throes of rapid change. Many properties in the Cité Portugaise have been bought and renovated by wealthy Moroccans and foreigners. Major investment is also pouring into the five-star resort of Mazagan, just north of El Jadida. A beautiful stretch of beach has been developed which is home to the Pullman Mazagan Royal Golf & Spa resort hotel, complete with a casino and its own world-class golf course.


Asilah

The whitewashed town of Asilah, south of Tangier, is known for its charming painted houses, fish restaurants and vibrant annual arts festival. The beautiful medina, sheltered by 15th-century sea-facing ramparts, has been fully restored and is home to hundreds of sparkling white houses with doors and shutters painted in a dozen shades of blue. A string of relaxed hotels and holiday complexes lie to the north of the town, while a 20-minute drive south of the Old Town lies Paradise Beach, the place to head for when you would like to soak up the sun while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Asilah is a fortified town on the northwest tip of the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Photo: Shutterstock


Ready to take a trip to Morocco?

Insight Guides can help you plan and book fantastic trips to Morocco. Simply get in touch with us to share your ideas for the trip and let us know when you would like to travel. Our local experts will then create a personalised itinerary exclusive to you, which you can amend until it's exactly how you want it before booking. You can browse our existing itineraries for inspiration, and keep in mind that they can all be tailored to suit your specific requirements.


Updated 29 August, 2019