North Africa’s Morocco attracts many visitors, especially in spring and autumn. Whilst many people will head to the more well-known spots, such as Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca, Essaouira, Fez, and Tangiers, as well as taking trips into the desert, there are many off-the-beaten-track destinations to also enjoy in Morocco and where you can get a taste of traditional life away from the tourist crowds.
Head off the beaten track in Morocco and discover some of these gems:
Located on the coast approximately 1 hour south of Casablanca, El Jadida is a popular summer holiday spot for Moroccans, but it sees relatively few international visitors. Prices are lower than in more popular beach resorts, and there are many accommodation options and restaurants. If you enjoy seafood, you’re in for a treat! As well as lazy days spent relaxing on the sands and swimming in the warm waters of the sea, you can explore the old remains of a Portuguese city. Of particular interest, especially for history lovers, you can go underground into the old water cisterns. Look out for the several horse statues around the city, stroll through the old walled part of the city, and enjoy mingling with the locals.
Whilst Azila sees a fair amount of tourists from Spain, it remains pretty off the tried-and-trodden path for other nationalities. Although small, it is well worth spending at least a day in Azila. There’s a sandy beach and you can enjoy good sea views from on top of the old medina’s walls. As you wander around the medina you’ll notice that many walls have been painted with colourful and attractive images. There’s lot of street art to admire.
Another coastal destination, El Jebha is in the north of Morocco, around one hour from the famous blue city of Chefchaouen. With its mountainous background and the Mediterranean Sea lapping its shores, El Jebha is a quiet and small town where you can relax and soak up the local way of life. A boat trip is a good way to enjoy the pretty coastline.
Safi boasts an old Portuguese fortress on the coast and it’s well-known locally for its sardines. You can enjoy nice views of the Atlantic Ocean, shop for locally-produced pottery and ceramics, and pick up some textiles.
Sitting at the bottom of the High Atlas Mountains, towards the east of Marrakech, Demnate allows you to experience life in a traditional Berber community. The beautiful cave is worth a visit, and you can see ancient monument and dinosaur tracks. Hiking in the mountains is a good way to enjoy the area. One of the oldest cities in southern Morocco, it boasts some of the most picturesque natural landscapes and rich traditions.
An inland city about two hours north of Marrakech, Settat has a very old Kasbah on a hill. It also has a good racing track and a world-class standard golf course, great if you want to chill out with a friendly game under the sun.
Other places of interest in Morocco that are away from the typical tourist trail include Oujda, which is close to the Algerian border, Larache, on the Atlantic Coast, Taroudant, within easy reach of Agadir and home to red buildings and tanneries, and Ifrane.