Beaches might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Morocco, but the North African country boasts miles of beautiful coastline that borders both the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas. Here are some of the best seaside locations and where to stay when you get there.
Best for culture lovers: Tangier
Just eight miles across the Straight of Gibraltar from Spain, Tangier is a perfectly-positioned port town with the Mediterranean to the east and the Atlantic to the west. And Tangier has everything a culture-craving traveller could ask for, from historic cafés and chic eateries to dramatic beaches, a fascinating history, and a legendary kasbah within a medieval walled city.
Any visitor will immediately understand why the SPECTRE filmmakers chose to have Bond’s romance unfold in North Africa, against the contrasting backdrops of alluringly louche Tangier and the vast emptiness of the Sahara desert.
Stay: French hotelier Anne Igou has skilfully restored an 18th-century pasha’s palace to create the Nord-Pinus Hotel (doubles from £160), beautifully meshing Moroccan authenticity with Igou’s signature whimsical style. North African textiles and artefacts (think chandeliers from a Syrian mosque and Egyptian carved chests) contrast with contemporary leather armchairs; expect to depart armed with interior design inspiration.
Best for adventurers: Essaouira
Cosmopolitan, chic and yet infectiously relaxed, Essaouira has dodged the tourist hoards that flock to other coastal resorts, thanks largely to the wind that blasts its whitewashed-and-blue-shuttered buildings in the winter.
They’re missing out on one of Morocco’s loveliest coastal resort towns; with a swathe of golden beaches and gorgeous 18th century military harbour, plus stylish hotels and innovative seafood eateries, Essaouira offers in-the-know sunseekers, surfers and windsurfers the perfect Moroccan coastal experience.
Stay: With a rooftop terrace overlooking the Atlantic ocean, Madada Mogador occupies one of the town’s most sought-after positions, just minutes from Simon Attias Synagogue and the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum. Decor is a stylish concoction of muted tones, traditional brass fittings and antique artefacts, and cooking lessons for two can be arranged in the atmospheric restaurant.
Best for romantics: Oualidia
Prime minibreak territory for stylish young Marrakshis and Casablancais, this quiet seaside town hugs a pristine crescent-shaped lagoon fringed with golden sands that are blessedly sheltered from the pounding surf by a rocky breakwater.
The surrounding scenery between Casablanca and Safi is a haven for wildlife, and the city is renowned for oysters, best tasted plucked straight from the azure sea.
Stay: Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, La Sultana is a 12-suite oasis with a sleek oyster bar on a pier overlooking the lagoon. The impeccably decorated rooms boast private terraces and the interiors expertly showcase local craftsmanship, making this one of the most memorable and intimate coastal properties in the country.