The Best Beaches to Explore on the Southwest Coast of Morocco
If you are planning a trip to the southwest coast of Morocco, then a visit to one of the most beautiful beaches scattered along the wild rugged Northern Atlantic coastline is a must.
The wind from the Atlantic makes these beaches a perfect stop for those interested in activities such as surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing with some beaches more protected than others.
The Moroccan Surf vibe is not unlike that of California with some committed Moroccan and French surfers and Kite Surfers driven by a passion to spend their life by the sea here with all the bleached hair and surfy cool you can expect in surfing spots around the world. Many surfing places also offer yoga and good pairing and something which can excite the more holistic traveller.
For those who are less active, there is still plenty to enjoy with fresh seafood a real draw and many spa’s and relaxing retreats along the coastline, along with more off the beaten track villages. Some of the beach shacks offer the most delicious cuisine – picture freshly caught charcoal grilled sea bream marinated in Chermoula – a spice rub made from lemon juice, black pepper, cumin, coriander and paprika, served with a fresh Moroccan salad. Or Octopus tagine cooked over charcoal using locally sourced fresh ingredients. Mopping up the spicy sauce of this tagine with freshly baked bread from a local bakery is more than just delicious. A perfect end to a day spent surfing, swimming, walking or perhaps trekking on one of the nearby trails.
Whatever you’re into, Epic can tailor an itinerary which can include your favourite things to do beach-side.
Just a three-hour drive from Marrakesh Essaouira is a fishing town set in an old medina. White, windy and with a kind of luminescent light, its pretty harbour is filled with bright blue painted boats that leave early every morning for the day’s catch.
Essaouira has a wonderful atmosphere, with its cobblestone streets, whitewashed walls and massive stone ramparts dotted with royal blue painted windows a homage to its former glory as a Portuguese colony.
Today Essaouira has evolved into a hip, artsy bohemian town and is a mecca for both music and art lovers alike. There is an increasingly popular Gnaoua music festival every year around June time, with daily buskers in the main square usually playing Reggae and Blues. The harbour is worth a visit where you can haggle for fresh fish which can be taken and cooked at a number of local restaurants.
The beach is long and stretches in a horseshoe shape around the bay, with many nice beachside cafes and restaurants, most notably Ocean Vagabond, which has a surf/ kite surf hire shop right next to it. We can organise horse riding, quad, buggy, camel rides, kite surfing off the beach, and recommend an early morning stroll to see the beach at its best, empty and warming up for the day.
Less than a half-hour out of Essaouira is the Jardins de Douars, a lovely luxurious day out with a stunning pool and lunch thrown in it’s a great place to escape the salty sea vibe and wind for a moment in luscious cocooned surroundings.
Situated just 25 km south of Essaouira down a sandy track lies the sleepy surf beach town of Sidi Kaouki. Sidi Kaouki comprises of, a cluster of small cafés, a few small locally run guesthouses and an endless stretch of sandy coastline. Walk barefoot by the sea for a while and you will find your very own secluded sand dune.
You can hire a surfboard, bodyboard, wetsuit, and have a surf lesson if you want. During the off-season, horses and camels are available for beach treks and sun loungers are available for hire. In the same winter months, you might be lucky and spot wild Pink Flamingos in the local riverbed around 15 minutes’ walk north of the beach. With a backdrop of low-lying hills, a scattering of white-washed houses, dry stonewalls and Argan trees this long sandy Moroccan beach has it all. It is the perfect place for an overnight stay to experience the crimson red sunsets and the soft blueish red haze over the ocean at sunrise. One can never get enough of the Northern Atlantic sunsets!
Mirleft, just a 2.5-hour drive from Agadir is a sleepy, laid-back Berber fishing town perched between cliffs and the mountains and overlooking the beautiful southwestern Moroccan coastline. It is known for its rugged, wild beaches, and evolving hipster surf scene. It enjoys a constant year-round sunny climate. Even in winter, it is possible to swim in Mirleft though the water can be a little chilly.
There are some beautiful beaches on the outskirts of Mirleft some easier than others to find, but our local guides can help you.
Aftas beach is a perfect secluded getaway from the town of Mirleft yet is still within easy reach. The sunsets on this beach are to die for. The Café des Pecheurs serves fish menus and tagines on order. Here you can experience a delicious octopus tagine or grilled fish served by candlelight. The cove on a clear night is lit by moonlight with the sound of the waves from the Atlantic Ocean and the starry sky above, how more romantic can it get?
Situated around 5 km from Mirleft on the road to Sidi Ifni is the Plage Sauvage also known as the wild beach. It certainly lives up to its name! Upon descending rough stone steps from the clifftop you arrive at this amazing beach with its two large sweeping coves surrounded by steep cliffs. The cliffs have small fishermen’s huts carved into the rock face. The huts are used by the local fishermen to keep their tackle or just relax in when fishing. This beach is both beautiful and dramatic. It is good for swimming and surfing. There are no restaurants or amenities at this beach. You can always drive back to one of the small cafés along the roadside towards Mirleft for a tasty fish tagine or grilled fish if hunger prevails. You will maybe need to enlist a local initially to help you find the beach. Once you have found it you will just keep coming back!
If it is a wild and unspoiled scenery that you prefer, then this is the beach destination for you. Hidden away down a small dirt track having turned sharply right off the route to Sidi Ifni you will find this wild Moroccan beach Sidi Ouafi. Pristine, remote and totally unspoiled it is a balm for the soul. Your only company might be the seagulls swooping and landing on the water as you dip your toes in to the cool Atlantic Ocean. The small rock formations dotted along the beach offer shade from the sun or shelter from the wind.
Wild and untamed it is a favorite of the locals for either fishing or an evening stroll. You can, in fact, reach this beach from Plage Sauvage on a trail over the cliffs that connects both.
Further on down to Sidi Ifni
Sidi Ifni is a former Spanish colonial outpost first given back to Morocco in 1969. And, it feels a bit like time has stood still since then. The town is painted blue and white with wonderful Art Deco buildings. Sidi Ifni is a real paradise for Art Deco architecture lovers. Wander through this sleepy outpost where they still take siestas in the afternoon, walk among the blue-and-white painted walls, admire its beautiful romantic Art Deco buildings and enjoy the fantastic views from the cliffs. Relax on the quiet esplanade whilst sipping a mint tea or a freshly pressed orange juice. Savor the wide,
sweeping views over the ever-changing Northern Atlantic coastline.
Situated between Mirleft and Sidi Ifni is Legzira beach. With its craggy cliffs, amazing sunsets and its famous ancient rock archway It is possibly one of the most picturesque beaches in Morocco. And what a beautiful drive from Mirleft to get there! With the ever-changing blue Atlantic Ocean in constant view and the small dots of fishing villages with their whitewashed houses just below. A steep stone stairway leads down to this 8 km of sandy beach. There are a variety of small beach restaurants each offering the days catch grilled on their charcoal grills. These are always served with a traditional Moroccan salad, olives, and fresh bread. And, when the tide is in you can dip your feet in the ocean whilst feasting on a gourmet lunch. Legzira beach is a pure mecca for fish lovers. Further on down the beach is the remaining ancient sandstone arch formed by years of erosion by the incessant waves. As evening falls and the sun begins to set the beach is bathed in a luminescent crimson light from the reflection on the red sandstone cliffs.
We have itineraries for you that can incorporate a visit to this lesser-visited region. The one we recommend is through the southern region of the Draa Valley, staying at one of our luxury camps at Erg Chigaga and then over to the coast of Mirleft and Sidi Ifni.
Morocco beaches are safe but there are no lifeguards on the more remote beaches. Morocco itself is friendly and welcoming and the coast features some delicious seafood dishes fresh from the ocean, and a laid back vibe which leaves you feeling refreshed and carefree.
For a tailored beach adventure contact one of our personal travel advisors by email at firstname.lastname@example.org