10 off-the-beaten-path gems you need to visit in Morocco

Posted on 14 May 2024 By Tsoku Maela

Morocco is renowned for its breathtaking beaches and popular tourist sites, but if you’re seeking an escape from the crowded hotspots, we’ve got you covered. Delve into the best-kept secrets of this enchanting country, as we unveil 10 lesser-known destinations only a few intrepid travellers have had the pleasure of experiencing. These hidden gems won’t remain a secret for long, so be sure to explore them before the world catches on.

1. The Lake of Bin el Ouidane

Le Lac De Bin El Ouidane Dans Le Moyen-Atlas, Maroc. Photograph: Dominique Berbain/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Nestled three hours away from Marrakesh, the dam of Bin el Ouidane was constructed in the 1950s and spans an impressive 4 000ha. Situated to the south of Beni Mellal, this vast expanse of shimmering blue water borders the Oriental High Atlas National Park, offering a tranquil haven for nature lovers.

Where to stay: Chems du Lac Bin El Oudane Hotel, located on the edge of Lake Bin El Ouidane, provides a picturesque retreat.

Also Read: Desert countries to visit: 5 things to do in Morocco

2. Goulmima

Maroc, Sud Marocain, Goulmima, Porte de Ksar. Photograph: Michel Renaudeau/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Embrace the beauty of one of the most captivating palm groves in southern Morocco at the Ksar of Goulmima. Resting beside the Gheris River, this oasis is aptly named, with “Goulmima” translating to “the lakes” in Arabic. Hiking enthusiasts will be enthralled by the abundance of water, lush gardens and olive groves that make this journey a delightful experience.

Where to stay: Gite D’Etape Amced, located near Essaouira, offers comfortable accommodations in Goulmima.

3. The Lagoon of Nador (Mar Chica)

Picture: Firdaous.halim /Flickr

Known as Mar Chica, meaning “little sea” in Spanish, the Lagoon of Nador awaits on the Mediterranean coast between the cities of Nador and Melilla. This idyllic spot is part of an extensive redevelopment project that aims to transform it into an unbeatable seaside resort.

Where to stay: Dar Nador in Nador provides a delightful terrace with mountain views, offering a charming place to relax.

4. Tafedna Bay

Located between the cities of Essaouira and Agadir, the serene Tafedna Bay stretches for 4km. With few tourists in sight, this peaceful retreat allows you to interact with local fishermen and savour the freshest catches of the day. The bay boasts a beautiful beach adorned with fine sand and rolling gravel hills.

Where to stay: Tasgua Yan Hotel in Tisrarine near Tafedna features an outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant.

5. Aguelmam Azegza

Photograph: Mouad Bouallayel/Unsplash

Embracing the Amazigh language, Aguelmam Azegza translates to “the green lake”. This natural wonder, located 30km from Khenifra in the Middle Atlas region, sits at an altitude of 1 474m. Surrounded by a dense forest of cedar and oak trees, this picturesque lake offers a breathtaking setting. Dive into its waters and encounter various fish, including pike, tench, carp, and roach. Visitors can camp for free or rent charming wooden houses for a budget-friendly 70 MAD (around R130) per night. Affordable hostels can also be found nearby.

Where to stay: Atlas Zayane is a hotel located 30 minutes away from Lake Aguelmam Azegza, offering air-conditioned rooms, a tennis court, and an outdoor swimming pool.

6. Belyounech

Picture: Imad Ghazal/Unsplash

A stone’s throw from Ceuta and Perejil Island, the quaint fishing village of Belyounech boasts one of Morocco’s most stunning beaches. Nestled amid cairns, approximately 10km from the city of Fnideq, Belyounech remains undiscovered by many, preserving its tranquil ambience and breathtaking landscapes. Take a refreshing swim in the pristine waters, and don’t miss the opportunity to savour grilled sardines on the beach.

Where to stay: Parador de Ceuta, located in Ceuta, offers comfortable accommodations 7.9km from Belyounech.

7. The Lagoon of Oualidia

Situated south of the city of El Jadida, the charming seaside resort of Oualidia is a local favourite. Its expansive 3km beach boasts fine sand and offers safe swimming conditions and various water-sports activities. During low tide, the scenery transforms into a stunning panorama, with sandbanks stretching towards the horizon. For oyster enthusiasts, Oualidia is a must-visit destination, providing a chance to savour Morocco’s finest oysters.

Where to stay: La Sultana Oualidia, a luxurious property on the edge of the lagoon, promises a memorable stay.

8. The Oasis of Fint

Oasis de fint. fint. morocco. (Picture by: Giovanni Mereghetti/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

True to its name, which means “hidden” in Berber, the Oasis of Fint is a well-kept secret nestled on the threshold of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, approximately 12km from Ouarzazate. This oasis enjoys a unique microclimate sustained by an open-sky irrigation system called séguias. This favourable environment has fostered a remarkable palm grove, where various fruit trees flourish. The contrasting vegetation greens against the black volcanic rocks that encircle the Fint Valley create an awe-inspiring landscape.

Where to stay: Maison d’Hote La Roche Noire, an amazing auberge 11km from Ouarzazate, offers outstanding hospitality and delicious cuisine and the staff is friendly.

9. Jebha

EL JEBHA, TANGER-TETOUAN-AL HOCEIMA, MOROCCO – 2023/03/20: Landscape of the Mediterranean coast of Morocco from the road that leads to El Jebha. (Photo by Jorge Fernández/LightRocket via Getty Images)

For an enchanting coastal experience, head to Jebha. This small beach, embraced by pinkish sculptured cliffs, lies at the base of the Occidental Rif Mountains and extends over 100m. With its mesmerising green backdrop, Jebha beckons scuba diving, windsurfing and regatta enthusiasts.

10. Porto Rico Bay

Discover the wonders of Porto Rico, a hidden paradise between the city of Dakhla and the Mauritanian border. Boasting golden sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, Porto Rico offers a haven of tranquillity. Located on the Tropic of Cancer, this bay enjoys an ideal climate year-round. While still relatively unknown among Moroccans, it has captured the hearts of many tourists, particularly surfers. Some even choose to settle in beach camps, immersing themselves in the beauty of this coastal gem.

Where to stay: Dar Rio Oro offers comfortable and clean rooms with sea views and Moroccan lounges, providing a delightful stay experience.

Embrace the Adventure

Morocco’s hidden gems are waiting to be explored. Venture off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of these captivating destinations. From pristine lakes and enchanting oases to secluded beaches and idyllic lagoons, these off-the-radar treasures offer a chance to experience Morocco’s natural wonders like never before. Embark on your journey and create unforgettable memories in these lesser-known havens of tranquillity.

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