El Hoceima


Discover El Hoceima: One of Morocco’s Stunning Coastal Gems

Everything you need to know to plan a trip to the seaside town of El Hoceima in northern Morocco – top sights, beaches, food, and more!


Nestled along Morocco’s northern Mediterranean coast sits the laidback port town of El Hoceima, surrounded by rugged natural beauty. With miles of unspoiled golden beaches, soaring cliffs, and tranquil islands dotting aquamarine waters, El Hoceima emanates a seaside spirit all its own. Here the language switches from Arabic to Berber, flat scrubland to misty valleys, and desert dunes to crashing waves.

Yet beyond the alluring shores, El Hoceima captivates with small-town charm. Children play in the central plaza shadowed by Spanish colonial architecture. Local fishermen unload the overnight catch while ferries whisk tourists away to hidden coves. Women hand-roll semolina noodles in hole-in-the-wall cafes scented with cumin. As the evening call to prayer echoes through the medina, you realize El Hoceima offers the best of Morocco with a distinctive northern twist.

This coastal gem remains off most tourist itineraries, making its pristine beaches and laidback ambiance all the more alluring. With its mountainous backdrop and reputation for friendliness, El Hoceima invites adventure and discovery. This guide will cover everything you need to plan a getaway in this slice of seaside paradise.

Getting There and Around

El Hoceima takes a bit of effort to reach but rewards visitors seeking the road less traveled:

  • Located in the Rif region, about 3.5 hours east from Fez or south from the port of Nador. No direct flights.
  • Rental cars offer the most flexibility to explore the coastline and National Park. Grand taxis connect regional hubs.
  • Spanish is still widely spoken, reflecting the colonial Spanish Protectorate era that shaped El Hoceima’s architecture and vibe.
  • The laidback medina and port area act as the walkable town center. Scenic beaches stretch north and south.

Top Sights and Attractions

El Hoceima attractions showcase both natural beauty and local culture:

  • Stroll the port and medina by the beachfront promenade Paseo La Corniche.
  • Lively Mohamed VI Square comes alive at night with families and teens socializing.
  • Excellent beaches like Al Hoceima Bay, Quemado, and Cala Bonita offer swimming, relaxation, and watersports.
  • Hike stunning trails through Al Hoceima National Park with its rocky cliffs and pine forests.
  • Visit the ancient site of Badis with artifacts dating back to the 11th century BC.
  • Check out the central market to shop for fresh fish, spices, pottery, and art.

Outdoor Activities and Adventures

Surrounded by sea and mountains, El Hoceima delivers nature in spades:

  • Surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, sailing, and kayaking are popular along the coastline. Beaches like Quemado offer beginner waves.
  • Scuba divers can explore shipwrecks and coral reefs teeming with sea life. Snorkelers will love crystal clear shallows.
  • Hire boats or ferries to access beaches on small islands like Peñón de Alhucemas and Peñón de Vélez.
  • Trek and rock climb in Al Hoceima National Park or cave in the limestone grottoes around Cala Iris.
  • Deep sea fishing trips offer chances to reel in tuna, mackerel, sardines, and more.
  • ATV and 4×4 tours traverse rugged backcountry terrain rich with wildlife like falcons and jackals.

Food and Nightlife in El Hoceima

Recharge with amazing local cuisine and laidback nights out:

  • Seafood stars – try dishes like chtouka fish stew, grilled sardines, and shrimp skewers.
  • Sample regional specialties like rfissa shredded pancakes and bocadillo bread sandwich.
  • Outdoor fish markets provide an authentic slice of local harbor life and a place to buy seafood.
  • Relax over mint tea at little patios facing the beach or medina.
  • Tapas bars offer Spanish-inflected small plates and beer in rustic hangouts.

With fresh fisherman catches and Mediterranean vibes, El Hoceima cuisine satisfies cravings.

Where to Stay in El Hoceima

Choose lodging to match your preferred pace and style:

  • Beachfront resorts like Hotel Rif Al Hoceima provide full-service amenities right on the sand.
  • Smaller hotels and guesthouses in the town center put you steps from the medina.
  • Self-catering apartments and rental homes work well for longer visits and families.
  • Charming riad guesthouses offer intimacy, traditional style, and wonderful hosts.
  • Campgrounds and eco-lodges immerse you fully in the surrounding nature.

When to Visit El Hoceima

El Hoceima sees pleasant weather year-round:

  • Spring and fall offer ideal temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit along with more greenery.
  • Summers are hot but sunny – perfect for beachgoing and water sports.
  • Winters remain mild with some rainfall. Low 50s Fahrenheit on average.
  • Peak tourist season runs May through September. For fewer crowds and lower rates, visit in winter.

Thanks to a Mediterranean climate, anytime works to experience El Hoceima’s coastal wonders!


With sweeping sand beaches, laidback seaside charm, and epic natural landscapes, El Hoceima captures a unique corner of Morocco. While firmly off the mass tourism radar, this coastal jewel delivers a treasury of adventures, scenery, and culture waiting to be uncovered. Let the sound of crashing waves soothe your senses as you explore an ancient medina infused with Spanish heritage. Savor slow mornings people-watching from a harborside cafe before hiking misty pine forests trailing to the sea. As the sun sets behind distant isles, embrace the openness soaring through your soul.

In many ways, El Hoceima represents the best of Morocco – warm hospitality, rich nature, and heritage still vibrantly alive. Visitors seeking to look beyond the marquee attractions will find everything they desire here. For ocean air, open roads, and authentic immersion into local life, a getaway to remember awaits in El Hoceima. Let this Northern gem sparkle its way into your Moroccan dreams.

Get Inspired and Plan Your Trip Today!


Where is El Hoceima located in Morocco?

El Hoceima is located along Morocco’s northern Mediterranean coast in the Rif region, about 3.5 hours east of Fez.

How do I get to El Hoceima from Fez?

You can drive, take a grand taxi, or use public buses to travel from Fez to El Hoceima. It is about a 3.5-hour journey. Renting a car provides the most flexibility.

What are the best beaches in El Hoceima?

Top beaches include Al Hoceima Bay, Quemado, Cala Bonita, and Sfiha which offer soft sand, calm waters, and beautiful scenery.

What is there to do in El Hoceima?

Popular activities include hiking in Al Hoceima National Park, visiting the port and medina, relaxing on the beaches, and exploring the islands.

When is the best time to visit El Hoceima?

Thanks to a mild Mediterranean climate, any time of year works. Spring and fall have ideal weather. Summers are hot and busier. Winters have some rain but fewer tourists.


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