Azemmour MoroccoWith a population of around three million, Casablanca in Morocco attracts visitors because of its fame (thanks to its namesake movie), attractions and international airport. Although the city offers a wealth of culture, history and entertainment, some travelers like to escape the bustle with a detour off the beaten path.

Travel an hour or so south down the Atlantic coast from Casablanca and you’ll reach the quiet city of Azemmour—a short day trip or overnight jaunt from the big city, or a convenient stop when traveling northward from the popular coastal town of Essaouira. Like much of the coast, temperatures here are relatively mild, with highs lingering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

A main attraction of the city is the beach, which is popular year-round among surfers and kitesurfers. Less crowded than the beaches of surrounding cities, Azemmour offers experienced and novice surfers alike a place to enjoy somewhat exclusive access to equally impressive waves. After working up an appetite, those who like to dine on the oceanfront can choose from a small number of cafes that line the beach. Alternatively, visitors can walk to the nearby grocery store to stock up for a breezy seaside picnic.

A short distance from the beach, the medina consists of winding alleyways lined with shops selling the handicrafts of the region, such as Berber baskets, colorful fabrics, decorated pottery and more. A unique trait of Azemmour’s medina is its brightly decorated walls, painted by local artists.

Visitors opting to spend the night in Azemmour can choose from a handful of hotels and riads, or wander just outside of town for camping.

Written by Shelley A. Gable, instructional designer and freelance writer.

Photo by nabekor.