Al Hoceima MoroccoThe Rif Mountains and the Mediterranean beaches are what make of Al Hoceima one of the most attractive and enticing cities in Morocco. Entering the city, you may think you are arriving in a very common Moroccan town with cube-like buildings, cafes and a few hotels. Despite this, the natural setting around Al Hoceima is makes it seem much more remote than most people probably imagine.

Al Hoceima, also known among the locals as Biya, is located on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco. It was colonized by the Spanish for more than three decades during which it was called Villa Sanjuro. You can still see the Spanish architectural influence throughout the city in spite of the growing number of new buildings. Many residents of Al Hoceima still speak fluent Spanish as their second or third language. Most of the population are Berbers from the Bucoya tribe who speak Tamazight, a Berber dialect.

Al Hoceima offers numerous hiking trails due to the fact that it is surrounded by the verdant slopes of the Rif Mountains. Of all other mountain ranges in Morocco, the Rif has the most dense and colorful flora, offering spectacular views. You can ask your hotel to arrange a guided hiking tour or recommend somebody who can facilitate your trip.

Many count Al Hoceima’s beaches among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. You can drive about ten minutes outside the city to find almost private white sand beaches that seem untouched. In the heart of the city lays the Quemado beach, which is far less unspoiled than the other beaches, though it can be very crowded in the summer.

The best time to visit Al Hoceima is outside high season from October to the end of April when the beaches and streets are not so busy. Depending on your budget, you can either stay at one of the hotels on Mohammed V Avenue or pitch your tent to camp in Morocco at one of the city’s camping sites equipped with showers.

Written by Ghizlane Gray.

Photo by pretphoto.