The perfect Surf Trip!
A surf trip with friends along Morocco’s atlantic coast. Great waves, better food and warm people and weather!
An unknown surf destination not that long ago, Morocco is flourishing as a home of world class waves.
North Atlantic storms and a long fetch into warmer latitudes create the perfect conditions for surfing along the west coast of the country.
Spain, France and Portugal are our usual European surf escapes, but sometimes we need a change of scenery in order to improve our skills. That’s why we decided to venture into «uncharted» territory (for us, ubviously). Morocco is the closest world class surf destination if you live in Southern Europe, so book your flight and come explore with us!
When to go? It’s well known that the best surf usually happens during the winter months, while summer tends to be flat and hot in these latitudes. We are not highly skilled surfers, so we don’t feel comfortable in huge powerful winter atlantic waves either, that’s why we decided that September would be the perfect month for us.
Where in Morocco? This one was a no brainer: head to Agadir and either north or south of it there are quality surf breaks within driving distance. We chose North, allured by countless videos of the perfect right-handers of Anchor Point or Boilers, but also looking forward to the local lifestyle of places like Taghazout, Imsouane or Essaoiura.
GETTING THERE / DRIVING AROUND
Sadly, there are no cheap flights from Spain to Agadir, but we found a great deal on Skyscanner flying from Madrid to Marrakesh, which gave us an excuse to re-visit one of Morocco’s most notorious cities. A day in Marrakesh can be intense enough to either love it or hate it. You can read about our experience here.
Marrakesh’s airport is probably the newest and best you’ll find in Morocco, as it attracts a lot of tourism. We’d booked a rental car in advance, and found an amazing deal using RentalCars.com. A whole week for just 110€!
NOTE: When visiting Marrakesh it’s probably better if you leave the rental car and use taxis.
Make sure you agree on the price before even getting in the taxi to avoid surprises. Also, make it very clear what your destination is, so that they don’t drop you off wherever their friend has a leather or souvenir shop!
We wanted to avoid driving inside Marrakesh, but since our flights arrived pretty late, we ended up spending the night in the city. Expect the usual hectic traffic at peak times to get in and out of it. Once you get out of the city (it can take a while) everything gets a lot better. The A7 highway to Agadir is almost new, in very good condition and with little traffic.
We continued straight to Taghazout, our first coastal stop, and didn’t even need to drive across Agadir, since the roads N8 and N1 go around the city with the only caveat of a hundred roundabouts. As soon as you approach the coast, touristic developments and complexes start to appear, most of them still being built, which gives an idea of the potential and future of this area. Total driving time from Marrakesh to Taghazout was around 3:30 or 4 hours, higly dependant on the traffic around Marrakesh.
Despite staying at a surf camp that offered transfers to the nearby surf spots, we decided to drive around the area ourselves to get familiarised with it. Ask the friendly locals for directions if you get lost, and you may leave with a bag of figs and a new friend.
Our next stop, and the highlight of our trip was Imsouane. An even smaller fishing village perched on the cliffs above a wide bay slightly protected from Northwest swells. The drive from Taghazout is quite scenic and can take around an hour and a half. You’ll pass famous surf spots like Boilers, natural parks and lively villages like Tamri… before going down again into the town of Imsouane. Parking will not be an issue here, and you may not need to move your car for as long as you are in Imsouane, since everything is in walking distance.
A couple hours North is Essaouira, a well know surfing and kitesurfing destination. The road leaves the coast and has wide variety of conditions and landscapes. We drove through most of it at night, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it! People dressed in dark and all kinds of animals tend to walk on the road at 4 or 5 am (don’t ask me why)…
Back to Marrakesh from Essaouira to complete the tour, but this time with no highway. It can take up to 3 hours of driving through tens of small villages. Be really cautious here, as the local police will be at both the entrance and exits of every town, and they’ll monitor your speed. Even if you respect the limits, they’ll probably stop you anyway and try to fine you without any proof. The closer you get to Marrakesh, the more frequent this scam becomes!! Be prepared to argue or pretend you don’t understand, and they may get tired of you and let you go. They stopped us three times between Essaouira and Marrakesh.
For this trip we booked everything in advance, since it’s still quite close to high season, and good accomodation options tend to be fully booked.
Landed late in Marrakesh, so had to spend the night there before heading to the coast. Our choice was the Opera Plaza Hotel Marrakech, right next to the Royal Theatre and the train station. A big hotel with plenty of services, a huge breakfast buffet by the pool, several bars and restaurants and big, clean rooms. Totally recommended it, and you can find great deals if you book early. Close enough to the Medina, but also well connected to the airport.
Our second stop, Taghazout, had plenty of surf camps and hostels on offer. We used Booking.com to book our room in Hashpoint Surf Camp. We couldn’t be happier with our choice. Right on the beachfront of this lovely town, Hashpoint has the friendliest staff (and dog), whether you want to take surf lessons or just chill by the epic rooftop terrace, this is your place! Our 3 people room was just 45€ per night, and we stayed inTaghazout for 3 nights. The staff are also the surf guides and coaches, and they will give you plenty of useful tips on nearby spots, surfboard rental, or even take you to the surf themselves. They’ll have home cooked dinner and bbq with you and the rest of the guests on the terrace at the end of the day.
For our third stop, Imsouane, we already knew beforehand where we wanted to go. A dutch-owned house on the edge of the cliff, managed by local legend Said, BoardXHouse Imsouane is one of those hidden gems that you can’t miss. You can also find it on Booking now, but it was only available through their website until not long ago. The views from the pool, the rooftop terrace, or any of the balconies of the 3 separate flats are amazing. Watch the cliffs above the bay turn bright red at sunset, or the perfect right-hand waves roll into the bay at low tide. Said will have a home cooked Moroccan dinner ready for you when you get back home after a full day of surfing. Access through the basement to wash your wetsuit, play some table tennis or go straight into the swimming pool.
After all the useful info above, you may be wondering: it sounds cool, but the title said «the perfect surf trip», isn’t that going a bit too far?
Well, let me tell you a bit more about what you’ll find if you follow our steps.
Of course there is Marrakech, with which we have a love-hate relationship, but that doesn’t mean that having a cup of tea overlooking the nighttime activity of Jema el-Fnaa isn’t one of the more visually rich experiences you can have in the world. Get the rest of your senses involved by getting «lost» in the zouks of the Medina, or sleep in a luxurious Riad for less than you expect. A full post about it coming soon.
But let’s focus on the coast. We’ve said enough about the surf, but top that with the charming villages and their people (the complete opposite to what you’ll find in Marrakech) and the experience is second to none.
Taghazout is a fishermen village with plenty of surf camps, local shops and accomodation. Park along the main road (and don’t forget to tip the kids taking care of your car) and walk down to the beachfront through narrow streets lined with white and blue buildings that create a really picturesque atmosphere. A beach full of of fishing boats and kids playing hide and seek between them will welcome you, while their families take a nap or swim if the waves allow for it.
A half hour drive will take you back to Agadir for some nightlife and great seafood. Go to the fish market next to the harbour to find the freshest: choose your fish and wait for them to cook it while you sit in long tables full of local people (negotiate and close the price first, or they’ll try to charge you a lot more than it costs just for being a tourist). After that, head to the waterfront, where most people, both locals and tourists, will be enjoying the perfect temperature with some icecream or pomegranate and orange juice. Bars, cafes and even nightclubs are aplenty and there is mostly local tourism.
The best part of the trip was without a doubt Imsouane. This charming little village, with a snaking road down the mountains as the only access is probably where we found the warmest people in Morocco, and the chilled vibes we were looking for. Walk down to either side of the lighthouse for either a protected bay with perfect waves or a wild beach open to the atlantic swells. When you are all surfed out, get to the small harbour packed of little fishing boats, buy your preferred fish directly from the fishermen, and take it to the stalls next to the lighthouse for them to grill it for you and serve it along with some fries and salad. Or order a plate of the best sardines you’ll ever have while looking at the postcard perfect bay. There are enough surf shops and bars to cover most of your needs, but we surely recommend that you bring at least your own wetsuit so you don’t end up surfing with the oldest piece of rubber ever.
Did this post wake up your inner adventurer or surfer? All skill levels are welcome and will have fun in Morocco, so don’t hesitate to book your flights and pack your wetsuit! We know for sure we’ll be back soon!