We’re in Morocco. But this time we are moving away from the bustling and always attractive Marrakech, to go to the Mediterranean, at the gates of the desert and very close to the border with Algeria. An area full of exoticism, virgin beaches and memories of the past. They say that paradise is very close and is called Saidia. Specifically, 85 kilometers from Melilla and 80 kilometers from Nador Monte Arruit International Airport.
For many years this charming city, known as the Blue Pearl of the Mediterranean, was almost a ghost. Now it emerges revitalized, and has become a summer city of 14 kilometers of virgin beaches with golden sand and calm turquoise water. There are still few tourists although the most important tourist resorts in North Africa are being built here, such as Mediterranea-Saida (Med-Saidia) and the Meliá Saïdia Garden Golf Resort or the Meliá Saïdia Beach Resort.
What to do in Saidia?
Discover the charms of its medina (old town)
One cannot leave Moroccan cities without visiting their medinas. With its charming narrow streets, lively squares and lots of little shops. Saidia, too. Its old town is ideal for shopping or having a relaxing mint tea on a terrace. The best day to visit it is on Sunday when you will find its souk (open-air market) with traditional crafts.
Visit its kasbah and discover the history of Saidia
If you like to know the history of the places you visit, come to their citadel. A fortress built under Sultan Hassan I in the 19th century. Built in adobe on the left bank of the Oued Kiss river mouth with the aim of guarding the border with Algeria and controlling the movement of people with Algeria.
Walking along the Corniche
The Corniche of Saidia is a promenade with visits to the Mediterranean and the Boulevard Mohammed V ideal for a walk at sunset and dinner or a drink in its lively restaurants and cafes.
Practice water sports in its marina
Saidia, with its moderate but constant wind, its calm sea and its good temperature, is the ideal place to practice water sports all year round. In its marina, with a capacity for 850 moorings, you will find diving, water skiing and sailing schools. And from here you can also go out to sea on board sailing boats and catamarans.
The waters of Saïdia are ideal for giving your first diving lessons and discovering the Mediterranean seabed with its native flora and fauna. There are areas exclusively preserved for water activity.
Family beach day in the small village Ras El Ma
We have already told you that Saidia has 14 kilometres of virgin beaches to discover. We propose you to go to the beach of the charming fishing village of Ras El Ma, ideal to visit with the little ones on a cliff and with small dunes populated with eucalyptus. Very quiet to be with the children without worrying.
On a nature trail at the mouth of the Moulouya
A few kilometres from Saidia, the mouth of the Moulouya River is discovered. It is classified as a place of Biological and Ecological Interest thanks to its rich aquatic vegetation covering more than 4,500 hectares, covered with salt marshes, reed beds, dunes and tamarisk forests. Ideal for hiking and discovering the nature of the area and its migratory birds such as the purple heron and the silver gull.
For the more adventurous, the route also includes a climb to the Beni Snassen massif, which is 1,535 metres high and offers unbeatable views of the surroundings of Saidia.
Visit the bustling nearby town of Oujda
Oujda is the largest city in the northeast of Morocco and is surrounded by the Beni Snasen mountains. And situated only about 65 kilometers from Saidia it is ideal for hiking and discovering the bustle of a large Moroccan city. Its medina is one of the most lively. While strolling around, take a look at its charming squares such as the one with the arcades and weavers’ workshops or the square of the Zoco El Ma (the “water market”) where water was formerly sold to irrigate the gardens.
In Oujda, the renowned International Rai Festival is held every July, an essential event to discover the best Algerian and Moroccan artists.
Escape to the Saharan oasis of Figuig
If you want to discover an authentic Saharan oasis, you can visit Figuig, a UNESCO cultural property, near the Algerian border. At the foot of the Saharan Atlas plateau, at an altitude of 900 metres and surrounded by a large palm tree, the small town with its date plantations, fruit and traditional crafts is hidden. With walled Berber constructions and labyrinthine, vaulted streets, designed to combat the heat of these lands. From here you can make routes through the desert to Merzouga Errachidía or to Oujda.
And now, this is the end of today’s story about my weekend in Saidia. Here’s a post about the excursion we made to Berkrane.