Saïdia, known as the "Blue Pearl", is a beach in Berkane. It is located in the province Berkane, near the Mediterranean Sea and at the Moroccan-Algerian border. In search of anywhere cooler than Fez, Suzanna Clarke set out to enjoy a week at the beach
Heading for the beach after Ramadan ends is a time honoured tradition for those who live in Morocco and those based overseas returning to spend time with their families, plus a sprinkling of Spanish and French tourists.
The entire coastline is packed post-Ramadan, with cars, towels, umbrellas jostling for space, and a horde of keen swimmers enjoying the clear blue water and gentle waves.
The beach resort town of Saïdia is one of the most popular destinations. Located on the Algerian border, it features a sea front promenade dotted with stylish cafes offering seafood, pizza, salads and the usual (non-alcoholic) drinks. The fact that no alcohol is available also contributes to the very small number of foreign tourists.
On the beach you can hire umbrellas and plastic chairs to hang out for the day in comfort, while a mobile souk parades by, with vendors selling everything from roasted corn cobs to sweets and drinks to children's water toys. The only downside is the litter left behind after beach-goers leave.
However, the overall experience is an enjoyable one. With a clear blue sky, warm water and a cooling breeze, it's an ideal location to hang out for a few days. The temperatures are generally at least five to ten degrees lower than Fez. Remember to take the sunscreen!
Where: Saïdia is 350 kms, or a 4 hour drive from Fez
Where to stay: Most hotels and apartments are booked well ahead of the holiday season, but it is possible to find a place to stay from the touts dangling keys on the main street.
Temperature: around 32 degrees
See also: Chilling Out in Asillah and a Trip to Paradise
Text and photographs: Suzanna Clarke