Must see attractions in Rif Mountains

  • Top ChoiceSights in Chefchaouen

    Medina

    Winding alleyways, cute doorways and charming plazas all in many shades of blue – this is what has attracted millions to this tiny village in the Rif Mountains, and there's no sign tourism will let up. Despite overcrowding, Chefchaouen's medina is still well worth the visit. The heart of the medina is the shady, cobbled Plaza Uta El Hammam, dominated by the red-hued walls of the kasbah and the adjacent Grande Mosquée.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Tetouan

    Royal Artisan School

    Just outside Bab El Okla is the best artisan centre in northern Morocco. This is a fascinating opportunity to see masters teaching apprentices traditional arts, including ornamental woodwork, silk costumes, carved plaster, intricate mosaics and decorative rifles. A fantastic central treasury holds the best of the best – don’t miss the ceiling. Staff will open it upon request. Built in 1928, the building itself is notable, and is set around a large Andalusian-style courtyard, with fine doors upstairs.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Tetouan

    Medina

    Tetouan's medina is an authentic time machine, with buildings that have witnessed centuries of history. The medina is also very traveller-friendly, with moped-free lanes, few street hustlers, amiable residents and a general lack of congestion. Luckily for you, it doesn't get the attention it deserves.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Tetouan

    Tetouan Museum of Modern Art

    Tetouan boasts one of only two schools of fine arts in Morocco (Casablanca has the other), so it's fitting that this museum should live here. The building itself is worth a visit: a magnificent Spanish-castle-like building that was once the railway station to Ceuta. It has been carefully renovated to protect the artworks and to provide ample light inside. The museum houses contemporary Moroccan art and has visiting exhibitions.

  • Sights in Akchour

    God's Bridge

    About 45 minutes from Akchour (1.5km), a huge reddish-brown stone arch towers 25m above the river Oued Farda. Unbelievably, the bridge wasn't carved by human hand, but rather by the river's flow over countless millennia. As the river carved a path deeper and deeper, it left the bridge high and dry. To get here, go right at the Akchour dam and hug the steep mountainside all the way to the bridge. Alternatively, go down the canyon and follow along beside the river to look up at the bridge. The trip can be challenging either path you take. Don't try to descend to the water from where the bridge meets the mountain – loose rocks have been known to give way. Small cafes along the water and at the bridge sell tea and tajines.

  • Sights in Akchour

    Akchour Waterfalls

    Cascading over smooth jagged rocks, the Akchour waterfall feeds into a turquoise pool. The view is breathtaking, especially when enjoyed with a fresh juice or tea supplied by vendors who make the two-hour trek here every morning. Guides in Akchour will try and sell you a round-trip tour, but the path here is mostly flat and easy to navigate. Simply take a left at the dam and go up the hill along the well-trodden path. You'll pass a smaller waterfall at about 45 minutes. Tajine and beverage vendors are stationed every 10 to 15 minutes along the route.

  • Sights in Tetouan

    Place Hassan II

    The broad and empty Place Hassan II, which is mostly roped off for security reasons, links the medina to the Ensanche. It looks like it houses the Wizard of Oz, with guards standing in front of the long flat facade of the Royal Palace, and four somewhat bizarre columns towering all around. These are not minarets, as one might suppose, but art-nouveau light towers designed by Enrique Nieto, a student of modernist Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, who lived in Melilla. The large decorations on the opposite wall are abstract Hands of Fatima, a common symbol used to ward off the evil eye.

  • Sights in Al Hoceima

    El Peñón de Alhucemas

    One of the plazas de soberanía (places of sovereignty), this extraordinary white island fortress can be seen a few hundred metres off Plage Sfiha, along with the uninhabited Isla de Mar and Isla de Tierra, which fly the Spanish flag. Spanish rule dates back to 1559, when the Saadi dynasty gave it to Spain in exchange for military assistance. In 1673 the Spanish military established a garrison there and never left. Today the fort hosts several dozen soldiers and cannot be visited. Spanish sovereignty has been contested by Morocco since independence in 1956.

  • Sights in Al Hoceima

    Plage Sfiha

    A short retreat from the city, wide horseshoe-shaped Plage Sfiha looks out on the Spanish-controlled post-colonial relic, El Peñon de Alhucemas. A couple of other Spanish islands are also visible to the west. The beach is well maintained and lined with umbrella seating and restaurants in summer. Pedalos and jet skis are available for hire. A private cab here should cost about Dh60. Buses to Ajdir, near Plage Sfiha, leave from beside the Mobil petrol station at the south end of Blvd Mohammed V (Dh7).

  • Sights in Chefchaouen

    Bouhachem Regional Nature Reserve

    One of two parks in the Rif Mountains, Bouhachem is exceptionally beautiful and covers an enormous territory. The forest has various species of oak and maritime pine, and is home to an important number of birds, mammals (including the rare Barbary macaque) and reptiles. Less visited than neighbouring Talassemtane, hikers can trek to local villages and explore the mountains and forests. Several gîtes are available for overnight stays.

  • Sights in Tetouan

    Feddan Park

    Feddan Park used to be what's currently known as Place Hassan II, but it was destroyed following the Spanish protectorate to make room for the Royal Palace. Locals who missed the park (some say they met their husband or wife there) were pleased when King Mohammed VI rebuilt it in its current location. Feddan is again a popular hang-out spot, with a huge cafe, playground and plenty of seating.

  • Sights in Al Hoceima

    Cala Bonita

    Because of its location south of town, Cala Bonita pebble beach manages to avoid some of the crowds, though there are still plenty of umbrellas during summer. The beach is flanked by a cafe, restaurant and a scuba diving club. A grand taxi here should cost about Dh50. Buses leave from beside the Mobil petrol station at the south end of Blvd Mohammed V, stopping on the road (Dh5).

  • Sights in Chefchaouen

    Plaza Uta El Hammam

    The bustling heart of the medina is the shady, cobbled Plaza Uta El Hammam, which is lined with cafes and restaurants, all serving similar, rather uninspired fare. It is also where you'll find the kasbah and Grand Mosquée. The large tree at the centre makes for a great meeting point before exploring the medina.

  • Sights in Tetouan

    Ensanche

    Restored to resemble the era when Tetouan was capital of the Spanish protectorate, this broad boulevard along Ave Mohammed V from Place Al Jala to Place Moulayel-Mehdi is lined with bright Spanish colonial architecture with a few art-deco elements reminiscent of styles found in Casablanca and Larache. You'll find hotels, banks and places to eat here.

  • Sights in Tetouan

    Dar El Oddi

    The wealthy El Oddi family graciously opened their sparkling family riad to the public as a cultural centre in 2018, celebrating their beloved Tetouan. Exhibits consist of pictures, maps and vibrant postcards and stamps from Tetouan's past, but the riad itself is the most fascinating part. Don't miss the traditional family kitchen on the ground floor.

  • Sights in Chefchaouen

    Oued Ras El Maa

    The waterfall of Ras El Maa is just beyond the far northeastern gate of the Chefchaouen medina. It’s here, where the water comes gushing out of the mountain, that local women come to do their washing. The sound of the water and the verdant hills just beyond the medina wall provide a sudden, strong dose of nature.

  • Sights in Al Hoceima

    Plage Quemado

    Located in a pretty, steep-sided bay, the yellow sand beach below the Mercure Quemado Resort is a popular hang-out spot in the summer for taking a dip and gawking at the adjacent rock face, which is topped with white city buildings. Pedalos are available to hire in season.

  • Sights in Chefchaouen

    Spanish Mosque

    The mosque was built by the Spanish in the 1920s, but never used. It fell into disrepair and remains closed, but the grounds out front make for a perfect place to behold the blue city and watch the sunset dip behind the green hills with a freshly squeezed orange juice in hand.

  • Sights in Tetouan

    Leather Souq

    Next to Tetouan's tannery, where you can see how the cow hides get their shades, the leather souq features traditional Moroccan shoes, jackets and bags. Many of the products have been made with methods passed down over generations.

  • Sights in Al Hoceima

    Port

    The port is mainly used for a large commercial fishing operation. It's a great place to watch the catch being unloaded, and to find dinner: vendors line up with fresh fish; have your selection grilled at the Club Nautique.