How To Spend a Weekend in Imsouane, Morocco

Fishing boats line up on the shore in Imsouane
Fishing boats line up on the shore in Imsouane | © agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lily Plume
27 April 2020

Time doesn’t exist in Imsouane, a dreamy fisherman’s town turned surfer’s paradise hidden at the end of a long, winding mountain road, next to the Atlantic Ocean. For those less accustomed to such fluid time frames, this itinerary will provide a gentle structure for a perfect weekend spent in Imsouane.

Nestled between mysterious mountains and never-ending waves, Imsouane has a magical quality that must be experienced to understand. Let the tides set your schedule for the weekend and immerse yourself in the local surf and fishing culture, indulge in long lunches by the sea and explore the natural surroundings. Here, you’ll find a community of creative characters, salt-drenched surfers and local fishermen. Embrace the slower pace of life and let the days slip by with the waves, soaking up the restorative energy of the ocean.

Day one

Morning – Surfing and fishing with the locals

There’s nothing like an early-morning surf to start your day, especially at the aptly named Magic Bay. Rise with the sun on your first morning in Imsouane and order a vitamin-packed smoothie from Swell Mood art café on the harbour. The bay is popular with beginners and longboarders for its long, peeling waves that can go for up to 800m (2,625ft) on a good day. You can find a range of boards for all levels at the various surf shops in the village, some of which also offer lessons.

Magic Bay is a great surf spot | | © Cavan Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Imsouane has always been home to a lively fishing community, and the harbour is still the beating heart of the village today. Stroll among the bright-blue wooden boats and listen to the shouts of fishermen and restaurateurs haggling for the best price inside the trading hall. For the best after-surf feed, choose your favourite fish from the exotic selection and give it to one of the restaurants to prepare a real local’s lunch for you. Enjoy grilled fish plucked from the ocean that morning, served with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt.

A fisherman on his way to sea in Imsouane | | © Louise Bretten / Alamy Stock Photo

Afternoon – Go for a hike

Imsouane is surrounded by mysterious mountains that keep the village hidden in its own bubble of peace and tranquillity. Get lost in their mystery on a long hike above Cathedral Beach, where sandy tracks twist and turn up the mountainside, offering spectacular views of the coastline below. Explore the hidden rock pools and otherworldly landscape, keeping your eyes peeled for passing camels.

Imsouane is surrounded by mountains | | © Louise Bretten / Alamy Stock Photo

Evening – Meet the local surf crowd

You’re never far away from a familiar face in this town, with a friendly community of locals, tourists and expats all living the “surf, eat, sleep, repeat” lifestyle. Become part of this surf-mad family and share dinner with new friends after a day in the waves. At Petit Surfer, a hip and cosy hangout popular with the après surf crowd, expect a laid-back vibe with comfy sofas, hearty pizzas and the best views in town. It also hosts regular movie nights: surf films only.

Surfers get ready to ride the waves | | © Stuart Pearce / Alamy Stock Photo

Day two

Morning – Enjoy a traditional Moroccan breakfast

Start your day the Moroccan way at Jolo’s on the harbour, with a traditional breakfast of tea, freshly squeezed orange juice and a Berber omelette (eggs cooked in fried tomatoes), served with copious amounts of bread and a platter of jams, honey, argan oil and amlou (a locally produced almond spread), to top it all off. For an extra treat, try a honey and cheese msemen (a square Moroccan pancake) from the women-run Café Tamazight.

Tuck into a Berber omelette | | © Yuliia Chyzhevska / Alamy Stock Photo

Afternoon – Give back to the local community

Supporting the communities of the places you visit is a step towards sustainable tourism. In Imsouane, a nearby argan oil cooperative sells local products such as amlou, argan oil and soap made from the nut of the native argan tree. Animal lovers will find rewarding opportunities to support the village strays by volunteering at animal shelter Ims’one Project, run by Fanny Belle, the guardian angel of homeless dogs, cats and even donkeys. Fanny relies on tourist donations to support her incredibly hard work saving the street animals of Imsouane.

Support the local animal shelter | | © mgs / Getty Images

You’ll be surprised to find in this small village a thriving community of creatives, who are drawn to the unique energy of the place. Many have left their mark with enchanting surf art adding splashes of colour to the white stone walls. Every Sunday at Momo’s Café, just above Cathedral Beach, local and travelling artists gather together to display their unique pieces for sale at the Sunday Art Market, along with home-made cakes and impromptu jam sessions.

Evening – Time for tea and live music

You can’t come to Morocco without tasting their traditional tea, the making of which is a ceremony in itself. Green tea leaves are mixed with fresh mint and generous amounts of sugar, before being poured from an impressive height to cool the tea as it hits the glass. The syrupy golden liquid is then poured back into the pot and the process is repeated up to 10 times to ensure the sugar is mixed in. It’s best served with a view of the sun setting over the ocean.

Make your last night in Imsouane one to remember with dinner and a show at restaurant Dar Naima. Dishing up the best couscous and tagine in town, it’s also one of the few places that serves alcohol, so you can enjoy a rare glass of wine while you tuck into a plate of steaming couscous. On any night of the week there’s usually live music, from casual jam sessions between local drummers to soulful performances from traditional gnaoua bands.

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