Sandy Mediterranean shores backed by the craggy Rif Mountains will offer you some of the most stunning beachside views in all of Morocco. Striking cliffs rise above the blue sea, and stands of cedar and oak contribute their earthy hues of brown and green to the scene. The Moroccan Mediterranean coast extends from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta to Saidia near the Algerian border.

Founded by the Berbers in early BC and once the center of trade between Spain and Morocco, Tetouan is a beautiful town of stark white buildings climbing up the hills. Arched green doorways and shutters bring a burst of color to an already beautiful place. Take a trip back in time in the ancient Tetouan Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In contrast, the architecture of Palace Moulay el Mehdi is a mix of Spanish and Moorish design. The Archaeological Museum of Tetouan houses some well-preserved Roman relics and pottery inspired by Moroccan, Roman, and Spanish heritage.

Further inland, the charming town of Chefchaouen is awash in a dreamy hue of blue and surrounded by mountains with hidden pools and waterfalls. This enchanting place was established in 1471 by Moors and Jewish settlers from Spain. Take a leisurely stroll through town and shop for leather goods and traditional metal lanterns. Nibble on street food in the Plaza Uta el-Hammam and hear the call to prayer echoing from the 15th century Grand Mosque. The Andalusian Gardens are a calming, green oasis within the town and houses a museum that tells the history of the region.

Feel free to trek through the Rif Mountains, but come prepared, for the Rif receives more rainfall than any other region of Morocco. Hike up the Rif Mountains in Talassemtane National Park to admire the town far below. Explore the dunes and lagoons and spot birds in Nador. Dive into clear waters in Al Hoceima, a resort town founded by the Spanish. Watch the sunrise over the Alboran Sea, just a stone’s throw from Spain and accessible via ferry.

This region of Morocco is an intoxicating blend of culture and natural beauty, a unique destination on your Morocco journey.