Only a few years ago, SAÏDIA was a low-key holiday town, rambling back from the sea in the shadow of a still-occupied nineteenth-century kasbah, and fronted by one of the best beaches on the Mediterranean. Recent years, however, have seen massive development along the coast to the west of town. Officially named “Saïdia Mediterrania” though signposted along the coast simply as Station Balnéaire (“seaside resort”), the new development functions as a separate resort from Saïdia itself, even though the two almost meet. The growth has been enormous to say the least, with hundreds of apartment blocks, many of them half-finished and already looking tired, stretching along the beach and for a few hundred metres inland. In addition, the resort is home to one of the country’s largest marinas, an adjacent outdoor shopping complex, four sprawling five-star resorts, and an eighteen-hole golf course (with another two in the pipeline).

If you prefer birds to beaches, there are rewarding birdwatching sites in the marshes and woodland stretching behind the beach towards the Oued Moulouya, although in high season you’ll have to pick your way through the rubbish. Each year, Saïdia hosts the annual two-week Festival Saïdia Raggada (May). It’s a great opportunity to listen to some indigenous chaabi, raï and amazigh music, and see raggada and laäoui folk-dancing ensembles.

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