Ancient and hospitable Oujda
Sitting just 60 km from the splendor of the Mediterranean sea, Morocco's largest eastern city retains its ancient identity.
A hidden gem
Despite being the main city in the l'Oriental region, very close to the Algerian border, Oujda is a small, hospitable city - and it boasts one of the liveliest, most colorful medinas in Morocco.
Enter through Bab el Gharbi or Bab Sidi Abdelouhab - two beautiful, monumental gates in the city wall - and discover, among fragrances of mint tea, coffee, fried cakes, and perfumes, a multitude of handicrafts, costume jewelry, traditional clothing, footwear, and the famous 'Moroccan gold', also known as argan oil.
Oujda is home to true architectural gems, such as Al Jamaa Al Kabir (a large 13th-century mosque), Marinid Madrasa, and Dar Sebti Palace.
The city is also dotted with many appealing gardens and parks, which you can visit when the heat is a little too much to bear, such as Parc Lalla Meriem and the stunning Parc Lalla Aicha - Oujda's largest green space, stretching over 17 hectares.
Unique cuisine and culture
Once you reach Oujda, prepare your palate for exotic and irresistible flavors. The queen of local cuisine is the tajine (prepared with chicken or lamb), while sweets have lots of honey, dates, figs, walnuts, and orange blossom water.
The city hosts two important music festivals. Raï International Festival brings together artists from Morocco and Algeria, and is Morocco's second most visited festival. Held every year, Gharnati Music Festival showcases the style that gives it its name – Gharnati, from Granada –, perpetuating a traditional sound which was developed by the Arabs in 15th-century Spain.
Saïdia and the sea, so close
Here, Oujda's traditional image draws a contrast with the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean sea, blessed by 14 kilometers of white sandy beaches and all year round sunshine. A tiny piece of heaven, Saïdia is northern Morocco's quintessential seaside resort.
Much like big hotels in other Morrocan cities, such as Agadir, hotels in Saïdia offer a number of recreation activities, such as tennis, golf, spa, and thalassotherapy. You can also ride dromedaries and horses or try jet skiing and flyboarding. In the evening, head to the Marina to relax in the lively seaside bars or savor the region's delicacies in one of the many local restaurants.