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Larache, Morocco
Fast Facts
Historic Interest
Ancient Ruins
Tourist Attractions
Kid-Friendly Hotels
Points of Interest Nearby

Larache, Morocco


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

The coastal town of Larache is the antithesis of Asilah. The whitewashed medina is in need of a paint job. The Qebitat, a 16th century Portuguese fort, is crumbling. The shops are short on souvenirs. Reaching Larache is somewhat complicated. So why take the kids? Larache is a laid-back port city. - There are hardly any hustlers and few foreign tourists. - The Moorish medina, while not comparable with the grand old quarters of the imperial cities, is experiencing a renaissance. The salt flats on the north side of Larache are great place to watch birds. The port-side fish market is an evocative attraction. - Take in a fish auction. Eat grilled sardines. - The ancient settlement of Lixus is but 5 km from the city center. White sand beaches stretch from the Loukkos River. What's more, a family trip to Larache affords an authentic cultural experience.
Getting There
Larache is situated on Morocco's north Atlantic coast. The town is located 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Tangier and 103 kilometers (64 miles) north of Rabat. The nearest airport is Tangier Ibn Battouta, 60 kilometers (37 miles) or a 1-hour drive. Larache is reachable by bus, car and cab but isn't accessible by train. A variety of bus companies connect Larache to destinations north and south. Both CTM and Supratours are comfortable, reliable and safe. (The safety record and comfort of other bus companies is worse than poor.) Larache is easily reached from the national autoroute, a well-marked, good toll road. Hiring a cab is not as decadent as it sounds. The cab fare from Tangier Airport to Larache is less than 300dh! Family Travel Tips: 1) Many European low cost airlines service Tangier. Royal Air Maroc flies to Tangier from Casablanca. Several major carriers connect Tangier with various destinations round the world. 2) The nearest train stations are in Asilah and Souk el-Arba. The website for the Moroccan railway is near impossible to access from abroad. Ask your hotel or guesthouse to email the needed the timetables. 3) The Larache bus station is located on Rue du Caire, south of the city center. Bus tickets can't be purchased outside of Morocco. It's best to reserve seats on long distance routes at least one day in advance. 4) Grand taxis - those traveling between cities - depart from a lot opposite the bus station. 5) There are several covered car parks in Larache and various parking areas with night watchman. Inquire with your accommodation. 6) Cab fares from Tangier Airport are posted inside the airport. And while rates are fixed, it's best to confirm the price before hopping in.
Getting Around
While you won't need a petit taxi or city bus to navigate the medina, they are a handy means for reaching Lixus, Larache's beaches and newer sections of the city. Buses 4 and 5 stop at Lixus; bus no. 4 services the beaches. An alternative way to reach the beach is to take a rowboat cross the estuary. Rowboats can be hired from the port. The journey is 5 minutes. Family travel tips: Buses 4 and 5 stop near the old fort. Not all buses are numbered; not all have destination signs. When in doubt, inquire. Petite taxis aren't metered; all rates are bargained. Expect to pay 5-10dh for cab trips within Larache.
When to Travel
Spring (April - May) and fall (September - October) are ideal for touring. Summer (June - August) is the best season for the beach. Winter (November - March) is cold and rainy. It's windy much of the year. It's warm enough to swim from May through September. Calendar of Events: A woodworkers market is held each Sunday.
Health & Safety
Traveler's diarrhea and sunburn are the main health risks for travelers to Morocco's Atlantic Coast; faux guides are the biggest nuisance. Drink bottled water and eat cooked or peeled fruit and vegetables. Apply high factor sunscreen to all exposed areas, including nose, ears, and toes. Wear sunglasses as well as a hat. While there are fewer hustlers in Larache than other Moroccan cities, it is always best to be cautious.
Things to Keep in Mind
Larache is easily visited in a day. Spanish is an accent not a dominant flavor. Paella is served alongside tajine. Calls to prayer coincide with the paseo. Islamic geometrical motifs sit side-by-side Andalusian-style doors. The beach north of town is split in two by a quay. One part is wide-open to the sea making it ideal for surfing; the other is protected and perfect for swimming.
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