Morocco is often referred to as Europe’s gateway to Africa, as it is located only 14km away across the Strait of Gibraltar. Since the country is so conveniently located close to Europe, it has become somewhat of an expat hub during the past decade, with Casablanca, Fes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier being especially popular places for expats to call their new home. Morocco offers expats an old-world lifestyle in a country that has political stability and safety. There are many good reasons for considering a move to Morocco to work or retire.
Morocco consists of mountains, deserts and beaches, so you should find something there to meet your preferences. The Atlas Mountains features many waterfalls, rivers, and hiking and biking trails. If the desert strikes your fancy, you can go to the Moroccan portion of the Sahara for camel rides, dune boarding and ATV trips. If you’re looking to spend some time at the beach, head for the Mediterranean coastline. Morocco’s beaches are clean, and the clear water makes swimming a delight. The coastal area is also ideal for windsurfing and fishing.
Here’s a brief look at some of the best cities in Morocco for expats.
Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco with a population of more than five million. The downtown area of the city features beautiful Mauresque buildings that show the French-colonial influence on traditional Moroccan architecture. The Quartier Habous in the south-eastern part of Casablanca is one of the most picturesque areas in the city, with tree-lined squares, elegant arcades, neat alleyways and stylish buildings. Many expats have settled in Ain Diab, a beachside suburb that features a distinct European urban influence.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you see Fes for the first time. Founded late in the 9th century, the city has the largest car-free urban area in the world as well as the world’s oldest university. Fes el-Bali is the oldest portion of the city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with old-world architecture and traditional Arabic markets. Donkeys still transport goods through the narrow streets that eventually take you to picturesque squares with ornate fountains. Fes has seen steady growth in its expat population.
Marrakesh is located beneath the foothills of the Atlas Mountains at the edge of the Sahara and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Djemaa el-Fna, known as the “heart of the city”, features food stalls, snake charmers, storytellers and musicians. The ancient walled marketplace stands in contrast to the nearby French-colonial residential areas. Modern-day Marrakesh features trendy boutiques, many cafés serving delicious coffee, stylish boulevards and public gardens.
Rabat is the country’s capital city located along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bouregreg River. The city features international restaurants, sandy beaches, palm-lined roads and the historic 12th-century waterfront kasbah. The newer portions of Rabat are quite elegant and very popular with expats. Across the lagoon is Rabat’s pretty twin city Salé, which serves as a commuter town for the capital city.
Tangier is located at the northern tip of Morocco, and you can actually see Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar from the city’s shoreline. Tangier has become a favourite spot for many celebrities, including Mick Jagger. The city is investing heavily in building new hotels, a new marina and new port facilities to make the city more of a tourist destination. However, if you get away from the more touristy areas and head to the old town area, you’ll still find traces of its fascinating past. When you wander through its maze of streets, you’ll find merchants selling antiques, ceramics, mosaic tables and Berber carpets.
We here at 1st Move International can help you plan your move to Morocco. You can find more information about our international removals service here.