Discover the history of the Moroccan city of Berkane and learn about what distinguishes it

Discover the history of the Moroccan city of Berkane and learn about what distinguishes it

· 11 min read

Berkane, a serene city nestled in the northeastern part of Morocco, is often overshadowed by the more popular tourist destinations like Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Fez. However, this charming city, known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, offers a unique experience that is equally captivating. This article delves into what makes Berkane a distinguished tourist destination, exploring its climate, attractions, and the myriad experiences it offers to travelers.

A Glimpse into Berkane’s History and Culture

Berkane is named after the patron saint of the region, Sidi Ahmed Aberkane, a revered figure in Moroccan history. The city has a rich historical tapestry that dates back to the ancient Amazigh kingdoms. It has been a melting pot of various cultures, including Amazigh, Arab, and French influences, each leaving an indelible mark on the city’s cultural and architectural heritage.

Historical Landmarks

One of the key attractions in Berkane is the Mausoleum of Sidi Ahmed Aberkane, a sacred site that draws both locals and tourists. The mausoleum is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of the city’s historical and spiritual heritage. The architecture of the mausoleum, with its intricate designs and serene ambiance, reflects the Islamic artistic traditions that flourished in the region.


Another historical site worth visiting is the ancient Roman ruins of Drala, located on the outskirts of Berkane. These ruins offer a glimpse into the region's Roman past, showcasing remnants of ancient structures that speak volumes about the historical significance of this area.

Cultural Festivals

Berkane is also known for its vibrant cultural festivals. The most notable is the Orange Festival, celebrated annually to honor the region’s primary agricultural product. The festival is a colorful affair, featuring parades, music, dance, and various cultural performances that highlight the rich traditions of Berkane. Visitors can indulge in the local cuisine, enjoy traditional Moroccan music, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals.

Climate: A Mediterranean Oasis


Berkane enjoys a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. This climate makes it an ideal destination for tourists throughout the year.


Summers in Berkane are typically hot, with temperatures often soaring above 30°C (86°F). Despite the heat, the low humidity levels make the weather more bearable. The city’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea ensures a pleasant coastal breeze that provides relief from the intense summer heat. This season is perfect for exploring the city's outdoor attractions and enjoying water activities along the coast.


Winters in Berkane are mild and wet, with temperatures averaging around 15°C (59°F). This season is characterized by frequent rainfall, which transforms the landscape into a lush, green paradise. The cooler weather is ideal for exploring the city’s historical sites, hiking in the nearby mountains, and experiencing the local culture without the summer crowds.

Spring and Autumn

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Berkane, with moderate temperatures and blooming landscapes. These transitional seasons offer a perfect balance, making it comfortable for tourists to explore the city’s attractions, partake in outdoor activities, and immerse themselves in the local culture.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

Berkane is blessed with stunning natural landscapes that offer a plethora of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. From the majestic Rif Mountains to the pristine Mediterranean coastline, the region is a haven for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

Rif Mountains


The Rif Mountains, located to the north of Berkane, provide a breathtaking backdrop to the city. These mountains are ideal for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering. The trails offer stunning views of the surrounding valleys, lush forests, and picturesque villages. The mountains are also home to diverse flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature photographers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Moulouya River

The Moulouya River, one of the longest rivers in Morocco, flows near Berkane and adds to the region’s natural beauty. The river is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and bird watching. The Moulouya estuary, where the river meets the Mediterranean Sea, is a protected area that attracts a variety of bird species, making it a great destination for ornithologists and bird watchers.


Mediterranean Coast

Berkane’s proximity to the Mediterranean coast offers ample opportunities for beach lovers. Saïdia Beach, often referred to as the “Blue Pearl,” is one of the most beautiful beaches in Morocco. With its golden sands and crystal-clear waters, Saïdia Beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The beach is lined with resorts, restaurants, and cafes, providing all the amenities needed for a relaxing seaside vacation.

Agricultural Riches

Berkane is renowned for its fertile agricultural lands, particularly its citrus orchards. The region is one of the largest producers of oranges in Morocco, and the quality of the citrus fruits here is exceptional. The fertile plains of Berkane also produce olives, grapes, and various vegetables, contributing to the local economy.

Orange Groves


A visit to Berkane would be incomplete without exploring its vast orange groves. The sight of endless rows of orange trees, laden with ripe, juicy fruits, is a visual treat. Many local farms offer guided tours where visitors can learn about the cultivation process, pick their own oranges, and taste fresh citrus products.

Local Cuisine

The local cuisine in Berkane is a delightful blend of Amazigh, Arab, and Mediterranean influences. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the highlight of the culinary offerings. Some of the must-try dishes include:

  • Tajine: A traditional Moroccan dish made with meat (usually lamb or chicken), vegetables, and a variety of spices, slow-cooked in a clay pot.
  • Couscous: A staple dish made from steamed semolina grains, often served with vegetables and meat.
  • Harira: A hearty soup made with lentils, chickpeas, and tomatoes, often served during Ramadan.
  • Pastilla: A savory pie made with thin layers of pastry, filled with spiced meat (usually pigeon or chicken) and almonds, topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Local markets and street vendors offer an array of Moroccan sweets, fresh fruits, and snacks that provide a true taste of Berkane’s culinary heritage.

Accommodations and Hospitality

Berkane offers a range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference, from luxurious resorts to cozy guesthouses. The hospitality of the locals is one of the defining features of Berkane, ensuring that visitors feel welcome and at home.

Luxurious Resorts

For those seeking a lavish experience, Berkane boasts several high-end resorts, particularly along the Mediterranean coast. These resorts offer top-notch amenities, including private beaches, spa services, gourmet restaurants, and recreational activities. Saïdia Beach is home to some of the best resorts in the region, providing a perfect blend of luxury and natural beauty.

Traditional Riads and Guesthouses

For a more authentic experience, staying in a traditional Moroccan riad or guesthouse is highly recommended. These accommodations are typically located in the heart of the city, offering a glimpse into the local lifestyle and architecture. Riads are characterized by their beautiful courtyards, intricate tile work, and warm hospitality. Many of these establishments offer home-cooked meals, giving guests a chance to savor the local cuisine in a homely setting.


Budget-Friendly Options

Travelers on a budget can find numerous affordable hotels and hostels in Berkane. These accommodations provide basic amenities and a comfortable stay without breaking the bank. The friendly staff at these establishments often go out of their way to ensure that guests have a pleasant and memorable experience.

Exploring Berkane: Tips for Travelers

To make the most of your visit to Berkane, here are some practical tips and recommendations:

Best Time to Visit

While Berkane is a year-round destination, the best times to visit are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) months. The weather is pleasant, and the landscape is at its most beautiful during these seasons.


Getting Around

Berkane is a relatively small city, and most of the attractions can be explored on foot. For destinations outside the city, such as the Rif Mountains or Saïdia Beach, renting a car or hiring a taxi is recommended. Public transportation is also available, but it may not be as convenient for tourists.

Local Etiquette

Moroccan culture is known for its hospitality, and visitors are often treated with great respect. It is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Learning a few basic phrases in Arabic or French can go a long way in communicating with the locals and enhancing your travel experience.

Safety and Health

Berkane is considered a safe destination for tourists. However, it is always advisable to take standard precautions, such as keeping your belongings secure and being aware of your surroundings. Tap water is generally not recommended for drinking; it is best to stick to bottled water. Make sure to try the local food but ensure it is from reputable sources to avoid any health issues.


Berkane is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Its rich agricultural heritage, coupled with its stunning landscapes and warm hospitality, makes it a must-visit destination in Morocco. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a culinary enthusiast, Berkane has something to offer for everyone. So, pack your bags and set off on an unforgettable journey to discover the charm and beauty of Berkane, Morocco’s best-kept secret.

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Alex Rivera

About Alex Rivera

Alex is a seasoned traveler with a knack for uncovering hidden gems and sharing practical tips for navigating the globe. With a passion for both adventure and cultural immersion, Alex's articles promise to guide readers through unforgettable journeys and insights into the soul of destinations worldwide.

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