Nevertheless, Al Hoceima's compressed size is one of its charms. Until the 1950's it consisted of just a small fishing port to the north of the bay and a fringe of white houses atop the barren cliffs to the south. The Spanish started to develop Al Hoceima around 1925. General Sanjurjo landed with his troops on the beach of Al Hoceima during the Rif Rebellion and claimed the territory for Spain. He named the territory Villa Sanjurjo, after himself. Many locals still refer to the city as "Villa".
The Spanish troops built houses, schools and hospitals above the beach, creating the beginnings of the town. In the 1920s and '30s the town had almost no growth in population. Its name changed from Villa Sanjurjo to Villa Alhucemas, and the few streets above the beach were still occupied by mainly Spanish soldiers and their families. The first major was Florian Gómez Aroca.
After Morocco gained its independence in 1956, Al Hoceima developed quickly, and the Moroccan government changed its name from the Spanish Villa Alhucemas to Al Hoceima.
Al Hoceima is now a moderate-size city with an estimated population of 100.000. It has the second-largest port of the Rif Region (Nador being the largest). The first schools built by the Spanish colonials, (a college and an elementary school) and a Spanish catholic church, still exist today.
Playa Quemado, where General Sanjurjo and his troops landed in 1925, is Al Hoceima's most popular beach. It is home to the luxurious Mohammed V hotel, which includes a tennis court, restaurant, cocktail bar and nightclub.
Al Hoceima Town
At the heart of its old quarter is the 'Place de Rif', which is enclosed by cafe-restaurants and pensions and the terminal for private-line buses. The newer part of town, with its neat grid of boulevards and occasional palms, occupies the land leaning down to the cliffs above the town beach.
Known as Plage Quemado and situated between the harbor and the original village, you can see either the wooden hills behind the town or the sparkling blue sea here at virtually every turn.
Swimming and walking in the olive-grove hills if you want a change, is one of the main attractions of Al Hoceima. Al Hoceima is the perfect place to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Everything is very much relaxed and the people are very friendly and welcoming.
In late spring, or September, when the beaches are quiet, it's near idyllic. In midsummer, though, be warned that the town and its beaches get pretty jam-packed under the weight of Moroccan families and French and German tourists, and rooms can be difficult to find. It is, after all, a petite town that is not geared to cater for the same levels of tourism that Tangier or Agadir may receive.
From the snowy peaks of Ketama to our beautiful mediterranean beaches and passing by our many parks and natural preserves with their amazing biodiversity of flora and fauna , you will find plenty of activities to delight you and your family. So please come in and let us show you a little what we are about.