A fortified seaside town in the northwest of the charming country of Morocco, Asilah is a bright and fresh little place that offers a taste of Spain combined with Moroccan tradition. Adorned with inspiring works of art, this city can be explored on foot in just one day, but its size does not detract from its beauty. Read about some of the attractions of this charming city.
Cycling along the waterfront
The excellent beachfront location is complemented by the sweet waterfront and beautiful, simple city streets. Asilah’s location, size, and location make it ideal for biking, so it’s no surprise that most local hotels offer bike rentals and some even offer bike tours. Spend a day exploring the entire city by bike, combining sightseeing with sport, and enjoying the fresh sea air and stunning views. This activity is perfect for those who don’t like long hikes but still want to see the city.
The annual Art Festival brings artists from different countries together in this tiny city and brings to life what is usually a slow and peaceful process. Artists are invited to contribute to the city’s artwork by painting murals throughout the Medina. While guests can admire the work all year round to see the beautiful works in the making, attending the art festival itself is a must. Lasting from two weeks to a month, there are many opportunities to see how these murals are created. In addition to public art demonstrations, guests can enjoy concerts and exhibitions, as well as an equestrian festival to round out the activities.
Store at the Little Bazaar
Shopping at the charming bazaar is popular any day, especially on a Thursday, as it is a market. Visitors can appreciate an alternative to the sometimes crowded markets of huge cities, and instead wander almost peacefully around these varied and charming stalls. It may be a small town, but visitors can be sure to find everything from souvenirs, textiles and even tools, and more. A stroll through these market streets will almost certainly allow you to meet local artists who are rushing to sell you their work.
Many of the ramparts were built in the 15th century, when Asilah was under Portuguese control. Since then, these city walls have been taken care of and even partially repaired, and today they are in fine condition, framing the old part of Asilah and giving such character and history to this already charming city. The enclosure of the old medina consists of two pillars going into the ocean, with the south side open to the public, offering a spectacular view of the sunset.
Asilah has its own small and charming beach, but as an alternative to the busier beach right by the ancient Medina, take a short cab ride to the beautiful and aptly named Paradise Beach. Less rocky than a small beach, visitors can enjoy soft sand and a peaceful atmosphere. The size of the beach means it’s not hard to find a secluded spot, especially during the summer months when the beach is a private and quiet haven. Enjoy a drink in a typical Spanish chiringuito or a traditional camel ride to complete your sea journey.
Eat at Restaurante Oceano Casa Pepe
For a more formal and elegant experience, head to Restaurante Oceano Casa Pepe. At this two-story restaurant, guests can relax on the terrace overlooking the garden or dine inside. This elegant restaurant with black-tie waiters and the freshest seafood, accompanied by delicious Spanish wine and a romantic, softly lit atmosphere is considered one of the best in Asilah.
Church of San Bartolome
To the northwest of the center of Asil is the Church of San Bartolome, a typically Moorish-style colonial building built by Spanish Franciscans. This church is one of the few in Morocco allowed to ring the bells for Sunday Mass. It is a private and closed church still inhabited by resident nuns, but if you visit, the nuns are usually more than happy to give you a little tour. Certainly worth a visit, the church serves as a reminder of the Christian Catholic presence in this Islamic country.
El Hamra Tower.
El Hamra is a simple icon that must be seen as its historical significance goes back to the creation of the ramparts built by the Portuguese in the 15th century. This charming and distinctive tower is another well-preserved piece of history and makes for simple but attractive photographs.