Asilah: The Hidden Moroccan Seaside Gem
Asilah is one of those beautiful places in Morocco that often gets overlooked by visitors. However, a new website (AsilahInfo.com) has been set up to promote the town and hopefully lure a lot more people to a place that has everything for a perfect weekend. This is what they have to say…
Need an escape? Why not spend the weekend in Asilah, a quiet seaside town located on the beautiful Atlantic coast just 40 minutes south of Tangier? Whether you fancy getting lost in the meandering streets of the medina, escaping to the beach or trying a delicious fish tagine, Asilah has something for everyone.
A great way to start your stay in Asilah is with a visit to the hammam. A vigorous scrub and massage will help you relax in to the town’s laidback atmosphere. Then head to the medina to discover its thriving arts scene.
Ever since the first The Cultural Moussem of Asilah in 1978, artists have been invited to paint murals on the white-washed houses of the medina. These brightly coloured works of art help to distinguish Asilah from the other Andalucian style towns in Morocco, such as Chefchaouen and Essaouria. As well as seeing the works of visiting artists, you can visit the small galleries of Moroccan and European artists who have made Asilah their home.
The medina is protected from the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean by ramparts which form part of the wall built by the Portuguese in the 17th Century. In the evening walk out onto the Krikia, a stone pier on the south side of the medina, to enjoy a dazzling sunset over the horizon.
There are a handful of quality guesthouses in Asilah, all located in or close to the medina. One of the most established is Patio de la Luna; situated in front of the medina wall, it offers a comfortable stay in its rustic-chic rooms. Alternatively, you can rent a house in the medina. In recent years many of the old, dilapidated medina homes have been beautifully restored and are now available for holiday rental.
If you choose a self-catering holiday, visit the harbour in the evening to get your hands on the fresh catch of the day. There is usually wide range of fish and seafood to choose from including crab, sword fish and sole. Otherwise dine at one of the great fish restaurants located on the promenade, such as Le Place or El Espigon. Ask for the waiter’s recommendation and enjoy it with a chilled glass of Moroccan wine.
During the day, most visitors escape to one of the area’s stunning beaches. The most well-known beach is Rmilate (Paradise Beach). Located 7km to the south of Asilah, the most recommended way to travel there is by horse and cart (150 Dh return). This rustic form of transport will allow you to take in the surrounding countryside (TIP: to avoid a sore bum, take a cushion!) The beach is in a long and sandy bay, lined with chiringuitos which serve grilled sardines, calamari and fish tagines.
Asilah train station is located 2 km from the town center. Trains travel to all major cities, including Tangier (40 mins), Meknes (3 hrs), Rabat (3.5 hrs), Fez (4 hrs), Casablanca (4.5 hrs) and Marrakesh (9 hrs) – night sleeper train available.