Walk through the walled medina of Asilah in northern Morocco

Asilah in northern Morocco

When a while ago I started traveling regularly to northern morocco, besides knowing the main cities as Tetouan or Tangier, I wanted to plan the visit of other prominent places.

Specific, close to Tangier you have Asilah and closer to the aforementioned city of Tetouan, Chefchaouen.

Both places are characterized by having very picturesque medinas that reflect the long history of Spanish presence, and which have become corners that are visited by tourists.

Entrance to the Medina of Asilah in northern Morocco

In order to prioritize the visit, given the question he asked connoisseurs of both places about which they liked best, there really was no coincidence.

The key is that while Chefchaouen It is a small mountain town whose medina extends along a hillside, Asilah It is a town on the Atlantic coast.

Having already visited some times Asilah. I will tell you that it is a charming corner with its own personality that is due to its location by the sea.

Effectively, Asilah It is just 30 kilometers away south of Tangier, and it is the most recommended visit in its surroundings during an escape to which it was international city of northern Morocco.

Corner in the medina of Asilah in northern Morocco

Asilah's Story

Its long history dates back to the time of the Carthaginians when said coastal enclave became a strategic port for maritime commerce.

When it fell into the hands of the Romans, Asilah became populated by Iberians, with what began its connection with the Iberian Peninsula.

A key moment in its history was when in 1471 the Portuguese sent a large naval fleet to occupy Asilah, where they built the current walled enclosure that you will see by the sea.

A century later it was when Portugal and its possessions in the north of present-day Morocco passed by the Spanish, although at different later times it was controlled by the rifeños.

Corner in the medina of Asilah in northern Morocco

Asilah He was also part of Spanish protectorate in Morocco, and until the independence of this country in 1956, which you can see by the presence of a couple of restaurants with names of their Spanish owners.

For get to Asilah from nearby Tangier, my advice is not to go on the inner highway that goes to Rabat.

On the contrary, when leaving Tangier, just before accessing said highway, follow the Asilah indication along the road that runs along the huge and very long Atlantic beach that extends practically from the Cape Espadel to the same coastal enclave.

You will have the opportunity to see some very beautiful landscapes of the coast and such an impressive beach.

If you sign up for one Asilah excursion instead of going on your own, you have the option of a private tour with guide in Spanish With 8 hours duration, ideal for family groups or friends.


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What to see and do in Asilah

Asilah It is an enclave that has about 12,000 inhabitants, but for its tourist attraction in summer, it exceeds 100,000 inhabitants.

I have never visited it in summer, but in spring and winter, and at this time outside the holiday season is when you can appreciate its true charm.

Your visit should focus on a walk through its small and flirtatious medina located in the center of town, next to the port, where you have a parking lot to leave the car.

You will see that the medina is surrounded by the wall that the Portuguese built, and its interior is completely pedestrian.

Defensive tower in the medina of Asilah in northern Morocco

You will access the medina through the door Bab Al Kasba, and after passing by the Grand mosque (the first one you find on the left), you will reach the main square of the same, where a great defensive tower (Borj Al Kamra).

It is an eminently residential medina, in this sense quite different from the aforementioned Chefchaouen.

While there is some street with Craft shops and barely of souvenirs, above all you will walk through alleys and passages with houses.

All these houses have a very bright white color on their facades, which also highlight the decoration with blue and green window lattices.

In this regard I have told you that Asilah It is a place where many reside craftsmen, that in small establishments or on the street they will offer you their products.

Corner in the medina of Asilah in northern Morocco

You will also see many facades of houses decorated with artistic murals, which are renewed every year on the occasion of a festival that takes place in the village.

Strolling through narrow streets and going to the walled area along the coast, you will arrive at the busiest enclave by visitors in Asilah, the southwestern bastion of the wall.

From there you have beautiful views of the coastal facade of the town, in which the white color of the houses is combined with the ocher color of the stones that make up the wall.

Next to that bastion, where in all my visits there was a group performing traditional Moroccan music, you will also see the Kuba by Sidi Mansur and its colorful cemetery.

And at sunset, I can confirm that at any time of the year this corner is always crowded with people who concentrate to see the spectacular sunset over the ocean.

Moroccan music in the medina of Asilah in northern Morocco

Where to eat in Asilah

At the time of eat in Asilah, although next to the main door of the medina there is a small street full of tourist restaurants, I am going to advise you in particular the two “Spanish” restaurants mentioned above.

Both have in common that their specialty is a great variety of fresh fish, and that their owners are ancient Spaniards from the time of protected.

Right next to the aforementioned main door is the small restaurant Pepe House, and in the beach area, in a parallel street you have Garcia House, a great establishment well known and always very busy.

Pepe house in Asilah in northern Morocco

In short, I anticipate that Asilah It is one of the most charming corners and a essential visit in a route through northern Morocco.

Asilah's Photos

Here you have more Photos of the beautiful Asilah, to visit south of Tangier.

Video: Top 10 Destinations in Morocco (January 2020).