"Atlantic Asilah" Top 5 Page for this destination Asilah by kit_mc

Asilah Travel Guide: 99 reviews and 299 photos

Arty and Whitewashed

After Fes and Chefchaouen, Asilah was the third contrasting town in Morocco that I visited in my 12 days there. Escaping the dreary winter of London, we thought that a bit of sea air would be just the job for a day or so. Coming here meant that we had to go through Tangier, something that filled my heart with dread to be perfectly frank. But in the end, the whole 'changing buses' experience in Tangier whizzed by, straight by petit taxi from the CTM station to the cheaper Gare Routiere and out we went on the hour's journey to Asilah.

We knew that out of season Asilah would be fairly quiet which was a real plus. Its size was also attractive, with a manageable Medina and a Ville Nouvelle that's easy and small enough to get from A to B by foot and fewer touts and hassles.

I'd be interested to know what Asilah is like in summer. Locals told us that in summer tourists from all over, including Moroccans come to stay here, admiring the murals now doubt and making use of the nearby wide sandy beaches. Some sights in Asilah were a mad dancing busker, a shepherd with his flock of sheep on the beach and of course the murals dotted all over the Medina.

Asilah was certainly quiet in November but this is no complaint as I'd begun to really tire of the constant questioning and offers of this, that and the other. A few days in a quiet resort, used to tourists visiting more for the beaches and a bit of peace and quiet than a bustling Medina full of bargains was just the ticket.

On the whole hassles here were at a minimum. We were able to wander the small whitewashed Medina, taking photos and wandering down side streets to take a look at the aforementioned colourful murals, painted each year during the annual arts festival. Unfortunately the arts centre here seemed closed out of season, so the list of touristy things to see was fairly limited.

The nice thing about Asilah was it also enabled us to let out guard down a bit and chat a little more freely with the locals. There's a European feel to the place in some ways, partly a remnant of the Portuguese inheritance in architecture as well as the obvious wealth that's here.

There are plenty of nice restaurants though if you want something that little bit more imaginative than the usual chicken brochettes or tagine then you'll probably end up in one of the more expensive on the seafront road or opposite the main Medina entrance.

The town overall is really quite manageable and there's obviously a lot of money being pumped into the town, with renovated areas in the Medina and a completely re-done main square at Place Mohammad V. You shouldn't need to get a taxi unless you're travelling to the train station which is a couple of kilometres away or one of the beaches a few kilometres to the south. In the summer the attraction here would obviously be the beaches, but out of season there isn't that much to be done.

While the guidebook might describe Asilah as being a little 'sanitised', I have to say that then sanitised is fine in my book! It had a certain charm and for once I was actually able to take a few moments here and there to take in my surrounds.

So a morning through the Medina, a wander round the Ville Nouvelle and some time to check out the local restaurants was enough for us before we continued on south to the bright lights of Rabat.

  • Last visit to Asilah: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated Oct 22, 2008
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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2006 at 8:19 AM

    interesting to read your recent experiences in Asilah - it was a freqeunt chill out place for us plus arrival & departure point from & to Morocco - so lots of memories there. No digital photos tho and havent got a scanner yet so my page is not much!yet!

kit_mc

“And it hurts with every heartbeat...”

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