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18 Unmissable Things To Do In Asilah Morocco

The fortified town of Asilah Morocco makes for an awesome getaway in the sun at any time of year. Situated along the Atlantic coast it has the most incredible sunsets and some lovely beaches to boot. The Asilah Medina which dates back to the 8th century is also a huge draw.

Asilah Medina Morocco

Asilah Morocco

In this blog post you’ll find lots of amazing things to do in Asilah Morocco. Including street food tips, souvenir shopping and traditional Moroccan experiences. There’s also top recommendations for where to eat and the best places to stay.

Let’s get stuck in!

Things To Do In Asilah

Asilah Medina

Your first port of call really should be to have a wander around Asilah Medina. Unusually decorated in white and blue this isn’t your average Moroccan market. The rabbit warren of alleyways takes you through sculptured archways and past bright elaborate doorways.

Have your camera at the ready as you’ll be stopping at almost every turn to take a photo.

Souk Souvenir Shopping

Of course while you’re in the Asilah Medina you need to check out some of the beautiful goods on offer.

Many are crafted by local artisans and there’s also lots of vibrant artwork. Moroccan medinas are also known as the souks, which means street market in Arabic, so have you your haggling skills at the ready.

Asilah Medina
Asilah Souk

Don’t miss Nashia Bazaar, it’s one of the largest market stalls in one of the smallest streets.

Asilah City Walls

While you’re inside the city walls be sure to head to where you can climb up on top of them. The views of Asilah Morocco from up here are simply stunning. Look out for Bab Homar gate, Al Qamra tower and Palais de Raissouli too. 

Asilah City Walls
Asilah Morocco

It’s popular for sunset so head there in plenty of time to nab a spot if you want to watch it.

Watch The Sunset

Aside from the ramparts, watching the sunset over the North Atlantic ocean from Cafe Daya is one of the most magical things to do in Asilah Morocco. Complete with a mint tea in hand, watching the sunset from here is simply stunning.

Asilah Morocco sunset
Asilah Morocco at night

Another popular spot to watch the sunset is from Asilah harbour. 

Kalinti Street Food

Freshly baked and piping hot, be sure you add grabbing a Kalinti street food treat to your list of things to do in Asilah Morocco. They are very simply made from chickpea flour and flavoured with paprika and cumin, but they are so Moorish. They’re just a North Morocco thing so you won’t find them in the south.

Kalinti Moroccan Street Food

Sold hot by the slice, the sellers carts constantly move around. So just keep your eye out for someone munching on this delicious snack and simply head in the direction they came from.

M’Semen Flat Bread

While we’re on the topic of Moroccan food, you absolutely have to try M’Semen bread while in Asilah Morocco. These flat and flaky square shaped pancakes are so simple yet so moorish. Usually eaten for breakfast or an afternoon snack they are popular in Tunisia and Algeria too.

You’ll find sellers with warm stacks of M’Semen dotted all over the town of Asilah, Morocco. 

Hammam Al Alba 

Had a busy schedule recently? One of the most relaxing things to do in Asilah Morocco is to treat yourself to a traditional Hamman. Literally meaning ‘the spreader of warmth’ in Arabic, this Moroccan bathing and exfoliating ritual is designed to purify both your body and soul.

While some are public DIY hammans, this is a private one and you can get a massage too. It is also a hotel (with superb reviews) but you don’t have to be staying there to use it.

Maghrebi Mint Tea

If you’ve never been to Morocco before, and even if you have, one of the most fascinating past times is to plonk yourself down at a busy cafe with a mint tea and watch the street life unfold. Quite different to the western version, this is actually a green tea with fresh mint and a load of sugar.

Traditionally it is very sweet, but you can of course ask for it with less or no sugar if preferred. 

Asilah Arts Festival

For the first two weeks every August, Asilah Morocco becomes an outside art gallery. In preparation each year, the seaside town creates a blank canvas by painting the buildings and walls inside the medina white ready for artists from around the world to descend.

Asilah Street Art
Asilah Graffiti

It includes music and dance too and is literally an explosion of culture and artistic talent. You will of course need to book your Asilah accommodation well in advance if you plan to be here there then.

Asilah Art Galleries

Art is an integral part of Asilah’s identity, so it’s not just the annual festival that you’ll find art on show in the city. Dotted throughout Asilah’s medina you’ll find small art boutiques selling the work of local artists.

There’s traditional landscapes scenes but also lots of abstract stuff too.

Asilah Beach

At the end of the promenade is the wide and sandy Asilah beach. The water is very calm and great for kids. In summer there are beach cafes open too. Also located within town are the smaller Medina beach and Port beach.

Asilah Morocco

However, Paradise beach, which is a few km south of Asilah town, is the most beautiful. But you’ll either need to cycle there, grab a taxi or hail one of the horse and carts down.

Horse and Cart Tour

Perhaps the best way to get to Paradise Beach is to jump on a horse and cart. You’ll find them just outside the city walls along Avenue Moulay Hassan Ben Mahdi. The cost is about 150 Dh for a return trip and the driver and horse will usually just wait around for you.

Alternatively you can just take a ride around Asilah Morocco and take in the sights.

The Fish Market

Every evening as the sun is setting, just outside the city walls along Avenue Moulay Hassan Ben Mahdi you’ll find Asilah’s fishermen setting up stalls with their catches of the day. There’s everything from Swordfish to Shrimps and Sardines to Spider Crabs.

Asilah Fish Market
Babbouche Snail Stalls in Asilah

Even if you’re not buying it’s cool to check out. And if you’re feeling brave and fancy a snack, there’s also all the babbouche (snail) vendors serving spicy snail broths.

Traditional Breakfast

One of our favourite things to do in Asilah is to feast on a traditional Moroccan breakfast. The place to head to is called Jus Farid on Rue Mjima’a inside Asilah Medina. They have around ten different breakfast combos and the price is super reasonable.

Traditional Moroccan Breakfast

Our favourites are the Bessara fava bean soup and the M’Semen with cheesy Smen butter.

Chebakia Sweet Treats 

While we’re back on the topic of food, another of the tasty things to do in Asilah Morocco is to grab some sweet treats. You’ll see vendors peddling Chebakia all over town. It’s a fragrant pastry fried, shaped into a flower and then coated in honey and dipped in sesame seeds.

They are a staple of Ramadan, but are also just enjoyed year round too. 

Church of St Bartholomew

Obviously a catholic church is a rare sight to see in Morocco and this is one of only a handful. Designed in a Moorish style, Church Bartholomew is something worth checking off your list of things to do in Asilah Morocco if you’re a fan of architecture.

Church of St Bartholomew Asilah

Dating back to the Spanish protectorate of Morocco the building has a contentious history.

Asilah Jewish Cemetery

Asilah’s Jewish community dates back to the Middle Ages, before it was occupied by the Portuguese in 1471. Alongside this restored cemetery there’s also been three synagogues, a Mikveh, a Hamman and a bakery uncovered.

Asilah Jewish Cemetery

It’s free to visit but donations are welcome and don’t forget to write in the visitor book.

Jardin Mahmoud Darwish

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of life in Asilah Medina, this green space in the middle of the town is the place to come. Yeah it’s a little run down in parts but it’s still very pleasant to have a wander around under the shade of the trees.

Jardin Mahmoud Darwish

It’s just three minutes walk from Asilah Medina and free but closed after sunset.

Best Asilah Restaurants

Cafe Daya

The view from this Asilah restaurant is its biggest draw. Located overlooking a small beach with the vast North Atlantic ocean stretching out in front, it is simply the perfect spot in Asilah to watch the sunset. They do breakfasts, crepes, pizzas, salads and lots of different drinks.

Cafe Daya Asilah

Jus Farid

This is THE place to get your fill of a traditional Morocco breakfast. It’s a simple little cafe down one of the Asilah Medina backstreets and there’s only five tables but, oh my word, the food is good. Try the Bessara fava bean soup and the M’Semen with cheesy Smen butter.

Casa Pepe

This Asilah restaurant has been here in one form or another for over a 100 years. It’s got a lovely atmosphere and the service is excellent. Their speciality is seafood, so you’ll find lots of that on the menu. And it’s the only recommendation on our list that serves alcohol too. 

Fish Tagine Casa Pepe

Yali Restaurant

The restaurants along this street all look much of a muchness. But this is the one we had a recommendation for and we weren’t disappointed. The chicken tagine is delicious and the service is great too. The price is also the most reasonable that we found for a tagine in Asilah.

There are lots of stray cats hanging around here though so if that’s likely to bother pick somewhere else.

Restaurant Dar Al Maghribia

Probably our favourite restaurant in Asilah. The street it’s on is really pretty, as is the terrace. The food is the star of the show though. Try the Zaalouk (aubergine salad) and the pastilla which is a savoury Moroccan pie with icing sugar topping. It sounds weird, but it’s very good.

Pastilla Restaurant Dar Al Maghribia

Restaurant Ali Baba

Everytime we walked past this place it was packed so of course we had to head in and we were really glad we did. On Fridays they do a couscous special which is so good. It’s made with the cheesy Smen butter. The chicken shawarmas are also worth ordering too.

What To Eat In Asilah Morocco
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Best Hotels in Asilah

Raid Oasis D’Asilah | This petite and gorgeous Asilah hotel is located right in the heart of the town. Not only is there a lush garden to enjoy, but also a seasonal outdoor swimming pool.

Check photos, prices and availability.

Dar es Salam-Baja | An intimate and cosy self catering apartment that is just perfect for a couples getaway. It features a private and covered chillout patio plus fully equipped kitchen.

Check photos, prices and availability.

Dar el Maq | This three bedroom traditional raid boasts sea views from the stunning rooftop terrace. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Asilah Medina, it has everything you need.

Check photos, prices and availability.

Asilah Camping

Alternatively if you are travelling in a campervan or bikepacking, there’s a couple of decent campsites within walking distance of Asilah Morocco. Right at the side of each other, both along the beach are Camping Assada and Camping Echrigui.

They are both much of a muchness in terms of facilities and price. During winter (December) we paid 80 Dirham per night at the second one. It’s less than a 20 minute walk into town.

Camping Asilah Morocco

Camping Assada: Avenue Khalid Ibn Oualid, Asilah, Morocco

Camping Echrigui: Avenue MoulayHassan Ben Madhi, Asilah Morocco

Best Time To Visit Asilah

If you are looking for the warmest times to visit Asilah, June, July and August are around 30°C. But even in winter day time temperatures for Asilah Morocco weather are usually a minimum of 15°C. Nights get cooler but it really does have quite the temperate climate. 

street cat with kittens

Asilah Morocco FAQ’s

What is the history of Asilah Morocco?

Asilah was originally founded under Arab Muslim rule during the 8th century. The fortifications surrounding it were then added by the Portuguese when they invaded in 1471. Following an economic crisis in 1549, it was abandoned and briefly returned to Moroccan rule.

But it was then conquered by Spain and remained part of the Spanish Protectorate until 1956 when it finally won independence back. Hence why you will see a huge colonial influence around the place.

How old is Asilah?

The construction of Asilah Medina dates back to the Idrisids, which were an Arab Muslim dynasty that ruled Morocco from 788 to 974.

What is Asilah, Morocco known for?

Asilah Morocco is best known for its gorgeous beaches, incredible sunsets and pretty Medina. It’s an easy getaway from Spain both in terms of location and because Spanish language is widely understood.

What is the International Culture Festival of Asilah?

Otherwise known as The Asilah Art Festival, for the two weeks of August the town explodes with colour as whitewashed walls become blank canvases for artists all around to come and showcase their work.

How to get from Asilah to Marrakech?

Travelling by car, Marrakech is around a 5 and half drive from Asilah. Or you can fly from nearby Tangier Airport to Marrakech Airport in 1 hour 20 minutes. Alternatively you can take a train from Asilah to Marrakech. You will need to change in Kenitra, the total journey time is around 7 hours.

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