Asilah is a fortified town about thirty-one kilometers from Tangier. The city walls and gates are all intact. The medina is perched at the edge of the sea.
We visited there by Grand Taxi, but you can take a train or bus from Tangier. We went on a Sunday morning and it was peaceful and quiet. Locals, families and a few tourists strolled the alleyways.
There are some lovely shops there selling handmade carpets and textiles, handmade clothing, pottery, art, jewelry and more. Asilah is famous for its art and artisans. The history of Asilah dates back to 1500 B.C. when the Phoenicians founded it. The current walls were built in 1471.
There is an annual music, arts festivals, and a mural painting festival. You can see these murals all over the walls around town. They are lovely, colorful, and a nice surprise as you turn a corner or go down one of the small streets.
The antique mosque is currently under renovation, but the town itself is in good condition and very clean. Cats roam everywhere as they do in much of Morocco. The windows and doors of the houses are captivating and whimsical.
We spent about four leisurely hours in the town including lunch. There is a street just outside of the walls with many restaurants offering seafood and Moroccan cuisine. Our taxi driver recommended one to us. This restaurant, Yali, offers a wide range of menu items and a nice outdoor patio. We feasted on olives, lentils, Moroccan salads, grilled fish such as sole, merlan, and calamari and some french fries. The cost was less than $20.
Afterwards, we bought a box of cookies from a street vendor. The cookies were a variety of Moroccan specialties including figs, dates, nuts, and sugar. Delicious.
I can see myself visiting Asilah often. It is a nice, calm place to pass a morning or afternoon away from the crowds of the city.