Since 1978, the medina walls of Asilah turn into an art gallery with colorful murals painted on the walls during July and August. It was the idea of two artist friends who wanted to transform the decaying and deteriorating alleyways. Now it has turned into a month-long arts festival.

The Centre de Hassan II Recontres is where lectures are held for artists, writers, and musicians during the festival. Throughout the medina, you will find artists working or evidence of their finished products. There are street musicians as well playing throughout and wanting to get you involved with playing an instrument or dancing.

The usually peaceful medina is alive with activity. There are always many stores here with unusual gift items of handmade shoes, jewelry, candles, baskets, and more.

This year Asilah will celebrate its 40th year of the festival, which turns its wall into the backdrop for an art gallery. Events take place throughout July and August. We visited recently and found some lovely new murals. In June, we saw them painting the walls white to provide a nice new canvas for the artists.

This sleepy little town becomes fully awake in these summer months. As you approach the Portuguese walled medina, the beaches are full. Restaurant on the beach serve fresh seafood and horse and buggies carry visitors through the streets.

Vendors sell peanuts harvested from around the local area and the sea breezes give relief to the hot Moroccan sun.

There are restaurants available at any price point. On the lower end we like Yali, and on the pricier side (and you can buy alcohol) Casa Pepe.

To hear the music and see the wonderful new contemporary frescoes on the walls of the medina visit Asilah during July and August. Shopping is great here with goods and prices that you won’t find in many other places in Morocco.



  1. Hi Karen, I like your blog. Both your writing and high quality photos of Morocco are very well done. I love Asilah too. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend daytrips to Tetouan and Chefchaouen. However, it is best to go in October or November, because I’m sure you noticed that northern Morocco gets crowded with tourists in the summer. My favorite time to visit Asilah is actually the winter because you almost get the whole town to yourself! Unlike the summer where tons of tourists are around.

    • It’s me again. After reading more of your blog and seeing your Instagram, I realize you’ve already been to Tetouan and Chefchaouen, and have already visited Asilah in the wintertime.

      Have you been to the Casabarata market in Tangier? It’s a huge flea market where they sell almost everything. Usually packed with people. It is not a beautiful place, but it shows how the locals live and shop, since the majority of the Moroccan population has very low wages and cannot afford to shop at the supermarkets and malls.

      There are also some very cheap but delicious restaurants throughout Tangier where many locals eat, very different from the upscale places. One example is Restaurant Bashir, another is the unnamed restaurant right next to Fandak Shijra. Very cheap and no frills, but delicious fresh food. No alcohol is served obviously.

      • Karen Mills Reply

        Hi there, Yes, I have been to Tetouan and Chefchaouen, a couple of times actually. I’ve been to Casabarata, but it’s not my cup of tea. There are way too many people there, and I find shopping in M’Sallah, which is much closer to me comparable with the same prices. I’ve been to Bashir as well. It is one of my husbands favorite places. I haven’t written about it yet because I like to go several times before making a recommendation. Thanks for reading and for your suggestions.

        • You’re welcome, thanks for writing a good blog. On Instagram, I noticed you went to the Hotel Tariq swimming pool in Malabata. How was it? Was it crowded? In the photo it looked like you were the only ones there. I swam there a decade ago, and was thinking of trying it again if it’s not crowded. I agree that Miramonte is a really good swimming pool, and I’ve also tried the Hotel Rembrandt pool, but they get crowded in the summer. On the other hand I think maybe the Hotel Tariq pool might be almost empty because it’s at the edge of town and the hotel is rather old.

          • Karen Mills

            The Hotel Tarik pool was not crowded at all. It cost 100 dhm for the day.

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