Destination Inspiration: Asilah, Morocco

Destination Inspiration: Asilah, Morocco

An art-filled fortified town on northern Morocco’s Atlantic coast, Asilah bursts with creative flair. Spend days flitting between craft stores, art deco buildings and sun-dappled riads.


Asilah, Morocco.

Why now?

Located just 40km south of Tangier, this small fishing village
feels worlds away from what you’d imagine a lesser-trodden Moroccan village to look like. You won’t find
donkey-drawn carts trundling down dusty streets. Instead, ocean
blue-painted window ledges and turquoise door frames pop against
whitewashed walls.

The reason? This fortified town was originally built as a base
for pirates in the 19th-century – ramparts and gateways remain
virtually untouched. But, Asilah was also Spanish territory from
1912-1956, which answers the question of its striking European flourishes. Today, you’ll find many of
its restaurants paying homage to its Spanish past, with menus
featuring everything from tortillas to paella.

While it may prove difficult not to spend the entire day curled
up on the beach with a good novel, cocktail to hand, design-lovers
should peel themselves out of that hammock and get exploring the
village boutiques. Start at Bazar Atlas, where you’ll find vintage
textiles, hand-crafted furniture and plenty of Tamegroute

Don’t miss

In 1978 two friends, Mohammed Melehi and Mohammed Benaïssa,
called upon local artists and encouraged them to paint Asilah’s
village walls. Fast forward to 2022, and the International Cultural
Moussem of Asilah has become one of the most anticipated arts and
cultural festivals that Morocco has to offer. To watch the white
houses slowly become repainted with colourful murals, or to add
your own splash of colour, visit between July and August, when the
festivities take place.

Where to stay?

A rooftop garden, ocean view, abstract interiors and an inviting
pool await at Riad Oasis d’Asilah. Mornings are best spent
sipping a glass of fresh orange juice on your own private

Where to go for dinner?

No one does it better than Port XIV. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the
port, while interiors carry a coastal theme – think contemporary
furnishings in pale blue and white. The seafood salad is
exceptional, as is the calamari.

And for a drink…

Can’t function without caffeine? Ditch the rise-and-grind mantra
and swing by Café Daya – a firm local favourite.

Who to take with you

Bring that friend who’s a regular at the local market. They’ll
appreciate the myriad craft stores on offer.

When to go

Sun-worshippers should look to visit between July and August,
when the sky is cloudless and average temperatures are hotter than
a sauna.

Essentials to pack

This Deiji Studios linen dress is perfect for
battling the humidity while breezing through your itinerary.

How to get there

Fly into Tangier Ibn Battuta International Airport, from where
Asilah is a 40-minute drive.

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