This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my things to do Asilah Morocco guide.
Things to do in Asilah Morocco
Asilah Morocco Free Walking Tour Video and Map
Here is my Asilah Morocco free walking tour video and map. Click the interactive Google Map on your smartphone to be guided on this tour.
Street Art: Just wander around the old Medina and look for beautiful Murals on the walls of the city.
Arts Festival: The Centre de Hassan II Rencontres Internationales is the primary focus of the annual Asilah international arts festival. An array of international artists, musicians, performers, and spectators head for Asilah for one of Morocco’s most famous cultural events. Year round you can enjoy the beautiful art displays here.
Admire the Ramparts: A rampart is a stone wall surrounding a city that has a walkway along the top so you can watch the horizon from behind a fortification or barrier. The old Medina of Asilah is surrounded by Ramparts built by the Portuguese in the 15th century. The international arts festival and the ramparts around Asilah have helped distinguish Asilah as a tourist haven. Tourism has tripled the incomes of the residents over the last few decades.
Learn the Name of your Favorite Rampart Gate or Tower: Bab Al Kasaba The main gate to Asilah’s Medina, Bab Homar Portuguese coat of arms, Borj Al Qamra is my favorite tower.
Get an artistic picture of the blue boats in the Harbour.
Wander the old Medina of Asilah:
Hammam Al Alba: Visit a traditional spa for a massage. Bring your own towel. Men and women have separate spas next door to each other.
Palais de Raissouli: Built by the pirate Er Raissouli
Other things to Do:
Here are a few extra things to do not on the free Asilah walking tour.
Ride Bikes: This can be a good way to see most of the town in an afternoon. Then you can go back and investigate your favorite spots later. Bicycle Hire. Mia Hostel. But it is small so you don’t need a bike to cover Asilah in a day.
Swim in the Ocean: The water calls you or it doesn’t. You decide. But the waves were respectable for two of the 6 days we spent in Asilah.
Moroccan Wine: They have liquor, beer, and wine to go here but make sure to try the local Morrocan wine. The liquor store is next door to this cafe.
Tangier: Grab a taxi for $2 USD per person and take our free Tangier walking tour.
Doors of Asilah Morocco: One of my favorite things to do in Asilah was to just walk around and take pictures of the front doors of people’s homes inside the old walled city.
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Asilah Best Area to Stay
You should stay inside the Medina walls (red circle) in Asilah, if possible. When in Rome you should live like the Romans. These walls have been here for hundreds of years and being inside will give you the historical context and feeling of this culture.
We stayed in a Asilah Ryad we booked on Airbnb. You will see the inside of it in the below “Digital Nomads in Asilah” video. It was advertised as a shared house with a private room and bath, but we had the whole place to ourselves. It was an amazing experience. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code http://www.airbnb.com/c/dbell50 for a big discount).
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Digital Nomads in Asilah: Best Food, Experiences
We were in Asilah for 7 nights and then headed to Madrid, Spain.
Ali Baba: Qiang Hui loved this restaurant. She loved their fish and chicken. Asilah was our 8th town in Morocco tour so I was bored with couscous by the time we arrived in Asilah. Couscous was all this restaurant had here for vegetarians. So on the nights, Qiang wanted their chicken, I would make spicey pasta at home for myself.
Vagabond Buddha’s Kitchen: We cooked one meal per day at home, in our Airbnb kitchen. We bought fresh fruits and vegetables 10 feet to your right when you exit this gate from the old Medina. We purchased our other groceries like milk, pasta, and spices here. We are eating high-quality meals we cook in our Airbnb kitchen for about $2 per person, per meal. The liquor, beer, and wine store is next door to this cafe.
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Asilah Facts and History
Here is the Google Map of Asilah. Here are some interesting facts about Asilah from Wikipedia. I am in Asilah now as I type this.
Asilah is about 19 miles (31 km) south of Tangiers on the coast of Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. Since Tangiers is near the Strait of Gibraltar, you can access Tangiers and Asilah by ferry from Spain.
Humans have continuously inhabited this area for more than 3500 years. Phoenicians occupied Zilil an excavation site about 7 miles from Asilah. Asilah proper was constructed in the 10th century by descendants of Muhamed the prophet of Islam (Idris ibn Abdallah).
When Abdallah arrived in this area of Morocco, he was taken in as a religious leader of the powerful Awraba Berbers of Volubilis. The Awraba tribe was already Muslim at the time of Abdallah’s arrival, but the surrounding people were mostly Jewish, Christian, Khariji, or Pagan.
Abdallah became powerful in the Awraba tribe and began subjugating Christian and Jewish tribes. He was poisoned to death in 791 AD and his only male heir of one of his concubines became his successor, Idris II.
Idris II fortified his power over the Awraba tribe by welcoming other Arabs to Morocco from Spain and Tunis is in the early 9th century AD and moved the capital of Morocco to Fez. Upon Idris II death, the kingdom was divided amongst his 7 sons and formed Morocco and Algeria.
The town of Asilah was constructed in part by the Idrisid dynasty in the 10th century.
By the 11th century, the Arab-Idris culture had evolved mostly back to a Berber culture. It was this Idris culture that was able to establish power in Northern Morocco and Southern Spain.
In 1471, the Portuguese conquered Asilah and fortified the walls that you still see today but abandoned the city in 1549 during the Portuguese debt crisis. Sebastian of Portugal returned a few decades later and used Asilah as a base for religious crusades that resulted in his own death causing the succession of Portugal into Spain, for a time.
Spain controlled Asilah until it was taken back by the Moroccans. Asilah served as a base for Moroccan piracy on the seas during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1929, the Austrians shelled the Asilah to reduce the effects of Moroccan piracy on international trade routes.
Asilah was conquered as part of Spanish Morocco from 1912 t0 1956.
Asilah is now a popular seaside resort. The old town is mostly restored and wealthy Moroccans maintain second and third homes here.
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This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?
I am not offering you any of the above prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post. I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.