Asilah is a great spot to visit just 40 km’s from Tangier. Situated on the coast it’s often overlooked in preference to the larger more well known cities of Fez, Marrakech and of course Tangier. However, had we realised how close we were to Asilah we would’ve bypassed Tangier and headed straight there.
So what’s so good about Asilah? Well for a start it has some of the freshest seafood around, if you hang around the marina its easy to spot local fishermen delivering the catch, normally followed by a hoard of cats looking for scraps
Around the town there’s heaps of restaurants and cafes which serve up the local catch. Also after a hard days fishing you can catch the local fishermen singing in the Bamboo Bar near the wharf.
Also inside the Casbah it’s easy to find a few local musicians singing local Berber songs playing along with a pair of qaraqib (krakeb, sort of like a cross between a double castanet and cymbals made of metal)also Guimbri (three stringed fretless lute).
Throughout the medina local art pieces adorn the walls, adding a modern flavour to an old structure. The art is painted straight onto the white washed walls with the art being painted over each year making it a truly living canvas.
There are also some great spots around the medina walls to enjoy the sunsets
For those who love a good fairy tale there is also a Cinderella Carriage to take you around town in style along with some other interesting designs.
Whilst in Asilah we stayed at MIA Hostel which is just off the N1 which runs through town, and an easy walk to the centre of town. In the centre of the town there’s the usual banking arrangements around the centre square and a few restaurant streets. Our best meals came from the same place Ali Baba’s. They had reasonable prices great meals and great service. After being ripped off at Miramar I, we quickly returned to our favourite for the rest of our meals.
We also used Asilah as a base for a few day trips on the bike. One day we rode south to visit the Roman ruins at Laroche. Lixis Archaeological Park is situated on a hill only a few kilometres from Laroche. It’s an interesting place to explore covering quite a large area. Laroche also has the remains of a Portuguese fort overlooking the fishing port but its not a nice place to stop.
There are a few rides along back roads which are pretty good. However the back road from Asilah to Tangier is really bad in spots with major potholes. It took us an hour to travel 30 km’s before we headed for the main Apart from that most of the highways are quite ok.
Around Asilah there’s lots of work underway on the railway which is quite close to the highway so there’s a bit of truck traffic and the roads are a little chopped up as a result. There’s also bits of subsidence which are a bit tricky. The toll road of course is the way most people travel as the roads are excellent and most direct.