Asilah, also known as Arzeila, Assilah or Arcila, is a city on the Atlantic coast in northern Morocco that has a population of around 30,000 inhabitants.
Although originally a Phoenician city, the long presence of Portugal left on Asilah jumps out from its white medina to its orderly design and the 1,250 meters of wall that protected the town from the new settlements outside the wall and, above all, from the strength of the pounding Atlantic Ocean.
Asilah has one of the most well-cared-for and luminous medinas in the country. Its wide streets are a relaxing contrast to the typical hustle and bustle of most Moroccan medinas. Great for pleasant strolls.
The city wall that overlooks the sea is crowned with several watchtowers standing watch over its beach, is an ideal place to take a walk or, as many of the locals do, just look at the sea while enjoying a nice conversation with a friend.
Asilah has a unique bohemian character which has turned it into a place of inspiration and escape for a long list of artists. There are many art galleries along the streets of the medina, and the wide range of murals there make it itself feel like an open air gallery.
So, Asilah is a great get-away but at the same time offers something different: a confluence of the magic of Morocco, its unique artsy feel and its great seaside location.
Mild temperatures throughout the year, even in summer when the soft, ocean breeze mitigates the heat.
So, light clothes are fine year-round in Asilah. A light jacket and little umbrella are in order to winter when it’s a little cooler and there’s a 30% chance of rain.
The nearest airport is Tangier, located about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Asilah, which offers mostly flights to and from Europe. Another option is Casablanca airport with more international flight options.
From Tangier, the best option is to take a taxi. You can either schedule it beforehand or just get one at the airport when you arrive. The average price is around 250 dirhams (for this price they won’t pick up other passengers). From Casablanca, the best option is to take a direct train to Asilah, which costs around 150 dirhams and takes about 3 hours.
Like Chefchaouen, Asilah has two access roads, one from the North and one from the South.
From Tangier in the North, you can head south on the national road or highway; Both are in very good condition and it should take around 45 minutes. From the south the nearest town is Larache, also about 45 minutes away. This road is also in very good condition.
Bus is also an option, but they aren’t very regular. If you want something cheaper than the taxi, the train is preferable.
Asilah has a train station, with very good connections to most other cities popular with travellers. The closest is Tánger, at around 30 minutes away at a very reasonable price (approximately 15 dirhams).
The Moroccan train company is the ONCF. You can check schedules and prices on their webpage and, although you can book online, only Moroccan credit cards are accepted.