Asilah’s compact medina is surrounded by sturdy stone fortifications built by the Portuguese in the 15th century. Enter through the Bab Al Kassaba and wander along its warren of alleyways, where the brilliant-white buildings punctuated with blue paintwork that match the sea and sky – many of which have been bought and restored by foreigners – are dotted with boutiques and galleries. Colourful murals painted each year during the Asilah Festival, as well as by local schoolchildren, make it exceptionally photogenic.
Access to the ramparts is limited. The southwestern bastion is the best spot for views over the ocean and is a popular spot at sunset. It also offers a peek into the nearby Koubba of Sidi Mansur (closed to non-Muslims) and the Mujaheddin Graveyard.
The southern entrance to the medina, Bab Homar, is topped by the much-eroded Portuguese royal coat of arms. The main entrance, Bab Al Kasaba, leads to the Great Mosque, which is closed to non-Muslims. The medina is busiest on Thursday, Asilah’s main market day.