Asilah Medina (old town) is famed for being one of the cleanest in Morocco. Encompassed by an ancient wall, built by the Portuguese in the 15th century, its blue and white houses have an Andalusian feel and the atmosphere is more relaxed than in Fez and Marrakesh.
However, the myriad of colorful, keyhole shaped doors, narrow alley ways and arches remind us that we are in Morocco. It is separated from the Atlantic coast by the ramparts still lined with cannons, which remain from the battles of the 17th century. The medina also contains the Raissouni Palace, a grand building built by the pirate Pasha Raissouni, used to host festivals and celebrations, however rarely open to the public.
Culture and art play an important role in the medina today; the many of the whitewashed walls are covered with murals (part of the annual The Moussem Assilah Cultural International Festival) and there are several art galleries, filled with works by local talents as well as European artists. The shops are overflowing with Moroccan souvenirs, carpets, and ceramics and their owners have a less aggressive sales approach than their counterparts in other cities.
The Krikia, a stone pier at the south of the medina, is a great spot to watch the sunset and Al Medina cafe is perfect for a mint tea and watching the people go by. Many of the houses in the medina have been restored by Europeans over the last ten years an most are available to rent (see: Houses & Apartments) or are run as guesthouses.