Asilah, Morocco © Dans
The fishing village of Asilah, south of Tangier, has become a popular seaside resort because of its nearby Paradise Beach, relaxing ambience, and picturesque 15th-century Andalusian medina, which extends to the sea wall. Asilah is characterised aesthetically by picturesque white buildings reminiscent of Santorini, but with a dash of Moroccan flavour. The town has a long and fascinating history, dating back to 1500BC, and it was not always as peaceful as it is now: in the 19th and 20th centuries Asilah was a notorious base for pirates, and from 1912 to 1956 it was part of Spanish Morocco. The ramparts and gateworks designed to fortify the old town are still intact. The town is small enough to explore on foot (donkey carts are also a fun option) and is renowned for its seafood restaurants. It is accessible from Tangier by train and coastal road, and this easy accessibility contributes to its popularity with tourists wanting to recuperate after seeing the sights of the city. Asilah is fairly quiet for most of the year, except when artists and performers descend for the Asilah Arts Festival each August. The resort town hosts several arts and music festivals, including a mural-painting festival which ensures that some of the town's walls remain covered in striking paintings all year.