10 Top Things to See and Do in El Jadida

Views over El Jadida
Views over El Jadida | © *pascal* / Flickr
Sarah Williams

El Jadida is a popular seaside resort for Moroccan holidaymakers in the hot summer months. Attracting relatively few international visitors when compared with other coastal resorts like Agadir, Tangier, and Essaouira, try somewhere new on your next Moroccan vacation. Here’s what you can expect in El Jadida:

Unwind on lovely beaches

Located on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast, between Safi and Casablanca, El Jadida boasts a number of nice beaches. Great for swimming and relaxing, the main sandy stretch is Jadida Beach. Rent a sun lounger and parasol or lay your towel out on the golden sand for a day of sunbathing and fun at the seaside. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops near to the beach, and visitors will also find toilets and shower facilities. More remote beaches can be found as you head away from town.

Sandy beach at El Jadida

Go surfing

Surfing in El Jadida

Play a round of golf

El Jadida is just a short drive from one of Morocco’s premier golf clubs. Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort has a well-designed 18-hole course that encompasses valleys and dunes and looks out over the sea. The Club House has a restaurant, bar, and shop. Golf instruction is available for new players.

Golf course in El Jadida

Explore low-key markets

While El Jadida’s markets are certainly no match for the huge souks of Marrakech and Fez, a stroll through the local marketplace is a great way to experience a little bit of local life in a calmer setting. An array of goods is on offer, including fresh produce, dry goods, toiletries, and household wares.

Descend into the water cisterns

The old Portuguese water cisterns are among the main attractions in El Jadida. Constructed in the early 1500s as an underground warehouse, the building was later converted by the Portuguese into a water storage facility. The large chamber features grand pillars and the floor is sometimes covered with a shallow layer of water that, thanks to an opening in the ceiling, shimmers with eerie reflections. It is also among Morocco’s numerous movie filming sites, with scenes from the well-known film Othello by Orson Welles shot in the gloomy cisterns.

Portuguese water cisterns in El Jadida

Stroll around the old fortress

The star-shaped Fortress of Mazagan was built by Portuguese colonizers in the early 16th century. Today a UNESCO-listed site, visitors can admire the ocean views from the high ramparts and bastions and look out over the town’s patchwork of buildings. Old cannons sit along the walls and a strong sense of history comes through while exploring the Renaissance military-designed fortress.

El Jadida fortress

Admire historic architecture

El Jadida has several other historic buildings in addition to the fortress and cisterns. Religious buildings, lighthouses, and old dwellings are among the photogenic spots of old. The town is easy to explore by foot and history seems to spring to life around every corner. The Portuguese City Mosque, Chapel of St Sebastian, Church of the Assumption, synagogue, and El Jadida Lighthouse are among the highlights.

Experience a blend of cultures

El Jadida was formerly known as the city of Mazagan. It was one of the earliest Portuguese colonies established in Africa, founded by explorers headed for India. The city was also the last place in Morocco to be abandoned by the Portuguese. Several structures remain today that showcase a combination of Portuguese and Moroccan architectural styles. Visitors with a keen ear may hear several Portuguese loanwords being used in the local language, and European influences are evident in some of the street names. Furthermore, the town was once home to a significant Jewish population that left its mark in the area.

Old building in El Jadida

Dine on tasty seafood

As with most of Morocco’s coastal cities and towns, fresh fish and seafood is abundant in El Jadida. Of course, visitors will also find typical Moroccan fare, like couscous and tagine, but there are also plenty of opportunities to delight in bounties from the sea. From fancy restaurants to roadside stalls, seafood is available to suit most tastes and budgets. Fish include sardine, tuna, sole, swordfish, mackerel, and red snapper. Eel, crab, lobster, squid, prawn, mussels, and sea urchin are among other tasty delights visitors can relish.

Moroccan fish

Enjoy a relaxed nightlife

The night scene in El Jadida is fairly low key, with many locals heading to cafes to chat over a glass of mint tea or coffee. There is a smattering of bars where alcohol is served, including the laid-back L’Horizon Bar and the quiet L’Arts Bar. Those seeking a louder and more raucous affair could check out Palm Tree Nightclub. Alternatively, the high-class Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort is a popular destination for night owls, with bars, a casino, and the lively Alias Club.

Add El Jadida to your Morocco travel bucket list and see a side of the country that has yet to be widely discovered by the international tourist masses.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article