20 Unmissable Attractions in El Jadida

Old Portuguese City of El Jadida | © xiquinhosilva / Flickr
Old Portuguese City of El Jadida | © xiquinhosilva / Flickr
While El Jadida may not be one of the first places that springs to mind when people are planning a Moroccan vacation, the laid-back coastal town has plenty to offer. With a long history, lovely beaches, and a lively atmosphere in the summertime, here are some of the best things to see and do in El Jadida.

El Jadida Beach

Also known as Deauville Plage, the main town beach is one of El Jadida’s premier summertime attractions. Moroccan families and friends splash about in the waters and relax on the sands. There are sun loungers and parasols available to rent and good facilities close to the beach.

The sandy shores of El Jadida Beach © Lietmotiv / Flickr

Haouzia Beach

Haouzia Beach is a little distance from the town centre and, as such, has fewer summertime crowds. It’s a great place for people looking to relax on a more remote sandy beach. Visitors can also see a partially submerged wreck just off the coast.

Wreck in El Jadida’s waters © ykont1 / Flickr

Sidi Abed Beach

A rather isolated beach, Sidi Abed Beach offers peace and quiet along with scenic views. Pack a picnic and enjoy the tranquil vibe away from the holiday-making crowds.

Sidi Bouzid Beach

Sidi Bouzid Beach attracts surf enthusiasts. The golden sands are also ideal for sunbathing and soaking up the sunshine while watching surfers harness the power of the ocean.

Surfing in El Jadida © Mzximvs VdB / Flickr

El Jadida Port

Stroll through the working harbour and watch as vessels come and go, cargo is offloaded, and men repair nets. Colourful boats bob on the waves in the distance.

El Jadida Port © Alper Çuğun / Flickr

Portuguese Cisterns

Once a warehouse, the Portuguese Cisterns were used to film Orson Welles’ Othello. The gloomy chamber is atmospheric, especially when the sun shines through a hole in the roof and creates reflections on the water and the pillars cast shadows on the walls.

Portuguese water cisterns in El Jadida © Mikel Santamaria / Flickr

Cistern Museum

Located next door to the Portuguese Cisterns, the small Cistern Museum offers glimpses into the past. Collections include old photographs, books, and historic documents. Opening hours are limited, so be sure to check in advance to avoid disappointment.

Moroccan flag and sign outside the water cisterns in El Jadida © xiquinhosilva / Flickr

Espace de la Memoire Historique de la Resistance et de la Liberation

The Espace de la Memoire Historique de la Resistance et de la Liberation is a museum that takes visitors back in time. It details the effects of the World Wars on Morocco, provides information about the Resistance, and looks at the relationship between Morocco and France, both during and after the colonial period. Collections include old photographs, weapons, documents, and wartime artefacts.

Mazagan Golf Club

The 18-hole course at Mazagan Golf Club attracts fans of the game from far and wide. Designed by a professional South African golfer, the course includes valleys and dunes. Golf lessons are available for beginners and the well-equipped club house has dining and drinking facilities as well as a golf shop.

El Jadida golf course © Shawna Tregunna / Flickr

Theatre Afifi

Theatre Afifi is an elegant building, set in a small square with well-tended trees and colourful flowers. The fountain is illuminated at nighttime. Visitors can book tickets to plays (mainly in the Moroccan language), musical performances, and other theatrical events.

Theatre Afifi, El Jadida © Author’s own image

Mazagan Fortress

Built in the early 1500s during the Portuguese occupation of the area, the UNESCO-listed Mazagan Fortress is a terrific example of a star-shaped coastal fortress. Old cannons still face out to sea and visitors can wander around the ramparts for great views.

Old cannon in Mazagan Fortress, El Jadida © xiquinhosilva / Flickr

Old community bread oven

Located close to the fortress’s sandy-coloured walls, the old community bread oven is a great place to see how locals still follow old traditions of making bread. People take their dough to the facility to be baked in a huge own, and visitors can see freshly baked khobz cooling on wire racks.

Portuguese City Mosque

Although closed to non-Muslims, the Portuguese City Mosque is still an impressive sight from the outside. Its tall minaret looms over the streets below, and the call to prayer is issued from the tall tower five times each day.

Minaret of the Portuguese City Mosque © Panegyrics of Granovetter / Flickr

Chapel of St Sebastian

Also known as the Spanish Chapel, the Chapel of St Sebastian is no longer an active place of worship. Although it has now been converted into a hotel, the renovated façade still looks like it has done for many years.

Church tower rising in the old city, El Jadida © xiquinhosilva / Flickr

Church of the Assumption

Now used as a movie hall, the centuries-old Church of the Assumption is one of El Jadida’s finest surviving European-style buildings. The outside has been restored to its former glory.

Old synagogue

Located within the fortress remains, the old Jewish synagogue is a reminder of the town’s Jewish heritage. Although it is closed nowadays, it’s still worth seeing from the outside. The Star of David is displayed high above the door.

Old synagogue in El Jadida © xiquinhosilva / Flickr

Sidi Bou Afi Lighthouse

Built by German prisoners of war during World War One, and named after a local saint, the towering Sidi Bou Afi Lighthouse is still in working order. If the custodian is present you may be able to have a peek inside, though it is still an impressive structure from the outside.

Sidi Bou Afi Lighthouse, El Jadida © Wikimedia Commons

Hassan II Park

Previously known as Parc Spini, the small Hassan II Park is popular with locals looking for some peace and quiet in a natural setting. Picnic benches are scattered among the trees and shaded pathways make for a pleasant stroll.

Mohamed V Park

Home to a variety of plants and interesting statues, Mohamed V Park is one of El Jadida’s main green spaces. It’s a popular hangout spot for locals, although it does usually manage to retain an air of peacefulness.

Pretty hibiscus flower © Wikimedia Commons

Central Market

One of the town’s main shopping areas for locals, the Central Market is a terrific place to watch locals haggling for an array of goods. While souvenirs are limited, you will still find an assortment of trinkets to take home. Traditional tea sets, lamps, spices, and leather goods also make great gifts.

Moroccan teapots for sale in El Jadida © xiquinhosilva / Flickr

Within easy reach of Casablanca, Rabat, Safi, and Essaouira, plan a few days in El Jadida when exploring Morocco‘s Atlantic coast.