El Jadida is one of Morocco’s charming seaside towns. Located on the Atlantic Coast, it is within easy reach of the capital city of Rabat, the economic heart of Casablanca, Safi, and Essaouira. Popular for its sandy beaches, there are plenty of historic and cultural sites to explore too. If time is limited, here’s how to make the best of El Jadida in a day.
Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation or from one of the small bakeries around town before heading to the Portuguese City. Stroll through the European-like streets and see a blend of Moroccan and Portuguese designs and influences. There are numerous interesting buildings within the area, including the Church of the Assumption and the Portuguese City Mosque.
Descend into the gloom of the rather eerie Portuguese Cisterns, located within the Portuguese City. Scenes from Orson Welles’ Othello were filmed here, so it may look a little familiar. Initially used as a warehouse, the building was changed to a facility for storing water during the Portuguese occupation of the town. Do visit the small museum nearby afterwards to see historic photographs and documents.
Admire coastal vistas and views across the town from the ramparts of Mazagan Fortress. Built by the Portuguese to protect the settlement, the star-shaped fortress is one of Morocco’s best examples of a coastal military fort. The towers and walls are in great condition, and old cannons still sit along the walls, facing out to sea. An old oven, chapel, and synagogue are of particular interest.
Walk back through the Portuguese City and exit towards Place Medina. See local housing as you make your way up to the old market place. Browse diverse goods, including tagine pots in all colours and sizes, teapots, carpets, and lamps, and make brief photo stops at the nearby mosques. Do note that non-Muslim visitors are not allowed inside the mosques. Walking from the city walls to the market should take approximately five minutes.
A short walk back towards the Portuguese City will bring you to Avenue de Suez, where you will find a number of enticing cafes, restaurants, and snack shops, ideal for a quick lunch stop. Snack el Bahri is a great choice for those craving fresh fish and seafood, while Snack l’Mraisa has plentiful grilled meats to satisfy your hunger. Check out the diverse menus, though, and you’ll find pizzas, sandwiches, couscous dishes, tagines, pasta, and more to tempt you.
Continue along Avenue de Suez to see the oldest post office in Morocco before making your way back towards the coast. Wander through the small but bustling port area and watch boats coming and going, people mending nets, and fishermen offloading their hauls. Walk along to the Red Lighthouse for good views back towards the imposing fortress walls.
It’s time to hit the beach! But don’t dive into the ocean just yet; stroll along the soft sands, walking parallel to Avenue Nabeuil, until you reach Espace de la Memoire Historique de la Resistance et de la Liberation. Dedicated to Morocco’s military and colonial past, call in to learn more about the area’s past. Visiting the museum should take no longer than 30 minutes or so. You can then return to the sandy shores to bask in the sunshine, relax, and take a dip in the refreshing waters. Rent a sun bed or simply lay your towel out on the warm sand and spend the afternoon enjoying the beach. It’s also well worth visiting Mohamed V Park for a change of scenery. Located just across the road from the beach, there are several interesting sculptures set among the lush greenery.
You’ll probably want to shower and change your clothes before dinner, so return to your accommodation (if spending a night in town) to freshen up ahead of your evening in El Jadida. Alternatively, there are showering facilities near the beach.
Before dinner, stop by the Afifi Theatre to admire the elegant building and its illuminated fountains. There are plenty of restaurants located along the same road, Avenue Mohamed VI, or the parallel Avenue Mohamed V. Whether you’re craving traditional Moroccan fare, seafood delights, tacos, pizza, or European flavours (mainly French, Spanish, and Italian), there are meals to suit most palates.
El Jadida’s night scene is fairly low key, but that doesn’t mean that visitors cannot find somewhere to unwind and relax. For a taste of local life, check out one of the many cafes and sip on a glass of mint tea or coffee. Alternatively, head to one of the town’s bars for a glass of wine, bottle of beer, or cocktail. Bar Les Négociants is lively come evening time, whereas L’Horizon Bar generally offers a quieter atmosphere. Palm Tree Nightclub and Club House du DHJ are popular options for late-night drinking and dancing.
Combining beach life, sightseeing, shopping, eating, and drinking, there’s so much to enjoy on a day in El Jadida. Most places are within easy walking distance of each other, and accommodation options are plentiful and varied.