Tracing the Atlantic Coast of Morocco, El Jadida is a littoral town often left unfrequented by tourists. With a laid-back vibe, long beaches, stunning riads, and quintessentially-dated Moroccan architecture, it makes for perfect off-beat travels both history buffs and hedonists will love it.
El Jadida becomes one of the best places to visit in Morocco during the summer when its beaches are bustling with stay-cationers. Formerly known as Mazagan, the 16th-century Portuguese City is also just a short ride from Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city and a cultural melting pot due to its position between Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean.
Aside from the beautiful landscapes and stunning beaches, here’s a glimpse into the hidden gems to be discovered in El Jadida.
La Citerne Portugaise
Nestled in the heart of El Jadida is a famous landmark in Morocco – the Othello-famed Portuguese Cistern; an atmospheric site, with a hint of eeriness.
Tall columns, a ceiling hole for sunlight, dramatic arcs, and shallow water on the stone floor, which reflects and bounces the light around the vast space, define the El Jadida cistern. Throughout history it has played many roles – a part of the fortress, a warehouse for arms, a water-storage facility but now it’s open for visitors. Adjacent to the cistern is an eponymous museum that tells more about the history of the landmark.
When it comes to charming European-influenced buildings, Mazagan Fortress is a chart-topper of the best places to visit in El Jadida. For the architecture-buffs prowling for historical edifices, this star-shaped stronghold is an excellent starting point. Also known as the Portuguese Quarter, it boasts narrow streets, old homes, rusting canons, and high walls that work as vantage points.
Portuguese City Mosque
Displaying a unique ‘squircle’ shape minaret, the mosque is among the famous El Jadida landmarks. The distinct design is due to it housing an old lighthouse, with the light still crowning the tower. You can explore the mosque while touring the Portuguese Quarter. Stay until the evening to hear the melodic prayer call by the muezzin. Note that non-Muslims are not allowed inside.
El Jadida Port
Tucked at the tip of the Portuguese Quarter is the El Jadida port – a fascinating concoction of small fishing boats, water-sport vessels and recreational boats. Mingle with the locals and watch the fishermen work to get a taste of life in this city; expect great views of the quarter and sea and make sure to sample the fresh catch of the day in the restaurants.
Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort
Mazagan Resort is a 5-star casino retreat in El Jadida. It flaunts oodles of amenities, an expansive golf course, refreshing greenery, a variety of onsite bars and restaurants. A slew of outdoor activities (beach quad biking, horse riding, etc.) and unique experiences await guests in this jet-setter paradise.
El Haouzia Beach
Those hoping to spend a laid-back beach vacation in El Jadida should head to El Haouzia. Compared to the city’s main seaside beach, it is quieter and sees fewer crowds. You won’t find many facilities around it, but that’s a trade-off for peace and quietude. The relaxed vibe makes the beach a great spot to spend the day relaxing or catch some waves on a surf board. A little off the beach, in the sea, you will also discover an intriguing shipwreck.
Words by Ajita Pandey
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