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El Jadida

A jewel of Portuguese style and Arab atmosphere, very lively and well preserved.

El Jadida is one of the best surprises that the traveler can get if he leaves the beaten tourist routes and goes into other lesser known but equally interesting. The historical architecture, closely related to the Portuguese, and the leisure possibilities offered by the Atlantic are among its main attractions… but there is more and here we tell you about it.

Table of Contents

Where is El Jadida?

El Jadida is a city of about 300,000 inhabitants, located in the Casablanca-Settat region. It is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and sits on the cape of a small bay, sheltered by the historic port. In this way, both the city beach and the port are less affected by the direct Atlantic breeze, although in the surroundings this phenomenon is palpable throughout the year, slightly cooling the atmosphere in summer.

How to get to El Jadida?

Its relative proximity to Casablanca and Marrakech makes it a popular excursion for tourists from both cities. If you are planning to come here from other parts of the country, these are the distances you should take as a reference:

  • Casablanca: 100 km
  • Marrakech: 210 km
  • Essaouira: 270 km
  • Agadir: 440 km
  • Merzouga: 740 km
  • Rabat: 190 km
  • Asilah: 400 km
  • Fez: 390 km
  • Tangier: 440 km
  • Chaouen: 440 km
  • Tetouan: 460 km
  • Al Hoceima: 650 km

The trip will have to be made by road, since there is no airport (the nearest one is Casablanca). It has a train station, connecting this city with Casablanca. But this station is served by regular conventional lines (not high speed), so it is neither the most comfortable nor the fastest for a tourist trip.

El Jadida: history and context

The favorable location of El Jadida for ship docking did not go unnoticed by the first civilization to explore the area, the Phoenicians. The Berber tribe of the Dukkala also settled here, but centered their life on the plain that extends inland.

Already in the 16th century, the Portuguese set their eyes on this bay and proceeded to build a military fort and a walled city. They called it Mazagán and its purpose was to form part of the commercial and military network that the Portuguese were building along the Atlantic coast, in the midst of their discovery and conquering phase around the world, which took them to the Indian Ocean and beyond, bordering southern Africa.

At the end of that century, when Portugal came under Spanish rule, they took over, although the real momentous change came at the end of the 18th century, when Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah took it, devastated it and rebuilt it, leaving standing the Portuguese military structures that can be seen today. In fact, it was renamed El Jadida the New. One of the most important Jewish communities in Morocco settled here, as the existence of synagogues testifies.

Since 1912 it was integrated into the territory of the French Protectorate and, after 1956, into independent Morocco. Since then, several strategic projects have been promoted in the area, such as the creation of the city’s university, which gives it a youthful atmosphere, and the development of the industrial port of Jorf Lasfar, a few kilometers to the south, which is an important economic engine for El Jadida.

What to see in El Jadida

Why travel to El Jadida

  1. It is a destination declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This recognition is objective proof of the historical interest that a visit to this city, where important vestiges of its Portuguese past are preserved, will arouse.
  2. Proximity to Marrakech and Casablanca, making it possible to visit El Jadida as a day trip by road. Especially from Casablanca, since the trip from Casablanca to Casablanca takes only one hour and fifteen minutes.
  3. A lively urban beach: El Jadida has a sandy beach next to the historic Portuguese fortress, offering a picturesque setting with beautiful views, which you can reach on foot from the center, either for a swim or simply to walk along the promenade (Corniche).
  4. Holiday resorts have been built around El Jadida, especially to the north of the city, where the coastline has several quiet and uncongested beaches.

What not to miss in El Jadida

On a sightseeing tour of El Jadida there are a number of historical monuments that you cannot miss, especially those that were erected during the city’s Portuguese period. In addition, there are other places of interest that, if you have time, you can also discover:

  • Portuguese citadel
  • Bastion de l’Angle
  • Portuguese cistern
  • Mohammed ben Abdallah Square
  • Church of Our Lady of the Assumption
  • Bensimon Synagogue
  • Resistance and Independence Museum
El Jadida

El Jadida for a premium traveler

Whether you visit El Jadida in one day or stay here for several days, El Jadida has some spaces oriented to the premium tourist. This, together with the interest of its historic center, justifies a trip to discover this World Heritage Site.

5 star and luxury hotels in El Jadida:

  • Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort: A sprawling resort with access to a private beach, golf course, spa, casino and a variety of dining and entertainment options.
  • Pullman Mazagan Royal Golf & Spa: Another luxury resort with golf course and spa, and offers a variety of activities for its guests.
  • L’Île de Sable Resort: A boutique hotel offering a more intimate and personalized experience.

Featured restaurants in El Jadida:

  • Le Privé: Gourmet restaurant with a selection of international and Moroccan dishes.
  • Ali Baba: It is known for its fresh seafood dishes.
  • La Grillardière: Offers a variety of grilled meats and Moroccan specialties.

Luxury or premium options in or near El Jadida:

  • Golf: The Mazagan Golf Course is a Gary Player-designed golf course offering panoramic views of the Atlantic.
  • Spas: Many of the luxury hotels in the area have full-service spas where you can enjoy relaxing and rejuvenating treatments.

In order to organize your trip to El Jadida more easily, we recommend you to put yourself in the hands of an agency specialized in this city and in this type of experience. That is the case of Chic Morocco, which can book for you any of the services mentioned above, as well as design a tailor-made tour, including other tourist destinations in Morocco.

Plan your trip to El Jadida

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