El Jadida City: Overview, Traveler’s Guide & More

Located 90 km south of Casablanca, El Jadida city is one of the charming seaside towns in Morocco that dominates a natural bay of great beauty. The city is distinguished by its location: on the Atlantic Coast and was transformed into a crowded holiday resort with Moroccan families and tourists throughout the year.

However, the city does offer not only sandy beaches but also plenty of historical and cultural sites. To discover this historical jewel of Morocco, a stay in El Jadida or the neighboring towns is a must.

In today’s article, I am going to reveal some interesting facts and information about El Jadida city as well as a full travel guide that walks you through everything you need to know to plan an enjoyable trip to it.

So without further ado let’s get started right away (:

El Jadida City

El Jadida City: The Informative Guide

In this informative guide, we will take a closer look at the Moroccan Atlantic city of El Jadida, including an overview, the exact location, the weather, and what makes it worth visiting.

A Quick Overview Of El Jadida Moroccan city

Going back to the 16th century, El Jadida was built as a fortified colony on the Atlantic Ocean. Also known as the Portuguese city of Mazagan, the city is one of the first African settlements Portuguese explorers made on their route to India.

Many European countries, especially France, have influenced the city throughout history. El Jadida, previously known as Mazagan (Portuguese: Mazagao), was seized in 1502 by the Portuguese. In 1769, it came under Moroccan rule, and the city was renamed El Jadida, meaning “new.”

It is the only city in Morocco registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, based on its status as an “outstanding example of the interchange of influences between European and Moroccan cultures” and as an “early example of the realization of the Renaissance ideals integrated with Portuguese construction technology.”

According to UNESCO, the cistern housed within the stone walls of the ancient Portuguese fort and the Manueline church of the Assumption are the most important buildings in the city. However, visitors worldwide find El Jadida a progressive city with all the amenities.

Besides the town’s pleasant and Moroccan beautiful beaches, to the south and north of El Jadida, there are other seasonal tourist destinations, the best known of which are Sidi Bouzid beach and Haouzia beach. El Jadida has two ports, making it a city oriented outwards.

The port of El Jadida in the city center is reserved for fishing, pleasure boats, and water sports, and the port of Jorf Lasfar, 17 km south of the city, is the principal mineral port in Africa. Open to international trade since 1982, the port of Jorf Lasfar is one of the major links in Morocco’s port infrastructure.

The Weather in El Jadida city

El Jadida enjoys a hot-summer Mediterranean climate by the Köppen-Geiger classification. The yearly average maximum temperature in El Jadida is 23°C (ranging from 18°C in January to 27°C in August). Annual rainfall is 510mm, with a minimum of 3mm in July and a maximum of 107mm in November.

From January to April, the climate is favorable. The thermometer goes up to 21°C°C, and it rains about 7% of the time in April. From May to October, the climate is perfect, at lunchtime, it’s 25°C on average.

Where is El Jadida Located?

El Jadida is a major port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, located 96 km south of the city of Casablanca. Near El, Jadida is the city of Azemmour in the northeast and Sidi Bouzid in the southwest. Within a perimeter of around 120 km, or less are Berrechid, Settat, Sidi Bennour, Oualidia, Youssoufia, and Safi.

Exploring El Jadida: A Guide to Morocco’s Coastal Gem

El Jadida Travel Guide

If you are planning to visit El Jadida city then you’re in the right place because, in this travel guide, I am going to reveal everything you need to know to have the best experience possible.

Let’s dive in!

Is El Jadida safe?

Overall, El Jadida is safe for travel. But this doesn’t mean that crime doesn’t happen, and like anywhere else in the world, you’re going to want to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

El Jadida’s tourism numbers have been growing by the year and are projected to continue their impressive growth. And at the end of the day, growing tourism numbers typically indicate a safe city to travel in.

But do bad things happen in El Jadida? Absolutely.

The most common complaints in this city are:

  • Pushy people.
  • Petty theft (which can be common in major cities).
  • Poor treatment of women (which we’ll cover thoroughly in a bit).

The city is safe both during the day and at night. However, you should always be cautious when out in public. Past 10 or 11 pm, you need to be very mindful of the places you visit. Always be alert and aware of what is going on around you.

Now you might be wondering whether or not El Jadida is Safe for solo travelers.

For some people, especially women out there, the idea of traveling alone can seem terrifying or impossible. Being alone in a foreign country where you are unfamiliar with their traditions, norms, language, and daily routines can feel overwhelming.

When it comes to El Jadida, is a conservative city. It’s best to adapt to the people around you. Watch what locals are wearing and choose your clothing accordingly. That way, you won’t stand out as a tourist, and you won’t offend anyone.

How to Get to El Jadida?

El Jadida does not have its nearest airport, the Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, 114 kilometers away, or 1 hour and 20 minutes. There is a train station with direct connections only to Casablanca, although it’s quite a distance from the city center, so once you’re here, you’ll need to take a taxi. There is also a bus station much closer to the center.

From Casablanca:

  • Train: Frequency 2h in the morning and 1h in the evening until 20:44. Journey time 1h 30 min. Price from €3.5.
  • Bus: Every half hour, duration 1h30, for €6.

From Essaouira:

  • Bus: 4 daily direct buses throughout the day (10:00, 11:45, 15:15, 17:15). The journey takes between 4 and 4h 30 min, and the price is €15-20.

From Marrakesh:

  • Train: 4 trains daily connecting to Casablanca, where you stop for 34 minutes and take the next train to El Jadida. Total duration 4h 18 min. Price: 16€.
  • Bus: There are no direct buses; you must change to Casablanca. There are several buses a day with different frequencies. Journey time depends on the waiting time at the bus stop, but it is around 7-8 hours. Price: €16-20.

Getting Around El Jadida?

The city is small, so it’s possible to walk to most places. You can also rent a bike or use the petit taxis to get around the city. You’ll need to grab a grand taxi if you want to go further afield. The most popular areas to visit are relatively central, so you’ll unlikely need your vehicle to get around the city.

How Many Days In El Jadida Is Enough?

Popular for its sandy beaches, there are plenty of historical and cultural sites to explore. If time is limited, you should consider spending a day or more to have the best experience in El Jadida.

Start with a Moroccan breakfast then head down to the city and enjoy the morning views of the European-like streets, admire the coast from the ramparts of Mazagan Fortress, visit the place medina then make your way up to the old marketplace.

At noon you will take a break and check out the diverse menus, and you’ll find pizzas, sandwiches, couscous dishes, tagines, pasta, and more to tempt you. Then in the afternoon, it is time to hit the beach and walk along the soft sand. It’s also worth visiting Mohamed V Park.

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.

What’s The Best Time To Visit El Jadida?

The best time to visit El Jadida is in the summer. June and July are wonderfully warm without being too hot, thanks to the mild Ocean Atlantic temperatures it experiences. Sometimes, the city also comes more alive in the summer, and the beaches turn lively with locals and travelers enjoying the almost constant sun.

Winter and the beginning of the year do see some rain, and lower temperatures sometimes discourage visitors from traveling in these months.

What To Pack When Traveling To El Jadida?

In preparation for your El Jadida adventure, the following is a list of things to consider packing that will make your trip as smooth and comfortable as possible.

For Men Traveler:

  • Boxers and Underwear
  • Socks
  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Belts
  • Sleepwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimsuit
  • Jeans
  • Casual running shoes
  • Tank tops
  • Sandals and flip flops
  • Gloves
  • Winter coat and jacket
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash
  • Razor, shaving cream, and aftershave
  • Casual running shoes
  • Sunscreen and moisturizer
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Hair gel, hair clay, and comb
  • Contact lenses
  • And a good toiletry bag to put them all in!
  • Camera

For Women Traveler:

  • A sarong (a supremely versatile item – use it to cover shoulders)
  • A selection of simple tops (the simpler, the better, as you’ll get away with wearing the same thing over and over and over again)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 cozy jumper or fleece
  • 2 long skirts, dresses, or jumpsuits – (jumpsuits are a personal fave here as you get both movement and modesty)
  • 1 nice dress (for when you’re feeling fancy)
  • 1 pair of leggings (perfect for sports and the plane)
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 bras
  • 7 pairs of underwear (one for each day of the week)
  • 1 pair of hiking boots
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of trainers / lightweight shoes
  • 1 waterproof jacket
  • 1 swimming costume
  • Sunglasses
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Camera
  • Headphones
  • Moisturiser
  • Face wash
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hand sanitizer (for times when there’s no bathroom in sight)
  • Travel first aid kit (diarrhea tablets, safety pins, painkillers).
  • Insect repellent
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Menstrual cup
  • Deodorant
  • Make-up (minimal if you’re going to a hot climate)
  • Eye mask (critical for blocking out light on those overnight journeys)
  • Hairbrush
  • Small mirror
  • Toiletry bag

For Children:

  • 4-5 outfits (incl. shorts, t-shirts, trousers, dresses, skirts, leggings, tights)
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt
  • 1 jacket (warm and preferably waterproof)
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 1 hat
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 7-10 undies
  • 1 pair of runners/day shoes
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant (for older kids)
  • Sun cream
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes
  • Lip balm
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair ties
  • Band-aids
  • Any prescribed medication
  • Digital tablet
  • Books
  • Coloring book and pencils
  • Soft toy
  • Earphones
  • Workbooks

Important Notes:

  • Mesh/breathable packing cubes help separate damp and dirty clothes from clean ones.
  • Conservative clothing is worn throughout El Jadida (clothes should not be tight or too revealing).
  • Sun protection is always a good idea, whether sunblock, hats, or UPF clothing.
  • Adventure clothes such as hiking footwear and active clothes are great.
  • Bring any essential toiletries or medications you may need.
  • Shower sandals are always handy to have to protect your feet.
  • Dark shades of blue attract the dreaded tsetse fly. So it’s best to try and avoid this color.

In order to know the exact way of dressing and avoid any troubles and enjoy a comfortable trip. I recommend you read my previous article about dress code in Morocco.

Top 10 Must-See Attractions In El Jadida City

El Jadida Morocco

Why spend hours ruminating over what to do in El Jadida? Let’s explore the best things to do in this beautiful city:

1. Explore Portuguese Cistern

Constructed in 1514, the Portuguese Cistern was a warehouse, and it was later converted to provide a reliable water source for the fortress’ inhabitants. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy the space in the cistern, supported by 25 graceful pillars.

It is a magnificent image of how the light shining through a circular hole in the roof creates shifting patterns, reflected by a thin layer of water on the cistern floor. Besides, the Cistern Museum next door includes old photos and documents representing the history of the building.

Note: The cistern is open daily, and the entry fee is 10 dirhams.

2. Visit Portuguese City

What was known as Mazagan was a fortified Portuguese city founded at the beginning of the 16th century and eventually taken over by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah in 1769.

The Portuguese City was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2004 for its preserved Renaissance layout, bastions, ramparts, and an atmospheric cistern, ready for exploration.

This place is also fascinating because it has been settled as a Moroccan town, with a minaret adapted from its former watchtower.

3. El Jadida Beach

El Jadida has some of the best beaches in Morocco. Below are some examples of beaches you shouldn’t be missing them during your travel.

  • El Haouzia

Still in the El Jadida Province, this dune-edged beach is 15 kilometers away, outside the town of Azemmour.In 2019, Plage El Haouzia was the only Blue Flag beach in the area. But beyond the lifeguard supervision, facilities, and top level of hygiene, the reason to make the trip is for the sheer cinematic beauty of this piece of sandy Atlantic coastline.

The ocean is lively at El Haouzia, and the beach is one of the best in the province for surfing, windsurfing, kit-surfing, and bodyboarding.

Not far out and battered by the waves is the disintegrating bow of a Korean container ship that ran aground in the 1980s. The ocean at Plage El Haouzia is boisterous and not for casual bathing unless you stay in the shallows.

  • Plage Sidi Bouzid

About 15 minutes from the Portuguese City on the road to Moulay Abdellah Amghar is the small coastal resort of Sidi Bouzid, which has a fantastic golden sandy beach. This is on a gently arcing bay, hemmed by a high ridge of dunes with dark green vegetation.

One of the best things about Plage Sidi Bouzid is its westerly orientation and the magical sunsets from the bay. And if you need refreshment, there’s a slew of restaurants and coffee shops in the resort at the bay’s north end.

  • Deauville Plage

El Jadida’s municipal beach extends from the port in the west to the hippodrome in the east and is named for the chic resort in Normandy.

The name is apt, as just like in Deauville, this beach is vast when the tide goes out and is washed by low rolling waves. Another question is whether you want to bathe so close to the port, but this immense tract of gently shelving sand is worth a walk.

Camel and horseback rides are available, and you’ll find a small play park for kids just in from the shore. There’s also a promenade curling around the bay, and most cafes are situated towards the western end.

4. Shop in The Souk (Central Market)

El Jadida is home to numerous big and small markets scattered all around the town. Essential places for locals to trade and buy everyday items, they also offer an enticing glimpse into the daily life of a local.

Created during the colonial era, the Central Market is a place for locals to stock up on their kitchen essentials. Fresh fruits and vegetables and aromatic spices in rainbow colors give the market a vibrant appearance.

It is common to find products that are unavailable in the supermarkets here. Other goods include fragrant, freshly cut flowers, various cuts of meat, eggs, fish, and dry goods, such as flour, sugar, and salt. A handful of shops sell souvenirs, and there are several fish restaurants to tempt hungry visitors.

5. Visit the Port

The fishing port beside the City is a place of business, and you’ll get a gritty, unfiltered taste of working life in a Moroccan city. And as with any port, things get going long before dawn, when shoppers, armed with basins, plastic bags, and baskets, come to haggle for fish fresh off the trawlers.

In the waterfront fish market commotion, fishermen and buyers noisily debate the price of sardines, mackerel, whiting, and deep-sea fish.

If you’re late, there’s activity at the port throughout the day, as new trawlers and feluccas dock supply the city’s restaurants, souks, and supermarkets. High season is a special time at the port when sardines and other catches are grilled over charcoal beside the water and served with salad and bread.

6. Stroll the Kasbah de Boulaouane (Mazagan Fortress)

Not so far from El Jadida, this city hides 68 km from much of its history. It is known as the Kasbah Boulaouane, an old fortress in ruins that still has many interesting places to visit. To access it, it is recommended to take a detour through Settat and ask there.

Although much of its walls have been demolished due to the passage of time and the lack of aid for its conservation, now only the ruins of the wall, some walls of the mosque, and the zawja can be seen.

If you are someone who likes getting lost in old places and history, check out my previous article about the best kasbahs in Morocco.

7. Get Lost in The Old Medina

El Jadida’s Medina is one of the best medinas in Morocco: a quiet, walled, and bastioned seaside village with a handful of churches. It was founded by the Portuguese in 1513 and retained by them until 1769, and it is still popularly known as the Cité Portugaise.

The old quarter is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the shores where there stands the Sidi Bouafi lighthouse, which has been guiding sailors to the port entrance for nearly a century, spend a peaceful moment gazing at the beautiful scenery.

Clear weather will allow you to admire the small western town of Moulay Abdellah, located in the town’s surroundings. Every year, a moussem (a festival) is held there, during which the best horse riders of the country perform. In the east, the historic town of Azemmour is a beautiful urban landscape not to be overlooked.

8. Mohammed V Garden

In the South of El Jadida, Mohammed V Garden consists of many buildings from the 20s. Most of its buildings are designed with Hispanic-Muslim architecture and Art Deco that spread throughout the city.

Also, it features a breathtaking tropical garden and paintings by Louis Majorelle, the French decorator. Later, they added a spectacular fountain that gave a beautiful touch to the building, entertaining the visitors with music and water shows.

9. Go Surfing in Sidi Bouzid

The coastal resort of Sidi Bouzid offers the best spots for surfing in Morocco, and day-long “surfari” trips are available in the area. In the summer, conditions are ideally suited to novice or less experienced surfers because the waves are far less powerful. Autumn and winter are the best times of year for waves.

10. Mazagan Golf Club

Along the stunning Atlantic Ocean coastline, Mazagran’s world-renowned 18-hole course, designed by golf legend Gary Player, offers the ultimate game with a view.

At 6,885m, it’s a sight to behold – the lush green and immaculately maintained. With endless packages, a leading academy, driving ranges, and training areas, Mazagan is a paradise for golf holidays with your loved ones, golf fanatics, or complete beginners.

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The Bottom Line

If you spend a few days in El Jadida, you will be surprised by all the activities you can do to entertain yourself. Although to satisfy your daring spirit, the number of cultural corners of the area will always keep your most investigative face awake.

From its unforgettable sights, warm local culture, beautiful beaches, friendly atmosphere, and rich diversity, El Jadida boasts many more tourist attractions than you can imagine.

What more can you ask for?


What state is El Jadida in?

El Jadida is a province of Morocco located in the region of Casablanca-Settat.

What is El Jadida known for?

The fortified city, built by the Portuguese at the beginning of the 16th century and named Mazagan (Mazagão in Portuguese), was taken by the Moroccans in 1769. El Jadida’s old city sea walls are one of the World’s Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin.

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Optimos Travel is a travel blog to help you travel the world, and explore different lifestyles, traditions, foods, and everything in between.