Where to stay in Oualidia - El Jadida: the best Riads and boutique hotels

Located on Morocco’s Atlantic seaboard Oualidia (pronounced 'Wa-lid-ya') was, in days gone by, part of the Barbary Coast where it was frequently subject to incursions by Portuguese colonists and pirates.

Nowadays, its claim to fame is much calmer. Though the town itself may be best described as typically non-descript, basically it is made up of a street and some shops, it does have two major claims to fame. The fabulous beach and lagoon – so attractive are they that in the 1950’s Mohammed (grandfather of the current king) built a palace there (now overgrown with trees and flora) and the production of oysters. They are sold everywhere throughout town at great prices. Its combination of excellent beach, lack of major tourist infrastructures and Moroccan feel – it is a place where well-heeled families flock to in the summer – make it an interesting location to spend some lazy Atlantic days without the hard sell of commercialism.

Our favourite towns, villages, and accommodations in Oualidia - El Jadida

Oualidia is an excellent destination if you are looking for a romantic or quiet getaway in a place off the beaten tourist track. It offers splendid views with its coastline and coastal lagoon, and for gourmets, a unique opportunity to sample fresh fish, oysters, and seafood at a very affordable price by Western standards. Check out our collection of charming accommodation, riads in Oualidia and Al Jadida, for an unforgettable experience.

Where to go in Oualidia and Al Jadida

Al Jadida is an exception to typical Maghrebi architecture: it does not look like a Moroccan town. Instead, it has sturdy, ancient, European-looking carved stone walls, specifically built by the Portuguese, who occupied it from the 16th to the 18th century. The ruins of the period are some of the city's most important buildings, recognised by UNESCO, and tourist attractions such as the fortification, the cistern, and the Church of the Assumption. The city is also home to some of the oldest remains of Phoenician settlements in Morocco.

Sixty kilometres away is the small town of Oualidia, with its famous lagoon, which is protected from the ocean and abounds in fish and shellfish. In fact, the town was founded in the 17th century to protect the natural harbour and today it is used as a centre for cultivating world-famous oysters. Indeed, this is one of Oualidia's main attractions. The possibility of eating fresh fish and seafood, freshly caught in the waters of its lagoon or the ocean and at very reasonable prices.

It is a quiet place where you can relax and enjoy a magnificent beach. Although the waves are generally strong, it is relatively easy to follow its coastline and find a more sheltered cove that may disappear overnight due to the play of the tides. It is also a splendid area for watching seabirds, such as cormorants and spoonbills.

Gastronomy in Oualidia - El Jadida

Although you can try typical Moroccan dishes such as couscous, lamb or poultry, Tajines, Kofta or Harira soup, Oualidia stands out above all for its seafood. A good idea is to buy your catch directly from the fishermen on the beach - you can negotiate the price - and they will grill it for you. The most common seafood consumed here is shellfish - such as spider crabs, oysters, razor clams or sea urchins - and with regard to fish, you can find very different types due to the different seabed of the coastline. That is to say, both gilthead bream or redfish - rocky - and red mullet or sole - sandy bottom.