Azemmour, Morocco’s off-the-beaten path small town
“Have I just been dumped in a field?” asked this gal upon disembarking the train in Azemmour. “Yes,” I responded, “but just walk to the top of the road and you’ll find a taxi.”
And so started our weekend getaway in coastal Azemmour, a town where tourism is still relatively undeveloped and street art livens up the old city. A town perfect for travellers who prefer the vibe of a small town to Morocco’s imperial cities and traditional tourist routes. It’s a port town where cafes are local, taxis honest, and the restaurant scene limited to a few basic cafes where the most delicious tajines are prepared over hot coals and enjoyed while watching the world go by.
With more and more journalists and travellers heading to Moroccan’s famous small towns of Chefchaouen and Essaouira, Azemmour is the ideal stopover for travellers who prefer slow travel, allowing for authentic experiences and engaging in Moroccan life rather than a luxe stay.
After breakfast on Saturday morning, we headed out to explore the old town. I had first heard about Azemmour when Yakin & Boaz organized an exhibit at Cafe Clock Marrakech featuring beautiful photographs captured during Remp’Arts 2013. As a lover of street art, it was wonderful even if the graffiti was a rather faded in some areas.
Be sure to wander along the river, explore the ruined areas and meet friendly locals.
Do as the locals do
Coffee and tea houses are concentrated around a main square just outside of the main gate. Tea is brewed to perfection for a mere five dirhams while you sit and watch local life go by. Markets, hair salons and barber shops blend perfectly together as merchants sell their wares on the grounds and tiny carts. Further up the road is a great street-side cafe where a few local men prepared authentic, mouth-watering tajine. Patisserie shops are filled with tasty treats to satisfy the most demanding sweet tooth.
The beach, located just outside of town, is perfect for a quick swim. With minimal services (no bathrooms/changing rooms), it was clean enough and great for a quick dip on a hot day. Taxis may be reluctant to go there, but for 10 dhs they can typically be convinced to do so.
There are regular trains to Casablanca where you can switch to go to Fes, Marrakech, or Tangier or take a train south to head to El Jadida.