Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, situated on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, is a crossroads of North Africa and the Mediterranean. It blends vivid blues and dazzling whitewash with streaming djellabas and spices’ scent, and golden-stone city walls surround it. French, Arab, Roman, and African elements all come together to create a laid-back seaside town.

With 300 days of sunshine and reliably warm but not scorching temperatures, it’s the ideal short-break spot. Despite the lack of must-see attractions, Essaouira is a fun place to spend a few relaxing days, whether for a weekend getaway or as part of more extended Morocco travel plans.

essaouira morocco
Essaouira, Morocco @Pinterest

What makes Essaouira so special?

Essaouira, a glamorous city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, is considered an absolute delight for surfers, beach lovers, and Morocco tourists. Pretty lanes with blue doors, cozy cafés, oriental souks, the exclusive fish market, and an ancient citadel with tall city walls are just a few of the beautiful places to visit in this seaside area. There are so many secret places and knowledge to discover inside the ancient Medina. As well, Essaouira’s beach is stunning. It is a popular vacation spot for surfers, kiteboarders, and beach bums.

This guide provides you with the most important details and tips for a day trip to Essaouira or a great vacation. We’ll give you unique insider details and show you the most beautiful spots to see and activities to do.

The best things to do in Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, one of Morocco’s ancient cities, has a wide variety of beautiful things to see and do, as well as unique attractions. We’ve assembled a list of the city’s most beautiful spots and highlights:

Shopping

The Medina in Essaouira, formerly known as Mogador, has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its distinctive combination of Moroccan and European styles. Rolling into Essaouira’s Medina isn’t like walking into a labyrinth, as it is in many other Moroccan towns and cities, so you’ll have a fair chance of not getting lost.

There’s many of twists and turns as you walk down narrow alleyways lined by tall whitewashed buildings. It is, however, based on a grid system influenced by French architecture, making it much easier to navigate. Place Moulay Hassan, a wide pedestrianized square where you can find a table in one of the cafés for the ideal people-watching location, is the media center.

The souks of Essaouira are far more tranquil than those of Morocco’s other major cities, such as Marrakech or Fez. The streets are less congested and hectic. And the salesmen are more courteous and less disruptive. There are things to buy for fixed rates in certain stores, but not everywhere. In many places, however, bargaining is still needed. Colorful clothes and trendy scarves, hippie garments, bags, jewelry, and beautiful accessories, as well as spices and argan oil or argan oil items, can all be found in the souks. The pretty ceramic ware is pretty incredible, and some of it is displayed on the city house’s walls.

Blow the cobwebs away on the beach

Essaouira is known as the ‘windy city,’ and it’s an apt moniker. However, the trade winds blowing into the bay hold summer temperatures in the mid-20s °C, while the rest of Morocco swelters in the sun. You can still get some beach time if you don’t mind a little sandblasting.

Most beachgoers, however, choose to do anything other than sunbathing. The bay’s mild, calm waters are ideal for windsurfing or kitesurfing, and even if you don’t try it yourself, it’s a sight to behold. You can also do camel riding through the sand dunes, beach horseback riding, or rent a bike or walk along the beachfront pier.

Watch the boats come in

Essaouira was Morocco’s largest port in the nineteenth century. The ‘Port of Timbuktu’ was named after the caravans that carried gold and spices from Sub-Saharan Africa to be shipped out to Europe and the Americas. Since the water isn’t deep enough for huge modern ships, the port’s cargo is a little smaller today. There’s still plenty going on around the harbor, and one of the most common things to do in Essaouira is to watch the fishermen at work.

Fishers mending nets and shipbuilders working on the famous blue wooden fishing vessels, which are still in use today, are well-known sights. The fishing boats arrive between 3 and 5 p.m., and the fishermen bid off their fish. You will observe the back-and-forth bargaining. Pick up any fish or seafood to have grilled at stalls along the port’s edge. Hundreds of seagulls and stray cats would fight over any leftovers.

Climb Essaouira’s ramparts

Medina enters the Atlantic Ocean at the Essaouira ramparts. Theodore Cornut, a French military architect, designed these city walls to defend the port from raiders in the 1760s. The French town of Saint-Malo influenced the style. You might remember them from the beginning of Orson Welles’ 1952 film Othello if you’re a vintage film buff. The film starts with a shot of Iago hanging in a cage above the cliffs.

Magnificent Skala, a kind of defensive bastion, stands on either side of the seafront ramparts. The Skala du Port, which serves as the fishing port entrance, is located on one end. The Skala du Ville, with 19 bronze cannons lined up along the sea wall, is at the other end. From the ramparts, you can see through the Medina and out to the sea. Artists and artisan stalls are typically set up along the coastline or under the arches, which were once military stores.

See a stunning Essaouira sunset

The west coast position of Essaouira makes it a perfect place to watch the sun slowly sink into the sea. On a clear day, a stunning dusk light display can be seen across the Atlantic from the port, with the fading sun turning the stone gold and the fishing boats and seagulls arrayed against the light. Pick a perfect location along the ramparts, or head to Taros Bar in Place Moulay Hassan’s rooftop for a spectacular sunset view.

The citadel and the city walls

Essaouira’s city walls and citadel are another must-see attraction for tourists to this coastal town. The citadel was built during the Portuguese colonial period. Visitors are treated to a spectacular view of the deep blue sea and the stunning blue and white Medina of Essaouira from the top. The road over the city wall is lined with cannons that can still be seen pointing to the sea. Without a doubt, the fortress provides unique photo opportunities, and the fishing port, with its iconic blue vessels, completes your travel photography!

Here’s a tip for all Game of Thrones fans: Did you know that Essaouira was used to film some scenes from the hit HBO series Game of Thrones? Perhaps some of the scenery along the city wall would be acquainted with you.

Eat your way around town 

If cooking dinner sounds like too much hassle, go out on a food spree around town instead. Fresh caught fish and seafood can be bought in the port and fish souq and prepared for you, doused with fresh orange juice.

These restaurants are also worth a visit:

  • Delicious organic vegetarian and vegan choices can be found at Triskala Café.
  • For classy Moroccan cuisine and tapas in a romantic candlelit atmosphere, go to La Table by Madada.
  • Gusto Italia is a restaurant that specializes in Italian seafood dishes.
  • Yoo Nutritious Food is renowned for its delicious smoothies and salads.

Learn how to cook Moroccan food

Learning to cook some local dishes is one of the easiest ways to bring your vacation home with you. L’Atelier Madada is a cooking school that provides half-day lessons in French and English with a local chef. The day begins with a lesson on making authentic Moroccan mint tea, followed by a two-course meal and a tour of the market’s spice souks.

You may choose from a variety of traditional tagines, as well as other dishes like briouates (triangular stuffed pastries), zaalouk (an aubergine salad), or pastilla (a pie made with layers of puff pastry).

Appreciate live music

Gnawa music is famous all over Morocco, but Essaouira is the epicenter. The slaves brought this form of music to Morocco from Ghana, Sudan, and Senegal. 

The music incorporates spirituality, rhythm, and freestyle dance to create a hypnotic trance. Ghimbri (a three-stringed bass), Krakets (iron castanets), and voice are the only instruments used.

Every June, you can attend the Gnaoua World Music Festival or listen to the Gnawa Blues restaurant music. In addition to Gnawa, the Festival des Alizés for classical music takes place in April, and the Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques for Arab and Andalucian music takes place in November.

Wrapping up

Beach, art, and cultural shopping – Essaouira provides a full schedule of great events for its tourists. 

The city’s peaceful ambiance, the cozy squares, and the many great Moroccan cafés are particularly enchanting. It’s a perfect opportunity to dive into Essaouira’s atmosphere for a few days.

No posts to display

62 COMMENTS

  1. Hi! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you
    have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your site for more soon.

  2. Hi there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?

    My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able
    to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share.
    Cheers!

    Here is my site … http://www.saraykapi.com

  3. Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering
    if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or
    anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any assistance is very
    much appreciated.

  4. I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was
    getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I
    guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

    Feel free to surf to my homepage – Max Extend Pills

  5. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering
    if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you
    stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy
    so any help is very much appreciated.

    Feel free to surf to my site; http://khoquet.com/blog/2159285/real-testosterone-therapy-can-ignite-that-spark-with-your-marriage/

  6. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa?
    My website discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each
    other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by
    the way!

  7. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering
    if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you protect against it, any
    plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much
    lately it’s driving me mad so any support is very much appreciated.

    my web-site :: http://www.koan.at

  8. Hi there, I do believe your site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues.
    Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E.,
    it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give
    you a quick heads up! Apart from that, great site!

  9. Howdy I am so glad I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I
    was researching on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say cheers
    for a remarkable post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read
    it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will
    be back to read more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.

  10. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and all. But imagine if you added some great visuals or
    videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this site could definitely
    be one of the best in its niche. Great blog!
    quest bars http://bit.ly/3jZgEA2 quest bars

  11. Wow, amazing blog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?
    you make running a blog look easy. The entire glance of your website is magnificent, let alone the content![X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]I just
    couldn’t go away your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual information a person provide in your visitors?
    Is gonna be back frequently to check out new posts.

    My web page – Tacoma Farms CBD Oil

  12. I am not positive where you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or understanding more. Thank you for great info I was on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  13. Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options
    for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the
    direction of a good platform. cheap flights http://1704milesapart.tumblr.com/ cheap
    flights

  14. hello there and thank you for your information ? I?ve certainly picked up something new from
    right here. I did however expertise some technical points using this web site, since I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I
    could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is
    OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading
    instances times will very frequently affect your
    placement in google and could damage your high quality
    score if ads and marketing with Adwords.

    Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look
    out for much more of your respective intriguing content.
    Ensure that you update this again very soon..

    Also visit my website :: http://www.comptine.biz/

  15. We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to
    be just what I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write with regards to here.
    Again, awesome site!

    Also visit my webpage: hemp seed oil uses

  16. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic however ,
    I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa?
    My blog goes over a lot of the same topics as
    yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email.

    I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

    Feel free to surf to my page; omega 3 fish oil bulk size ordering

  17. Good post. I be taught one thing tougher on completely different blogs everyday. It’s going to all the time be stimulating to read content material from other writers and observe a bit of something from their store. I’d choose to make use of some with the content material on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll offer you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here