What to do and see in Essaouira Morocco

What to do and see in Essaouira

Essaouira port

History & beauty


What to do and see in Essaouira Morocco – Essaouira is a very cool and laid back town on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, approximately 4 hours by road from Marrakesh.

The Atlantic winds ensure a climate that is not so harsh as Marrakesh in the summer, as the city stays relatively cool without the suffocating heat of the interior of Morocco.

These same Atlantic winds make Essaouira a haven for windsurfers and kitesurfers throughout the year.

If you have ever been to Marrakesh, you will be surprised by just how friendly and laid-back the locals are – there is very little hassle for tourists from street vendors and those ‘chance meetings’ that you encounter in the bigger cities like Marrakesh, where a local finds you by accident and leads you to some tourist spot, whilst visiting their cousin’s shop to purchase something that you didn’t really want nor need, don’t happen here.

Essouira Plates
Essaouira barbecue

On the trail of history

The town has been colonised or used as a trading post by the Phoenicians, The Romans, The Portugese, The Spanish and French, due mainly to be it being a safe harbour and to the proximity to Marrakesh and sub-Saharan Africa and the caravan trade. At one time there were more Jews in Essaouira than Muslims and a large Jewish cemetery can be visited in the old Jewish quarter and there are at least two old synagogues.. There is also a Christian cemetary nearby, bears witness to the cosmopolitan spirit of the city, there is also a Portugese cathedral undergoing renovation near the ramparts. Along the ramparts there are lines of canons – Dutch, Spanish and Portugese mainly – just beware that you are not allowed to take a video on the ramparts, nor in the port. Orson Welles filmed Othello in Essaouira and there is a bust of him just outside the Medina walls. There is lots more to see and discover here.

What to see and do

Essaouira city walls

Apart from the long stretches of golden sand and beautiful sea, there is the port, which is still working and freshly caught fish can be bought straight off the boats to the barbecue and served in a simple restaurant.

There is the medina with the souks in the narrow alleyways selling anything from spices and argan oil to leather goods and food.

The medina is built on a grid system, so it is very easy to find your way through the bustling alleyways and you never feel unsafe in Essaouira, no matter what the time of day.

There are also quad tours into the dunes to find some secluded beaches and surf spots.

Getting there

Essaouira ramparts

There are flights to Essaouira Mogador airport from most major European cities or you can fly directly to Marrakesh and get a bus or private hire from there to Essaouira in 3 to 4 hours by road.

There are many places to discover on the way too.

Food & drink

What to do and see in Essaouira Morocco – The go-to food in Essaouira is fish and seafood, due to the busy working port that supplies both the fresh fish markets and local restaurants.

Seafood such as langouste, crab and lobster are really not expensive here, so why not treat yourself.

Other things to eat are the delicious, delicatelt-spiced tajines and couscous and why not go out on a limb and try a camel tajine!

Apart from that the mint teas are wonderful with some of the sticky-sweet North African patisseries on sale in cafés and specialist shops.

There are some really nice restaurants all around the city, serving traditional Moroccan food, French food and also Italian food, so there are things for most tastes here.

Essaouira instruments

What to do and see in Essaouira

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Essaouira surf

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