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Essaouira Morocco

Essaouira is on Morocco’s Atlantic (and only) coast and has been a trading post since the time of the Phoenicians 3000 yrs ago. It’s a peaceful town where it’s easy to while away a few days (or longer) in a relaxed fashion.

For me, Essaouira has an almost Mediterranean feel which is probably due to its blue and white buildings, unusual for a Moroccan town. It’s a laid back town not brimming with activities and sites but the atmosphere more than makes up for it.

Essaouira Beaches

Essauira is situated in the middle of a large bay with plenty of long golden white-sand beaches. Perfect you might think, and well it would be if not for the strong year-round wind that whips up the sand and makes sunbathing problematic to say the least.

Being a sun-worshipper myself I gave it a good go but…meh. Now if you’re a wind-surfer then it’s a different story. Gnarly dude (correct lingo?) The best spots are Essaouira Bay, Sidi Kauki, Cape Sim and Mouley Bouzertounen.

Getting To Essaouira From Marrakech

You’ll most likely be arriving Essasouira by bus from Marrakech. There’s no train but there is a small airport to which and from you may be able to get a flight.

Inside the city walls, which is where most of the attractions lie, there are no taxi’s which is no problem as almost everything of interest is within walking distance. Outside the walls then a taxi is your best option but be careful to either check that the meter is working or use your best haggling skills to set a price first.

  • Bus companies that travel from Marrakech to Essaouira:
    • Supratours Bus
      • Marrakech terminal is near the train station
      • Essaouira terminal is near Bab Marrakech
    • CTM Bus
      • Marrakech terminal is outside the Medina

Shopping In Essaouira

It’s perhaps unlikely that you came here to do this but a wander round the Medina is a rewarding way to spend an afternoon.

Like most of Morocco’s markets it’s an intricate maze of small streets, alleys, shops and stalls. There isn’t a lot you can’t get here and one abiding memory I have is of some wag placing a huge lizard on my shoulder when I wasn’t looking and scaring the crap out of me!

Local craftsmen excel in wood work and in lacquer wear.

Things to do

The Town Ramparts. Worth a visit, these were designed by a Frenchman and are replete with an impressive selection of cannon.

Place Moulay Hassan. This is THE place to kick back, enjoy a coffee and people watch. The best café is Café De France.

Diabut. This now disused Berber settlement is about 5 mins walk along the beach. In itself not particularly impressive but it’s a great walk and Diabut is supposedly where Hendrix wrote, “Castles made of sand.”

The Sultan’s Palace. Now disused it’s an interesting enough place to nose around and offers great views.

The Fish market. Very interesting if dead fish is your thing. A huge variety and a reminder that Essaouira is a working town and not simply a tourist retreat.

The Harbor. Now this is a nice place for a wander. Here you’ll see fisherman repairing colorful boats, launching and bringing in their catch. Again a reminder that you’re not staying in a resort town.

All in all I think I’d have to say that Essaouira is my favorite place in the country, but I’m a man of simple pleasures. If you’re more interested in an activity based holiday, then it might not be somewhere you want to stay long but I fail to see how anyone could feel let down after a few days here.

If you have any stories or tips about holidays in Essaouira, we would love to know more about them. Click here to send us your story.


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