Essaouira known by his stunning beaches, it is small, intimate, and relaxing city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, there are the best things to do in Essaouira Morocco in 2021.
Why visit Essaouira?
Essaouira in Morocco remains a charming, unspoiled, quite conservative town. Women are more veiled here than in other Moroccan cities. It’s traditional Moroccan culture with just a few European influences are thrown in here and there.
Essaouria doesn’t change too much and hasn’t yet attracted package tourism! Most visitors are here because they appreciate its tranquility. Children like it too, with its sandy beaches, rock pools, and ramparts.
The most important things you must to know before visiting Essaouira in Morocco
It takes about three hours to drive across the dusty plain from Marrakech to Essaouira in Morocco. And as soon as you get there you know you have arrived somewhere completely different! It’s small, intimate, and relaxing, a wonderful contrast to the fiery, emotional furnace of Marrakech.
Geography of Essaouira in Morocco
Lying beneath low hills of stony fields! dotted with olive trees and thorny argans (whose oil is now a healthy component in everything from salad dressings to cosmetics); Essaouria perches on a rocky outcrop on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The ocean rolls in unerringly onto the wide, sandy bay which lies below! Sometimes crashing angrily against the town’s fortified walls.
Essaouira, Morocco weather
The climate in Essaouira in Morocco, too, is coastal. Much more temperate than inland Morocco, mists and showers can drift in off the sea, and sometimes it can be a bit on the windy side. Unlike Marrakech, though, it’s possible to survive here in mid-summer! From March to August, is the best time of year to visit Morocco and Essaouira.
A little history of Essaouira
Once little more than a pirate enclave, Essaouira as it’s known today; was built by the Portuguese in the 18th Century! As a free port for Europeans engaged in trans-Sahara gold, ivory, and slave trading. It thrived as a port through the 19th Century but by the middle of the 20th Century its economy, and the town itself was all but dead.
Little by little, tourism has revived Essaouira in Morocco. The hippies were the first to come, following in the footsteps of Jimi Hendrix, then came the surfers. The annual Gnaoua World Music Festival started in 1998 and now attracts many thousands of visitors each year “festival Gnaoua”. The atmosphere is increasingly international.
Colour and dignity by the sea in Essaouira in Morocco
There is something very attractive, very calming, about Essaouira. Perhaps it’s the pretty houses, painted white with jaunty blue shutters and hanging flower baskets; it’s the lovely old fishing harbor with its endeavor and colors! Or it’s the drama and power of the ever-present ocean. Whatever it is, it’s a place to relax and enjoy.
Things to do in Essaouira Morocco
Arguably, the main attraction is the ramparts, the Skala du Port! Where Orson Wells shot some of his film Othello. With their European cannons facing out to the nearby islands, the Purpuraires, and the ocean beyond. Now a bird sanctuary, the rocky islands were! Once used as a quarantine station for pilgrims returning from Mecca who might be importing plague. The wide, sandy beach of Essaouira in Morocco sweeps out from below the city walls in a curving bay; almost as far as the eye can see.
From these battlements it’s a short stroll to the harbor; and it’s lovely to see the brightly decorated fishing boats moored there! White gulls swooping and joyously screeching in the sea air. Makeshift restaurant stalls spring up each day, where local fishermen grill and serve deliciously fresh: Sardines, Squid, Prawns, and although not to everyone’s taste, sea urchins. There are established restaurants too, where the fish and shellfish are quite outstanding, and you can enjoy traditional Moroccan foods.
The walled medina houses the finest woodworking Essaouira souk in Morocco! Where you can pick amazing things to buy in Morocco, and craftsmen carve and polish wonderfully intricate marquetry from thuya and cedarwood; everything from ornate boxes to chess sets and furniture. The decorative little streets are full of small shops selling this woodcraft! And of course, Others selling carpets, patchwork jackets, and other touristy trinkets. There are cafés, bistros, and restaurants. It’s a great place just to stroll around.
Essaouira Beaches The best ones in Morocco
Quite apart from the vast sweep of the sandy bay at Essaouira in Morocco, there are the best beach towns in Morocco (wild beaches) located further south; found down little tracks which lead off the remote road! Which crosses over the foothills of the High Atlas to Agadir. Long stretches of white, sand-duned beaches go on sometimes for miles, fringed by prickly gorse and argan trees.
Much of this coastland, though spectacular, is inaccessible, except on foot or by camel. With their crashing Atlantic waves, sea mists, and sculptured rock formations! Many would argue that they are the best beaches in Morocco. Along the way, Sidi Kaouki, Cap Tafelney, and Tamri are well worth checking out. But, beware, these beaches are not at all like the balmy waters of the Mediterranean, and it’s often very windy too! Which no doubt explains their attraction to surfers.
Must Read: 13 crazy adventures to have in Morocco
The argan trees, oil, and goats around Essaouira
Behind and beyond Essaouria, the gentle hills are covered in gnarled argan trees, prehistoric relics that are unique to Morocco! And from which the precious argan oil is extracted. This nutty, golden and very expensive oil enhances fine Moroccan cuisine; and is now a healthy component in almost everything from salad dressings to medicines and cosmetics.
Don’t be surprised if you pass an argan tree on the roadside with a herd of goats clambering in it! Through it and right up to its top branches; and, believe it or not, these agile, little animals are an essential part of the process of the oil production. They swallow the fruit and, once digested, they expel the stone.
If there are no goats around beyond Essaouira in Morocco to help, the fruits are collected, sun-dried and the flesh removed. The stones are cracked open and the nut inside is roasted and then ground to produce the oil. It’s a very labor-intensive process! Which requires 30 kilograms of berries and eight hours of intensive manual labor (always done by women, by the way!) to produce one liter of oil.
How to get to Essaouira Morocco
The good way to get to Essaouira in Morocco is by public transport. There is various Moroccan transports company from big cities like Marrakech, Agadir, and Casablanca. The famous and trusted one for foreign tourists is CTM and you can book your ticket online.
If you like private and a guided tour and you don’t have a problem with your budget; you can book a tour with a transfer company.
From Marrakech to Essaouira day trip
One of the most memorable day trips you can make from Marrakech is to Essaouira “ Mogador morocco ”, 190Km (115 miles) away, on the Atlantic coast. There are 2 departures From Marrakech to Essaouira by CTM, which is 08:45 am and 00:30 pm (2h30 away) the ticket price is 80 MAD/ 8$.
The second way to get from Marrakech to Essaouira in Morocco is by Taxi and you can take it from the Marrakech bus station located at Bab Doukkala.
Casablanca to Essaouira in Morocco
Essaouria “ Mogador morocco ” is around 6:30 H (380Km) away from Casablanca. And this visit to Essaouira you will completely change the décor from a nosy and busy metropolis of Casablanca to a quiet and small city; I suggest to stay here for one or two days.
There are 4 departures From Casablanca to Essaouira by CTM (06:45 am, 10:30 am, 00:30 pm, 4:00 pm,) and the ticket price is 145MAD/ 14$.
Where to stay in Essaouira
There are various hotels in Essaouira Morocco from non classed hotels about 10$ per night to five stars beach ressort from 100$ per night…
You can choose your hotel of course it depends on your budget.
Riads in Essaouira
Riads in Essaouira (Moroccan traditional residence with a big open enclosure, fountains, local handcrafts and decorations, changed over to guesthouses or mini-hotels) are my preferred place to stay in Morocco and Essaouira! And Essaouria has some decent ones in its old medina.
Have you visited Essaouira this relaxing city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast? You want more tips for your future Essaouira trips, and Morocco travel? Please feel free to drop me a message in the comments below!
FAQ About Best Things To Do in Essaouira Morocco
The best things to do in Essaouira encompass a variety of experiences. Explore the historic Medina, known for its blue and white architecture, visit the bustling fish market to savor fresh seafood, take a stroll along the picturesque Essaouira Beach, try windsurfing or kite surfing for an adventurous day, and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene at the local galleries and workshops.
Essaouira is rich in cultural attractions. Delve into the history of the city by exploring the Skala de la Ville, a historic seafront fortress offering panoramic views. Visit the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum to discover local art and history, and don’t miss the opportunity to experience Gnaoua music, a unique blend of African, Berber, and Arabic influences, often performed in the intimate settings of local venues.
Essaouira is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Beyond the beaches, indulge in camel rides along the stunning coastal landscapes, take a quad biking adventure in the nearby dunes, or explore the lush greenery of the surrounding Argan forests. The city’s favorable climate and diverse outdoor offerings make it an ideal destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.
Absolutely, Essaouira offers unique shopping experiences. The Medina is a treasure trove of handmade crafts, from intricate woodwork and ceramics to vibrant textiles. Visit the Thuya wood workshops to witness artisans crafting exquisite items. The city is also famous for its Argan oil, a prized local product known for its cosmetic and culinary benefits, making it an ideal souvenir for visitors.
Essaouira is a culinary delight for food enthusiasts. Indulge in fresh seafood at the local fish market, where vendors offer a variety of ocean delicacies. The Medina is dotted with charming cafes serving traditional Moroccan dishes, and the vibrant street food scene offers delights like grilled sardines and Moroccan pastries. Essaouira’s culinary offerings cater to a range of tastes, making it a paradise for food lovers.