Every Expert traveler knows that Morocco is a tough place to explore, its most famous city Marrakech is chaotic and a bit loud as compared to other cities in the world. Although the colors and city sounds in Marrakech will captivate you, but still, if you are a person who loves silence and want to relax by enjoying the beautiful sceneries then I would recommend adding Essaouira to your itinerary.
The city of Essaouira is located on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco. The city’s old town known as Medina is protected by fortification walls, which were designed by the European architects in the 18th Century to protect the town from Intruders. The city is known for its friendly atmosphere, as it is perched on the Coast. That is the reason why it is also called a windy city because of its excellent weather. It is also famous for Kite flying, surfing, and its beaches. If I have to sum it up, then Essaouira is the cultural hub. You can find influences from Arabs, Romanians, Ancient Berbers, Jews and French civilizations. All of these mixed up and make this Beach city light and soft.
HOW TO REACH ESSAOUIRA
If you can afford it, then the Best Way to Reach Essaouira is by hiring a private transfer, which will cost you between 120 to 150 Euros one way, depending on where you are located in Marrakech.
Still, if your budget is limited or wants to save money, then there are multiple bus services available that can drop you in Essaouira in just about 3 hours. You can also share a public Grand taxi from Marrakech. Recommend to bargain hard to bring the fare down as much as you can.
If you want a hassle-free trip and do not want to worry about the transportation, then just Book your Tour to Essaouira with Marrakech Desert Trips. We, Will, pick you up from your Riad or any nearby place in Marrakech and drop you off at your hotel or at the Centre of Marrakech. The Minivan would be Modern AC Van, and the Best Part is that the Driver would be English Speaking so you can ask him as many questions as you like.
Want to enjoy your trip to the fullest? Then I recommend reaching Essaouira by Van or Taxi because by taking a road trip to Essaouira, you can see Haouz Planes, Chichaoua Village, Sidi Mokhtar, and Argan Tree Forest where you can see the Goats dancing on the trees.
Things & Activities to Do in Your Day Trip
Most of the Travelers thought that there is not much to do in Essaouira, but they are entirely wrong. There are plenty of things to see and do on your day trip to Essaouira. So, here are some of the exciting things you can do in your Day trip.
Essaouira Ramparts, where the Old Medina Connects with the Atlantic Ocean. These are also called Golden Walls, which were built by European architects. The purpose of these walls is to save the port from the Invaders. Therefore, you could see its resemblance from Saint-Malo (A town in France).
The Gateway of the Fishing port is surrounded by an impressive Skala known as Skala De Port. These are also known as a kind of Protective Bulwark. Another End of the Fort is called Skala Du Ville. You can find several Cannons lined up there. On that part, you will find a number of Artists and Craft stalls.
The port of Essaouira was once known as the biggest port of Morocco. It was also called the Port of Timbuktu as lots of goods carried by Sahara trading caravans from Timbuktu like gold, silver, spices were exported from here to Europe and Americas. Nowadays, the ports of Casablanca, Agadir and Tangier took the lead. However, there is a lot of things happening around the harbor nowadays. You can enjoy the work of Fisherman on the port side and can see their daily routine. Indeed, it is one of the most exciting places to visit on your Day Trip. But If you have a sensitive nose or you are faint-hearted person then stay away from this place because there will be a lot of fish smell over this place.
When you type Essaouira on Google and see the Images, then you will find the Photos of the typical old Blue boats on the port. These are the traditional old wooden boats painted in blue still used by the fishermen of Essaouira. Around 1 pm and 4 pm, the fishermen come to the fish market and sell their fresh Catch. I recommend purchasing fresh fish from there and witness the fish auction in the market. Moroccans are very good at Bargaining, and by visiting the fish port; you will get to know why they are so good at it. At the sides of the port you will find many stalls where you can grill the fresh fish or any other seafood you just buy.
Essaouira is also known as the Windy City because of its weather. In the summer, where the rest of the morocco is very hot, the average temperature of Essaouira varies around 20-25 Celsius. But still, you can do plenty of things on the Beach of Essaouira like in summer light sunbathing would be a good idea. But the beach of Essaouira is not famous for sunbathing but for other things like Kitesurfing. Even if you do not know how to fly a kite, you will still enjoy the scenes like the sky full of different colors Kites will give you Goosebumps at first. You can also go for a horse riding on the beach, and even Camel riding is available. My Best Pick Would be Plage Sidi Magdoul, but if you can spare some time, then Plage Sidi Kaouki and Moulay Bouzerktoune are also decent Beach options. Finally, if you want something different then Quad Bike Riding is also available for adventurous people in Diabate village on the beach. And if you wish to enjoy the atmosphere, then I would recommend to walk on the beach and enjoy the calm wind hitting on your face. Finally.
Named after the founder of the city Mohammed Ben Abdullah. The Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah Museum in Morocco is masterminded in a pasha residence that returns to the nineteenth Century. It houses authentic antiques, for example, stoneware, coins, adornments, photos, and floor coverings, which are most crucial to Essaouira’s history. One critical thing is bookings I would recommend to book your museum tour in advance to avoid any problems. It is just beside the Essaouira Ramparts, so when you visit the Ramparts, then do not forget to visit the Museum, especially people who love history, art, and culture. So, this Museum is worth spending time and energy on.
The former name of Medina of Essaouira is Mogador. It is also listed in UNESCO as a National World Heritage site for its Unique Blend of Moroccan and European Styles. The Medina of Essaouira is very different from the other medinas of Morocco because the Medina of Essaouira is not like a maze. The paths are straightforward and easy to understand. So, unlike other Medina, especially the Medina of Marrakech, this one is very simple, and the chance of getting lost in this is very minimum.
Although there are still lots of twists and turns when you walk around the narrow streets lined by tall-whitewashed structures because it is designed by the French designers and was built so beautifully that you will find your way very quick once you get lost. The most ironic thing is that the word Essaouira itself means Beautifully Designed.
In the Centre of Medina, you will have Place Moulay Hassan, which is one of the most beautiful squares in the city, and to be exact, the location of Moulay Hassan Place is between the port and the entrance of the Medina. You can enjoy a sea view from any Café and from several restaurants. In the evening, lots of Local families and Children Gather there for walks, and you will enjoy seeing the children Running behind Cats and Pigeons.
If you are a cooking fan and want to learn the traditional recipes of Morocco like Tagine, Harira, Couscous, Bissara, Tangia, R’fissa, Amelou, and Kefta, then you should Signup for the Cooking classes. Most of the chefs are local with fluent English so you will enjoy chatting with them and they will Visit the local market with you and provide you all kinds of important information about the food, their traditions, and customs. As I told you earlier that they speak English very well so I will recommend asking as many questions as you can and learn from their experience. The more you interact and ask questions, the quicker you learn about Moroccan cuisine.
Shopping would be the central part of your Day. Although there are fewer shops in Essaouira compared to Marrakech, your shopping experience will be hassle free, so you can horn your bargaining skills there. The Best part is that all of Morocco’s famous Merchandise can be found here. You can also find the most famous gifts to bring home from of Morocco like “The Argan Oil” in these souks, Thuya wood, Shining local artworks, Raffia shoes, silver, and gold ornaments. You can find most of the stuff in La Joutia Square located just a walk from Bab Daukkala. You would be amazed to see the number of stalls over there. You can even find Car Parts, jewelry, Cycles, and even second-hand clothes over there.
You’ll discover elixirs, powders, and pyramids of crisply ground flavors in cultivator Seddiki Mohamed’s sweet-smelling shop. Just search Ras El Hount, which is a spice mix and can be found only in Morocco. It will help to create spicy Moroccan food in your Kitchen
If you do not want to waste your time shopping and want to see the rural side of Essaouira, then Visit the sprawling Sunday souq at Had Draa, which is located around 35 Km from Essaouira. A lot of Moroccans, especially Berber families, travel hundred of miles and reach there to auction their Livestock like camels, cows, goats, horses, Donkey, sheep, etc.
Gnawa Music is very popular in whole Morocco, but Essaouira is considered as the hub of this type of Music. Gnawa music is a small body of Moroccan and other North African Islamic spiritual songs and rhythms. The poetry, music styles, and dance performed at this festival are unique and can not be found in any other part of the world.
If you know how to play any instrument or a music lover, then just head to Gnawa Music Festival and join the Gnawa Masters and jam with the local artists and see their different groves. Experience this addictive genre of Music first hand, and I bet It will be the best experience you will ever have.
Although the Gnawa World Music Festival held in June, you do not have to wait until then to feel the vibes of this sacred music style. You can hear it in Gnawa Blues restaurant throughout the year. There is another festival besides Gnawa like Festival des Alizés which is for classical Music. It is organized every April. Also, if you want to listen to Andalusian classical Music, which is an other popular Moroccan music type, then visit in November for the Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques.
If you are not a big fan of cooking and it sounds too much work for you then do not worry at all. Essaouira offers a lot to food lovers. In the port and the fish market around, it offers fresh fish, and you can even buy fresh fish in the port and bring to one of the food stalls nearby to grill it for you.
You can also enjoy locally produced goat cheese, olive oils, and even organic fruits like pomegranate, and veggies and herbs. Lots of restaurants offer fish tagine mush try.
If you are a vegetarian, then you can enjoy a variety of dishes because there are a plethora of fresh vegetables produced around Essaouira, and many hotels and restaurants offer good deals. The typical Vegetarian tagine usually contains potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and sometimes dates. Sometimes they will not put onions on it tell them to put onions, olives, and raisins on the top; the taste will increase incredibly. If you are looking for a cheap but right place to eat, then go to Triskala. The place is perfect, and prices are also Very reasonable. You can order a variety of fish and vegetable dishes and do not forget to order the juice in the warm atmosphere. Argan Salad is also another good option, which you should try. There is another good option of Goat cheese salad at the Saffron Café.
Other notable food spots that are worth seeing are Yoo Healthy Food (8A Rue Ibn Roch). They also have an excellent environment and famous for their delicious smoothies. Order their frozen Yogurt, juices, and enjoy in the relaxed atmosphere. Prices are also very affordable. If you crave Italian seafood, then visit Gusto Italia (14 Rue Charif El Idrissi). Finally, if you want to enjoy all these in one place than do visit Miyame Restaurant, this restaurant is owned locally and offers all the traditional cuisines at an excellent price. Their dining space is limited, so be sure to come early and book as fast as you can. Their skim salad and mixed samosas are also very famous and cost around $5.
One of the best things to do in Essaouira is spending the afternoon in the conventional Moroccan hammam. The hammam begins with body cleaning, mostly with Clay, which clean and shines the skin. This special clay comes from the Atlas Mountains and usually knows as Ghassoul. Then their special black soap is applied to the whole body, and this black soap is usually made up of olives, which cleans the pores of your body. There are many hammams in Essaouira, and almost all of them are good. You can check Azur Spa, which is a seaside spa, and offer massage with argan products with local flower essence added.
Quad Biking and Camel riding should be in your to-do list when you visit Essaouira and if we talk about Quad biking than most of the companies offer a 3-hour Quad Biking adventure. This is a great chance to see the stunning views of Essaouira country side and beaches. All the quad biking service providers are very professional and helpful. You will be provided all the necessary gear like jackets, gloves, kneepads, helmet, etc. But one thing you must have to keep in mind is that most of the companies put an age limit on driving the Quad bike. Children under the age of 14 can not drive the Quad bike. However, they can ride the bike behind the Adult. As far as the driver license is concerned, there is no license required for riding the Quad bike, but before riding, they will tell you to Practice the Quad bike. It would be easy because most of the Quad bikes will be Automatic. Even though the company under which you will be doing Quad Biking will provide you most of the things, but My Advice would be to bring sunscreen, Long hat, and sunglasses with you.
If you want to extend your Day trip to Essaouira, then there are a variety of Riads and hotels in which you can stay. The one I recommend is Villa Quieta, where you can enjoy free WIFI and free private parking on the site. They also have a private pool outside, and the best part is that they offer grocery service throughout the day. If you want to book a good hotel in Old Medina than Suite Azur Hotel is the best option. Each room of the Suite Azur equipped with TV, Wardrobe, and private attached bathroom. Their best part is their Continental breakfast. They also offer a terrace in every room to relax, but if you want to relax and enjoy in the true sense, then unwind yourself on their rooftop pool and as it is in the Centre of Essaouira so enjoy the scenes outside.
If you want to live like a king, then there are also costly hotels like Atlas Essaouira & Spa, which has a beachfront location, other luxury hotels include Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa, Hotel Cote ocean Mogador, Hotel Vents Des Iles, Hôtel Emeraude Essaouira, and Hotel Al Arboussas. All of these are excellent hotels to stay in but a little expensive.
Watching the sunset is the best thing to end your Day Trip on a high note. Watching out over the Atlantic from the city on a crisp afternoon, you get a marvelous sunset light show, with the blurring sun making the stone sparkle gold and the angling vessels and seagulls outlined against the light. Find some good spots to take the pictures and try to bring camels on your picture. The Best part, in my opinion, would be the rooftop at the Taros Bar in Place Moulay Hassan. Not only can you see the sunset on Taros Bar but also enjoy the sunset view with live Music.
In the end, I will say that if you are looking for stunning views, want to have shopping and relax, then Essaouira is the best place for you. Although Marrakech is a more popular spot among tourists, Essaouira is more underrated as it offers much more than you think. Its popular cuisine, Beaches, Hammams, and other activities like Camel riding, Wind Surfing, Kite flying, and Quad Biking adventure will give you a lifetime experience. If you want a hassle-free tour to Essaouira, then book your tour with us.