Essaouira is an enchanting Moroccan city, located on the Atlantic coast. It has long been considered an idyllic destination for its vibrant culture, stunningly picturesque scenery and endless outdoor activities.
With its unique charm and character, visiting Essaouira offers a magical experience that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Nestled on the Northern Atlantic Coast of Morocco, Essaouira is a charming port city on the Atlantic Ocean that exudes a unique character and allure. With its well-preserved 18th-century fortified town, bustling fishing port, and stunning golden beachfront, Essaouira is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
Here are some of the top Morocco tourist attractions in Essaouira:
- Essaouira Citadel (Skala de la Ville) – A well-preserved 18th-century fortification that offers stunning views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.
- Moulay Hassan Square – A bustling square that serves as the heart of the city and is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops.
- Medina – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Essaouira Medina is a well-preserved ancient walled town that is home to narrow winding streets, vibrant souks, and historic buildings.
- Essaouira Beach – A long golden stretch of beach that is perfect for sunbathing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.
- Essaouira Port – A bustling fishing port that is home to an array of seafood restaurants and a lively atmosphere.
Historical Attractions in Essaouira, Morocco
Essaouira is a captivating city, filled to the brim with innumerable historical attractions. From ancient citadels and monuments to sprawling market squares, there’s something for everyone in this majestic Moroccan metropolis.
Here are just some of the most iconic historical attractions you’ll find in Essaouira:
The imposing Essaouira Citadel stands tall as the center of activity within the city. Completed in 1765 by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah – whom many credit as the founder of modern-day Morocco – it was originally built as a defensive stronghold to ward off invading forces.
Today, it still bears many features of its original design; its stonewalls encircle much of the surrounding region and offer spectacular panoramic views across the Atlantic coast.
Exploring its walls reveals insights into how the city once operated under Portuguese rule before becoming the cultural hub we know today.
Additionally, visitors flock here from all over Morocco to take part in traditional events including fish auctions and maritime festivals; whatever time of year you choose to visit, there will always be lots to see and do!
Moulay Hassan Square
Built back in 1870 during Mohamed ben Abdallah’s rule, Moulay Hassan Square is a vibrant open space located right at heart of Essaouira’s medina quarter.
Surrounded by old buildings that reflect the Mediterranean architecture style, this square has become renowned for hosting incredible art festivals featuring world-renowned musicians such as Tinariwen or Gnawa Diffusion playing alongside local DJs and performers.
Every year during summertime, thousands gather on Moulay Hassan square to dance away until sunrise!
From intricate architectural wonders to lively open spaces steeped in history and culture – these are just three examples of why a visit to Essaouira should definitely be at top your list! No matter your tastes or interests, there’s something for everyone amid these versatile historical attractions.
Explore Morocco’s History at the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Museum
Located in the heart of Essaouira, the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Museum is a must-see for history buffs. The museum houses an impressive collection of artefacts from all over Morocco, spanning traditional weaponry and armour to antique furniture, pottery and jewellery.
The museum provides visitors with a fascinating insight into Moroccan culture and offers plenty of opportunities to learn about the region’s rich history and a must see when you visit essaouira, the windy city.
Outdoor Activities – What to do in Essaouira
Essaouira boasts a variety of outdoor activities for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. From winding trails and sun-stained beaches to bustling markets, the city offers a range of activities suitable for visitors of all ages.
Wind surfing and Kite surfing
Essaouira’s windy coastline makes it an ideal spot and one of the best Moroccan cities for windsurfing and kite surfing.
The strong winds provide a steady stream of energy that riders can use to propel them across the waves at high speed – making even experienced surfers gasp in admiration.
Whether you’re new to the sport or looking to brush up on your skills, there are plenty of experienced professionals offering lessons across Essaouira’s four main beaches, so don’t hesitate to join in the fun!
Essaouria’s beachfront is an ideal spot for novices and pros alike to learn how to surf; take part in lessons with experienced local teachers who live and breathe surfing all year round!
Whether you want to catch gentle waves or beginner-friendly breaks, gear rental is easy and affordable meaning anyone can experience this fun-filled sport!
Boat Trip Adventures
Discover hidden secrets that even many locals have not yet seen with a charter boat expedition through the captivating lagoons located on the outskirts of town.
Take delight in spotting iconic migratory birds like flamingos or take part in fishing experiences using traditional methods – a truly unforgettable way to explore!
Hikes along Coastal Paths
Take scenic hikes along coastal pathways lined with crystal blue waters, jagged cliffs and rolling sand dunes.
Embark on multi-day expeditions as you witness ancient ruins left behind by Phoenicians from centuries ago – traverse rugged backdrops unfolding beneath breathtaking skies while feeling alive among lingering secrets waiting to be discovered…
Horseback Riding Tours
Choose between riding either inland or along stunning beaches – horseback riding tours provide an ideal opportunity for intrepid explorers looking for close interactions with nature.
Wind down after long days spent exploring with tranquil nights spent camping underneath starry nightscapes – it’d be difficult not to feel exhilarated after such experiences!
Every horse ride is accompanied by an experience guide who will be able to share their knowledge about this stunning region with you; afterwards, treat yourself to some delicious regional dishes from local cafes and restaurants!
Explore more hidden treasures around Essaouira’s coastlines while kayaking across calming waters – witness incredible sights as you glide past caves carved into rocky shores as well as secret coves only accessible from sea – make sure you bring a camera along because opportunities like these won’t come again anytime soon…
Exploring the Essaouira Beach
The beachfront at Essaouira offers plenty of activities for those seeking adventure within nature’s beauty. Stroll along miles of pristine white sand stretching from sea cliffs over emerald waters while soaking up some rays or take part in a range of water sports including swimming, fishing and boating.
The beach isn’t ideal for sunbathing due to its strong winds, but it’s an excellent place for people watching. From camels ambling down the shoreline, to locals strolling around and quad bikes whizzing past – there is something to entertain everyone.
Keep your eyes peeled for surfers and kite-surfers riding the waves, too! (There are plenty of kite surfing schools for beginners if you want to give it a try!)
Alternatively, if you’d rather stay on land – explore local attractions like La Skala de la Ville which stands proudly at the end of the beach as testament to its historical importance. Whatever activity takes your fancy, make sure you pack some sunscreen!
Cultural Experiences in Essaouira, Morocco
When it comes to experiences that offer a truly immersive cultural insight into life in Morocco, then look no further than the captivating city of Essaouira.
From ancient monuments to vibrant arts and crafts, there’s plenty to discover in this beguiling metropolis. Here are just some of the experiences on offer:
Visit the Medina
The medina is an essential part of any visit to Essaouira; here you can learn about traditional Moroccan culture at its heart and explore historic buildings constructed centuries ago.
Take a leisurely stroll through the winding alleys or make your way up to one of the many roof terraces for breathtaking views across the bay.
Be sure to take out time for short breaks – no visit would be complete without sipping sweet mint tea or coffee from local shops as you observe people go by!
Explore the Arts and Crafts
Essaouira is renowned for its arts and crafts – showing off unique designs throughout this diverse city.
Numerous workshops line up busy streets waiting for visitors to come join them; buy some authentic souvenirs such as fascinating painted boxes or wooden sculptures from these craft centers, all hand-crafted by skilled artisans in the region.
In addition, art galleries scattered around Essaouira provide incredible artifacts rich with history and heritage which you can observe close-up while admiring their exquisite beauty.
Attend The Gnawa Music Festival
The famous Gnawa Music Festival held annually within Essaouira attracts hundreds of locals and international visitors each year – so don’t miss out!
Celebrating traditional music styles originating from sub-Saharan Africa, this three-day celebration has become renowned as one of Morocco’s most loved music festivals – showcasing Gnawa musicians playing instruments like krakebs alongside DJs, folk singers, dancers and more!
Join in with passionate revelers who come together under starry skies every summer to dance away until sunrise – an unforgettable experience awaits!
Visit the fish market
A visit to the famous fish market in Essaouria is an experience not to be missed, after all this is a famous fishing town.
Be prepared to be amazed at the selection of fresh seafood, such as sardines, octopus, and shrimp. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to buy fresh fish, you can even buy live ones in traditional wooden crates!
This colorful and vibrant market offers an array of sights and smells – keep your eyes open for Moroccan cuttlefish sellers who will take time to explain the intricate differences between types.
Stroll through market stalls offering local delicacies such as olives, harissa, and honey too- make sure you taste a few before buying some home!
Chat with locals about their catch of the day or watch skilled chefs prepare dishes using unique ingredients – it would be hard not to feel mesmerized by its unique charms!
The port of Essaouira is one of the most authentic attractions in the city, offering visitors a glimpse into local life as fishermen unload their catch and locals haggle over goods
You can’t miss the chance to climb on top of the jetty for amazing views across Essaouira’s harbour walls and out towards the island of Mogador, especially at sunset – make sure you take your camera!
Relaxation and Wellness in Essaouira, Morocco
When it comes to wellness experiences that are truly exceptional – Essaouira is the perfect destination! From revitalizing spa treatments to yoga classes surrounded by remarkable scenic views, this stunning port city offers a wide range of activities designed to de-stress your body and mind. Here are just some of the ways you can unwind:
Hammam and Spa Treatments
Immerse yourself in traditional Moroccan spa treatments with visits to Hammams across the city.
Choose from all manner of health and beauty treatments including body scrubs, facials, massages, manicures and pedicures – all conducted according to traditional methods while using natural ingredients grown locally.
Afterwards, relax on one of Essaouira’s rooftops and embrace planetary serenity as you look out over the ocean.
Yoga and Meditation Classes
Take part in yoga or meditation classes from local teachers as you unwind beneath a beautiful sunrise or sunset over Essaouira beachfront.
Breathe deeply beneath jagged cliffs that merge with sapphire waters; these uplifting sessions offer an immersive opportunity for travelers to learn about the power of mindfulness within nature’s beauty.
Whether you’re looking for therapeutic relaxation or a healthy dose of energising exercise – there’s something for everyone here!
Enjoy a Sunset Dinner
No visit would be complete without sitting down to catch a glimpse of Essaouira’s popular sunsets while enjoying delicious regional dishes.
After taking part in one of the many outdoor activities available around this captivating port – take some time out at local restaurants where sumptuous seafood specials accompanied by bread freshly baked in wood-fired ovens await!
There’s nothing more peaceful than dining al fresco while watching the sun slowly disappear beyond ocean waves – blissful evening awaits!
Treat your tastebuds with foods unlike any other region around Morocco – sample flavorful tagine stews cooked slowly overnight accompanied by steaming couscous made from whole wheat grains and taste sumptuous mint tea brewed according to ancient recipes handed down for generations– it would be hard not find yourself occasionally lost for words after tasting such unique flavors….
Enjoying a Mint Tea on the Rooftop of an Essaouira Home
Experience a unique and relaxing tradition with a cup of mint tea on the rooftop of an Essaouira home.
Soak up the stunning views of this coastal town as you sip your sweet, herbal concoction. Feel the warmth of the sun and take in the sights and sounds below – from bustling markets to bays full of boats bobbing in the distance.
Enjoy the peace and tranquility that comes from being high above it all, with nothing but the gentle breeze for company. As night falls, marvel at the stars glistening in the sky above or watch glowing rays of sunset color streaming down from abobe – a truly magical experience!
Discovering the Unique Mix of Moroccan and European Styles in Essaouira’s Medina
Essaouira’s medina has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its mesmerising mix of Moroccan and European styles, showcasing the region’s fascinating heritage.
Formerly known as Mogador, this ancient walled city is a unique blend of influences from Portuguese colonisation to Arab culture.
As you explore its winding streets, discover a captivating range of architecture spanning centuries – such as the old castle with intricate details or buildings with brightly colored detailing. ]
Stroll through the bustling markets, treat yourself to some locally made wares and sample the delicious street food. Step back in time as you get lost in this multicultural paradise and marvel at how it all comes together to create an unforgettable experience.
Marvel at the Views from the Essaouira Ramparts
No visit to Essaouria is complete without a climb of the city’s ramparts. Dating back to the 1760s, these defensive city walls protect the old medina from both land and sea threats and feature 19 bronze cannons situated between two towers, Skala du Ville and Skala du Port.
Take your time exploring each level – including the terraces for an amazing view of the Atlantic coastline and the old town – before heading up to Bastion Nord for one of the most breathtaking views in all of Essaouira.
From here you’ll be able to look out across rooftops covered with bright blue tiles, Mediterranean-style buildings adorned with intricate woodwork and bustling markets where locals negotiate over goods and wares. Soak up this stunning sight before heading off on your own adventure.
Uncovering the Secrets of Essaouira’s Famous Winds
Essaouira, known as the ‘Windy City of Africa’, is famous for its powerful and gusty winds. Consistently rated one of the windiest cities on Earth, this iconic coastal town boasts winds that can reach over 30mph/50kmph in summer months. Although the winds can be strong at times, they do start to drop from September and are at their calmest between then and November.
This milder time of year offers plenty of opportunities for activities such as sailing, kitesurfing and windsurfing – making it an ideal destination for thrill-seekers looking to challenge themselves!
Surround yourself with breathtaking views such as beaches lined with palm trees or explore nearby bays as you take advantage of these unique winds – a truly unforgettable experience!
No matter what relaxation activity takes your fancy – Essaouira has plenty of options available for wellbeing seekers looking for a truly idyllic experience.
From rejuvenating spa treatments to calming mindful moments amid impressive natural backdrops – why not come find out what other secrets this inspiring city hides?
FAQs for What to do in Essaouira
What is Essaouira famous for?
Essaouira is famous for its well-preserved 18th-century fortifications, stunning beachfront, vibrant arts scene, and rich cultural heritage.
Is Essaouira good for families?
Yes, Essaouira is a great destination for families with children. There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep everyone entertained, including the beach, historical sites, and outdoor activities.
Is Essaouira good for solo travelers?
Absolutely! Essaouira is a safe and welcoming destination for solo travelers and offers a variety of experiences that cater to solo travelers, including exploring the Medina, surfing, and trying the local cuisine.
Essaouira, like other Moroccan cities, is considered to be a safe destination for tourists. Visitors are advised to take the same precautions as they would in any other tourist destination, such as being aware of their surroundings and keeping valuable items secure.
What is the best time to visit Essaouira?
The best time to visit Essaouira is from April to June or from September to November, when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.
What is there to do in Essaouira at night?
Essaouira offers a variety of nighttime activities, including dining at seafood restaurants, enjoying live music at local cafes, or watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
Here is some important travel information for Essaouira, Morocco:
- Location: Essaouira is located on the Northern Atlantic Coast of Morocco.
- Getting There: The most convenient way to reach Essaouira is by air, with flights available from major cities in Morocco and Europe. Visitors can also reach Essaouira by bus or train from other cities in Morocco.
- Currency: The currency used in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).
- Language: The official language of Morocco is Arabic, although French and Berber are also widely spoken.
- Accommodation: Essaouira offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. Visitors can find accommodation to suit their budget and preferences.
- Food: Essaouira is famous for its seafood cuisine, with a variety of restaurants offering fresh seafood dishes. Visitors can also try traditional Moroccan dishes, such as tagine and couscous. Moroccan food is is famous for its influences from Persia, Andalusia, India, and the Mediterranean. Many traditional Moroccan dishes are prepared from fresh, local organic ingredients and fried, boiled, smoked, or cooked in other ways. Moroccan food is also varied enough to provide an interesting gastronomic experience for its visitors. Some of the popular dishes you can enjoy in Morocco are couscous, tagine (stew), pastilla (flaky puff pastry with chicken filling) and bamiyah (okra with tomato sauce).
- Climate: Essaouira has a temperate Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is from April to June or from September to November, when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.
- Safety: Essaouira is considered to be a safe destination for tourists, but visitors are advised to take the same precautions as they would in any other tourist destination, such as being aware of their surroundings and keeping valuable items secure.
- Local Customs: Visitors are expected to dress modestly and respect local customs, such as removing their shoes when entering a mosque or someone’s home. It is also important to be mindful of the conservative nature of Moroccan culture and to avoid public displays of affection.