Morocco is a wonderful country to visit, with so many different sights, places, foods, teas, and adventures to try. But often, the only part of Morocco that travelers consider is Marrakech, or Agadir.
There is so much more that Morocco can offer you, and other places that need to be on your radar.
One such place is Essaouira. There is so much to do in Essaouira, from camel rides, to quad biking, tasting the cuisine, to enjoying Moroccan tea and strolling along the beach.
So, let’s give Essaouira an overview, and talk about the plentiful reasons you should visit Essaouira in this travel guide.
Essaouira is a city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. It is a coastal town with a diverse mixture of lifestyles and cultures. Formerly known as Modafor, this port city is found in Western Morocco about midway between Agadir and Safi.
Essaouira is also not that far from Marrakech, and is easily accessible from places like Agadir, Rabat, and Casablanca, so if you want a day trip, this is a great choice.
The medina of Essaouira is a stunning example of a late 18th century fortified town, built with European influence and military architecture.
It is a sleepy town, perfect for those wanting to get away from the busy city life, and relax a little on their travels.
You will notice a much more laid back vibe and atmosphere, particularly towards the city’s crescent shaped beach, where you can kitesurf, windsurf, and surf some waves.
What makes this city stand out in Morocco is that it is incredibly old and historic. There is evidence that inhabitants lived in Essaouira for thousands of years, as early as the 5th century BC. If you love old historical sites, then this is the place for you.
Reasons To Visit Essaouira
There are many reasons to visit Essaouira, from the interesting architecture to the fresh seafood from the fishing port, but here are some of our favorites!
More Relaxed Vibe
One of the many reasons why travelers are drawn to Essaouira is its relaxed, calmer atmosphere. There’s no rushing around or groups of tourists everywhere that makes you feel claustrophobic and stressed out.
It’s not a tourist hotspot, and while that means that there are not a lot of attractions, the city itself is the real draw. This also means that your itinerary will not be full to the brim, so you can just chill out and take it all in.
Excellent Shopping Opportunities
The old medina is beautiful, and can be found within the historic walls of the city.
There you will find lots of stalls, shops, and markets with homemade items, unique gifts and souvenirs. You can find a range of items from clothing to homewares, spices, and rugs.
The best part is that the medina is easy to explore, and the merchants are not as aggressive as they can be in other places like Marrakech (Also check out Things To Do In Marrakech).
You can haggle with them, and they won’t be so forward in trying to get a sale out of you, which takes a lot of the stress and pressure out of shopping in Morocco.
There are many cafes and restaurants to explore when visiting Essaouira. Of course, you’ll have to try the mint tea, but there are so many places to choose from.
There are some places that have a real authentic Moroccan feel, and some that are more unique and quirky, but you’ll be sure to find somewhere you love.
The best restaurants in town are Mandala Society, La Table by Madada, Seafood Corner, The Loft, and many more.
The main beach at Essaouira has very shallow water, but the winds coming from the Atlantic makes for amazing waves.
This is why so many people choose to surf and kitesurf in Essaouira. You can also enjoy some incredible views and sunsets while walking along the golden sand of the beach.
What we love about Essaouira is that it has a real, traditional, authentic Moroccan feel about it. It’s part of its charm.
You kind of feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the real Morocco, and can appreciate the culture for what it really is. In addition to this, the people of Essaouira are really friendly and accommodating, so you do feel welcome and not like an outsider.
One of the great things about Essaouira is that it is a small town, so it is easy to navigate. You can go off and explore the medina, there are plenty of riads to stay in, with rooftop views and cost efficient rates.
The medina is also traffic free, so you’re fine to get around Essaouira on foot, as you’ll be able to get into every street, nook and cranny that way.
Which Is Better Agadir Or Essaouira?
If you’re unsure where to go on your next Morocco trip, and want to know how Essaouira compares to Agadir, then we’ve got you covered. Agadir is a far larger city than Essaouira (Find out Things To Do In Agadir).
As a result, Agadir attracts a lot of tourists, and has a lot to see and do for visitors in the area.
However, it is much busier and more hectic than Essaouira. In comparison, Essaouira is much smaller, and has a more relaxed atmosphere. You will find lots of beaches, watersports and fun activities in Essaouira.
If you are considering a trip to Morocco, and are unsure where would be best to visit on your travels, then you should know about Essaouira.
There are a multitude of reasons to visit, some of which we have stated here, but really, if you want to see the authentic, traditional, and historical side of Morocco, then Essaouira is the place for you.