Essaouira Things to Do

  • Bastion Viewed from Below
    Bastion Viewed from Below
    by Marjara
  • Medina Through the Hole
    Medina Through the Hole
    by Marjara
  • Interieur L
    Interieur L
    by pep2

Most Recent Things to Do in Essaouira

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    Wonderful Thuya Marquetry

    by angiebabe Updated May 11, 2013

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    Beautiful furniture and household items
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    Thuya is a hardwood, with a lovely perfume, that grows abundantly in the Agadir and Essaouira region, and has been a source of prosperity for these regions.

    Almost every part of the tree except the branches can be used. Its used to make such things as coffee tables, caskets and boxes in all shapes and sizes, trays and jewellery. and decorated with polish, inlaid with decorative motifs in citron wood, mother-of-pearl or ebony and sometimes with threads of copper, silver or camel bone.

    Essaouira has been renowned as the capital of marquetry and its regarded that some of the countrys best marquetry craftsmen can be seen working in the small workshops in the former munitions stores beneath the ramparts. There are plenty of shops here with items for sale.

    Some nice examples can be also seen in the small museum Musee Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah next to the post office and Hotel Majestic and also in the Cooperative Artisanal des Marqueteurs at Rue Khalid ibn oualid which is off the square where you find the renowned Pattisserie Driss.

    MAY 2013: To update this tip not much has changed - Thuya wood is still great - the marquetry is a beautiful and I love it! I bought a jewellery box at Uniprix in Agadir last year as I had regretted through the years not having bought one in Essaouira especially when the same price buys in London an item that really does not have much class! - I got a good size for about £20 but I would prefer to buy in Essaouira - the furniture and other household items I think are very appealing! and whatever you choose will make a longlasting and valuable souvenir of your time in Morocco.

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    Wonderful old doors and windows!

    by angiebabe Updated May 11, 2013

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    a man knitting in the sunshine
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    With the mix of cultures and heritage in Essaouira theres a wonderfully interesting mix of architecture to be seen as you roam around the medina - such as Moorish, Portugeuse, French and even Jewish styles to be seen.

    Walk on further down to the old Mellah area - the Jewish quarter - down near the Bab Doukkala end of the medina - and look for interesting details - though when we were last there it looked like whole blocks were empty for demolition!.....6 years later in May 2013 its all still there - a few kids yelling out not to take photos and the Moroccan friends I was with were not comfortable to be in the area for too long worrying that some of the locals looked and sounded quite rough..Some impressive old walls here and you can still see into the ruins of apartments and houses
    ..sad that history is disappearing but there were still very much lived in areas to roam around

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    Skala de la Ville

    by angiebabe Updated May 11, 2013

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    up to the north bastion,left to thuya workshops
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    Skala means sea bastion and two were built in Essaouira to protect the town - the Skala du Port in the south and the Skala de la Ville in the northwest.

    The fortifications of the old city are a mixture of Portuguese, French and Berber military architecture . The Skala de la Ville is the impressive sea bastion built along the cliffs consisting of a crenellated platform, with Spanish cannons, up to the North Bastion built on the site of a citadel constructed by the Portugeuse in about 1505.

    It is here that is popular with locals and tourists to stroll and watch the sun set.
    A passageway leads from the bastion down into the former munition stores where now are dozens of souvenir shops and thuya woodcarving and marquetry workshops.

    We were here again May 2013 to have a new look around, get sunset photos and visit a restaurant we were invited to have dinner at by a friend who manages the place and to meet the owner.

    It hasnt changed much since I wrote this tip in 2007 still with great views, impress protective seawalls and great place to see the sunset - looked like the same artists were here that I bought art from when here in 2007! Certainly an area that is a must see and makes Essaouira an interestingly historical town to visit.

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    The Portuguese Fortress

    by solopes Updated Feb 19, 2013

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    Essaouira - Morocco
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    Built as a few other in the beginning of the 16th century, this fortress, soon lost by the Portuguese, still dominates the city, as íts best monument and a good testimony of our military architectural skills.

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    Walled fortified town with interesting gates

    by angiebabe Updated Feb 1, 2013

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    a well used Bab
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    The 'old' walled medina of Essouira with its white houses and blue doors, narrow streets and ornately decorated arches is one of the cleanest and brightest medinas in Morocco. and surprisingly by Moroccan standards not old at all with the town being built only 500 years ago...
    (though thats a lot older than our New Zealand!)

    Theres an interesting mix of history in the architecture here - Portuguese, Berber and French... the Portuguese had established a military and commercial site here towards the end of the 15th century, losing it 1541.
    With ramparts already in place providing fortifications from the sea Essouira was an ideal place for the Alouite ruler Mohammed ibn Abdallah who needed in the mid 18th century a southern base from which to counter any possible revolt from Agadir. The sultan commissioned a French architect to design a port and a town.

    The outer walls facing the sea are typical of european fortifications whereas the inner walls which have square crenallations are Islamic in style.

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  • Marjara's Profile Photo

    Shopping in Essaouira

    by Marjara Written Feb 22, 2012

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    Going into the markets to browse around just to see what is being sold and bought is an important part of my tourism. The amount, quality and variety of the stuff in the markets is an important indicator of the culture of a country and a barometer of the state of its economy. In the town of Essaouira, the markets lie in the centre of the Medina. They are still traditional, in the sense that there is little or no hygienic packaging. Such is the shopping on Ave de l'Istiqlal, for example, or Ave Zerkatouni. One shop that sold a variety of herbs, spices and remedies was of particular interest to me. It had many jars as well as piles of stuff, all labelled, some of them is very quaint manner. You ought to zoom in and try to read the labels.

    In towns like Essaouira, where a lot of tourists throng the streets, a lot of shopping is meant not for the locals but for the visitors. Mostly the shops showcase goods much better so as to attract the money-spending tourists. They sell local handicrafts, artwork, jewellery and souvenirs that can remind the visitors of their visit when they get back home. Even if you don't intend to buy anything browsing around can be quite an experience. Some of the places where shopping is meant mainly for tourists lie close to the Bastion du Nord and the streets that go south and east from there.

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    Enjoy the View

    by Marjara Written Feb 22, 2012
    View of the Harbour from the Top of the Bastion
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    The best way to view and soak in the atmosphere of the sea, the harbour on one side and the Moulay Hassan Square on the other, the action on the fish wharf, the people coming and going and the gulls keeping afloat in the breeze is to go up on the ramparts. You will have to pay a small entry fee but the stroll along the ramparts, which have gun emplacements, and especially the climb up the bastion to take photos or videos can be very rewarding.

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  • pep2's Profile Photo

    Essaouira outside the tourist area

    by pep2 Updated Jan 23, 2012

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    A look across Lottisement Skala
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    When visiting Essaouira, I always enjoy taking a walk to some of the places, not very well known by tourists, but where Moroccan people are living their everyday-life.
    If you like to do that, you could start outside Bab Doukkala and begin by walking to the bus-station. On the way you will pass by a very fine local market for vegetables -- and a lot of shops with all kinds of stuff: Clothes, furniture -- just everything. There is always a lot of things going on, and it's easy to find a nice café, if you need to take a break.
    After the bus-station you can cross the big Avenue Al Akaba - and on the other side you will find some neigbourhoods, where mostly Moroccans live, and you have an impression af what life is like for people here. Again, there are lots of tings to look at and plenty of shops and restaurants. But I would advise you not to walk there alone after sunset.
    You can take the sidewalk to the north along Ave Al Akaba and in the northern end of it you will pass by the neigbourhood called Skala (not in-the-Madina-Skala, but Lotissement Skala).
    It is built in a special style, and it is a rather poor neigbourhood --- but it certainly has its own charm and beauty. Usually I just walk by on Av Al Ak -- yet sometimes also take a walk inside Skala.
    (But I never stop and stare at people (or what's going on), and never take photos here -- I do not think europeans/ tourists are expected to come here, and I feel like I have to respect, that people here do not want to many tourists come and stare like it's some kind of a "zoo" here).
    North of Skala, at the end of Ave Al Ak, you will find a beautiful beach, called the Safi-beach, almost only used by local people (and not much used at all). I sometimes go there just to enjoy the look of this beautiful, deserted coastline. Important: If you want to take a walk along this beach, you should find yourself a reliable guide, I have been told that it's not safe to do it alone.
    For getting back -- it's easy to find a small taxi, it will cost 6 dh to get back to the Madina.
    (Since this tip was written there has been some changes in the area: Right next to Skala, on the other side of Ave Al Akaba there has been built a great new super-market, Aswaq Assalam -- so it's easy to combine a visit in Skala and the Safi-beach with some shopping!)

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  • aussirose's Profile Photo

    Relax in a cafe overlooking the beach

    by aussirose Written Dec 30, 2011

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    aussirose relaxes by the beach in Essaouira Morocc

    If you plan to do a day trip to Essaouira from Marrakech like we did, then please allow some time to sit in the sidewalk cafe, have a refreshing drink and people watch overlooking the beach.

    We enjoyed watching the seaside activities and footy on the beach whilst contemplating our wonderful day.

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  • aussirose's Profile Photo

    Essaouira Scala Kasbah and canons

    by aussirose Written Dec 30, 2011

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    Essaouira Morocco Scala Kasbah by aussirosae
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    You can't miss seeing Scala Kasbah and the fortress walls and canons when visiting Essaouira. Sure, it's a tourist thing and crowds to go with it...but definately worth seeing.

    The Scala Kasbah was built by the French and the canons were a mixture of Portugese, Spanish and Dutch. It certainly looks intimidating perched on top of the hill overlooking the rocky coastline. If I was the enemy back in the old days....I'd give this place a miss :o)

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    Wander around the fishing port

    by aussirose Written Dec 30, 2011

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    Fishing port of Essaouira Morocco by aussirose
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    A must do in Essaouira - wander around the fishing port. Here you will see the locals bringing in their catch, nets, birds flying around, fresh fish smells and a hive of activity selling fresh fish etc.

    Check out my travelogue for more.

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    Art and crafts

    by pep2 Updated Nov 8, 2011

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    Interieur L
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    Original arts and crafts.

    Gallerie L’Arbre Bleu, Essaouira.

    If you like to see some fine arts and crafts – a little different from what you find in the shops elsewhere in the madina – a visit in atelier ”L’Arbre Bleu” can be recommended.

    It is located in a small calm street in the madina, Rue Chbanat, near Bab Marrakech – right next to “the small” Bab Marrakech, very easy to find.

    The creative french artist Monique Favière runs here a fine atelier & tea-salon.
    She exposes her own works: Paintings, sculptures and different kind of crafts. You can also find fine works of moroccan artists, and some artists from other countries, living and working in Essaouira.
    Everything in a very fine quality, so there is a lot to look at for no matter what kind of taste you have got.

    In the nice little tea-salon you can take a break and maybe a little chat with Monique.

    After visiting L’Arbre Bleu” a walk along Rue Chbanat to Bab Doukkala can be recommended – here you ca still find some original “Essaouira-atmosphere” and some nice small workshops with different kinds of crafts.

    L’Arbre Bleu: www.galerielarbrebleu.com

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    Swimming in Essaouira

    by windcity Written May 25, 2011

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    There are several hotels with pools in Essaouira, Top of the range is the Sofitel, Atlas Spa and Hotel des Isles. There is also an Ibis and Hotel ElJesira, there are others too. The beach is a wide curving bay with the port at one end and the dunes and village of Dibat at the other. There is an area that provide life guards but from what I have seen they are more interested in watching the girls rather than the bathers. Essaouira is famed for the wind which is perfect for kiting and surfing but not always ideal for sunbathing. Camel, Horse and dune buggy rides are available at the far end of the beach.

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    House of cultural activity

    by pep2 Updated Jul 27, 2010
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    If you want to experience a place in Essaouira, where there is a great knowlegde of cultural subjects, you can visit Dar Souiri, located right inside Bab Sbaa.
    The house has over the years done a great work for the benefit of Essaouira -- especially concerning the cultural life.
    In Dar Souiri you will find for instance a beautiful library with a fine collection of books -- covering many subjects -- as for instance books about Moroccan art and culture, with wonderful photoes. It's a realy nice place to spend a couple of peaceful hours -- and Fatima, a nice young woman working there, speaks english.
    There is also always an exhibition going on -- of art or of a subject, concerning everyone -- like cilmate/ pollution.
    There are many other activities going on in the house - you have to go and see it - and enjoy the beauty of the house.
    In Dar Souiri you can have very qualified information about Essaouira -- especially on cultural subjects.
    For the future there are plans of making a café / study on the roof - it will be great, from there you kan see the whole bay of Essaouira and the madina as well.

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    Stroll in Essaouira's Historic Medina - with a map

    by Souiri Updated Jul 5, 2010

    I have been going to Essaouira for over 10 years now. I have made so many friends, it feels like going home :)

    One thing i often notice when i'm chatting with a friend, is that many tourist fail to enter a street not knowing if it actually goes somewhere or if it is a dead end ... and there are many dead ends.

    Download this free map and you will no longer hesitate. This Essaouira Map has all the streets names and is perfect to get around and position yourself within the Medina.

    http://e-essaouira.com/EssaouiraMedinaMap.html

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