Essaouira Travel Guide

  • Avenue al Aqaba
    Avenue al Aqaba
    by Bennytheball
  • Caleche rank, Bab Doukalla
    Caleche rank, Bab Doukalla
    by Bennytheball
  • Bastion Viewed from Below
    Bastion Viewed from Below
    by Marjara

Essaouira Highlights

  • Pro
    suvanki profile photo

    suvanki says…

     An intriguing fishing port, lots of local atmosphere 

  • Con
    yvette123 profile photo

    yvette123 says…

     windy weather, building development 

  • In a nutshell
    suvanki profile photo

    suvanki says…

     An attractive coastal town, well worth a visit! 

Essaouira Things to Do

  • L'Horloge D'Essaouira

    Essaouira's main clock tower is a perfect landmark for navigating around the medina - if you need any help. The perfectly square, bright beige tower can be seen from all over Essaouira. You can also hear it striking the bells on its carillon every half an hour. It's an early 20th century design, built at the request of Marshal Lyautey and renovated...

    more
  • Place Moulay El Hassan

    Named after the Crown Prince of Morocco, or maybe Hasan I, Sultan of Morocco, or maybe, obscurely, Oscar Wilde on some maps, this is Essaouira's biggest square. It's a wide acre of concrete and loose stones - the gathering point for al fresco pizzerias, mendicants, hawkers and seagulls. At sunset everyone crushes against the sea wall to watch the...

    more
  • Mogador Island

    The isle of Mogador is the largest in a chain of rocky islets off the coast of Essaouira called Iles Purpuraires. The islands take their name from the purple dye that was manufactured here by the Romans from the spiny dye-murex shellfish that live in the rocks that reveal themselves at low tide. This dye was highly sought after and extremely...

    more

Essaouira Hotels

See all 111 Hotels in Essaouira

Essaouira Restaurants

  • Moroccan by the Clocktower

    This place looked the part, but the food was very bland. Cous-cous isn't the most exciting dish, but I was served overcooked, unsalted and unspiced vegetables. It made it very tough to eat. My wife's tajine wasn't any better. I wouldn't go back, but maybe they have better days.

    more
  • French Family Fare

    This restaurant is called The Discovery, and it really is - a small little family run French restaurant tucked down a small side street off the busy thoroughfare of the Medina. The menu was small, but the food was excellent - and there were enough options for a vegetarian. The briouats were particularly good. It's small, though, so you'll probably...

    more
  • Beach Pizza

    At the far end of the beach where all the camels and kiters hang out, is a beach restaurant called Ocean Vagabond. They've become a bit of an institution in Essaouira - starting out as a windsurfing club and branching out into a hotel and a restaurant. The location is excellent - with sand, sea and camels visible from the tables. The food is also...

    more

Essaouira Nightlife

  • Essaouira's action bar

    Bar Hafra is a relic from the French Colonial Occupation, in the tradition of Bar des Clochards (tramp's bar), modeled on similar establishments in 1920's Marseilles and Bordeaux. There are two alcoves beside the front entrance, where clientele are allowed to rest, after a boisterous drinking session, provided they cause no trouble or harass other...

    more
  • Bar at the Beach

    This is a local bar for local people, situated at the end of the beach it has great views. Very popular with the locals it is open until 8pm and has a TV for those all important football matches. Beer is 15Dh per bottle.Another place for a beer is Restaurant Mogador aka Mog Bar just facing the beach. very casual

    more
  • Chill Out Time

    This is an excellent place to come for a drink and meet other travellers. The Taros cafe is in a top half of a restored building over looking the main square. A little on the trendy side but well worth the visit for one night. They had a live a band playing when I was there but they sang in french which I don't understand but they were very...

    more

Essaouira Transportation

  • Mogador Airport

    One day in Essaouira I was surprised to see a Ryanair plane flying low overhead. I was surprised because I didn't think there was an airport anywhere near Essaouira. I'd had romantic notions of being marooned three hours away from even the nearest train station. Then Ryanair spoiled it all.It's a tiny airport with three scheduled routes - all to...

    more
  • Bus

    Most tourists arrive in Essaouira by bus. There are two stations, one used by CTM and another by Supratours. It's an important difference. The CTM station is a long walk from the Medina, whereas the Supratours stop is right outside the city walls. If you've got to carry bags it can make a big difference.That said there will be plenty of help on...

    more
  • The wheelbarrow people

    Essaouira's ancient Medina streets are too narrow to accommodate motorised traffic, so travellers arriving at either of the two bus stations or the several taxi ranks, and in possession of a "mountain" of luggage, will need the assistance of the wheelbarrow men to transport luggage to their Hotel or Riad, located within the Medina. In the main...

    more

Essaouira Shopping

  • Alcohol

    I think that the big Acima supermarket on the outskirts of the town sells alcohol, but I think the only shop that sells it anywhere near the medina is down on Rue Cherif El Idrissi, one street back from the beach. It's very popular, and there was a constant stream of taxis dropping of thirsty tourists throughout the day.You can walk there easy...

    more
  • Supermarket

    As a small town of about 60,000 people, shopping is pretty limited in Essaouira. Around the medina and beach areas you will find lots of little "hole in the wall" shops, selling the basics and a whole lot of similar products but not a great variety. There is one supermarket, but it's on the outskirts of town about 2km from the centre of the...

    more
  • The Argan Co-operative

    The shop resembles a Grotto, with branches of the Argan tree draped around everywhere, the co-operative women use ancient tooling to hand press the oil from the kernels, then scatter them on the shop floor to create a 'crunching carpet' to walk on.The oil was too expensive to buy here, so I walked back to the Medina along Rue Mellah and eventually...

    more

Essaouira Local Customs

  • Music and festival - Essauoira

    As the gnawa-music is presented in another tip on Essaouira, I can just add, that I've been visiting a couple of times during the music-festival in June -- and for sure, it can be recommended !! The music of cause is wonderful -- but there is also a great atmosphere of joy and exitement in the town during these days. If you want to have a greater...

    more
  • Olive Oil & Camel power

    We stopped along the road north of Essaouira to visit an olive press. The grinders turn the olives into a mush, which is put in baskets that look like small tires. After the baskets are filled and stacked, they are squeezed in a press to recover the oil. One grinder was electric, but the other one ran on camel power. A blindfolded camel walked...

    more
  • Fish for the widows

    It is traditional for widows to come to the port and wait for the boats come in because the men give them fish. If you are there at the right time of day, you will see these ladies waiting patiently with their baskets.

    more

Essaouira Warnings and Dangers

  • Some Hassle

    When I told our housemaster that I was going to Essaouira he proclaimed how different the city was compared to Marrakech. He told me it was very "pacifique". Most travel reports I read said the same thing: Essaouira is a world away from Marrakech and there's almost no hassle. Well that's not entirely true.In fact the first day I arrived I...

    more
  • Travel with Small Kids

    Essaouira is far better developed than Marrakech and the medina was pretty easy to navigate with a pram. The pavements along the beach area also very good, except on a stretch where they are building a new promenade. But by the time that's finished it will be smooth pavements from the top of the beach to the bottom. The traffic is also much lighter...

    more
  • Weather

    Essaouira has a pleasant micro-climate that averages around the mid-20s all year. The stiff wind that often blows in from the Atlantic has an additional cooling effect. Just because it is cooler than elsewhere in the region, that doesn't mean the sun isn't shining, and this far south it's very strong.In winter there's the additional problem of the...

    more

Essaouira Tourist Traps

  • The toilet rip-off!

    As the European financial downturn intensifies, leading to a sharp and significant decline in Eurozone tourist numbers arriving in Morocco this year, I witnessed the response by some greedy Moroccans attempting to extract their cash shortfall from unwary travellers, especially those in a captive situation. Fast forward to the Supratours bus...

    more
  • Lookout Essaouira - Cash for camel pix

    Just before arriving in Essaouira on a day trip there is a lookout and popular tourist stop.Here the local hagglers are ready with their camels for tourist photo opportunities and cash for camel pix :o) I couldn't help falling for this one as the camel was cute...the fella was very well mannered and we needed a couple of shots of hubby and I with a...

    more
  • Stick the goats in trees for us tourists

    Ok, this is a tourist trap... but a well known one - well that is if you read people's pages here on vt and know what to expect.Only in Morocco hey :o) It does make for interesting pictures and your money goes to a Moroccan family ... well that is unless you are with a smart guide who stops just long enough for a few photos and takes off in a cloud...

    more

Essaouira What to Pack

  • Things to bring to Essaouira

    Lightweight sturdy luggage if staying a while,A daysack if just there for the day. As always, comfy shoes- there's plenty to see, - some of the pavements, steps etc can be uneven or slippery- so flatties with a good grip.Loose cotton silk or linen clothing - it can be hot and humid in Summer.A lightweight jacket , fleece or jumper -the evenings...

    more
  • Good travel books and maps

    Sun glasses, a hat or something to protect your head against the sun. Sun protection cosmetics of well known companies are available but more expensive than in Europe (Spain), local ones are of lower quality. Films for cameras (Kodak and Fuji) and for movie cameras (Video8, Hi8) available, usually a bit more expensive then in Europe...

    more
  • Climate in Essaouira

    Rainy season: between October and April; in the other months it keeps dryAvg. Temp. in Spring: max.: 25 – 27°C (77-80°F); min: 12-15°C (52-59°F)Avg. Temp. in Summer: max.: 28 – 30°C (82-86°F); min: 17-19°C (63-66°F)Avg. Temp. in Autumn: max.: 26 – 29°C (78-85°F); min: 12-17°C (52-63°F)Avg. Temp. in Winter: max.: 22 – 24°C (72-75°F); min: 9-12°C...

    more

Essaouira Off The Beaten Path

  • Essaouira's Alcohol shops...

    I've noticed many enquiries on the Internet from desperately thirsty newcomers to Essaouira, trying to locate the local "bottle shop" to purchase a bottle of wine to accompany their dinner at their lodgings. Morocco being a muslim country means that in deference to local custom, the sale and supply of alcohol within the Medinas is forbidden...

    more
  • Only in Essaouira.........

    These African goats feed on grass, leaves and in particular the foliage of the Argan tree. Their ascent and descent balancing on the thin branches seems quite precarious, but they are sure-footed and adept at obtaining their food, without falling off. When lower branches are already stripped of reachable foliage, even by standing on hind legs, a...

    more
  • Essaouira North Beach observations......

    My regular daily walk among the dunes behind Essaouira's north (Safi) beach reveals the local livestock feeding and recreation territory. The camels and bulls rest and graze contentedly on the dry plentiful vegetation and turgid succulents at the sides of the piste leading to the waste water station, only supervised by a lone gardien sleeping in...

    more

Essaouira Sports & Outdoors

  • Discover Essaouira in other way

    The excursions wich are proposed by Sahara Quad are suitable to your whises either alone, couples, with family or groups. rent Quads at Qahara Quad

    more
  • Windsurfing

    Windsurfing is the main sport activity in Essaouira. There are constant winds that pass this cape town. I saw quite a lot young wind-surfers from Europe coming to Essaouira just to practice it there. It's just cheaper to live and do that in Essaouira than in any European windsurfing center. You should bring your own equipment. Although I noticed...

    more
  • The Beach

    The Essaouira beach is one of the best I saw during my trip to morocco. The sand is great and the beach is so big!

    more

Essaouira Favorites

  • Essaouira's Historic medina street map

    It is next to impossible to find a Map with Street names of Essaouira medina :/ not anymore :D I found an Acrobat PDF format map of Essaouira's medina that you can print right off in no time and for Free :) Try this link http://e-essaouira.com/EssaouiraMedinaMap.html

    more
  • Peace

    After being in marrakesh what a pretty laidback place.Did you know Orson Welles Filmed the opening shots of Othello on the ramparts of Essaouira.

    more
  • Place Moulay Hassan

    After a stressful time on the previous day, dealing with doctors and clinics and having my foot put in plaster, a few hours in Essaouira’s main square, the Place Moulay Hassan, was just what we both needed. Although not tranquil, the pace of life is slower here than in Marrakesh. There is plenty to observe but people take a little more time to...

    more

Instant Answers: Essaouira

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

88 travelers online now

Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Essaouira
Borj el Baroud
Things to Do
Skala du Port
Things to Do
Skala de la Ville
Things to Do
Sunsets
Things to Do
Beach Park for Kids
Things to Do
Ben Youssef Mosque
Things to Do
Borj Bab Marrakech
Things to Do
Essaouira Port
Things to Do
The Beach
Things to Do
Camel Ride
Things to Do
Medina
Things to Do
Money
Warnings and Dangers
What to Wear
Warnings and Dangers
Crime
Warnings and Dangers
Food
Warnings and Dangers
Opening Times
Warnings and Dangers
Thuya bargains
Things to Do
Flash flooding
Warnings and Dangers
Flood defences, Diabat, Essaouira.
Warnings and Dangers
Essaouira Medina shopping....
Shopping
Essaouira Medina shopping
Shopping
A Caleche ride.......
Transportation
The local bus......
Transportation
Beware of street excavations.....
Warnings and Dangers
Synagogue Rabbi Hiam Pinto, Essouira.
Off The Beaten Path
Christian Cemetery, Essouira.
Off The Beaten Path
A view over Essaouira
Things to Do
Wonderful Thuya Marquetry
Things to Do
Wonderful old doors and windows!
Things to Do
Skala de la Ville
Things to Do
Drive up the coast to Moulay Bouzektoun
Off The Beaten Path
The Portuguese Fortress
Things to Do
Walled fortified town with interesting gates
Things to Do
Cafes around the main square
Restaurants
Sewage mist from the sea.
Warnings and Dangers
Borj el Berod, Essaouira.
Off The Beaten Path
Mellah, Essaouira.
Off The Beaten Path
Essaouira's "Industrial Estate"......
Off The Beaten Path
Beware of juvenile thieves!
Warnings and Dangers
Beware the bus station hustlers !
Warnings and Dangers
Map of Essaouira

View all Essaouira hotels