Essaouira is a well-known port city and seaside town on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast encased by old 18th century brass cannons and picturesque ocean views. For travelers looking for a laid-back Moroccan getaway. Only two-and-a-half hours from Marrakech, Essaouira is the place to be.
Famously known as the filming location of Game of Thrones Season 3, the town of Essaouira is a charming, easy-going alternative to the bustling city of Marrakech. In Arabic, Essaouira means “little picture”, and it is an artist’s dream location with a bright blue and white city inner-walled city, surrounded by a sand colored stone wall and large stone gates. Beyond the city lies a vibrant port, rolling waves, and a sandy beach that stretches for miles.
Between April and November, Essaouira is well-known as the ‘Windy City of Africa’ and attracts windsurfers and kite boarders from around the world. Most visitors come during the fall and spring seasons to wander through the old medina, visit the art galleries and boutiques, and most importantly, relax in some of Morocco’s best hotels on the beach and witness the day to day harbor life.
Below are some of the best things to do when visiting Essaouira!
Avenue d’Istaqal’s cupboard size shops
Stroll through a colorful display of local cupboard size shops, filled with local leatherwear, ceramics, and rolls of vibrant fabrics.
Lunch at the Gargottes
If you’re ready to take a break from exploring, head down to the port for a lunch of fresh fish at one of the Gargottes, a row of blue and white stalls serving fresh fish cooked over a charcoal grill.
Musée Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah
Walk through and visit a former pasha’s residence filled with collections of photographs, old weapons, jewelry, and musical instruments
Wander through the “mellah” (old Jewish quarter) of the old city, and you’ll find yourself in a maze of former mansions, exquisitely decorated.
International Festival of Gnawa music
Every June, Essaouira hosts the International Festival of Gnawa music, which is a diverse music, arts, and culture festival filled with deep roots to the North African culture. The line-up includes traditional local music, along with blues, jazz, and soul from all around the globe.
Day trip to the town of Imsouane
If you’d like a change of scenery for the day, consider visiting the town of Imsouane, famous for its fishing and surfing. The town is immersed with a hippie surf culture, and small cafes, surf shops, and a fishing trade hall open to the public.
If you’re looking for a relaxing Moroccan vacation, Essaouira is the place for you!