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Essaouira: a guide to Morocco’s beautiful coastal getaway

Essaouira - travel guide to Morocco's seaside getaway

I didn’t expect to fall so in love with Essaouira, Morocco‘s windy, blue and white city.

But fall I did. I highly recommend Essaouira to any traveller heading to Morocco, and have put together this little Essaouira travel guide. The coastal town provides such a wonderful contrast to Marrakech’s dusty streets and busy, electric atmosphere.

Essaouira travel guide - Morocco seaside town - the traveloguer travel blog

We were limited by time on our trip to Morocco, but being able to visit both Marakkech and Essouira was the perfect way to get to know Morocco – and to make us desperate to go back!

 

– ESSAOUIRA TRAVEL GUIDE –

tips and advice for your trip to Morocco’s beautiful seaside destination

Essaouria at night - a guide

GET TO ESSAOUIRA

From Marrakech, you can drive to Essaouira or get the bus. Lucky Londoners can fly direct to Essaouira from Luton with EasyJet!

BY BUS

A tourist bus is an easy, comfortable way to get to Essaouira.

Supratours buses leaves from the bus station in Gueliz, right next to the Marrakech train station. We got a taxi there from near the Jamaa el Fna in the medina for 60 Dirham.

IMG_20170810_112046-01

The bus costs 70 D and takes 3 hours. The air-conditioned coach will make a stop en route for snacks and a chance to use the bathroom.

Once you get to Essaouira, you will be surrounded by men telling you about their accommodation, and offering to take your bags.

We weren’t sure how to find our accommodation, as the instructions we were sent didn’t seem to be from where we were, so we got one of the men to carry our bags in his big blue wheelbarrow and lead the way. It cost 50 D.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN ESSAOUIRA

where to stay in Essaouira

I usually use Booking.com to find accommodation from the road. Our travel style means we usually book our accommodation a day or two in advance. For our trip to Essaouira, we searched for reasonable prices, good location, breakfast included, and a riad was a must, after we fell utterly in love with them in Marrakech.

Riad Saltana

We chose Riad Saltana, located in a tiny little alley off another narrow alley close to the large walls surrounding the medina. The owner, Geraldine, is really friendly and gave us great advice on where to eat and drink. We felt really at home. Our room was stunning white and blue, and breakfast on the roof terraces was a lovely way to start our day.

Our room was €37 per night, including VAT, plus tourist tax.

Riad Saltana

where to stay in essaouira's medina

There are a few big hotels outside the medina, by the beach, if you fancy something a little fancier. However, I really recommend staying inside the medina for a more authentic experience. Another high contender on our list of possible places to stay was La Maison du Cinema, which looked really pretty and was in a great location.

FOOD IN ESSAOUIRA

One word: seafood.

Seafood in Essaouira - freshly caught - travel guide to Essaouira in Morocco

Essaouira is a seafood lover’s paradise. Eating freshly caught crab, fish and prawns served up with bread and salad is an unmissable experience. The seafood is brought in to Essaouira’s harbour and served from stalls near the square, Place Moulay Hassan.

More seafood can be munched on in many of the restaurants around the town. We enjoyed a gorgeous seafood meal at Bab Laachour on Place Moulay Hassan.

seafood in Essaouira

Aside from seafood, we ate delicious tagines, kebabs, pigeon pastilla, salads and pizza from the many restaurants and cafes dotted around the medina.

The town has French influences and so there are lots of crepes and cakes on offer.

 

Mmm Moroccan breakfast in Essaouira 💜

A post shared by Christine Maguire (@the_traveloguer) on

As for breakfast, we enjoyed a typical Moroccan breakfast of flatbread, yoghurt, fruit and juice from our riad’s rooftop terrace. The only downside was when we went for coffee at one of the little cafe’s we were envious of the reasonable breakfasts served there. You can get orange juice, coffee, bread and a pastry for 25D.

Mint tea and verbena tea are made for sipping in Essaouira. There’s also a nice ice-cream shop on Place Moulay Hassan square, which is a nice place to go for a late night dessert.

Cost of food in Essaouira

To give you an idea of prices:

50D for a set menu of Moroccan soup, a sardine tagine with chocolate cake and olives and bread in a little restaurant hidden down one of the side streets.

110D for a beer and a glass of wine at Taro’s, the rooftop bar with live music.

70D for that delicious plate of prawns pictured above

10D for coffee, mint and verbena tea

75D Tomato salad, water, chicken skewers & Coke

 

WHEN IN ESSAOUIRA, SPEND TIME…

Chilling out

Essaouira has that lovely, laid-back beachy feel, and so lingering over a coffee while people watching or or lying on the sand listening to the waves feels so right.

Essaouira - a guide to Morocco's seaside town - the traveloguer

We spent our days strolling up and down the colourful streets, taking it all in, and eating delicious seafood and snacks.

Photography fans will be reaching for their cameras at all times. I could have taken millions more photographs of beautiful doors, side streets and sunsets.

Doors of Essaouira - Essaouira travel guide for Moroccos beautiful town

See the harbour 

A visit to Essaouira would be incomplete without exploring the bustling harbour, where fishermen bring in their haul that is sold to haggling customers. We spent ages wandering through the crowds, and people watching from above.

Essaouira travel guide - fall in love with Moroccos seaside getaway - the travelouger

Essouira harbour - travel guide, Morocco

 

Walk the Ramparts

essaouria views

Wander the old Portuguese ramparts that embrace Essaouira. The ramparts make for excellent viewing points, where you can see the waves crash dramatically as seagulls fly over the old medina stretched out within the walls.

Essaouira, Morocco - the traveloguer travel blog

Admire Crafts & Art Galleries 

Essaouira is home to many craft makers and artists. It is also home to argan oil. Argan, a wonder beauty product, is made from argan fruit grown near Essaouira. There are women co-ops in the area that produce argan products. Don’t leave without picking some up for yourself!

Essaouira travel guide - Morocco - the traveloguer travel blog

Essaouira

Diabat

The nearby old Berber village of Diabat is worth a trip for Jimi Hendrix fans. There’s a Hendrix cafe there.

Beautiful streets of Essouira - Essaouira travel tips - a guide to Moroccos seaside town

Horse riding

I didn’t get to try this, but the idea of riding horseback across the beach sounds idyllic. You can also ride camels on the beach.

Essaouira camels on the beach - riads in morocco

Essaouira Festival

Gnaoua Festival of World Music  takes place in Essaouira each year. It combines jazz, pop, rock, soul and contemporary world music, while celebrating North African culture. A definite one to add to the wishlist!

 

Pin for later!

Travel guide to Essaouira - Morocco's beautiful, dreamy, coastal town

 

 

Essaouira travel guide - explore Moroccos beautiful seaside getaway - the traveloguer travel blog

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Travelling Dany
    August 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    This is such a useful travel guide, I loved all the details! And the fresh fish sounds like a treat I couldn’t resist!
    Travelling Dany recently posted…12 things to eat in Naples like a localMy Profile

  • Reply
    Renada
    August 12, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I love this post! I have only been to Tangiers, a day trip from Spain, which is clearly not what the full country is about. I like how you weren’t sure if you would like the place and you wound up loving it.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    August 12, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I missed a chance to go to Morocco when I was in Spain. These photos are reminding me why I wanted to visit. Essaouria will definitely be on my list now – I can’t believe there’s a Hendrix shrine there!
    Jennifer recently posted…Visit Vancouver Like a LocalMy Profile

  • Reply
    Maria Angelova
    August 13, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Not only Essaouira, but the whole Morocco is all about chilling and strolling narrow streets. I think this is why so many Europeans visit it – we just need to stop, take a deep breath and enjoy doing nothing. Love your room, too!

  • Reply
    Danik
    August 13, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I love Morocco and want to go back there as soon as possible. The people, the culture, the food totally amazing. I havent been to the coastal areas but wouldnt mind a trip there now 🙂
    Danik recently posted…Road trippin’ around Gran CanariaMy Profile

  • Reply
    Damien McGuigan
    August 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Another country that I have shockingly not made it to yet! That seafood looks incredible!

  • Reply
    Teesh
    August 14, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I would fall in love with this place, too!

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    August 16, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Wow, that is some gem you found! Love the pics! How many minutes/hours from Marrakech>

  • Reply
    Brianna
    August 18, 2017 at 2:47 am

    Noooo why did you have to make my Morocco travel list longer?? It’s barely manageable as it is! This town looks like a great escape from the chaos of Marrakech.

  • Reply
    Carmen Edelson
    August 18, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Never heard of Essaouira! Love adding new places to my travel list, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Carmen Edelson recently posted…Plan a Romantic Outdoors Getaway in Golden, British ColumbiaMy Profile

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