Ahhh Essaouira! A pretty, white-washed, port town located on the Atlantic coast, only two hours drive from Marrakech has stolen my heart.
After few days in a bustling Marrakech we went on a day trip to Essaouira to enjoy the ocean’s breeze, fresh fish and stunning views. This Morrocan seaside town features preserved 18th-century seaport fortifications, stamped with a UNESCO World Heritage Site listing which makes it not only pretty but also interesting sight to visit. We very much enjoyed wandering through the narrow streets, admiring the architecture and snapping photos along the way. Ready to have a little journey through the jewel of Atlantic?
6 Things to do in the coastal town Essaouira
1/ Explore the white medina
Essaouira ( “little picture” in Arabic) and it’s old town is a great alternative to the bustling city of Marrakech. A dreamy, laid back atmosphere let you enjoy a slow stroll through the white, historical centre which is much easier to navigate than the Marrakech souks. Get lost in the narrow streets, have a mint tea and get some souvenirs from the local market.
2/ Enjoy the architecture and views from the walls surrounding Essaouira
The walls, gates, towers and bastions forming the fortifications of Essaouira are historic monuments which should not be missed! The coastal walls are spectacular so it the view on the old town and ocean from above, accompanied my hundrests of seagulls filling the sky. Walk around, feel the breeze and enjoy the historical atmosphere as it is truly one of the kind.
3/ Visit the port
It was once the most important trading port between Africa, Europe and the Americas trading cotton, luxuaries, ostrich feathers. The port is all blue. You can see blue everywhere – the lined up fishermen boats are blue, the nets are blue, the doors are blue. It’s a signature of Essouira and the color has it’s history – it has been harvested from the shells found on the Purple Islands which protect the town from the open ocean.
When I said everything was blue in the port, I meant it as you can see!
4/ Experience the fish market
I have to admit, fish market kind of impressed me (shocked me!) Salty-smell, very crowded with all kind of fish on sale including giant crabs and full-size sharks! You can pick your fish and take it to a restaurant who will grill it for a small fee. Fish is my probably favourite food in the world so when I visit fishermen town I need to try local speciality. The lunch we had here was delicious, I’m not sure what the fish was spiced with but it added a local touch to that meal which I will remember for a long time.
5/ Enjoy the tiny local shops
In the medina you will find rows of of cupboard-size shops with handwoven rugs, dyed materials, morrocan ceramics which are not only feast to eyes but also high quality craftsmanship. It’s a great place to shop for quality home decorations, beauty oils or fashion accessories. Also the sellers approach is much more kind and relaxed than in Marrakech, it’s very unlikely anyone will follow you down the street trying to make a sale *wink*
6/ Go to the beach
Last but not least if of course the beach experience! As you can tell from my photos it was a little bit foggy on the day we visited Essaouira so we didn’t experience the proper beach life. I have to admit, however that it looks stunning and I’m sure it feels that way when you lie on the white sand, listening to the sound of waves. We will need to come back for that!
I hope you enjoyed this walk with me through the pretty streets of Essaouira. I’m very happy we visited this town as it is a true treasure! I will be back with Marrakech guide in the next few days.
Thanks for reading!
Photos: Agata Dimmich / Passionshake