Essaouira -Things To Do in Essaouira Morocco

Essaouira is the most imposing of Moroccan cities, it is a fascinating combination of streets lined with snow-white houses, wide sandy beaches and a lively fishing port. The city is famous for its craftsmen working with local cedar wood. Essaouira attracts both artists and photographers, as well as windsurfers who consider the local skiing to be the best in Africa. The city is located 176 km west of Marrakech.

beach essaouira

Table Of Contents

Informatioin About Essaouira Historique

The name of the city comes from the word suirah – “beautifully drawn”, and indeed, Essaouira is distinguished by an unusual regular layout for the country, which owes it to the French slave of the Sultan Sidi Mohammed, who in 1760 proposed the project for the current development. In the Roman era, the “purple” islands of Mogador (also the ancient name of Essaouira), located near the coast, supplied the dye obtained from shellfish for the royal mantle. Such a mantle was on the shoulders of Ptolemy at his meeting with Caligula, and it also served as a pretext for the murder of the Moorish ruler, who claimed to be superior in dress.

A busy fishing port is the epicenter of urban activity. Today tourism is competing with sardine fishing as the basis of the urban economy, although there are few attractions in the traditional sense in Essaouira. Chief among them – the fortress Scala (Skala) , which offers a wonderful view of the bay and a small town museum Sidi Mohammed (rue Derb Laalouj; open: 8.30-18.00; closed: Tue, entrance fee) . Guests of the city spend most of their time at the bazaars of wooden products, admiring the works of local craftsmen offered by the merchants.

To the south of the port stretched sand dunes Diabate (Diabat) , where once settled colony of hippies, led by Jimi Hendrix. Today the Essaouira beach has been chosen by fans of windsurfing.

Essaouira doesn’t have many iconic sights and interesting places, but the city is very atmospheric and will suit those who want to relax on the ocean shore, leisurely strolling along the port and fortresses. And not getting tired of stroking the cats, they are very fat here (ate on fish)!

Essaouira Pronunciation

CHECK This Article IN How To Pronounce Essaouira Pronunciation

Essaouira Map

Things To See in Essaouira

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Marrakech Essaouira Distance

Essaouira city is located 176 km west of Marrakech.

marrakech to essaouira time:2-4HOURS

Casablanca Essaouira Distance

Essaouira city is located 372 km of Casablanca.

Casablanca to essaouira time:3-4hourd


essaouira morocco

Essaouira is known as the “Windy City of Africa”. So don’t expect to spend a relaxing time on the Essaouira beach during your stay. The coastal wind – called the alizee – makes it the perfect place to learn to kite surf, but you’ll get a mouthful of sand if you try to sunbathe. Instead, spend your days shopping in the souk, sipping tea on rooftop terraces, and enjoying late nights with wine and live music.

Prepare your trip to Essaouira

What you should know About Morocco before you leave

  • The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan dirham (Dhs). At the time of writing, the conversion rate was approximately 8.25 Dhs to 1 USD. We will be referring to costs in dirhams, so keep in mind that if we say something costs 100 Dhs, it is equivalent to about 12-13 USD.
  • A number of languages are spoken in Morocco, but the two official languages are Modern Standard Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). The second (or third) language of most Moroccans is French. You will also find that many people speak at least some English.
  • Cash is king in Essaouira Morocco (and in all of Morocco, for that matter). Plan to pay for your food and lodging in cash, and keep small bills handy if you decide to tip the many beggars and street performers in the area. There are several ATMs conveniently located in the central square.
  • In general, non-Muslims are not allowed to visit mosques in Morocco and Essaouira is no exception. Admire them from afar but do not try to enter them.

Best Time To Travel To Essaouira

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Essaouira enjoys a very mild climate throughout the year. It is located on the west coast and a cold current crosses the Atlantic, keeping temperatures around 73°F, even during the summer months. A cool breeze blows year round, making it an ideal place for kite surfers and anyone looking to escape the intense heat of Marrakech.Summer is a best time to visit Essaouira, but it will be crowded with foreigners and Moroccans trying to find respite from the interior. Although temperatures are warmer, the beach is not ideal for sunbathing or swimming due to high waves and wind.

Temperatures are also mild in winter, with average temperatures of 66°F, although the constant wind makes it feel colder. Many riads are great to visit in the summer, as they have beautiful roofs, perfect for lounging. But because of their open-air design, they can be quite cold in winter.

Safety in Essaouira

Morocco is an incredibly safe country and the crime rate is quite low, but the maze of winding alleys can certainly make you feel uneasy at times. Compared to larger cities like Marrakech and Fez, Essaouira is a bit safer. The alleys are wider, there is less motorcycle traffic in the Essaouira medina, and the people seem friendlier.

You’re also less likely to find the scammers of Marrakech who often give foreigners false information. Essaouira medina is easy to navigate and you can generally trust people to point you in the right direction if you get confused.

Getting to Essaouira Morocco

Essaouira-Mogador Airport (ESU) is the small international airport serving Essaouira. Royal Air Maroc, Transavia, and easyJet are the airlines that operate flights to and from ESU.
Essaouira is not crossed by a rail line, but many buses shuttle between cities in Morocco throughout the day. CTM is the largest and most reliable bus company and Supratours also offers regular Comfortable bus. The bus from Casablanca takes about 6 hours and from Marrakech about 2.5 hours.
Many people choose to visit Essaouira in one day and hire a driver for the day. We do not recommend this option as it is worth spending 3 or 4 days exploring this amazing city.
Large cabs travel to Essaouira from Marrakech airport during the day only for a price of about 500 Dhs per person.

There are three bus stations in the city: the main one, from where most buses leave (closer to the outskirts of the city), as well as the bus stations of CTM and Supratours companies. The last one is closest to the essaouira medina and the embankment, so we used it. The CTM and Supratours buses are slightly more expensive than all the others, but they have good service on board. Here are the prices for CTM buses from / to Essaouira from different cities in Morocco:

Agadir – 3 flights per day, 70 dirham, 3 hours

Casablanca – 4 flights per day, 140 dirham, 7 hours

marrakech to essaouira flights – 2 flights per day, 2.5 hours

cost of bus from marrakech to essaouira:80dh

Tan-Tan – 1 flight, 175 dirham, 11 hours on the way.

Grand Taxi Essaouira Marrakech:

Private Transfer from Marrakech To Essaouira: about 2h30 drive.: the rate varies between 450dh/40€ and 1000dh/90€, depending on your negotiation skills, where you are, By Grand Taxi: large shared taxi of 6 people: about 80dh/7€ per person.


Essaouira is not very big, so you can easily explore the old medina on foot. If you need to go to the new part of Essaouira (to go to the bus station for example), all cabs in the city have the same flat rate – 7 MAD. So there is no need to negotiate when you get into the cab, just tell the driver where you want to go and pay when you arrive.

Best Things to See and Do in Essaouira, Morocco

1. Explore the Medina essaouira

from marrakech to essaouira

You are probably familiar with Moroccan medinas, like the one in Marrakech, by now. Carpets, cats, carts, narrow streets, beautiful doors, you know the drill.

But here’s what makes Essaouira medina different:

  • A wide boulevard runs through the midle. It starts at the popular Place Moulay Hassan, then becomes less and less touristy and more and more convenient for the inhabitants. After eight hundred meters, the medina ends at the essaouira citadel bab doukkala.
  • Since it is only about 800 meters long and even less wide, and all roads lead to the central boulevard, you have to be really bad at orientation to get hopelessly lost.
  • Less shenanigans. For example, unlike the medina in Marrakech, no one in Essaouira ever told us we were going the “wrong way” and tried to guide us where we didn’t want to go.
  • Less dodging. Few bikes, motorcycles or donkey carts threaten to run you over or amputate your toes.
  • The ramparts. You can walk along the top of the walls by the sea, take selfies sitting on the cannons, and shop in the tourist stores in the narrow street below.
  • Fish market. As we explain in our article on where to eat in Essaouira, we advise you to be careful shopping at the fish market, but it doesn’t hurt to look around.

Essaouira Fishing Port

marrakech to essaouira

Essaouira is a fishing town and was the main fishing port in the country in the 1900s. The port has not lost its authenticity and it is the ideal place to see the fishermen unloading their catch of the day and selling it to the locals.

Admire the bevy of blue boats, try to stay out of the way while the fishermen haul in their catch and sell it, watch them set their nets while chatting, and take pictures of all the action with the seagulls in flight, the Sqala du Port, and the medina walls in the background.
This port is a photographer’s paradise. you will loved to going there every day for taking pictures of the fishermen returning from the sea in the evening.
This is also the favorite time for the cheeky seagulls to fill their bellies…

If you’re a gourmet, you can buy fresh fish and grill it right on the spot.

In addition to the delicious fish you can enjoy, the harbor is also a great place to watch the sunset. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the top of the pier to get the best view of the sun disappearing behind the island of Mogador.


essaouira medina tours

The rocks and cliffs surrounding the old town of Essaouira are spectacular and you can walk by them at low tide.

It is especially beautiful to walk around them at sunset!

To get there, you’ll have to leave the old town at Place Moulay Hassan and head towards the port.

When you reach the end of the square, you can access the beginning of this rocky path on your right.

Best Look Places of Essaouira city

For an entrance fee of only Dhs 10, you can get one of the best views of the old city in all of Essaouira from the Skala du Port (skala de la kasbah) .
The small circular gate in the wall is perfect and even has steps to help you get into position. After taking a few photos, climb the stairs to view the bustling port from above. The view of the blue fishing boats below, while birds fly overhead, is truly breathtaking.

Afterwards, head to the nearby seafood stalls, where you can see the day’s catch and choose which ones you want to grill. Ali, at stall #33, is super friendly and not as pushy as some of the other vendors.

Making friends with a camel on the beach -essaouira camel trek

morocco essaouira

While Essaouira’s beach isn’t exactly ideal for sunbathing, it is great for long walks, watching kite surfers, befriending local horses and camels, and taking a ride on a mountain bike. When you exit the medina near the port, you will see the beach stretching for miles in front of you. In the distance, you’ll probably see several kites crossing the ocean – head in that direction. You’ll find a plethora of activities to keep you busy.

Moroccans who offer camel rides, horseback riding, or ATVs will fall all over you as soon as you get close. We prefer to stick to ATVs rather than cute animals, but it’s up to you. You can opt for a short walk along the beach or a longer one through the small sand dunes. Don’t forget to negotiate the price before you get on board.

Visiting the fortress tower-borj al barmil essaouira

There is a small entrance fee to enter this fortified tower but it is the best place to get a view of the whole city. You can see the port and the old town on one side and the ocean on the other.It’s best to go there on a weekday as it gets really busy during weekends.

Visite Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah Museum Essaouira

This iconic historical museum is well worth a visit. It is located in a 19th century mansion in the center of the old town and was named after the founder of the city himself.

It exhibits beautiful historical objects of the city such as ancient pottery, jewelry, musical instruments, wooden objects and weavings. The museum also contains a lot of interesting information about the Berber tribes that inhabited the area.

To visit this museum, you must go to Rue Laâlouj, a central street in the city of Essaouira (see map above “cool things to do in Essaouira”).

Visite The Sunday Open-AIR MARKET-Draa’s Sunday Market

from marrakech to essaouira

Visiting a traditional souk in Morocco is an experience you must absolutely try. They often resemble small mazes of stalls and stores and will overwhelm you with their smells and colors. Visiting these open-air markets is the best cultural experience you can have in Morocco.

Men from all over the region—Just men. The market is 99.9% male—ride for hours on their donkeys and busses to load sell their wares and load up on produce and other necessities for the week to come.

To get there, you will have to leave the old city from Bab Doukala. You have to go straight along the carriages and pass the gas station, then you will see a street full of stalls and vendors.

Visite Dar Sultan Palace Essaouira

This “sand castle” is actually a palace called “Dar Sultan”. It was built outside the city, near the coast, and furnished in a typical European style. It is said that Jimmy Hendrix spent a whole day there drinking and smoking while he wrote his famous song “Castle Made Of Sand”.

Walk to the end of the beach past the camels and horses and a rock that comes out of the sea. There you will see a river that flows into the ocean. If you follow this river on your left through the sand dunes, you will find a path that will lead you to the famous “Jimmy Hendrix sand castle”.

Shop Gifts In Essaouira Market(souk)

Most stores in the medina of Essaouira are touristy and tasteless, but not all. So, as with argan oil, finding authentic, quality products at reasonable prices is part of the game. As with argan oil, woodwork carved from the local Thula tree is a local specialty, so be on the lookout.

Leather bags, shoes, and cushions spill out into the alleys and plush Berber rugs hang from the walls. Spices delight your senses and blankets of all sizes and colors make the perfect gift for your friends back home. The store across the alley from the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Museum has a wide selection of quality leather goods, and the salespeople are happy to negotiate with you. Expect to spend about 300 Dhs for a large leather “pouf” like this one:

And if you’re looking for tasteful souvenirs but are tired of haggling and want to be sure that what you bring home won’t fall apart in the next few days, head to L’Atelier, my favorite cooking school, cafe and home decor store in Essaouira.


essaouira trajin

Moroccans have quite a sweet tooth. By ending each meal with a delicious pastry and a few cups of sweet mint tea, it is impossible not to develop one too during your stay. traditional dishes such as Tajines and harira soup almost anywhere in the city. If you would like something a bit fancier, it’s also possible to enjoy a Mediterranean dinner in one of the few luxurious restaurants overlooking the Moulay Hassan square.Walking through the streets of the medina of Essaouira, you will find countless stands selling typical Moroccan sweets, creamy ice cream, chocolate pancakes, and everything in between.


Gnawa music is massively popular throughout Morocco, but Essaouira is the heart of it. This type of music originated in Senegal, Sudan and Ghana, and was brought to Morocco by slaves. It mixes spirituality, rhythm and wild dance, resulting in a hypnotic trance. There are only three instruments: the krakets (iron castanets), the ghimbri (a three-stringed bass) and the voice.

essaouira gnawa

You can hear it at the Gnawa Blues restaurant, or at the Gnaoua world music festival every year in June. Besides the Gnawa, there is also the Festival des Alizés in April for classical music or the Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques in November for Arab and Andalusian music.

Enjoy A tradiotnal Hammam In Essaouira

A visit to a hammam is the the must Lovely Moroccan experience. In Essaouira, as in most major Moroccan cities, you have two options for visiting a hammam. You can either go to the very popular local hammam, where the majority of the locals go, or you can go to a spa-style hammam.

I personally recommend the first type of hammam over the second. Popular and inexpensive local hammams are an integral part of Moroccan culture.

All you need to do before you go is take some natural argan soap and your scrub cloth. Once there, you will be given a bucket and you will have to undress in the midst of the locals rubbing their backs while discussing their daily lives.

Get Hanna Tattos In Your Hands-Henna essaouira

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Covering the hands with henna tattoos is a tradition that is often associated with weddings and other celebratory rituals.

The tradition of using henna decoratively on the body in Morocco dates back to the time when the early nomadic Berber tribes traveled the country.

Henna was used after any major event, whether it was to celebrate a victory in battle, a wedding or a birth.

Taking Essaouira Cooking class

L’Atelier, A favorite place in Essaouira to work, eat quiche, drink coffee and buy souvenirs, also COOKING cooking classes which are very popular. They cost 500dh and take place from 10h30 to 3 per day.

Learn to Kite Surf

Essaouira’s strong winds and sandy shoreline create the perfect conditions to learn a new sport – kite surfing! Explora Watersports offers private, semi-private or group lessons, depending on your comfort level. You can also customize the length of your lesson. Their qualified experts will teach you the basics so you feel confident to get in the water and give it a try.
If kite surfing isn’t your thing, you can also rent regular surfboards and stand-up paddle boards with wetsuits for alternative water adventures. You’ll probably need a wetsuit, no matter what time of year you go.
After essaouira beach surfing, be sure to head to Ocean Vagabond to enjoy the surfers’ vibes while drinking a beer and watching the sunset over the Atlantic. This is one of the most popular spots in Essaouira for locals and tourists alike!

essaouira beach


essaouira from marrakech

If you feel like sandwiches or pancakes, you will find them all over the old town. It would be impossible to make an exhaustive list of all these restaurants, but I recommend some of my favorites.


Address: Rue Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah

This place, owned and operated by a charming Italian, serves some of the best pasta we’ve tasted in a long time. They are cheap (you can get a basic dish for about 50 dirhams) and the portions are good size – so good that we ate them twice!

check tripadvisor essaouira hotels her


Address: Mehdi Ben Tomert

A small, family-owned restaurant with only four tables and walls decorated with boxing memorabilia (the father/husband of the family is a top-notch boxing trainer by all accounts). The food isn’t fancy, and there are only a handful of dishes on the menu, but order one of each and get ready for one of the best and most authentic meals you’ll have in Morocco! Best of all? Two people can eat to their hearts content and pay only 100 dirhams! If you’ve read our article on travel costs in Morocco, you know that this is a real bargain.

We loved this little gem so much that we were disgusted when we returned on the last night to see that it was closed for the evening – so if you’re only there for a night or two, don’t leave it too late!


204 Place du Marche Aux Grains

Delicious freshly squeezed juices (served in jars of jam, of course), healthy sandwiches and an excellent vegetarian burger can be enjoyed in this delicious café located in a wonderfully sunny square. A small warning: you may have to throw a cat out of your seat before you can sit down!


5 Rue Hajjali

A super cool design, a beautiful shaded terrace and excellent food. Of course, it’s a bit expensive, but if you’ve been eating tagine all week, the menu here will delight and surprise you! Excellent choice of vegetables too.

where to stay in essaouira(experience of freinds)

essaouira riads

Essaouira Hotels

After nearly a week in a riad with a magnificent budget in Marrakech, it is the scene of the hostel in Essaouira that challenged us.

One hostel in particular stood out from the others: Green Milk. The staff was very friendly, the atmosphere was very sociable (without needing to be constantly stoned), the food was surprisingly good, the design was cool, the staff spoke English very well and there was a fantastic, albeit somewhat distant, dog called Chico. Check prices and availability here.

If you’ve ever researched accommodation options in Essaouira, you’ll probably come across Atlantic Hostel. After talking to several former guests who have sought comfort at the Green Milk, it seems that its reputation as a dirty and festive hostel is justified. Unless you like being kept awake by noisy bongos until 5am, it’s probably worth missing it.

Things to do, where to eat and where to stay in Essaouira, Morocco
If you prefer riads (especially if you don’t have the opportunity to rent one elsewhere in Morocco), you’ll be happy to know that Essaouira has plenty of them – and at really fantastic prices! These are some of the best in the city:

Riad Lunetoile : An astonishing charm of roof and seaside.

Dar Ness | Superb location next to the beach.

Riad Chbante | The option “loosen the purse strings”.

If you are a larger group or prefer to have your own accommodation, check out Jack’s Apartments or one of the many excellent Airbnbs in Essaouira (and if you sign up for Airbnb via this link you will save up to £25 on your first booking).

Essaouira Excursion And Day Trips Ideas

essaouira morocco
essaouira morocco


There are two other coastal towns north and south of Essaouira that we recommend you visit while you are on the Moroccan coast. These are the cities of Taghazout and El Jadida. They are both very different and their proximity to Essaouira makes them ideal places to visit after your stay. I also strongly advise you to visit a beautiful canyon filled with pools of water east of Taghazout, called “Valley of Paradise”.

Essaouira Excursion To Taghazout-Essaouira beach surfing

Taghazout is a cool surf town where surfers from all over the world come to enjoy the winter waves.
It is sometimes cited as one of the best winter surfing destinations in Morocco. The water temperature rarely drops below 16°C in winter and the air temperature hovers around 18-20°C even in January.

This city has an amazing WEATHER, as you can imagine in any surfers paradise. There are a lot of cheap hostels where you can meet fun travelers in pursuit of the waves.

How to get to Taghazout from Essaouira?

From Essaouira, you can take a bus to Agadir (with Supratours or CTM). The trip between Essaouira and Agadir costs about 65 MAD but you will have to arrange with your driver to be dropped off in Taghazout, 20 minutes north of Agadir. You must do this at the time of purchasing your ticket to be sure that you will be dropped off at the right place.

If you have your own car or if you rent one, you can follow the N1 highway south to the surf center. The distance between the two coastal towns is 154 km and the trip should take about two and a half hours. There are many viewpoints along the road where you can stop to take great pictures of the coastline.

Essaouira Excursion To EL JADIDA

This small town north of Essaouira is quite famous for its appearance. It has enormous Portuguese fortifications and a very interesting architecture that resembles no other Moroccan city. Although it is not a great vacation destination, it is quite popular among Moroccans who go there to enjoy small seaside resorts facing the sea.

How to get to El Jadida from Essaouira?

There is a daily CTM bus from the CTM terminal in Essaouira to El Jadida. It takes about 4.5 hours to reach the northern city and a ticket costs 110 MAD.

If you have your own car and want to get there, just follow the N1 highway northbound. The distance between cities is 255 km and the trip should take 3h45.

Day trips to essaouia-Essaouira 1 day

day trips to essaouira from marrakech

Enjoy Best essaouira day tours from marrakech:one of best morocco tours from marrakech

Discover Essaouira Morocco With Marrakech day trip to Essaouira. During this excursion essaouira day tour from Marrakech, you can visit the old medina of Essaouira, the port and the Scala and the Argan woman’s co-operative, eat traditional dishes, and see Essaouira beach and the city gates.

Essaouira or Mogador is an old fort and fishing port located within 2 hours drive from Marrakech. It is considered one of the most popular day tours out of Marrakech. Essaouira day trip: marrakech to essaouira day trip is by far the most appreciated day tours by our clients: Many of them discover that hidden gem for the first time. Right away they decide to come back for sure to a short break in the peaceful and artsy and hippy town of Essaouira.

Essaouira day trips from Marrakech is a must-do day trip. Essaouira Situates in 175 kilometers away from Marrakech City. The beach of Essaouira is a long ribbon of around ten kilometers bathed in the surf. Its sheer size is surprising and its tranquillity is reassuring. There is an invigorating sensation from the ocean breeze as soon as you set foot on the immaculate sand., you will also admire the view of goats on trees. Essaouira is a medieval city known for its annual festival of Gnaoua music. UNESCO considers the city to be an international heritage. There are many other things to admire during your Essaouira day trip from Marrakech such as its pleasant ESSAOUIRA weather, place Moulay El Hassan, La Skala(skala de la kasbah), the port, the ramparts, and the Jewish district ‘Derb Lealouj’. thanks to the ocean breeze, Essaouira benefits from the cool air.

check our private day trip from marrakech to essaouira (we offer also shared day trips from marrakech to essaouira)

day trips to essaouira from casablanca

Day Trip To Essaouira From Casablanca Started With depart from your accommodation in Casablanca,Drive for about 4.5 hours. and then drive you to one of the loveliest cities in morocco. Before reaching to Essaouira you will have an exceptional places in the road to admire the landscape; Arriving Essaouira Discovering the old History of Essaouira and enjoy a spectacular ESSAOUIRA Weather of this city. You will have free time to get your lunch and to stroll in Essaouira, Feel free to explore this city and to say your farewells.

begin exploring this stunning example of Moroccan heritage. Wander through the historic streets and walk along the beaches. The Mogador Island, just a few meters off the coast, lies in clearest of waters and its moderate waves and the surroundings make it one of the most popular essaouira beach in the area.

check our day trips to essaouira from casablanca

day trip to essaouira from agadir


 Get to know the unique history, culture, and heritage of Essaouira on a one day trip. 
 A Visit to the Medina of Essaouira offers a charming colorful landscapes from The Moroccan – Portuguese style, to the Grand Mosque, terraces, cafes, and the souk. This old Portuguese city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Morocco in 2001.

agadir essaouira distance is 175km with 2h52 driving time

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