A walk through the port of Essaouira is an important experience. A large boat parking area all painted blue because, apparently, sardines are particularly attracted to this color and so help fishermen in their work. In the pier there are many stalls of fish caught the night before where you can buy and have it prepared. Located right there is the rudimentary shipyard where boats will one day be sent off on fishing operations. The seagulls fill the air with image and sound in search of their livelihood among the fish waste.
The medina of Essaouira is a magical place. It combines the best of Moroccan Medinas and of Mediterranean coastal villages. The white-washed Medina is decorated with bright blue doorways and windows and many of the streets are painted different colors, with each alleyway leading off to a new nook to discover. It's not all that big and you can see it all in two full days (that is, if you're busy. I could spend weeks just lounging around Essaouira!). There are two or three main streets which intersect at the souk area in the middle. You can walk to pretty much anywhere in town in about 20min.
My favorite thing to do in the Medina was just wander through the various neighborhoods, admiring the ornate and evocative doorways, exploring the winding alleyways in the Mellah (but don't go at night!), and simply following my way around the city walls. The souk area is also great, with lots of food stalls, very affordable crafts stands, and activity. Don't hesitate to head down the narrowest, shadiest street you find...chances are you might find something amazing!
One of the things I liked most about our visit to Essaouira was everything about the sea, its lookout points, the fishing port and especially the Steps of Port or Skala du Port. The Steps of the port (Skala du Port) is located right next to the fishing harbor and it has great views of the bay of Essaouira, the Medina and the fortified Mogador Island right in front of the Steps of Port (which is less than 1 mile away). This location is a continuation of the wall of Essaouira, which is composed of two rectangular fortified towers. Inside the walled area you'll find the ancient bronze cannons, which were manufactured by the Spanish and the Portuguese. The price of admission is 10 dirhams (about 0.90 euros) and it can be accessed from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The beach is Essaouira has a bit of everything...when you're close to the Medina, it's a relaxing place where you can see Moroccan couples taking a stroll and the odd European sunbather enjoying the weather. As you head around the bay, you'll start to see the large, crescent-shaped kites of kite-surfers dotting the sky and the sand dunes becoming larger. This is the most interesting part of the beach. There are lots of camel and horse jockies ve'll hassle you to go for a ride in the dunes, but if you're not interested, just keep walking and they'll leave you alone once you lay down or start swimming.
The wind here is pretty strong (this the kite and wind surfers) so a leisurely lay in the sand isn't always an option, but it's a great place to have a bite to eat near the beach (there are several good cafés near the beach), take a dip in the water, or hop on a camel if that's your thing. It's a really peaceful area that exudes a kind of hippie-surfer vibe and is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the sand and sun!
The beach at El Oualidia is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. I love beaches just like this- not too many people and situated in a charming pueblo with a warm sea and a the tremendous sun! I arrived in El Oualidia unsure of what to expect but I was impressed after I saw the beach. It was early September so the Moroccans, ve represent the majority of tourists in the town, had already returned to the capital Casablanca and only a few surfers remained. The beach is in a little cove between two large rocks that break the waves. It is very popular to rent a boat and ride on the sort of lagoon that the ocean forms in this area and even in September, there are lifeguards on the beach. There are several restaurants in the surrounding area, but few shops and services such as banks or places to develop photos. It´s a luxurious place and hasn´t become too popular yet. So we should enjoy it now!
Part of the charm of Essaouira is that it's located in the port area and the famous Steps of the port which produces an incredible mix of architectural styles. On the one hand, we have the port of fishermen with its quaint style and its beautiful blue boats, and on the other hand, we have the stunning brown walls and bastion of the Steps, a late 19th century building designed by a French architect who specializes in bastions(or, walled cities). In the middle of the setting we have, The Marina Gate, accented in English style. This door leads us into the beautiful Medina of Essaouira, and it follows the unique architectural beauty of the "the purple" islands. You can access the different parts of the city through the doors that seem to take you back through layers of time, and are a feature that makes this a traveler's city. It's a joy discovering one place after another expectantly. You get to the port, the blue water welcomes you, the seagulls, the wall, the cross the door and suddenly, the image of the Medina being hit by the waves of the Atlantic, the food stalls and so on.
Kauki Sidi Beach is about 20km South of Essaouira, following the signposted indicating a right turn from the road to Agadir. The road surface is tapered in such a way that if a car approaches from the opposite direction you have to the Sandy hard shoulder to avoid a collision. Roads with much less traffic in this area of Morocco are in better condition. To the right of the beach there a pebbled area offering spectacular green tones at low tide times. In one of the pools that form between the stones you can enjoy extraordinary water with a great temperatura and no waves. But be very careful, because the tide covers the whole area and you can become isolated if you´re not careful. Taking a turn to the right before reaching the town, you can reach nearby Lighthouse Cape Sim. The car must be left well before arriving and you can go on foot or on horses that are rented near the beach. On the beach bars you can eat for very cheap for a European economy.
The souk is one of the most interesting markets in any Muslim city and Essaouira is no exception. Alternatively, if you add together the spectacular Atlantic light in the City with its narrow streets and white houses with blue doors we have one of the most desirable places in Essaouira. We particularly recommend the area of spices where the colours and shapes are extremely photogenic.. And of course, visit on a weekday, as otherwise you miss out on all commercial activity, which is the most interesting thing about it.
The market, the souk, is one of the most interesting sights in the Muslim city of Essaouira. If you add together the spectacular lights from the Atlantic that shine on the city, with its narrow streets and white houses with blue doors, you have one of the most desirable places in Essaouira. I especially recommend the spices area, where you can find extremely interesting tastes and colors. And of course, you should visit on a weekday, because otherwise you do not see all the local commercial activity, which is most interesting.
If you exit the medina (the oldest part of Esaouira) by Bab Doukkala, you´ll come to a real neighborhood with street vendors and traditional women and children playing in the street. It's a good place if you want to try a steam bath. There appears to be thermal spas in the more tourist areas but they are really where the people come to wash since they typically don´t have bathrooms at home. It´s definitely a walk that´s worth it because what you see inside the walls of the Medina is not the true Moroccan atmosphere. There is a small market near the bus station but little else to see. The main purpose of coming here is to see the people's daily lives.
Essaouira is the Tarifa of Africa. Famous for its winds, a paradise for all outdoor and water sports. The beach is very long and outside the high season it is empty. It's a stunning beach that are kms. and kms. On the beach you don't bump into people. You can see modest fishing shacks and even the odd camel loose! The dunes are created by wind and sand accumulating, spectacular. There are various groups that organize activities such as horseback riding, camel or quad biking. That is the option we chose and it was the most expensive, but I think it was definitely the most exciting of all. The pictures are worth a thousand words ...
It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Essaouira, located within the walls in the northern part of the medina. The Jews came to Essaouira for the wealth of the port and the trade opportunities it offered. In the '50s, the Jewish quarter was called Mellah which is a name derived from the Arabic word for word "salt" because the Jews were in the business of its trade and transport. At the time it was the largest in the city with 17,000 Jews and 10,000 Muslims. Now it is only a small synagogue as many Moroccan Jews left for Israel after World War II. The neighborhood is neglected and some of the hotels that have been built in the area recommend that you be careful when walking alone at night.
Near the bastion Bab Marrakch and inside the craft center there's a courtyard with a giant ficus tree, which is a major tourist attraction. People come to the center almost as much to see the ficus tree as they do to see the jewelry crafts and wooden objects. There are plenty of stories about how it was born and grew so much, despite being surrounded by the city walls, and this happened for more than three centuries. The ficus tree provides shade for the entire courtyard and it has roots that look like an elephant's foot, as if several trees had come together to form a single tree. It is quite impressive
Essaoira, Moroccan port city with approximately 70,000 inhabitant. Its medina or historic center is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. A place where fishermen, traders and artisans mingle. It is very pleasant to walk through the streets, the atmosphere fills you with a mixtures of feelings, peace and inspiration.
Coffee Taros is on a roof in the historic center of Essaouira, overlooking the great square before reaching the port. When you climb the stairs to reach the roof, there are several works of art and an art gallery, and a more formal restaurant. Prices are quite high, the non-alcoholic cocktail is 4 euros, cocktails with alcohol cost 7 euros, the beers are about 4 euros and soft drinks are 2 euros. Then there are several dishes of fusion cuisine, blending Arab influences, Mediterranean and French, with great seafood of course. It is a lounge at night with background music and sometimes live music. Beautiful sunset!
This is, by far, the best place to eat in Essaouira. All the locals told us to come and they hit the nail square on the head. I'd suggest skipping the grilled fish stalls near the port (tourists-only) and heading here for some equally-delicious grub at a fraction of the price.
You can enter and buy your own fish, but they sometimes try to push lesser-selling fishing or, on the other end of the spectrum, really expensive ones like jumbo prawns, but just check out what others are buying and always make sure to get the price before they gut and scale them. We got octopus, cuttlefish, prawns, and snapper for two for a total of 14 dollars. In other words, a steal. You can also go straight to the restaurant and tell one of the young men there what you want and he'll get it for you. That way, we got a sea bass and a plate of salty, smoky sardines for 8 dollars.
Then they toss some Moroccan spice mix on it and grill it up. You can also order salads, harissa, bread, olives, tomato sauce, and drinks for what amounts to 4-5 dollars more in total. Again, I can't stress how delicious it was. If you're in Essaouira, this should be your default lunch spot!!!