Essaouira is an easy 2 1/2 hour trip from Marrakesh. Many people who visit for the day end up staying much longer though. It is difficult to resist the charms of this beautiful, friendly and relaxed town.
Founded in the 18th century, Essaouira was built to be a rival city to Agadir. It was designed as a fortified town surrounded by Vauban-style ramparts. Essaouira played a major role as an international trading seaport, linking Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa with Europe and the rest of the world.
Today, Essaouira has become the most popular coastal town in Morocco. Car-free and clean, Essaouira is known for its fishing port and its blue fleet of wooden fishing boats. Dining is available right at the port where tables are set up to accommodate your meals. You can choose your lunch or dinner right as it is pulled out of the water.
The Medina of Essaouira, formerly named Mogador, meaning small fortress, is one of the best maintained medinas in Morocco. Its numerous craft shops and art galleries attract visitors from all over the world. The city is proud to count artists like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix among its biggest fans. Welles shot several scenes of his film Othello in Essaouira. If you visit in late June, you’ll be joining a big crowd who travel to Essaouira every year to attend the world-renowned Gnaoua Music Festival.
Do not leave Essaouira before visiting the wood souq below the ramparts. You can see local artisans at work producing amazing sculptures. Take pictures of Essaouira’s blue doors and beautiful curving beach while absorbing the scene.
Depart Marrakech: 08h00
Return Marrakech: 20h00
Journey time: 2 1/2 hours each way