Top tourist attractions and activities in Essaouira, Morocco
With its beautiful coastal walls, rich culture, and vibrant music, Essaouira boasts a host of interesting things to do and see. Essaouira is a charming city with a long history along the Atlantic coast. Historical sites, souks, and beaches are the area’s main appeal, but you’ll also find plenty of quirky and bohemian art galleries and stores.
While Essaouira can be enjoyed on a day trip from places like Marrakech, it’s highly recommended to spend at least a couple of days here to fully appreciate its charms.
Tourism in Essaouira
Essaouira is a great choice if you want to discover the true essence of the Moroccan traditional lifestyle. The city features stone walls and towers, magnificent beaches, Gnaoua music festival, beautiful old Medina, and much more.
Within the ancient walls, you will discover the charming atmosphere of Essaouira with its white houses, quiet squares, craftsmen in small workshops, and the beautiful fortified port. In addition to the fun that you can have at the Essaouira beaches.
Besides the marquetry which is the specialty of Essaouira, the visit of the argan oil factory is a tasty moment: this cooperative is traditionally run by women who will make you discover all the possibilities of using the famous oil, between cooking and cosmetics.
There is also the Bahia Palace which was the magnificent home of Pasha Ba Ahmed where he lived with his 4 wives and a harem made up of 24 concubines.
Essaouira also has "its" Koutoubia, imposing with its minaret which dominates the city but which cannot be visited from the inside. The city is also known for its immense and fantastic gates which surrounded and protected the city from invasions.
Do not forget to settle in during one of your lunch breaks in one of the small and refined restaurants of the city, taste the fish, taste the pastries and take the time to take advantage of this oceanic break.
What to see, do in Essaouira?
Historical fences and walls in Essaouira
Initially, as a visitor, you be dazzled by the walls of the Moroccan city of Essaouira, and you will feel as if they welcome you and invite you to a wonderful trip in a magical world. If you are interested in knowing the reason behind building these majestic walls, then you should know that they were built to defend and protect the city from attacks coming from the sea.
The Essaouira walls are considered one of the most important historical monuments of the city. They add a wonderful and historic touch to the city, they enrich the historical heritage, and they provide a beautiful view of the seashore.
The old City (Medina) of Essaouira
The walled Medina in Essaouira was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011 and is so incredibly preserved that even walking in any of its streets is a journey through time.
The old city of Essaouira is famous for its internal alleys, narrow streets, and white houses that carry colored doors. Inside the Medina, you will be able to taste the most delicious local and international cuisines, among the various restaurants that offer Moroccan, French. and Italian cuisines. Also, do not miss the opportunity to shop at the vibrant local markets that sell dresses, slippers, souvenirs, carpets, and other local products and beautiful handicrafts.
Sidi Mohamed bin Abdullah Museum in Essaouira
The Museum of Sidi Mohamed bin Abdullah is the historical museum of Essaouira, and it was named after the builder of the city. It is located in a palace dating back to the nineteenth century, and provides visitors with the opportunity to discover history through a collection of historical artifacts, ancient pottery, jewelry, and other historical pieces.
When visiting this museum, you will enjoy not only the beautiful architecture of the building in which it is located, but also the variety of items that still retain their original shape and beauty, with opportunities to discover berberian culture and traditions .
The fishing market and the fishing port of Essaouira
Essaouira used to be the main fishing port in Morocco in the mid-twentieth century, the fishing port and its market are among the most beautiful places to visit. During your visit the the port, you will notice that there are many fishermen who sell fresh fish on site that just came out of the sea.
xEssaouira offers wide beaches extending 10 km to the south of the city, which allows visitors to enjoy swimming and diversified water sports amid the most beautiful scenery. If you are looking for a quiet spot on the beach, head toward south along the beach and you will find a quiet secluded spot to relax.
The traditional local market of Essaouira
One of the magnificent scenes in Essaouira remains the traditional market, which is also present in every big and small city in Morocco. The traditional market streets will make you feel like you are inside a colorful maze. Inside the market, you will find everything from traditional clothing, furnishings, pottery, to small restaurants.
This kind of markets is a treasure trove of traditional souvenirs, and offers one of the most magical cultural experiences in Morocco .
Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira
If you are visiting Essaouira in May, do not miss the opportunity to attend the Gnaoua World Music Festival. It is an annual event that is shared by large groups of international and local musicians, and attracts thousands of tourists from around the world. Its open to the public for free.
Water sports in Essaouira beaches
The beaches of Essaouira are prime locations for surfing and windsurfing, as this beautiful city benefits from high winds all year round, especially in the summer.
Because the city is an ideal attraction for water sports, there are plenty of surf shops and surf schools in the beaches of Essaouira, which are great for beginners.
Horse riding in Essaouira beaches
If water sports are not the thing you prefer, then the beautiful coast of Essaouira is also great for horse riding which is a wonderful experience that you will never forget.
As an alternative to exploring the city's landscape on foot, tourists can run across the sea or go on a horseback adventure, and what makes these adventures even more amazing is that it caters to beginners as well, offering educational programs and great support for those who have never tried riding a horse.
Enjoy the sunset in Essaouira beaches
The beach is a great place to watch the sunset. The sunset in Essaouira is amazing, and among all the things you can do in your journey in Essaouira, this should be the best way to end your day.
Barbecue restaurants in Essaouira port
Essaouira features several grill restaurants that are located in the port in the open air, where sardines and fresh fish are caught in front of you, to be prepared and cooked for the visitors on benches and wooden tables overlooking the sea.