Enclosed by medieval-looking battlements and fronting the Atlantic Coast, the picture-perfect town of Essaouira is one of Morocco's most likeable beach resorts. Dating back to the 18th century the town is an appealing mix of attractive architecture, beach setting and excellent cuisine. Small enough to explore on foot, Essaouira features attractive whitewashed houses with blue shutters as well as an ancient medina within the original city walls with a maze of narrow alleyways lined with shops selling everything from tea to spices, tagine pots to leather shoes. Whether it's the sea breeze or wide-swept vistas that keeps everyone so chilled, Essaouira is extremely relaxed and a pleasant shopping destination without the constant attention you may receive in other Moroccan cities.
That same sea breeze attracts visitors for a very different reason, one very much attached to the water - windsurfing. The coastal wind may be a little too fierce for a traditional beach holiday but for windsurfers it represents the perfect opportunity to hit the waters, waters that provide a wealth of seafood. Sampling Moroccan cuisine is a real delight in Essaouira with a number of quaint restaurants serving everything from fresh seafood to traditional tagine dishes and couscous.
What really gives Essaouira its charm is how much of its traditional character it has retained despite ever-increasing interest from the tourist industry. The harbour is busy with local fishermen bringing in their catch whilst skilled craftsmen quietly work on their wares in the cave-like shops of the medina. Essaouira has a thriving arts scene with its gorgeous views providing inspiration for local sculptors and painters.
Here are some popular itineraries for a trip to Essaouira
If you are planning a Essaouira holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
L'Heure Bleue Palais Essaouira
Built into the medina walls, the Heure Bleue hotel is an oasis of peace and elegance with beautiful decorations throughout from the intricate carvings and fabrics to the cavernous rooms. Looking out onto a peaceful courtyard, the guestrooms feature a subtle decor inspired by Africa and the Orient with large comfortable beds and elegant furniture. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. Dine on sumptuous Moroccan and international dishes at a choice of onsite restaurants or relax in the luxurious hamman where treatments can be personalised to your heart's content.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Essaouira Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Essaouira.