Essaouira Travel Guide- Essaouira, formerly Mogador is a small Moroccan touristic city located on the western coast of Morocco.
Established by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Essaouira now is one of the most visited Moroccan cities by tourists. It gained notoriety for its calm ambiance and its cultural diversification.
It has also become worldwide famous for being the location where several film and television series were produced.
Despite the fact that Essaouira has not have many must-see spots, it is without a doubt one of the best towns for Morocco visitors to spend a few relaxing days.
In this article, we will try to discuss the history of Essaouira, how to get to it, and finally, we will pick for you some of the best activities you can do during your stay.
Essaouira Travel Guide:History of Essaouira
While walking around the town, you will obviously feel the influence of Portuguese, Berber, Jewish, and Muslim cultures.
In fact, Essaouira was first of all built by a Carthaginian explorer known as Hanna the Navigator in the 5th century BC. Back then it was simply a garrison town with a port.
Then, the Portuguese took control of the town in the 16 century. And the king Manuel I ordered to build a castle named Castelo Real de Mogador.
19 years later, local people controlled the site. During the 16th century, various European powers tried to conquer Essaouira by establishing bases on it because of its strategic location. but finally, they all failed.
Above all, Essaouira you see today is thanks to the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah.
he was the reason behind building the Scala, the port; and he also established an environment for commerce and trade in favor of Amazigh, Arabs, and Jews
Essaouira Travel Guide: Getting to and From
Essaouira is located west of the Moroccan region of Marrakech-Asfi and also near to Agadir, so getting to it from those mentioned cities isn’t hard.
However, most tourists go to Essaouira by bus since there is no train station.
Traveling from Casablanca to Essaouira by bus takes about 6 hours; buses from Marrakesh take around 2.5 hours and 3.5 hours from Agadir; several companies travel this route daily at different hours.
Alternatively, you can take a long-distance taxi from your current location to Essaouira even if it will cost you more.
For most travelers, hiring a private driver is the best option as a matter of fact that this option allows enjoying Essaouira’s mountain roads.
Essaouira Travel Guide: Amazing 4 Activities to do
1-Essaouira Travel Guide: Visiting Portuguese ramparts:
Portuguese ramparts of the old medina in Essaouira were used in the past as protection to the port from pirates and also to defend the city from sea invaders.
Nowadays the ramparts are still standing and represent the icon of Essaouira.
In fact, if you are a Drama series lover, you can recognize the Portuguese ramparts from the popular series Game of Thrones.
It is the place where Daenerys meets the Unsullied Army in season 3.
You can have a panoramic view of the sea and watch the layout of the medina from above.
Not far from the ramparts, by a few steps, you will find the Scala. Heading there in the afternoon may be better to watch fishermen at work and also to enjoy the sunset.
2- Essaouira Travel Guide: wander in the old medina
In contrast to the medinas of Fes and Marrakesh, you won’t get lost by walking in Essaouira’s old town, given that it is not as grand as other medinas.
Also, the streets are cleaner and sellers are less aggressive. It is probably the place where you will spend more time.
The medina is full of cafes, hotels, and souvenirs, and craft shops, so it is the best place where you can pick up gifts for friends or buy silver jewelry from Jewish.
Elsewhere in the old medina, you can buy pure argan oil from the local cooperatives
3-Essaouira Travel Guide: enjoy the ocean activities
If you are a kitesurfing fan, then Essaouira is the perfect place where you can enjoy your hobby.
Essaouira is also known as a windy city; it may be an issue for normal visitors but it is a dream spot for ocean activities enthusiasts.
The strong winds all year long have made Essaouira’s beaches the second main place in Morocco to go kitesurfing after Dakhla beaches.
Otherwise, if you are unprofessional, there are plenty of kiteboarding clubs where you can have introductory courses and share a kit with a Master surfer in order to live the experience safely.
4-Essaouira Travel Essaouira Travel Guide:Annual Gnaoua Festival
Visiting Essaouira in June will give you the chance to watch live performances of international Gnaoua, Jazz, and Reggae artists for four days.
The Gnaoua Festival offers a rich program each year and thanks to that, the city receives more than 500 000 visitors per year.
Most of the performances are free to watch. If you love to be close to musicians and music, and you are looking to live unforgettable artistic night shows, then you should take into consideration this festival.
5-Essaouira Travel Guide: Watch the sunset from a rooftop cafe
Most visitors leave Essaouira with dozens of sunset shots on their cameras. And that’s obviously because of the many spectacular spots where you can watch the sunset.
Besides going back to the ramparts for sunsets, you can sit in a rooftop cafe or restaurant to see directly the beauty of Essaouira s sunsets.
In fact, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes that we can recommend. You can also go to the sandy beach where you will have the best view of the sea.