When I was planning my trip to Morocco, I wanted to fit in a side trip to Essaouira. It’s a beautiful port city on the west coast, with a fortified medina perfect for a lazy afternoon’s exploring. It’s much more chilled than Marrakesh – it used to be a hippie hangout in the 1960s, with Jimi Hendrix being one of its most famous visitors. It’s also famously windy, and for this reason it’s escaped relatively unscathed by beach tourism, as it can be too windy to sunbathe. For the same reason it’s very popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers.
We didn’t have a lot of time, but an overnight trip was do-able. It’s around three hours driving from Marrakesh, and there are regular buses run by Supratours and CTM. Make sure to book your tickets in advance in the summer! The bus depot in Marrakesh is about five minutes from the Medina in Gueliz, and when you arrive in Essaouira it’s a short taxi ride (Supratours) or a short walk (CTM) to the medina.
I had done some research on where to stay and we settled on Riad Emotion in the medina, just over five minutes from the beach. It’s one of the most beautiful riads I have stayed in, with very friendly and welcoming staff. We dropped our bags and headed off to explore.
Arriving in the late afternoon, close to sunset, meant everything was bathed in beautiful golden light. The ramparts were pleasantly busy, with everyone taking their time to enjoy the sunshine and the atmosphere – even the seagulls and the local cats.
We took some time to explore the medina, and made a booking for later that evening at a restaurant called La Licorne. Highly recommended for delicious seafood and tagines.
We headed off the next day after a delicious breakfast. It was definitely worth the trip, and Essaouira is somewhere that I will return to, especially now there are direct flights from London.