One day in Essaouira - Things to do!
Updated: Feb 12
The bustling Marrakesh is certainly exciting, but it can be exhausting as well. However, the good news is, when you need a break from the frenetic melting-pot of Marrakesh, there is a great alternative just one hour drive away that offers a completely different vibe.
Essaouira, literally meaning “little picture” in Arabic is a charming, laid-back village nestled on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The white and blue medina, the one mile stretch of buttery beach contrasting the colorful port justifies the town's as it's an artist dream location.
Comparing to Marrakesh, the fishing village Essaouira is much smaller and you can see and do a lot of things on one day.
Check out the Ramparts
The defensive walls of the castle are beautiful and imposing parts of Essaouira's rich history. Built back in the 1760s, the cannons of the fortification still stand intact. The ramparts offer the most scenic view of the seaside. This beautiful part of the charming village is a great photo opportunity and a fun portal to Morocco's history.
Visit the fishing port
Essaouira was the main fishing port in Morocco in the mid-1900s. That's one of the reasons why this should be on your must-see list. The lovely scenery, with authentic small bight blue boats lined in the sea, make for a perfect peaceful afternoon. Let alone, the picturesque vibe of the port is a photographer's dream. To truly experience the authentic charm of the village, stroll away from the port to find the local fishermen selling the best catch of the day.
Try a watersport
Known as 'Windy city of Africa' Essaouira is a perfect location for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and different water sports. If you are an experienced in one of these watersports, there are plenty of surf shops and windsurf shop. For the enthusiasts or beginners there surfing and windsurfing schools. Nevertheless, just sitting on the beach and watching the flock of surfers and windsurfers, kites lined in the sky is an experience on its own.
A great alternative to exploring the scenery walking, horse riding is a popular activity in Essaouira. Gallop through the sea and over the dunes and have a great adventure on the beach.
Visit the Had Dra
An alternative to a souvenir market, it's one of the largest in the country. If you are fortunate enough to be there on a Sunday, you can experience the true authenticity of the Had Dra Market complete with exotic agricultural products and animals. More of the beaten track location, the Had Dra is a perfect location if you want to avoid the flock of tourists and have a peek in the everyday life of Moroccans.
Visit an argan oil cooperative
The argan tree is native to Morocco and naturally, the country is the best place to find high-quality argan oil and argan products. In Essaouira there a couple of amazing argan oil cooperatives that offer an up-close experience of how the iconic oil is made. Serving as a form of open-air museum, you can witness the products being made by ancient tools to hand press the oil.
Visit a Hammam
Going to a hammam in Essaouira is the most authentic Moroccan experience that you can have. Just like in other major cities in Morocco, you can either visit a popular local hammam or you can choose from the many spa-type hammams. If you want to have a true Moroccan experience, we recommend the first type over the latter. All you have to do before going to a hammam is grab an Argan soap and scrubbing cloth.
Relax in the hip local cafes in Essaouira
This charming coastal town has a variety of cute little cafes, perfect for enjoying the laid-back vibe and contemplating the beauty of Morocco.
When it comes to wine, Morocco is surely not the first country you think of. However, the country's climate is actually perfect for the harvesting of grapes. We invited our favorite photographer, Erika Explores to explore Morocco’s first organic winery, Le Domaine du Val d'Argan. Nestled in the tiny town of Ounagha, nestled in the tiny town of Ounagha, a 30-minute drive from Essaouira, the winery is a perfect place to taste some refined Moroccan wines and enjoy in the laid back and relaxing ambiance.
Check out Erika's experience here.