Essaouira Place guide




he fishing town of Essaouira is a pretty, whitewashed and sand-blown excursion from Marrakech three hours’ drive away.


Marrakech day trip

Day trips from Marrakech are great ways to take a break from the dusty chaos of the city. Well-loved Marrakech excursions range from coastal towns to desert escapes….

The fishing town ofEssaouira is a pretty, whitewashed and sand-blown excursion from Marrakech three hours’ drive away. Once a military port, it was rebuilt in the 18th century as an international trading center. It hasn’t changed much since then, except for the fact that it’s no longer quite the hub of global trade it once was.

Essaouira is picturesque for its white walls, faded blue windows, and camel-brown arches and columns. During its hippie heyday, windsurfers and Jimi Hendrix were said to have graced its shores, now replaced by backpackers and stray cats…?

Come for the chilled pace of life and sit in a cafe as you soak in the vibe, or time your visit with the famous Gnaoua World Music Festival in June.

If you’re looking for a Marrakech beach trip, the fine beaches of Essaouira are your best bet: 

  • The northern Plage de Safi is fine in the summer, but be careful during windy weather. South of the town, it’s home to a wide beach great for football, not to mention winds ideal for wind-surfing. Past the Oued Ksob, waves break against the remains of an old fortress called Borj el Baroud

  • Sidi Kaouki: A huge surf beach with a few scattered cafes and restaurants. La Plage is the hub, where the sandy beach stretches south for several kilometers, backed by dunes that shift shape and location through the seasons. 

  • Taguenza: Another beach 30 mins’ walk from Sidi Kaouki, backed with a huddle of stone fishermen's shacks and a cafe. It’s a peaceful and idyllic spot for swimming, wild camping, or an alfresco fish meal straight from the sea. Walk barefoot along the sand and over rocks at the edge of the waves...

Essaouira’s Top Sights:

  • Medina: Greatly atmospheric streets weave around the medina, enclosed by walls with five main gates. 

  • The harbour: The small harbour off Place Moulay Hassan is constantly busy with is fishing fleet. Open air restaurant stalls serve grilled fish, a great spot for lunch. 

  • Skala du Port: Get up the ramparts of the Skala, an old Portuguese sea defence and battery. Go from the bridge of Porte de la Marine, a sea gate linking the harbour with the medina. From the top of the basion, you can enjoy extensive panoramic views of the sea and offshore islands, the Iles Purpuraries. 

  • Skala de la Ville: Crenellated walls protect a 200m-long raised artillery platform and an impressive array of decorated Spanish and other European canons. Don’t miss the fine views of the old mellah, medina and northern coastline. 

  • Camel rides: From Sidi Kaouki, you can go on a half-hour trip to Taguenza or 1.5 hours south to the waterfalls. 

Other popular trips