"Essaouira on the coast" Top 5 Page for this destination Essaouira by angiebabe

Essaouira Travel Guide: 508 reviews and 1,433 photos

Time to see more!my 2nd visit to Essaouira

My first visit was a couple of years ago to the yearly Gnaoua music festival with some friends - we stayed in a friends private hideaway in a village beside the sea about 20 minutes from Essouira and drove in each day - not much time or chance to see the big musts such as sunset from the port or ramparts or the medina streets or lovely Thuya wood and art shops that abound in the place.
(though we did get a lovely sunset over the sea from the seat we had beside the beach at a beachside restaurant with our good moroccan red wine and music playing around us).
Hearing Youssan Dor was amazing and we did get to walk a bit around the outer medina streets and see also the huge walls of the fortress town and indulge in drinks and Gnaoua entertainment in a luxury riad hotel in town.

But that was a couple of years ago and now ive just been on another great adventure taking a friend on her first visit to Morocco.

Seeing the sights

some of my Moroccan friends regarded Essaouira as a dirty town full of husslers and druggies - but we loved our short but busy and full time there! Its actually a clean and compact place - and was when i was last here too!- rather peaceful and picturesque and apparently many Europeans have bought up places around the medina. and its not difficult to see why.
White washed houses with blue doors or windows, interesting mix of moorish and portugeuse architecture - some fascinating doors and so on around - narrow streets around the medina to investigate along with the impressive ramparts and city walls and huge gateways. And then theres the thuya workshops with the lovely array of items, the art that abounds from locals and expats, and the small squares and cafes!

And of course ... theres the busy port with boats coming in and out, boat building and net making or repairing, fish catches to watch being unloaded, and frantic seagulls in for the ready! Also the stalls and their touts ready to cook some of the tantalising array of fresh seafood for the many tourists who are ready for lunch!

Loads of history too!

So not just another picturesque or tourist town with a beach - its a place with loads of history - with some investigating theres some interesting info to dig up and enjoy in this place.
Visiting the Museum is a good start, next to the post office and opposite the Hotel Majestic, with a small but interesting collection of costumes, musical instruments, jewellery, weapons and carpets of the area. I loved the items in beautiful marquetry there and also the beautiful painted ceilings that i had the chance there to see up close on display!
A bit of readiing on information available tells us that the Portugeuse called this place Mogador and were here from the 15th century to when they lost it in 1541. The place was not built until around 1760 when an Alouite sultan decided to establish a naval base and had the town, fortifications and harbour built by a renowned french architect who had worked for Louis XV! He then renamed it as Essaouira meaning 'well designed'!!
But then....the French took over and in 1912 renamed it Mogador again! but reverted back to Essouira with independence in 1956!!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:lots to take pics of, some nice cafes and restaurants with interesting menus of modern and traditional marocain cuisine,dramatic mix of architecture and styles,great art and crafts
  • Cons:still hear too much 'hey miss', 'helloooo', 'can i help you', 'you from dutch?,germany?,british?' hassle just walking around the streets - but not too much!
  • In a nutshell:i really had a great time!i bought some lovely items, got some great shots of the locals and happenings,dramatic ramparts and it was relaxing!
  • Last visit to Essaouira: May 2013
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (23)

Comments (30)

  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2015 at 1:48 AM

    Thanks for interesting virtual tour!

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Nov 3, 2015 at 4:19 PM

      thanks for visiting Oleg,if i can find the last few years photos tht were meant to be put in here for better pics and for more information previously, the page would hopefully be a lot better.

  • SallyM's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2015 at 8:31 AM

    I preferred Essaouria to Marrakech. I have a picture of one of the doorways in my 'travel gallery' (staircase).

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Jun 13, 2015 at 8:59 AM

      Hi Sally thanks for visiting! some of the longer stays down at Tafraoute where it gets really hot we started getting in the habit of having a beach stay during the heat of each summer such as Tagazout north of Agadir and then over to Essaouira a few times even as a better place to stay prior to any flights out of Marrakech because of connections there to come up with accommodation - has been good to see more of the town and area with each visit.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    Angela, thanks for sharing your exciting moments of the trip.... Essaouira is certainly worth visiting....

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Nov 3, 2015 at 4:20 PM

      thank a lot Victor. yes its pretty much on the usual circuit of sights to see when visiting MOrocco. got the history, the architecture, the sea....

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    The roof view looks like the place to see it go by. I was impressed with the thuya wood and the displays. Nice job

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Jun 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      hi nice to get another visit from you Bruce to my pages thankyou! Well Essaouira for me has changed a lot - Ive just had another 4 nights there this year a few weeks ago and 2 visits last year and like the place so much more now! Have a few places that need to update my page here - which unfortunately is the state of my entire overall VT membership as been on with my many travels including photos and info particularly for VT too but still not been worked into my pages....oh well one day! but thanks for your visit and hope all is well with you!

  • Raimix's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    Seems as a nice place! Someday I would like to see Morocco, but need to go with a bigger group of people :)

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Jan 30, 2013 at 2:49 AM

      hi thanks so much visiting my page here - Ive been going to Morocco for 9 years now - a few of those years my travels were made up only of visits to Morocco - I have friends you can meet up with (particularly in Tafraoute and Agadir is the handiest airport to fly into otherwise Marrakech is ok and are nice places to make as an intro to Morocco - and it really is a great country for travelling around - ive done a lot of it independently and a lot with Moroccans - so let me know if you do decide you want to have a trip here and you dont have to rely on having a group to come with.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Hello, Angela!~ I enjoy reading your travel pages!~ Well done!~

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Feb 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      thanks very much Victor - welcome back to my pages and to Morocco any time! :)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Another excellent page on Morocco. Great opening photo with the seagull! The fragrant Thuya wood which is carved sounds really nice, as do the painting's, either would be very nice!

  • FridgeMagnet's Profile Photo
    Nov 12, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    A girl in India wanted money from me because I took a photo of her donkeys! I intend to go to Essaouira on a day trip.

  • khattabi_eg's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    The windy city! I should go back there for a visit again, it's been a while. Thanks for the lovely page and photos Angiebabe : )

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Jun 1, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      Thanks Driss - Essaouira has been growing and growing on me - now I really like being there!

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Dec 24, 2008 at 11:02 AM

    a very interesting page on a city new to me. i love the thuya woodwork, it's gorgeous. you DO get up close and personal with morroco. nice. n.

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