"Essaouira on the coast" Top 5 Page for this destination Essaouira by angiebabe
Essaouira Travel Guide: 528 reviews and 1,460 photos
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.
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!
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: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!
Up on the hill on the road out of town towards Marrakech and north to Safi and El Jadida is a parking area with a... more travel advice
Theres a number of cafes around the main square in Essaouira where you might want to sit and people watch - sit in the... more travel advice
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