The city of Essaouira, Morocco looks from every angle as if it has been lifted from a holiday guide. The Jewish, Berber, Carthaginian, Portuguese and British influences manage to combine beautifully to create a city of a thousand attractions. Located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, Essaouira boasts a wonderful, sweeping beach, making it one of Morocco’s finest coastal resorts. Blissfully laid back and surprisingly cosmopolitan, Essaouira is a perfect retreat, especially for windsurfers and surfers, but also for those wishing to enjoy the wonders of Morocco at a relaxed pace.
Essaouira’s charm is engulfing, with white and blue riads interspersed with art galleries, traditional workshops and wonderful restaurants, all encased by the famous red sandstone walls that protect Essaouira. There are a vast range of sites to explore from Essaouira accommodation, from the magnificent ruins of the Sultan’s Palace to the famous Sand Castle which is claimed to have been an inspiration to Jimmy Hendrix. The Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah Museum is a fantastic place to start your tour from Essaouira accommodation, as it tells the history of local traditions, art and music. The fish market, which sells the daily catch from Essaouira’s fishing fleet, is an absolute marvel, well worth investigating. Any good Essaouira guide will document the best sightseeing routes.
Taking an Essaouira beach riad is the perfect way to enjoy the best of the city. Essaouira beach is never crowded, stretching for as far as the eye can see around a sweeping bay. The golden sands of Essaouira beaches, from Plage de Safi in the north to the beach around the inspirational Bordj El Berod to the south, are perfect for lazy days in the sun, although when the seas are rough, swimming in Essaouira can be dangerous. Known as the ‘windy city’, windsurfing in Essaouira is fantastic. There are some excellent Essaouira windsurfing and surfing spots, especially to the north near Moulay, which, despite having poor access, has excellent conditions for both surfing and windsurfing, although it is not for the feint hearted!
On the outskirts of Essaouira are a number of excellent riding stables, offering lessons and hirelings to visitors, regardless of you level of experience. There are some wonderful rides to enjoy along the coastline and into the interior of Morocco.
Essaouira enjoys a wonderfully steady climate, making an Essaouira beach riad a magnificent escape all year round. Average monthly temperatures hover around the 20°C mark throughout the year, although July, August and September are the warmest months. Rain is almost unheard of between June and October.
Although there is a small airport in Essaouira, accommodation in the area is best reached from Marrakech. Essaouira Airport only receives flights from Casablanca and Paris Orly (ORY), so the majority of visitors from the UK fly to Marrakech Airport (RAK), which receives Ryanair and easyJet flights from London and Manchester (MAN).