Essaouira Stories and Tips

Overview of the Seaside Town

essaouria Photo, Essaouira, Morocco

The beach town of Essaouria on the west coast of Morocco is a lovely laid-back and exotic city. I recently visited as a day-trip from a week in Marrakesh.

After the 3-hr drive from Marrakesh in the morning, we arrived in Essaouria. We enjoyed stopping along the long drive for a mint tea at a "rest-stop" type restaurant, as well as checking out the fields of Argon trees which only grow in this area of the world. *Goats also love to eat the argon fruit and will climb into the branches to dine...but watch out for the trees by the road filled with goats, as many tourists stop to take photos and are quickly approached by men who have chained the goats in the trees to ask for money for the photos when cars stop.

We arrived just before lunch to the beach area of Essaouria, and took some time to check out the shore. The beach is quite wide and open for many people to spread out a towel. There's a mix of apparel, from women in covered more traditional garb, to many people in swimsuits. A few beach areas are available with private beach "clubs" where you can pay for a chair/umbrella for the day and use the restrooms and changing areas - similar to the European style beaches.

There is a strand of restaurants lining the shore, which are all moderate priced, offer a nice view, and basic seafood and pizza dishes. We had pizza (one of the only times enjoying this in Morocco), and then headed the kilometer away towards the walled historic part of the city. The city is definitely beautiful with a chic and welcoming sort of rugged. It was a nice break from chaotic Marrakesh and offered a bit more of a laid-back vibe.

Take some time to wander the alleys and check out the souks. Vendors hear don't seem as pushy and prices are better as well. Walk along the waterfront dock area to watch the sunset, or check the fisherman coming in from sea.

For some activities just outside the city, you can take horse or camel rides on the beach or check out the crumbling fort just outside town where many in the hippie culture of the 60s and 70s came to see, including Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, and Bob Marley (which you'll see photos and flags of everywhere).

Definitely worth a stop (and stay) if you're traveling through Morocco. Especially if you need a break from the other cities, take a couple days to wind down in Essaouria.

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