Are you planning to travel to Morocco and visit Essaouira? Are you still looking for the essentials to see and do in Essaouira for a great weekend? Then this article is made for you!
Essaouira is mesmerizing and can only seduce anyone who visits it for the first time. What a contrast with Marrakech or the other cities of the Kingdom… The storks of the red city give way to the gulls that flock in their hundreds in the fishing port and all around the fortifications of Essaouira, this city that would almost resemble Saint-Malo.
After the essentials to see and do in Marrakech, we change our air to finally find calm, the great outdoors, and take full advantage of the Atlantic coast. The first step, visit Essaouira!
Filled with colors
We take full eyes with these colors so bright, white and blue being the master colors of this magnificent painting. It is not for nothing that many international artists have decided to settle there. There is also this mixture of powerful smells where the iodized air swept by the sirocco is mixed, with the subtle scents of the alleys of the medina with woody notes accompanied by scents of orange blossom or jasmine. There is also this surprising and spectacular marine decor that amazes us at every moment…
Did you know that the visit Essaouira Medina is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Whether on the fishing port with these blue boats crammed into the hundreds, or on the ramparts of the old town with the Atlantic as far as the eye can see in the background, in short, we take your eyes full of it… When it comes to flavors, we are far from being disappointed, especially if we are fond of fish and seafood!
Listen and you will hear the song of gulls on the ramparts, but also, in the squares and at sunset, the sound of African percussions which resonates in all the alleys of the medina… Yes, Essaouira also lives to the rhythm of Gnaoua music, famous all over the world. Besides, the Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira attracts many visitors every year.
This port city of 70,000 inhabitants is also recognized for the quality of the know-how of the craftsmen who work with cedar wood, leather, and copper. We also discovered the artistic side of Essaouira with numerous art galleries where local artists are exposed, not to mention the beautiful street-art installations in the alleys of the medina.
If you are still looking for things to see and do in Essaouira, here are our favorites to enjoy the best of this city.
Walk around the port of Essaouira
The port of Essaouira is one of the most spectacular and lively places in the city, especially when the fishermen return. Imagine the scenery: there are dozens of trawlers in the shipyard and many blue wooden boats moored in close rows in the large harbor basin. The fishermen deliver and negotiate their freshly caught fish and seafood on the quay, and there are countless gulls and seagulls arriving by the hundreds to feast on the remains all around the auction!
A friendly, authentic hubbub that disconnects from reality. A major attraction of the city is not to be missed!
Once the sailors return to the port, they deliver their goods to the city’s restaurants, they all have very original names! You only have to choose the fish and seafood you want to taste, and the vendors prepare them for you before your eyes, grill them on the barbecue, and bring them to you at the table.
A treat to the good banquette for less than 150 Dirham for two, and the guarantee of savoring fresh products throughout your stay.
Admire the view from the ramparts of Essaouira
You cannot leave Essaouira without going to the famous ramparts of the citadel to admire the sunset and the raging Atlantic Ocean… A wonderful spectacle! For our first evening in Essaouira, we had sandwiches made in the main lane of the medina, and then savor them at the ramparts. We keep an unforgettable memory of it, the setting is magical and it is a luxury that is priceless.
Historically, the first city walls were built by the Portuguese in the 16th century to protect the Castelo Real fortress from French, Dutch, and Spanish invaders. The city of Mogador (the old name of the city) was a commercial port of great importance … After the destruction of the first fortifications in the 18th century, it was Théodore Cornut, a pupil of the famous architect Vauban who built, at the same time as the medina of Essaouira, the ramparts as we can see them today.
You will still find the Old Portuguese cannons, all lined up facing the ocean. At the foot of these, on the Medina coast, you can find many small shops selling local crafts, but also the Mega Loft restaurant bar that we particularly loved…
Where to go out in the evening in Essaouira?
The Mega Loft
Even if the dishes are quite good, it is not for the kitchen that we fell for the Mega Loft but for the retro and vintage decoration, as well as the friendly atmosphere and a hipster / alternative touch of the place!
Othman, the owner of the place, found many objects in the markets to make a unique decorations in the 60s and 70s style by also adding elbow grease to make unique DIY furniture. We like the old cash registers, the old colored telephones with circular dials that our grandparents had, the old cameras fixed to the wall, the colored ceiling with a light fixture made in audio cassettes, the industrial-style furniture, the manufactured benches with wooden pallets, etc … In short, we love it. Every evening local singers and musicians perform on a small stage but do not expect to attend a concert of traditional music, but rather a friendly beef with friends, to the tunes of Patrice, Keziah Jones, or Selah Sue.
We highly recommend this address, you will have a good time in this establishment which breathes creativity, and originality and brings an alternative touch by sublimating the identity of Essaouira.