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Our Favourite Things To Do In Essaouira, Morocco – A Complete To The Windy City


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Gracie Wrenn



Welcome to Essaouira, Morocco’s charming and vibrant coastal city known for its picturesque beaches, rich history, and captivating culture. Located on the Atlantic coast, Essaouira, also known as the “Windy City,” offers a unique blend of traditional Moroccan charm and a laid-back coastal ambiance. Its mesmerizing blue and white medina, stunning beaches, and historic landmarks attract visitors from all over the world.


Essaouira holds a special place in Morocco’s history. Once a prosperous trading port, the city has been influenced by various cultures, including Berber, Arab, and European. This blend of influences is evident in the city’s architecture, cuisine, and vibrant arts scene.


This article will guide you through the best things to do in Essaouira, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this enchanting destination. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or an adventure seeker, Essaouira offers something for everyone.


So pack your bags, get ready to explore the narrow streets of the medina, and experience the magic of Essaouira – a city that will captivate your heart and leave you longing to return.


Exploring the Medina

No visit to Essaouira is complete without exploring its captivating medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Step into a maze of narrow streets and alleyways, adorned with vibrant blue and white buildings, bustling markets, and traditional Moroccan riads.


The medina is a treasure trove for shopaholics and art lovers. Stroll through the bustling souks, where local artisans sell their handmade crafts, including intricate carpets, ceramics, leather goods, and traditional Moroccan clothing. Don’t forget to indulge in some haggling – it’s all part of the experience!


As you wander through the medina, make sure to visit the fish market, where local fishermen sell their daily catch. Marvel at the colorful array of fresh seafood and soak in the lively atmosphere.


Take your time to explore the various historic landmarks within the medina. Visit the iconic Sqala du Port, a 16th-century sea bastion that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the bustling port. Climb to the top and witness the mesmerizing sight of the crashing waves against the city walls.


Another must-visit site is the Moulay Hassan Square, a vibrant gathering place where you can sip on a refreshing mint tea while you observe the lively street performers and soak in the bustling atmosphere.


Whether you’re looking to shop, indulge in culinary delights, or simply immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance of the medina, exploring this ancient walled city is an essential part of your Essaouira experience.


Visiting the Skala du Port

One of the most iconic landmarks in Essaouira is the Skala du Port, a historic sea bastion located within the medina. Built in the 18th century, this fortification served to protect the city from maritime attacks, providing a vantage point for the city’s cannons.


The Skala du Port offers stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the bustling port, and the medina. As you walk along the fortified walls, you’ll be immersed in the rich history of the city, with cannons and old-fashioned canons lining the path. It’s a perfect spot to take memorable photos and capture the beauty of Essaouira from above.


While visiting the Skala du Port, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the small fishing port adjacent to it. Here, you can witness local fishermen showcasing their skills and selling their daily catch. It’s a mesmerizing sight, and an opportunity to see the vibrant fishing industry of Essaouira in action.


The Skala du Port is also known for its famous “Porte de la Marine” or “Marine Gate,” an ornate entrance that leads to the port area. This beautiful gate features intricate carvings and provides a glimpse into the architectural wonders of the city.


For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Skala du Port is a must. It allows you to experience the grandeur and significance of Essaouira’s maritime heritage while enjoying breathtaking views of the ocean and the city.


Enjoying Water Sports at Essaouira Beach

With its picturesque coastline and strong winds, Essaouira is renowned for its excellent conditions for water sports. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner looking to try something new, Essaouira Beach is the ideal destination to indulge in thrilling water activities.


Windsurfing is particularly popular in Essaouira, thanks to the consistent strong winds that blow throughout the year. The beach is dotted with windsurfing schools and rental shops, catering to both beginners and advanced windsurfers. Take a lesson or rent equipment and cruise across the waves, experiencing the exhilaration of gliding over the water.


Kiteboarding is another exciting water sport that attracts enthusiasts from around the world. The combination of wind, waves, and wide-open spaces make Essaouira Beach a perfect kiteboarding spot. Whether you’re a pro or just starting out, there are plenty of kiteboarding schools to choose from, offering lessons and equipment rental.


If you prefer a more relaxing activity, why not try your hand at fishing? Essaouira Beach offers excellent opportunities for fishing, whether you’re angling from the shore or joining a local fishing excursion. With the help of experienced guides, you might catch a variety of species, including sea bream, bass, and even barracuda.


For those who simply want to unwind and soak up the sun, Essaouira Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand where you can relax, take a leisurely stroll, or enjoy a beach picnic. The beach is rarely overcrowded, allowing plenty of space for solitude and tranquility.


No matter what your water sport preferences are, Essaouira Beach offers an idyllic setting to indulge in thrilling adventures or relax by the sea. So grab your gear and get ready to experience the exhilaration of the wind and waves at this beach lover’s paradise.


Discovering the Historic Borj el-Berod

Perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the historic Borj el-Berod is a must-visit attraction in Essaouira. This 18th-century fortress was built to enhance the city’s defenses and protect it from invasions.


As you approach Borj el-Berod, you’ll be captivated by its impressive architecture and panoramic views. Step inside to explore the various rooms and exhibits that showcase Essaouira’s maritime history and the city’s strategic importance along the trade routes.


One of the highlights of Borj el-Berod is the museum, which houses an impressive collection of maritime artifacts, including historical maps, models of ships, and navigational instruments. Learn about the city’s past as a bustling port and its involvement in trade with Europe, Africa, and the Americas.


As you wander through the fortress, make your way to the rooftop terrace, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city, the harbor, and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a perfect spot to take memorable photos and soak in the beauty and serenity of Essaouira.


Don’t forget to explore the underground passages of Borj el-Berod, as they offer a glimpse into the fortress’s defensive mechanisms. The passages were once used by soldiers to move discreetly and surprise potential invaders.


Borj el-Berod not only provides a captivating history lesson but also offers a peaceful respite from the bustling streets of Essaouira. Take your time to explore and appreciate the architectural beauty, historical significance, and breathtaking views that this fortress has to offer.


Taking a Walk along the Ramparts

One of the most enjoyable activities in Essaouira is taking a leisurely walk along the city’s iconic ramparts. These ancient fortifications surround the medina and offer stunning views of the ocean, the city, and the surrounding landscape.


As you stroll along the ramparts, you’ll be immersed in the city’s rich history. Built in the 18th century, these walls served as Essaouira’s defense against attacks from the sea. The ramparts stretch for nearly two miles, providing a perfect pathway to explore the coastal beauty.


Along the way, you’ll come across several lookout points and cannons, affording you spectacular views of the crashing waves against the city walls. Breathe in the fresh sea breeze as you take in the panoramic vistas of the ocean and the enchanting medina.


Be sure to make a stop at the Moulay Hassan Square, located along the ramparts. This vibrant square is a popular gathering place where locals and tourists alike can relax, enjoy a cup of tea at one of the nearby cafes, and soak in the lively atmosphere.


As you continue your walk, you’ll also encounter the historic gates of Essaouira, such as the Bab Marrakech gate and the Bab Sbaa gate. These gateways provide a glimpse into the city’s past and serve as a reminder of its strategic importance as a trading port.


Whether you choose to take a morning stroll, catch the sunset, or explore the ramparts under the starry sky, walking along these ancient fortifications is a memorable experience in Essaouira. Take your time, savor the breathtaking views, and let the city and the ocean captivate your senses.


Shopping at the Souks

No visit to Essaouira is complete without immersing yourself in the vibrant and bustling atmosphere of the city’s souks. Located within the medina, these traditional markets offer a fascinating shopping experience filled with colorful displays, aromatic spices, and unique handicrafts.


As you wander through the narrow alleys of the souks, you’ll discover a treasure trove of Moroccan delights. From beautifully crafted ceramics and handwoven carpets to intricate metalwork and exquisite jewelry, the souks are a paradise for those seeking authentic Moroccan souvenirs.


Make sure to visit the woodworkers’ quarter, where you can find stunning carvings, musical instruments, and intricately designed furniture. The sweet aromas of the spice market will entice you to explore further, where you’ll find an array of aromatic spices, herbal teas, and traditional Moroccan ingredients.


Engage in the art of haggling as you negotiate prices with the friendly vendors. Bargaining is a common practice in the souks, and it’s all part of the experience. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a deal that suits both parties and walk away with unique and authentic treasures.


Beyond handicrafts, the souks are also filled with stalls selling fresh produce, local delicacies, and traditional Moroccan clothing. Indulge in some delicious local treats like dates, olives, and pastries, and don’t forget to try the famous Moroccan mint tea.


Exploring the souks of Essaouira is not just about shopping; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and witness the skill and craftsmanship of Moroccan artisans. So take your time, soak up the vibrant atmosphere, and cherish the memories of your shopping adventure in Essaouira.


Trying Local Cuisine and Fresh Seafood

When in Essaouira, indulging in the local cuisine is a must-do experience. The city is renowned for its delicious and diverse culinary offerings, influenced by Arab, Berber, and French flavors. From aromatic tagines to freshly caught seafood, there’s something to satisfy every palate.


Start your culinary adventure by exploring the medina and sampling local street food. Try “msemmen,” a traditional Moroccan pancake, or “briouats,” crispy pastries filled with savory or sweet fillings. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the flavorful Moroccan pastilla, a traditional dish made with layers of thin pastry, savory meat, and aromatic spices.


As a coastal city, Essaouira boasts an abundance of fresh seafood. Head to the bustling fish market, where you can choose from a variety of freshly caught fish and shellfish. Whether you prefer grilled sardines, succulent shrimp, or a platter of mixed seafood, you’ll find it all here. Many restaurants in the city offer seafood dishes that are expertly prepared and bursting with the flavors of the sea.


If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, book a table at one of the beachside restaurants overlooking the ocean. Enjoy the breathtaking views as you savor a delicious meal, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the waves crashing against the shore.


For those who love spices and bold flavors, Essaouira is also known for its “chermoula” sauce, a fragrant blend of herbs, spices, and citrus that is used to marinate and grill seafood. The combination of fresh ingredients and aromatic seasonings creates an explosion of flavors that will awaken your taste buds.


Complete your culinary journey in Essaouira with a cup of traditional Moroccan mint tea. Sip on this sweet and refreshing beverage, which is often served with a side of local pastries, while you relax and soak in the laid-back atmosphere of this charming coastal city.


Essaouira offers a food lover’s paradise with its array of local dishes and fresh seafood. So take the time to explore the city’s culinary scene, indulge in the flavors of Morocco, and create memorable dining experiences in this gastronomic haven.


Relaxing at the Beautiful Essaouira Beach Resorts

When it’s time to unwind and rejuvenate, head to one of the beautiful beach resorts in Essaouira. With their stunning ocean views, luxurious amenities, and serene surroundings, these resorts provide the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


Whether you’re seeking a relaxing escape, a romantic getaway, or a fun-filled family vacation, the beach resorts in Essaouira have something to offer for everyone. Lounge by the pool, soak up the sun on the sandy beaches, or indulge in pampering spa treatments.


Many of the resorts in Essaouira are designed with traditional Moroccan architecture and décor, offering an authentic and enchanting ambiance. From intricately carved woodwork to vibrant mosaic tiles, the attention to detail creates a truly immersive experience.


Wake up to the sound of the waves and enjoy a leisurely breakfast overlooking the ocean. Stroll along the shoreline, feeling the soft sand between your toes, or take a dip in the crystal-clear waters. Essaouira’s beaches are known for their tranquility and natural beauty.


For adventure enthusiasts, the beach resorts offer a wide range of activities, including horseback riding, camel trekking, and quad biking. Explore the sandy dunes and coastal landscapes while experiencing the thrill of these exhilarating adventures.


In the evening, savor a sumptuous meal at one of the resort’s restaurants, where you can indulge in a variety of international and Moroccan cuisines. Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner under the stars or savor traditional Moroccan dishes bursting with flavors and aromas.


Whether you choose to relax by the pool, listen to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, or engage in exciting activities, the beach resorts in Essaouira offer an idyllic setting for a truly memorable and rejuvenating experience.


So pamper yourself, embrace the laid-back coastal lifestyle, and let the beauty of Essaouira’s beach resorts transport you to a world of tranquility and relaxation.


Horseback Riding or Camel Trekking on the Beach

Embrace the spirit of adventure in Essaouira by embarking on a horseback riding or camel trekking excursion along the beautiful beaches. These unique experiences allow you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the landscape while enjoying a leisurely ride on these majestic animals.


Horseback riding along the sandy shores of Essaouira is a thrilling and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a beginner, there are options available to suit all skill levels. Saddle up and explore the stunning coastline, feeling the wind in your hair as you gallop or trot along the beach.


If you prefer a more leisurely pace, camel trekking is a popular activity that allows you to immerse yourself in the traditional Bedouin lifestyle. Mount a camel and embark on a peaceful journey, swaying gently with the rhythmic motion of these gentle creatures as they traverse the sandy terrain.


As you embark on your horseback riding or camel trekking adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the stunning beauty of Essaouira’s beaches up close. Enjoy panoramic views of the coastline, with its pristine sand dunes and crashing waves, as you make your way along the shoreline.


These excursions also offer a chance to explore the surrounding countryside and interact with local communities. Your guides will provide insights into the history, traditions, and culture of the region, enriching your experience with their knowledge and stories.


Whether you choose horseback riding or camel trekking, this unique experience allows you to connect with nature and experience the fascinating coastal landscapes of Essaouira in an unforgettable way. So saddle up or mount a camel and embark on a journey that will leave you with cherished memories of this remarkable destination.


Discovering Art and Culture at the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum

The Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum in Essaouira is a hidden gem that offers a fascinating insight into the city’s rich history, art, and culture. Housed in a former mansion, this museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, artworks, and historical displays.


As you enter the museum, you’ll be greeted by beautifully preserved rooms and courtyards, adorned with traditional Moroccan architecture and decorative elements. Explore the various exhibition spaces, each dedicated to a different aspect of Essaouira’s heritage.


One of the highlights of the museum is the display of traditional Berber jewelry and costumes. Admire the intricate designs, vibrant colors, and exquisite craftsmanship of these cultural treasures, which provide a glimpse into the centuries-old traditions of the region’s indigenous people.


The museum also houses a collection of historical documents, including maps, manuscripts, and photographs, that shed light on Essaouira’s past as a bustling trading port and its interactions with other cultures around the world.


Art enthusiasts will be captivated by the collection of contemporary and traditional artworks on display. From paintings and sculptures to ceramics and textiles, the museum showcases the talents of local artists, offering a glimpse into the vibrant art scene of Essaouira.


Throughout the year, the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events, allowing visitors to engage with the ever-evolving artistic and cultural landscape of the city.


Take your time to explore the museum’s galleries, read the informative displays, and absorb the rich history and artistic expression that permeates every corner. The Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum is a place where art, culture, and history converge, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of the vibrant essence of Essaouira.



Essaouira, the “Windy City” of Morocco, is a destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From exploring the enchanting medina and its bustling souks to taking a leisurely walk along the ramparts, there is no shortage of captivating experiences in this coastal gem.


The city’s historic landmarks, such as the Skala du Port and Borj el-Berod, transport you back in time, offering a glimpse into Essaouira’s maritime past and strategic importance. Meanwhile, the beautiful beaches beckon with opportunities for thrilling water sports or simply relaxing and soaking up the sun.


Essaouira is also a haven for art and culture enthusiasts. The Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum showcases the city’s rich heritage while providing a platform for contemporary artistic expression.


When it comes to dining, Essaouira’s local cuisine, especially its fresh seafood, tantalizes taste buds and leaves a lasting impression. Exploring the souks allows you to haggle for unique Moroccan treasures, while the beach resorts provide a serene oasis to unwind and rejuvenate.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a cultural immersion, Essaouira has something to offer every traveler. Its charm, authenticity, and natural beauty combine to create an unforgettable experience.


So pack your bags, and get ready to explore the enchanting streets, indulge in local delicacies, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Essaouira – a destination that will leave you with cherished memories and a longing to return.