Essaouira guide

Besides being a great day trip from Marrakech, Essaouira is a great port city with its old medina and the local fish market, the beautiful  walk along the sea on the sandy beach, the traditional moroccan food and many more beautiful things. Our visit in Essaouira lasted only three days, but we would have loved to stay longer and explore even more the small blue streets, do some more tours in the villages on the sea close by.

If you’re searching for a more chilled experience than in Marrakesh, if you’re a sea lover and you enjoy a long walk on the beach, if you prefer nature over smog, then your trip destination should be Essaouira. We wrote this travel guide to share with you our experience and to inspire you how to spend a great weekend in the most chilled town in Morocco! 

What makes Essaouira worth visiting?

Essaouira's port and the traditional fish market

Essaouira’s port is definitely the best thing to visit. Essaouira is so small you’ll not even need to take a bus to reach the port, but just walk all the way from your riad in medina to the sea and, believe me, the smell will drive you. A thing we didn’t do is a restaurant or a city tour that permits you to discover the town in a few hours, but we really recommend you to do one especially if you don’t have a lot of time in Essaouira. We visited port once and we really recommend you not to wear sandals because of the super dirty road and the dead fish you can find on your way. Anyway, if you’re searching for a traditional food experience, then eating some good fish at the local market is what we really recommend. If you’re into something more fancy than eating fish at the port, here’s our list of our favorite restaurants in Essaouira, with some vegetarian and vegan choices as well!

Port essaouira boats

“Essaouira's Typical Blue Boats”

fish market essaouira

“Daily Fish Market”

Essaouira Medina in the old city center

Essaouira medina is definitely the best way to discover Moroccan culture: old men drinking their mint tea, women and girls walking aloof, singers wandering in the small rue of the city center, vendors inviting you to see their merchandise. Essaouira Medina remembered me from Morocco described in the book of Paul Bowls (definitely a must read before your trip to Morocco). We don’t recommend you to organize too much of your time in the medina: just get lost and be surprised by the beautiful place you’ll walk in. 

medina essaouira morocco

“Deep Conversations In Medina”

medina essaouira mosque

“A Mosque In Essaouira”

Essaouira's sandy beach

While in Marrakesh it will be very hard to find nature and parks, the beach of Essaouira is the perfect place to chill and relax after a day of walk in the medina. Admiring the sunset with some drinks on a blanket with the surfers taking advantage of the last waves of the sea,  is just the perfect way to end a day in Essaouira. While the beginning of the beach, the closest part to the city, is pretty empty, as soon as you get close to the end of it you’ll find many vendors trying to sell you a camel or horse ride. So, here’s our advice: if you don’t want to be disturbed, just don’t go to the South of the beach and stop yourself before, either on the beach or in a nice cafe. If you want to discover our favorite activities in Essaouira, check out our article.

sea essaouira center

“Rocky Beach In Essaouira Center”

beach essaouira girl

“Sandy Beach In Essaouira”

The traditional Gnaoua moroccan music

Gnaoua music is typical of this region and in particular of this city, so if you have the chance to be in Essaouira in June make sure not to miss this festival. Our favorite Gnaoua group is Tinariwen: you should definitely listen to them while cooking a nice moroccan dish at home or while traveling through Morocco.

Essaouira is a great day trip from Marrakech

Yeah, Essaouira is the best choice if you want to have a day trip from Marrakech. Not dangerous at all, you can travel there alone without an organized tour, but with just a few hours of bus. We recommend you to buy your tickets in advance in order to get the best price. Hotels are way cheaper in Essaouira and the air is less polluted. From Essaouira you can also easily reach Agadir, another beautiful city on the sea. We didn’t have the chance to visit other villages on the sea close to Essaouira, but it’s very easy to reach them by taxi or by bus from the main station. We really recommend you to visit Sidi Kouki, just half an hour from Essaouira. 

essaouira day trip from marrakech

“A Stop In A Typical Moroccan Village”

day trip marrakech essaouira

“Dogs Chilling On The Street”

Is Essaouira friendly for Digital Nomads?

Essaouira is very friendly for digital nomads. Even though it’s a small town, its streets are full of cafes and coworking to work from. Prices are very low, even lower than Marrakech, and we think the quality of life is definitely higher. After our working day we love to go out and stay in nature, a thing that in Marrakech was impossible. We were really upset that we didn’t spend half of our three months stay in Essaouira rather than in Marrakech. The medina is also way calmer and it’s definitely a pleasure to walk in the small blue and white streets, without the persistent sellers of Marrakesh. So, if you’re searching for cheap prices, beautiful places, nature, good air quality, calm, sea and surfing, then Essaouira is the best city to settle down in Morocco as a digital nomad.

Suggested daily budget – 15-20€ / 20-15$ (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in Airbnb, eating out once per day, cooking some of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

How to reach Essaouira from Marrakesh

Reaching Essaouira from Marrakech is very easy. We reached it by bus from Marrakech bus station and it cost us something around 10-15 euros to go and come back, so very very cheap. Train is not the best option to reach Essaouira, but it is if you want to reach Agadir or Casablanca. We think flying from Marrakech to Essaouira is useless: the time you’ll spend for the check in and passport controls is the same you would have spent to arrive in Essaouira by bus. Moreover, Essaouira bus station is literally 5 minutes away from the city center. A taxi ride will cost you something like 2 euros, but if you don’t have heavy luggages you can easily walk to the medina or your hotel. Renting a car is not the best option because the police are pretty corrupted in Morocco, so when they will see a tourist with a rented car, it’s possible they ask for money. So to avoid unpleasant situations, choose CTM or Supratours operators to quickly join Essaouira from Marrakech. 

Where to stay in Essaouira

Until you stay in Essaouira medina you’ll have no troubles, so there isn’t really an area to avoid. Most hotels are in the medina, where we also stayed during our trip. We stayed in this lovely airbnb: the price was really affordable, we had a small private terrace, a few minutes of walk from the port and the main restaurants and we loved its decoration. Its strength was definitely the amazing rooftop with a view on the sea. You can eat something you cooked in your own kitchen or some takeaway. We’re sure you’ll love it!

We hope our travel guide helped you! If you have some questions or you want some advice, don’t hesitate to contact us or to leave us a comment below.

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