Aptly named ‘Little Picture’ in Arabic, Essaouira is a picturesque port city located on the northern Atlantic coast of Morocco. Characterized by an ancient 18th century fortified city, a colorful fishing port and a glorious golden stretch of beach, Essaouira is one of the most underrated cities in Morocco.

A fantastic option for a romantic, family or solo vacation, visitors can haggle for souvenirs in the bustling souks, explore the city’s historic monuments, enjoy camel and horseback rides through the dunes or kitesurf in the waters. reasonably sheltered parts of Essaouira, the perfect way to take advantage of the city’s famous trade winds


Surrounded by blue and white 18th-century ramparts, Essaouira’s medina – or walled old town – looks like something out of a storybook. Always a hive of activity, the medina is the perfect place to soak up everyday Moroccan culture, from haggling in the souks to drinking Moroccan tea in a people-watching cafe.

Get lost in the narrow and labyrinthine streets of the medina. With closet-sized shops and stalls, scented and noisy markets, and splashes of color everywhere, it’s a true feast for the senses. Head to Le Souk and trade for tapestries, pottery and souvenirs for home, or climb the city walls for a panoramic view of the beautiful old town.

In fact, Essaouira’s medina is so striking that it has been used as a filming location for a wide variety of movies and TV series, such as Game of Thrones (presented as the city of Astapor), Gladiator, Alexander, the Kingdom of the Skies and Lawrence of Arabia. Book an excursion of 3 days from Marrakech to Fes.


The port of Essaouira is one of the main landmarks of the city. It offers a lively mental image of everyday life in Morocco, as it is a constant hive of activity. Watch boats enter and leave the harbor, watch fishing nets being unfurled for repair, and witness traditional blue fishing boats being built.

Arrive here in the late morning when the local fishermen bring in their catch of the day, soak up the lively atmosphere of the fish auction in the market hall just outside the harbor gates, and stop in the afternoon to buy your fish straight to the vendors and grill it in time for lunch.

The harbor is also a beautiful place to visit at sunset, when you can catch the pretty blue fishing boats against the backdrop of a fiery orange sky.


Essaouira beach is a long stretch of golden beach. It’s a popular spot for beach walks and sunset strolls, but as it often gets very strong trade winds, it’s better suited to kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing than sunbathing and swimming.

If you’re determined to swim, however, be sure to stay close to town, as the north beach has notoriously strong currents. You may also want a wetsuit, as the Atlantic waters are cold even on a good day. Other fun activities on Essaouira’s windy beach include sandcastle building, camel rides, frisbee games and beach soccer. This can be visited with the lisenced Moroccan Desert Tours.


The Gnaoua World Music Festival is held every year in the city of Essaouira, Morocco. Held over three event-packed days in June, the festival welcomes half a million visitors each year as it fills the city’s streets and venues with the sounds, sights and traditions of North Africa. And the best part? Most performances are completely free for visitors to enjoy

The festival is more than just a music festival. It is also a festival of art and culture with musical, artistic and cultural performances that can be enjoyed on the more than 20 stages spread throughout the Essaouira medina. Guests can enjoy contemporary funk, blues, jazz, reggae and soul shows from Africa and beyond.


Le Souk is the main shopping center in Essaouira. This popular street market is filled with rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables, aromatic spices, cuts of meat, argan oils, and local crafts. Find a cafe and stop for a cup of mint tea as your locals watch before swapping for souvenirs and cheap clothes at the shops in the market.

If you are visiting Essaouira at the weekend, don’t miss the Sunday market held at Le Souk. It’s the perfect place to pick up some affordable gifts for the home, like scarves, leather goods, wood carvings, and jewelry…


Explore Essaouira in a different way – by camel, dromedary or on horseback. Many schools and tour operators offer different approaches to these activities, so you can usually shop around for the best deals.

Essaouira has the perfect terrain for animal walks and excursions. You can choose from a wide range of landscapes, such as hiking through the sand dunes of the Sahara, along deserted beaches, through argan forests, and into the mountains, to enjoy on a day trip or a trip of several nights.

You’ll learn a lot about Moroccan history and culture from your Franco-Moroccan guides, passing through local farmlands and authentic Berber villages at your own pace. If you are going to extend your day tour into an overnight tour, you will stay in Berber tents and enjoy Moroccan cuisine cooked on the campfire.