Affiliate Disclosure: If you make a purchase through a link, I may earn a wee commission at no additional cost to you. I promise I’ll use that $ to keep this blog running and to treat myself to some delicious Moroccan mint tea. Cheers!

Page Contents

  • Welcome To Essaouira
  • Things To Do In Essaouira
  • Food & Restaurants In Essaouira
  • Nightlife In Essaouira
  • Essaouira For Digital Nomads
  • Where To Stay In Essaouira
  • Safety & Insurance In Essaouira
  • How To Get To Essaouira
  • Day Trip From Marrakesh
  • And That's A Wrap!
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Essaouira

Welcome To Essaouira

Essaouira is Morocco's perfect little bohemian seaside haven, straight out of a fever dream. The city is filled with lively markets, cafes, spice-scented lanes, and art galleries, and its harbour is famously lined with colourful fishing boats. It's truly a hidden gem, a North African harbour just waiting to be discovered.

To truly grasp Essaouira's unique vibe, it is important to first get a taste of the contrasting hustle and bustle of mainstream Morocco. Only then can you fully appreciate the laid-back coastal culture that Essaouira embodies. The contrast between the hectic pace of cities like Marrakech or Fez and the relaxed atmosphere of Essaouira is striking.

Views From The Medina In Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira holds a special place in my heart as one of my favourite cities in the world. My time exploring Essaouira remains one of the most memorable experiences in all of my travels. Ideally I’d recommend spending 2 nights in Essaouira, but if you are tight on time, you could make a day trip out of it from Marrakesh.

Very few places have made me feel the way Essaouira did, and I hope it brings out the same sense of wonder and joy when you set foot here.

Things To Do In Essaouira

Horse Riding On The Beach

Exploring Essaouira wouldn't be complete without experiencing one of its most thrilling attractions: horse riding by the waves!

The feeling of horseback riding along the shoreline is truly unforgettable. Picture this: the sun setting in the background, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, and the strong wind coming straight at you. This, by far, has been the most iconic travel experience I have ever had!

Horse Riding In Essaouira, Morocco

Even if you're a complete novice like I was, you'll find yourself in good hands with the friendly staff, who ensure the best possible ride. Despite my lack of prior horse-riding experience, I had the time of my life.

Sunset Horseback Ride With Ocean Ranch

Recommended Activity

Whether you're an experienced rider or a complete novice, these horse riding tours offer an unforgettable way to explore the sandy shores and watch the sun dip below the horizon in a blaze of colours.

Book Your Experience Today

Camel Rides On The Beach

Yes, you heard it right: camels on the beach! In Essaouira, these iconic creatures of the desert make an unexpected appearance along the sandy shores.

While horse riding offers an exhilarating thrill, camel rides offer a more relaxed and tranquil journey along the shoreline.

The Beautiful Blue Harbour

As you navigate through the streets of the medina (historic old town), be sure to carve out some time to visit Essaouira’s harbour. This bustling old fishing port, the salty sea breeze mingles with the distinct scent of freshly caught seafood.

The Harbour In Essaouira, Morocco

Providing the town's seafood eateries with the freshest of fish, this picturesque harbour is filled with small, bright blue wooden fishing boats, colourful fishing nets, and large trawlers bringing in their daily catch.

Explore The Local Art Scene

For art and handicraft enthusiasts, there are a handful of local galleries and artisanal shops to check out. The creative visuals on display sparked up my appreciation for local artistry.

Art Galleries In Essaouira, Morocco

Out of the 6 cities I visited in Morocco, Essaouira is the best place to buy local art and handicrafts. The creativity and artistic quality here were far superior to that the busy Medinas in other Moroccan cities.

Artisanal Handicrafts In Essaouira, Morocco

Surf On The Moroccan Coast

When it comes to surfing, Morocco might not be the first destination that springs to mind — but in Essaouira, the unexpected becomes the norm. While you’re here, make the most of the Moroccan coast and catch some waves. There are plenty of surf schools along the beach offering lessons for surfers across all levels.

Surf Lesson In Essaouira

Recommended Activity

With waves all year round, and safe enough for all levels, learn everything you need to know about surfing, board control, and picking the right wave.

Book Your Surf Lesson Today

However, for a truly immersive surf experience in Morocco, consider journeying further south to the city of Taghazout. While Essaouira has a good surf scene, Taghazout is renowned for taking the experience to the next level.

Treat Yourself To A Hammam

You can't leave Essaouira without trying out a traditional Moroccan hammam. This unique spa experience involves a steam bath followed by a body scrub, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It's the perfect way to relax after a day of exploring the city.

Activities In Essaouira

If you're interested in exploring more activities in Essaouira, check out some of these experiences offered by GetYourGuide:

Powered by GetYourGuide

Food & Restaurants In Essaouira

Before delving into the culinary delights of Essaouira, let me emphasize one thing: Moroccan cuisine is an absolute gem often overlooked by many. Its rich flavours, aromatic spices, and vibrant colours will leave your taste buds fulfilled.

Fish Tajine At Restaurant Adwak In Essaouira, Morocco

In Essaouira, this culinary journey takes on a quirky twist as traditional Moroccan cuisine meets the bounty of the sea. Imagine fresh succulent seafood infused with the essence of Moroccan spices providing you dishes such as calamari tajine, seafood pastilla, and fish tajine.

Seafood Pastilla At The Coast In Essaouira, Morocco

Here are three eateries where I had the pleasure of indulging in Essaouira's culinary delights. Each one embodies the essence of Moroccan coastal cuisine:

🍴 Tres Portes

🍴 The Coast

🍴 Restaurant Adwak

Nightlife In Essaouira

As the sun sets behind Essaouira, the city undergoes a transformation, with beautiful lights beaming up the medina’s ancient walls. Walking through the median at night, you'll discover a whole new side to Essaouira's charm.

Essaouira Medina Walls At Night

Though when it comes to nightlife, there’s honestly not much to do beyond 10:30 PM. However, for those seeking a more lively time after horus, there's one hotspot that that's buzzing with energy: Taros Rooftop Bar.

Its Bohemian-inspired décor sets the stage for an unforgettable evening, where conversations blend in with the tunes of live bands or the beats of DJs spinning groovy tracks. Once there, you'll find yourself mingling and dancing the night away alongside both locals and fellow travellers alike. It's the only happening place and it surely is a great one where all the night owls gather for a good time!

Essaouira For Digital Nomads

Morocco's internet is pretty solid overall, so you won't have many hiccups when you're working remotely. During my time in Essaouira, I found the internet to be consistently strong. If things got a bit slow, I just switched to 4G using my local SIM card, and that sorted everything out without a hitch.

To my surprise, Essaouira has two coworking and coliving spaces perfectly suited for digital nomads: NOQTA Space and Atlantic Hostel. These hubs offer ideal environments for work and collaboration tailored perfectly to the needs of remote workers like me.

NOQTA Space

Recommended Accommodation For Digital Nomads

With waves all year round, and safe enough for all levels, learn everything you need to know about surfing, board control, and picking the right wave.

Book Your Stay

Like many Moroccan cities, Essaouira offers numerous cafes and restaurants with good wifi. So, you can set up shop pretty much anywhere and get stuff done while enjoying the local scene.

As a nomad, I’d say I could comfortably spend anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks in Essaouira amidst it’s horseriding and surfing experiences to keep me busy.

Where To Stay In Essaouira

When it comes to accommodations in Essaouira, you can't go wrong with a riad. Riads offer a traditional Moroccan experience, with rooms and communal spaces arranged around a central courtyard. If you're looking for something smaller, consider a dar, which is a variation of a riad without an internal garden in the courtyard.

For the full Essaouira experience, I highly recommend finding a riad within the medina. This is where all the action and energy of Essaouira can be found, giving you the best possible location to spend your time.

Recommended Hotels In Essaouira

Here are some of the highest-rated hotels in Essaouira's Medina.

🏨 Casa Lila

🏨 Riad Perle D'Eau

🏨 Dar L'Ouissa

Recommended Hostels In Essaouira

If you're backpacking on a budget, here are some of the highest-rated hostels in Essaouira.

🛌 Essaouira Beach Hostel

🛌 Atlantic Hostel

🛌 The Chill Art

Safety & Insurance In Essaouira

During my stay in Essaouira, I felt completely safe travelling solo. Walking home late at night was never a concern, although it's always wise to avoid it if possible. The people of Essaouira are incredibly hospitable and welcoming, creating a sense of security throughout the city.

While the same cannot necessarily be said for the rest of Morocco, Essaouira stands out as a super safe city with very friendly and hospitable locals. It truly feels like a safe haven amidst the bustling energy of Morocco.

Sign Up For Genki Travel Insurance Today

Though Essaouira is a safe touristy spot, I’ll never take a chance with my health travelling solo far way from home — especially partaking in activities like horse riding and surfing, I can’t afford to that chance.

To stay protected on my travels, I have chosen as Genki as my travel insurer. Genki is an insurance company that is literally dedicated to world travellers, backpackers, and digital nomads. They’ll have you covered for every country with a flexible month-to-month plan and no long-term commitment.

Knowing that Genki has me covered makes life a little less stressful or me. If you’re interested, you can sign up for Genki with my link below.

Get Insured With Genki

How To Get To Essaouira

Getting To Essaouira By Bus

If you're already in Morocco, the best way to get to Essaouira is by catching an easy 3-hour bus from Marrakech. The bus ride wouldn't cost you more than $10-$20 and takes you straight to the entrance of the Medina in Essaouira.

It’s good to take note that for intercity buses in Morocco, luggage is always paid for separately. When you reach a bus station, go to the baggage declaration station and get a ticket for your luggage. You can book your travel ticket online, but you must get your luggage ticket in person. It’s pretty cheap so don’t worry; it just cost me a few coins.

Getting To Essaouira By Flight

What a lot of people don't know is that Essaouira has it's own small little airport with direct flights from France, England, Belgium, Spain, and Canary Islands. Check out some of your flights options below with Skyscanner.

Day Trip From Marrakesh

Though I'd recommend 2 nights in Essaouira, don't sweat it if you're low on time. Take a day trip from Marrakesh to Essaouira. It's a gem you can't afford to miss, even if it's just for a day. So, clear your schedule and get ready for an awesome adventure!

Essaouira Day Trip From Marrakech

Recommended Tour

Embark on an unforgettable day trip to the seaside city of Essaouira from Marrakech and explore at your own pace with round-trip hotel transfers.

Book Your Day Trip Today

And That's A Wrap!

With its bohemian charm, stunning beaches, and rich cultural heritage, Essaouira offers a truly unforgettable travel experience. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or inspiration, this Moroccan seaside gem has it all. So pack your bags, embrace the laid-back vibe, and get ready to discover the magic of Essaouira on your next getaway.

Frequently Asked Questions About Essaouira

Is Essaouira Morocco worth visiting?

Absolutely! Essaouira is a must-visit destination in Morocco. Its bohemian charm, vibrant culture, and stunning coastline make it a unique and memorable experience. It’s one of my favourite places i’ve ever been to.

Why is Essaouira famous?

Essaouira is famous for its picturesque blue-hued harbor, vibrant medina filled with artisanal shops, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's also known for its laid-back atmosphere and artistic community.

How safe is Essaouira?

Essaouira is generally very safe for travelers. With friendly locals and a relaxed vibe, you can explore the city day or night with peace of mind. As a solo traveller, I encountered no safety issues there.

Can you swim in the sea in Essaouira?

Yes, you can swim in the sea in Essaouira. There are plenty of water activities going on by the coast such as surfing, kite surfing, horse riding, etc. Just like most coastal places, only go swimming in permitted areas where others are around.

How many days do you need in Essaouira?

Ideally, 2 days is enough to explore Essaouira thoroughly. This allows time to soak in the sights, enjoy the beach, and experience the local culture without feeling rushed. Though if you’re short on time, you can take a day trip from Marrakech.

Is Essaouira more expensive than Marrakech?

Essaouira is definitely more budget-friendly compared to Marrakech in almost all aspects. I found Essaouira to be more budget friendly as well as more charming in comparison to Marrakech.

Is Essaouira good for digital nomads?

Essaouira is good for digital nomads, offering reliable internet, coworking spaces like NOQTA Space, and a laid-back atmosphere for work and relaxation. I could comfortably spend a week or two in Essaouira working remotely if I had to. Though if you’re looking to stay there for a longer period of time, you might run out of things to do since it’s a small city — but hey, if you like smaller towns, this might be your spot!

Is Essaouira good for solo travellers?

Essaouira is a great destination for solo travelers because of its small town old-school vibe and hippie culture. With its welcoming locals, safe streets, and plenty of activities to enjoy alone, you'll feel right at home exploring this charming coastal city on your own. Plus, since it's a cozy town with a central hangout spot, you'll probably bump into familiar faces and make new friends along the way.

About Me

Niv with a backdrop of a beach and a sea

Hey, I'm Niv and welcome to my blog! I've been travelling almost full-time for the past 3 years while running my business remotely. I'm here to share all I've learnt on my travels with you from travel advice to location recommendations as well as tips for solo travellers and digital nomads. So grab your bags and your laptop and let’s catch that flight ✈️

Connect with me on instagram 📸

Recent Blog Posts