Essaouira is a tranquil hippy surf spot along the Moroccan coastline. It has a relaxed feel to it and is a great place for relaxing and shopping. The locals will tell you that Jimi Hendrix lived there which is just a rumour. There is also the Game of Thrones film site on the city walls which makes it interesting if you are a fan of the series. Here are the top things to do in Essouira…
City Walls and Ramparts
The walls of the old city are made of white limestone and date back to the 16th century. There are towers and gates along the walls with a moat running around it. The ramparts are pretty steep and there are some great views from up there. It’s also possible to walk all along the ramparts, which take about 30 minutes to complete. The best time to climb them is at sunset when you can watch the sun go down over the ocean. If you have time, it’s worth walking out of the city onto a headland which gives you even better views of both land and sea.
Jnane El Khemis Museum
The Jnane El Khemis museum is dedicated to traditional Moroccan crafts. There are displays of traditional jewellery and clothing as well as pottery and embroidery. It is also possible to watch local craftsmen at work here, so it’s a good place to learn about the history of the city and how it has changed over time.
The kasbah is a great place to visit if you want to experience a traditional medina without all the hassle of having to haggle with merchants. The area is filled with craft shops and galleries, but there are no touts or hustlers trying to get your business. You can browse the shops in peace and then have lunch at one of the restaurants or cafes around there. It’s also worth visiting La Kasbah if you want to see how the people live in Tangier, as it is one of the few areas where you can see inside people’s homes.
Street Art in Essouira
Essaouira is famous for its beautiful beaches and seafood restaurants, but it’s also worth exploring the old medina as well. There are plenty of great shops selling crafts and gifts to buy here, and you can also find some great street art. The medina is very compact so it’s easy to get around even if you’re on foot, and there are plenty of places to stop for a drink or a bite to eat if you need one. You can also visit the kasbah which has some nice views out over the sea.
Essouira beach and surfing
If you’re in Essouira, you can’t miss out on seeing the beautiful beach. It’s one of the nicest beaches in Morocco with white sand, crystal clear water and a great atmosphere. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the beach where you can have a drink or a bite to eat if you need one. You can also hire surfboards at some places here and go surfing if that’s your thing.
Fish Market of essouira
Essaouira is famous for its seafood, and it’s well worth taking some time to visit the fish market. Here you’ll find an array of fresh fish, squid, octopus and other seafood. If you’re lucky you might even see some scorpions or snakes (if you’re not sure what a scorpion looks like, ask someone).
Carpets of essouira
Essaouira is a great place to buy rugs and carpets from the Berber tribes in the Atlas Mountains. The quality is high and you can bargain down prices quite easily if there are several people competing for your business. There are a number of carpet shops in Essaouira so make sure that you look around and find the one that’s most suitable for you.
The Old Town
There is a very old part of the city with narrow streets and small houses that are typical of Moroccan architecture. If you get lost, don’t worry, everyone speaks English in Essaouira and they’re very friendly so ask around if you need help. It’s also easy to get lost because many of the streets are not named (although there is a map at the entrance to the medina).
Asilah is a little fishing village located about 20 km from Essaouira. The town itself has some nice cafes and restaurants along with an old fort that you can climb up for some great views.