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With its brilliant blue and white architecture, windswept beach and easy-going charm, Essaouira is a popular excursion for day-trippers from Marrakech. It’s also a great place to kick back and relax for a few days.
Probably the best-known coastal town of Morocco, Essaouira has been occupied over the centuries by the Carthaginians, Romans and Portuguese. Behind the 18th century sea walls are thuya wood workshops, artists’ enclaves and silent alleyways where cats sun themselves and veiled women emerge from studded doorways. The harbour is a photographer’s dream, with fishing nets laid out on the quayside, boats unloading their catches and the smell of freshly-grilled sardines and lobster in the air. Read more...
To the south of the old city is a vast bay with miles of sandy beach. However, be warned: Essaouira’s bracing wind – the Alizee – means that this is not always a great place for sunbathing. Surfing, riding and windsurfing are the pastimes of choice. Essaouira offers an excellent choice of places to stay, from five-star hotels along the beach to beautifully restored riads in the old town.
You also have the option of staying outside Essaouira. About 25 km south of the city lies Kaouki Beach, where you can stay in less expensive but truly fun and charming little hotels.