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.
To the south of the old city is a vast bay with miles of sandy beach. However, be warned: Essaouira’s bracing wind – the Alizé – 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.
A wonderful way to stay in Essaouira when being in the heart of the city sounds too stressful..!
A 12-room 18th century riad located a few meters from the beach and sheltered by the medina walls
A camp located on a deserted beach from March until September. Ideal for surfing, fishing, parties and relaxing
A 14-room boutique hotel in the new town
The Lawrence of Morocco map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.
Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.
When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.
We definitely plan to return to Morocco again.
We had a wonderful trip thank you, thoroughly enjoyed it! both hotels were lovely, the gardens at each were fabulous, the staff helpful and friendly and each pick-up with our drivers was very efficient, it all felt totally stress free. I asked my husband about any negative points as I couldn't actually think of any, and ...
Freelance travel writer, Susannah Osborne, travelled to Marrakech with Lawrence of Morocco in September 2012, writing for the Financial Times.
When travelling around Morocco it is not (contrary to common belief) necessary for women to ‘cover up’ out of respect for local modesty traditions. Morocco is a very mixed society with Moroccans who dress as westerners and more traditional families dressing in a more traditional way.
The only areas of the country where it is advisable for women to cover up their legs and shoulders would be in some parts of the High Atlas Mountains (very remote areas) where the locals are rarely visited by foreigners. It is highly unlikely that you will be visiting these areas on any holiday arranged by Lawrence of Morocco.