Once a favourite hangout of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, Essaouira is as relaxing as it is eye-opening. A view into Morocco’s rich past, the labyrinth of tiny streets in this coastal town tends to ward off the cars from its centre. It has been a centre of commerce for over 3,000 years, with the newer areas of Essaouira – some 200 years old – clearly displaying the French influence on its architecture.
Strikingly white buildings lead down from this walled town into Essaouira’s centuries-old port, which is completely distinctive as the porcupines of pale blue and white masts poke from the harbourside. A long stretch of beach opens out to the Atlantic to your front where for thousands of years fisherman have worked. Meanwhile in the forests to your rear, the dark green woodland has been a dedicated woodworkers’ community for just as long.
Providing a picturesque slice of ancient North Africa, which today has been converted into a hip, young hangout well off the beaten tourist track, Essaouira holidays boast an experience that is that little bit different.
Luxury Holidays in Essaouira
Essaouira’s tourism industry is fairly new, and so luxury hotels and restaurants are something of a recent development. Traditional Moroccan design meets modern amenities with wonderful views of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. After a growing tourist industry over the last three decades, hotels in Essaouira are grand and beautifully designed.
10 Great Reasons to Holiday in Essaouira
- Beach – where most Essaouirans will be, most of the time
- Explore the Medina, the 18th century walled city that comprises Essaouira’s centre, rich in history and a web of tiny streets and hidden coves
- Exquisite seafood restaurants. Or head to the port, where The Fish Stalls will grill the catch of the day right there, very cheaply
- Visit the cannons on the town’s stone wall fortifications
- Visit the ruins of Bourj El Baroud – Essaouira’s Castle Made of Sand – on the beach near Diabat
- Diabat is also home to the ‘Hendrix Café’ – a tourist favourite
- Horseriding or walking tours in the surrounding Thuya woodland and desert dune landscape
- Intricate carvings by generations of woodworkers can be bought along the battlement markets
- Site of the world-famous music festival – Gnawas Festival
- For most of the year, Essaouira is a windsurfer’s and kitesurfer’s paradise
Interesting Facts About Essaouira
- Population – around 70,000
- The city is also known as Mogador, since the Portuguese built the Castelo Real of Mogador fortification here in the 16th century.
- Up until the 19th century, the city was Morocco and Marrakech’s principle harbour and also a point where pirates used to anchor.
- Orson Welles’ 'Othello' was partly filmed here.
- Locals believe Jimi Hendrix’ song ‘Castles Made Of Sand’ was inspired by the Bourj El Baroud ruins, though in fact the song was written two years before Hendrix visited the area.
- The Medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A milder climate than its Saharan neighbours, the summery temperatures remain between 17 and 22 Celsius for most of the year. The highest season is between August and September.
Essaouira Holidays 2024 / 2025
For a brand new and intimate experience of Morocco, call on Kenwood Travel’s experts to find you the perfect holiday to Essaouira. We have over three decades of experience in booking the perfect luxury holidays and Essaouira is a wonderful, fascinating and very alternative location to visit. Come and see the packages Kenwood Travel can offer.
Please note: Guests are required to pay a local government tax at hotels in Morocco. The cost varies depending on hotel and area, but should be no more than £5 per room per day. The tax will be payable in local currency.