Essaouira & The Coast, Morocco

Essaouira has a laid-back soul. It feels more like a child of bohemian sixties Morocco than of medieval Morocco like much of the country. Hendrix hung out here, as did Hemingway and countless other artists, musicians, and writers.

However – enter into the Unesco-listed Medina and it’s classic Morocco at its best.

Winding cobbled passaged hide little art galleries, traditional jewellers, and artisan stores where crafts are made from the thuya tree. Whitewashed buildings are adorned with blue shutters, boat-builders go about their time-honored trade and there’s a total absence of cars and pollution.

Spicy aromas fill the air, while the sound of drums and gnaoua music is never far away. Wandering the ancient ramparts and battlements is a must, but there’s a modern side too with a good choice of upmarket French restaurants and luxurious spa boutiques.

The beach extends south from the fishing harbor for around ten golden kilometers. A handful of some of the most luxurious resorts and boutiques sit on the beachfront. Offshore, on its own little sandbar, lies the crumbling Essaouira citadel in all its beauty.

The near-constant wind rolling in from the Atlantic attracts windsurfers and kitesurfers from all over the world. Although it doesn’t always lend itself to sunbathing on the beach. That’s part of the charm though – Essaouira is no Agadir; mass tourism and development is just not the done thing around here.

A couple of hours north lies Oualidia, a sleepy coastal retreat popular with surfers and Moroccan royalty. An 11km lagoon, protected from the ocean, provides a tranquil setting, while there’s a crescent of honey-colored sands at its southern end. Pink flamingos often stop here on their way from Spain to sub-Saharan Africa. Oualidia’s proximate to Marrakech makes it the perfect place to chill out for a few days after exploring the Red City.

With a luxury tour of Essaouira and its coast from Lightfoot Travel, you’ll receive expert and impartial advice from our regional specialists on where to stay and what to include in your bespoke itinerary.

Similar Destinations

Erg Chebbi & the Moroccan Sahara

A masterwork of sculpture, artistically created by the sweeping desert winds, Erg Chebbi is the iconic Saharan vista: great orange-gold dunes rippling across the desert-scape.

Fez & the Imperial Cities

Fez remains the most enchanting of the Imperial Cities. A grand old city with nearly ten miles of wall fortifications, it’s the cultural capital of Morocco and the largest continuously populated medieval city in the Islamic world.


From the red ochre paint that earned it the name, The Red City, to the labyrinth alleys of the UNESCO-listed medina to the brightly colored spice stalls of the souks: it’s a city of romance and intrigue that has captured the hearts of weary travelers.

From The Magazine
Choose Lightfoot Travel
  • Knowledge
  • Expertly Crafted
  • Value
  • Peace of Mind