Friday, September 8, 2023
Essaouira Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Essaouira, historically known as Mogador, is a city in western Morocco’s Marrakesh-Safi economic zone, on the Atlantic coast. The contemporary name refers to the city’s fortification walls, which still surround a portion of the city.

Essaouira is a Moroccan seaside city. In addition to the new town, it has a magnificent medina (old town) encircled by seawalls and city walls, created by a French architect in the 18th century, a harbor with a fish market, and a long beach with a variety of water sports. Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens both spent time here when it was a hippie hangout. Orson Welles shot part of his Othello in town, and there’s a plaza named after him west of the medina.

The climate of Essaouira is Mediterranean with maritime influences. The temperature difference between highs and lows is modest, and summers are pleasant while winters are moderate. Annual rainfall ranges from 300 to 500 millimetres (12 to 20 inches) and fluctuates year to year. The climate of Essaouira is similar to that of San Diego in California.

Essaouira is insulated from wave action by a natural harbour formed by the Iles Purpuraires. A large sandy beach continues south of Essaourira from the port, where the Oued Ksob empties into the sea; south of the discharge is the ancient ruin, the Bordj El Berod. The Canary Current is responsible for the overall southern migration of ocean circulation, which has resulted in improved local fisheries. Diabat is located around five kilometers (3.1 miles) south of Essaouira, just south of the Oued Ksob.

The N1 road links Essaouira to Safi to the north and Agadir to the south, while the R 207 road connects Essaouira to Marrakech to the east. There is a tiny airport about 7 to 8 kilometers (4 to 5 miles) from town that has several flights each week to Paris-Orly and daily flights to Casablanca.

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Essaouira | Introduction

Essaouira – Info Card

POPULATION :  70,000
TIME ZONE :  WET (UTC+0)  Summer : WEST (UTC+1)
LANGUAGE :  Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy
RELIGION :  Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%
COORDINATES :  31°30′47″N 9°46′11″W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 49.36
 Female: 50.64
ETHNIC :  Arab-Berber 99%, other 1%

How To Travel To Essaouira

Depending on your negotiation skills, where you are, the attitude of the driver, and other factors, a complete grand cab from Marrakech may cost anywhere from 450dh to 800dh. Alternatively, if you wait and take a shared grand cab, it will cost about 80dh each person (six passengers, leave when full).

Supratours runs coaches from their office in Marrakech, which is very next to the new train station, to their office in Essaouira, which is just down the street from the beach and near to the Bab Marrakech medina entrance. The regular bus costs 70 Dh per passenger in 2012, whereas the Comfort Plus bus costs 100 Dh per person, plus 5 Dh for each item of stored baggage.

CTM also offers a 75dh coach service from Marrakech’s bus terminal (or the CTM offices on Zerktouni street in the Gueliz) (add 5dh per piece of stowed luggage).

There will almost certainly always be “a bus leaving to Essaouira presently” at the bus terminal. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and aren’t concerned about cleanliness, you should avoid these other services since they will stop all the way to Essaouira, adding 1.5 hours to your travel.

Otherwise, the coach journey takes roughly 3 hours, including a 15-minute midway break with food, beverages, and restrooms. The carriages do not have any amenities.

How To Get Around In Essaouira

The Medina, the town’s walled center, is meant to be off-limits to motorized vehicles, but this regulation is often disregarded in the case of mopeds, which have become a growing annoyance. Aside from that, there are a few donkey carts to avoid.

Prices In Essaouira

Tourist (Backpacker) – 40 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:meals in cheap restaurant, public transport, cheap hotel.

Tourist (regular) – 117 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:mid-range meals and drinks,transportation, hotel.


Milk 1 liter $0.76
Tomatoes 1 kg $0.65
Cheese 0.5 kg $6.80
Apples 1 kg $1.70
Oranges 1 kg $0.70
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $6.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters $1.28
Bread 1 piece $0.48
Water 1.5 l $0.67


Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $21.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $39.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $77.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $5.50
Water 0.33 l $0.62
Cappuccino 1 cup $1.90
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $4.00
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $1.15
Coctail drink 1 drink $


Cinema 2 tickets $14.00
Gym 1 month $26.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $4.70
Theatar 2 tickets $
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $0.31
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $3.40


Antibiotics 1 pack $8.00
Tampons 32 pieces $
Deodorant 50 ml. $2.70
Shampoo 400 ml. $2.90
Toilet paper 4 rolls $1.25
Toothpaste 1 tube $1.50


Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 $52.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M) 1 $45.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas) 1 $48.00
Leather shoes 1 $74.00


Gasoline 1 liter $0.90
Taxi Start $0.70
Taxi 1 km $0.35
Local Transport 1 ticket $0.41

Things To Do In Essaouira

Check out the fish market at the west end, watch the sunset from the seawall at the Place Moulay Hassan, visit the Scala (wall tower north east of the Place), walk through the markets towards Bab Doukkala at the east end, and check out the artisan’s shops near the eastern wall on a stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage Listed medina.

The beach is where the Essaouirans spend their free time. The high wind and currents make relaxing sunning and swimming challenging at times, but it is ideal for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Essaouira is a watersports’ paradise, with excellent breezes almost every day of the year. Essaouira Bay, Sidi Kaouki, Cape Sim, and Mouley Bouzertoune are said to be the greatest sites. Equipment may be rented from a number of locations along the beachfront. This is not, however, the best site to learn watersports, especially kitesurfing. There’s a catch-22 situation where it’s either quiet and you can’t go out because there’s no wind, or it’s windy and you can’t go out because there’s a massive shore break. Furthermore, the water may have a sewer odor.

Dar Sultan: travel south along the beach, over the Oued Igrounzer, and you’ll find the remains of a once-magnificent 18th century palace occupied by Sultans and Kings in the hills to your left. A trail goes there; some ancient floor mosaics may still be seen, and the ruins, mercifully, provide some shade.

Diabat, a small settlement at the south end of Essaouira’s coastline, is said to be where Jimi Hendrix once stayed. This long, windy beach with its destroyed fort is a lovely stroll even if the myths aren’t genuine. Diabat is a barren, concrete Berber settlement with little attractions other than a Hendrix ruin and a Hendrix Cafe. It’s preferable to go early in the morning by cab, then return to Essouiara through a short and extremely beautiful beach stroll via the castle in the sand of Hendrix renown.

Diabat Village, Zouina-cheval (Diabat is 3 km from the medina, accessible by taxi). 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In the regions around Essaouira, Zouina-cheval arranges horse excursions and horse rides. The rides are suitable for all levels of motorcyclists (beginners, experienced riders, and children), but the treks are only suggested for experienced riders due to the lengthy hours spent on the bike. Those rides are suited you if you want to see the countryside as well as beaches, dunes, and a typical town. Najib, the monitor, is a very competent and kind individual. The prices are set and cannot be changed. 170dh for an hour to 7150dh for a week.

Ecotourism, walking excursions. a half-day Eco-friendly guided excursions of the beautiful landscape around Essaouira. You may explore the Argan Woods, Thuya Forests, and Dunes at your own leisure, sip mint tea in a Berber community, and learn about the mysteries of a unique environment. The cost per person each day is 200 DH for a half day and 400 DH for a full day (including a traditional meal with Moroccan family). Each walk includes transportation from town to the start site.

Food & Restaurants In Essaouira

Despite the fact that Essaouira lies near the coast, seafood is fairly pricey. Fishermen sell their catch in the market hall, and you may have it prepared at one of the neighboring tiny stalls. On the enormous pricing board at the end of the fish market booths, prices are plainly listed by weight, although it seems that this makes little difference to the possibilities of being hustled. In the fish market, a pack of fresh sardines (10 of them) costs 5 DH. Examine how much you’re being charged with care. A cheaper alternative is to get Harira (a spicy soup) or a sandwich for 2-5dh (i.e. at Blue facade for 10-20dh, walking at the street from fish stands to the Medina). On the major streets and squares, there are several affordable eateries and cafés. Taros (2, rue de la Skala Tel: 044 47 64 07), which combines a French-Moroccan restaurant, a gallery, and a patio bar with live local music, and “5” (rue Youssef el fassi) for its sophisticated ex-pat ambience, are two upscale restaurants worth mentioning.

Restaurants In Essaouira

La Triskalla

Rue Touahen (in the Medina),  +212 24-47 63 71.

Restaurant, creperie, and gallery (great vegetarian and seafood dishes). Friendly service in a cozy atmosphere in an antique riad. Customers have access to free internet (WiFi + PC).

Patisserie Driss

10 rue El Hajjali (close to the main square). 

A fantastic location for cakes and nibbles.

Fish Market

Local market in Essaouira. If you like fish, you won’t want to miss the cuisine at the market. Take your fish to the tiny kitchen / restaurant and let them prepare it for you (shrimps cost 50dh/kilo, sardines are 5dh/6, etc.). For 25dh, they add salad, olives, and toast. It was a lot of fun, and the food was delicious! Buy the fish + 25dh for the baking (the food here is NOT inexpensive – see cautionary story above).

La Decouverte

8 bis, rue Houmman el Fatouaki,  +212 24 47 31 58. 

Give La Decouverte a try if you’re bored of tagines and dissatisfied with Italian-Moroccan pasta. A Moroccan-style meal with a French touch is prepared by a French couple. The environment is pleasant, and the costs are reasonable. Mains 50dh – 80dh, go for it.

La Licorne

26 rue scala,  +212 24 47 36 26, fax: +212 24 47 59 71, e-mail: [email protected]

A terrific spot in Essaouira for a romantic supper or a get-together with friends, and for those who appreciate Moroccan cuisine paired with some of the country’s best wines. 160dh mains

Riad El Baraka

113, rue Mohammed El-Qorry, e-mail:[email protected]

This stylish spot, housed in a former Jewish school, offers various dining rooms and a bar centered around a big courtyard shaded by a massive fig tree. The cuisine is mostly Moroccan with Middle Eastern and Jewish flavors, the atmosphere is modern, and live music by local bands is performed on weekends.

La Cantina

66 Rue Boutouil,  +212 24 47 45 15. 

This Mexican eatery might be your escape if you’re tired of tajines and couscous. ~70dh.

Shyadma’s Vegan Food

20, Rue Laalouj – Place El Khayma. 

Lovely vegan/vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Place El Khayma, a less-visited area with a plethora of eateries. Shyadma’s is a little restaurant, yet everything is produced from fresh seasonal produce from a neighboring market. It’s probable that you’ll have to wait 15-20 minutes for your food, but it’ll be well worth it. You’d be correct if you called this Moroccan slow food. A delectable treat for foodies, particularly vegetarians and vegans!

Coffee & Drinks in Essaouira

Mint tea is offered for about 6dh all throughout town, or for free if you are brought in by a carpet salesperson who assures you that you are just looking.

Some of the hotels offer licensed bars, but for a view of the busy Place Moulay el Hassan and the harbor, the terrace bar of the Taros (2 Rue de la Skala) is hard to match.

Outside of Bab Doukkala, on the Boulevard al Massira, to the right, is the lone off-license in town. On religious holidays and at night, there is a “black market” selling alcohol just inside this gate. Just ask the young men who sell loose smokes!

Locals may be seen rolling joints and smoking hashish outside cafés in the harbour openly, albeit discreetly, and the inhabitants are typically fairly calm. It is, however, very unlawful and should only be attempted if you are really certain in your ability to do so!



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