Essaouira in 1 day — 5 things you can’t miss
Unmissable things to do in Essaouira
Essaouira is that classic beach town where many locals and visitors head to in summer.
By car, it only takes around 50 minutes, and that’s depending on traffic in Marrakech. The maximum number of nights I suggest staying in Essaouira would be 3.
There’s enough to do to hold your attention for a few days, but not necessarily for a whole week.
This isn’t counting, of course, the foreigners that have bought a home here, and return regularly. For us, Essaouira was a stop during our road trip around Morocco. Speaking from our experience, 1 day was more than enough to see everything.
Traveling in October, the weather in Essaouira is pretty much perfect. The sun radiates the right amount of heat, and there’s a light breeze that keeps the temperature ideal.
Despite the good weather, we didn’t head to the beach like many, but instead spent our time exploring the sights.
As with traveling to any new place — and on a short schedule — it’s always advisable to start early. This way, you’ll be able to squeeze in everything, and still have time for a long, lazy lunch.
1. Get lost in the streets and souks
I’m a curious person by nature, so the first thing I like to do is explore the local vicinity around the hotel.
Choose from individually-style rooms, or like us, one of the incredibly spacious apartments, ideal for 4 guests. In the morning, head to the rooftop terrace for a freshly-made breakfast accompanied by sea views.
The center of the city lies within the fortress walls. Here. you’ll find restaurants and cafes, not to mention the seemingly endless line of market stalls.
Browse the souks — things to do in Essaouira
No coastal town in Morocco is complete without having its own souk to explore, and Essaouira has a few. Even if the shopping bit doesn’t interest you, the energy, and atmosphere of the souks surely will.
Moreover, the souks make for some colorful and action shot-like photos, and will sit nicely in your collection. Whether it’s clothes, crafts or traditional food, it’s very hard to leave the souks empty handed.
Booking a tour with a local guide may be ideal if you’re visiting Essaouira for a short time. They’ll not only show you the essential sights, but will also probably add some local knowledge and history too.
“…the souks make for some colorful and action shot-like photos…”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
“Here. you’ll find restaurants and cafes, not to mention the seemingly endless line of market stalls.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
2. Invest in some (authentic) argan oil
For anyone familiar with argan oil, Essaouira is the region in Morocco where it comes from. Teeming with argan trees, this fragrant oil has many benefits, one of which is being a natural antioxidant moisturizer.
Argan oil’s also said to have anti-ageing properties, and leaves your skin feeling noticeably softer and more radiant. It’ll come as no surprise then, that you’ll find many places in Essaouira selling the much coveted oil.
The real deal — things to do in Essaouira
However, knowing whether you’re buying good quality argan oil isn’t easy.
To be sure you’re buying the real deal, there are certain things to look out for. This includes checking the color — it should be dull yellow in tone — as well as the price.
A bottle costing MAD 5 ( $0.51 / €0.46 / £0.41) may not have the same desired effect as one costing 200. To know exactly what to look for before buying argan oil, read all the facts before buying.
3. Visit the ramparts of the city
The rampart are the defensive walls and banks that remind visitors of the city’s fortress past. Its iconic row of canons along the walls are an important part of the town’s history.
Come here for unspoiled sea views, and to capture some Instagram-worthy shots.
4. Tuck into fresh fish and seafood
Given its seaside location, it’s only right that a trip to Essaouira incurs some sampling of the fresh fish and seafood.
The fish market’s a slight walking distance from the fortress walls, but the smell of the catch is far-reaching.
If the strong smell doesn’t bother you, grab a table outside and dine al fresco.
If it does, there are plenty of great restaurants with indoor dining such as La Table by Madada.
Top in Essaouira
It’s rated one of the best seafood restaurants in Essaouira.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try it given that it was fully booked. However, the positive reviews speak for themselves.
Even if you’re not keen on fish, I’d still encourage you to visit the fishing boats sitting on the shore.
The row of bright blue boats against the backdrop of the water is a bright and calming sight.
It’s the complete opposite of the chaotic streets of Marrakech, and a reminder of an important local trade.
“I’d still encourage you to see the fishing boats on the shore.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
5. Sidi Mohammad Ben Abdellah Museum
Find out more about Essaouira’s historical past at Sidi Mohammad Ben Abdellah Museum.
The building dates to the 19th century, and exhibits artifacts as well as ancient crafts and jewellery. Also of great interest are the traditional Berber songs and instruments on display. Each one is a reminder of the Berber’s long-time heritage in Morocco.
In brief, our time in Essaouira was an enriching, though brief, experience. While 1 day may not be long enough for some travelers, for us, it fit in well in our itinerary.
Have you been to Essaouira? Did you see or do anything differently to the places mentioned in the post? Let me know in the comments below.
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience, a demographic (late 20s onward) that enjoys glamping over camping and staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels. Flashpackers also like to indulge in the local food and wine, cultural activities, as well as a spot of wellness on their travels. Want to know more? Read on....