Intimate and romantic, Essaouira is a beautiful Atlantic coastal town with a tantalising blend of Moroccan history and authenticity.
Located on the Atlantic coast, 176km west of Marrakech and 360km south of Casablanca – this beautiful and mystical town is of great historical importance.
Formerly Amogdul (meaning well protected in Berber) but better known as Mogador in French, Essaouira is the embodiment of Moroccan history and is built on a peninsula that is swept by the Trade Winds, giving it a temperate climate through the year. Its medina is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city draws its character from two things: the cannon-topped ramparts and the tightly packed streets within. The former are a sign of the city’s rich trading history when goods from Europe travelled south to be exchanged with the riches from Africa coming north. Essaouira has always been cosmopolitan, but the traders of the past have been replaced by visitors of all nationalities, who enjoy the town’s laid back atmosphere and shopping in the cloistered markets or just sit in the squares and watch the world go by.
There are restaurants and bars throughout the medina to suit all budgets from the excellent Taros and El Mar, to well run local cafes. One of the best times of the day is the morning when the fishermen bring in their catch and take it to the fish stalls just outside the harbour by Place Moulay Hassan (the seafront square). The fish is fresh and if you want a wider choice there are two excellent seafood restaurants in the harbour, Le Coquillage and Sam’s.
There are numerous excursions possible from Essaouira, including visits to the pottery capital of Safi, the Argan valley where the impossibly enriching oil derives from, quad biking, camel riding, sailing, windsurfing and walking – all of which can be arranged before you arrive or while you are there. Golfers are well catered for at the Mogador Golf Club, designed by the great Gary Player. The course juts out into the Bay of Mogador and features wide beautifully groomed fairways and seriously challenging bunkers.
+ Read More
- Wonderful sea food
- Fewer tourists thank Marrakech
- Superb shopping around the stalls of the souks
- Windsurfing hotspot
To Reasons To Visit Essaouira
Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.
Best time to go visit Essaouria
With its famous music festivals, year-round warm weather and little rainfall, Essaouria is a year-round holiday destination.
Essaouira is the home of music festivals – the Alizes Springtime Chamber Musicale in early May, the world famous Gnaoua Music Festival is in late June, which is a wonderful family event, and in late October there is the Andalousies Atlantiques Festival which features Judeo-Moroccan music.
If you are in Essaouira between May and September, be sure to occasionally cast your eyes skywards and look out for the slender, long-winged Eleonora’s Falcon scudding across the sky.
Best time to go visit Essaouria
Our Favourite Camps & Lodges
One of the defining features of this historic riad is the panoramic roof terrace with a heated pool – a rarity in Essaouira.Learn More
Essaouira Holiday (FAQS) NEED TO KNOW
What are the best things to do in Essaouira?
There is so much to see and do whilst visiting. You can visit simply soak up the culture and the town’s laid back atmosphere by watching the world go by, shop in the cloistered markets or be more active and go on a day trip. Visit the pottery capital of Safi, the Argan valley where the impossibly enriching oil derives from, take to the seas on a boat trip, or get off grid quad biking or on a camel safari. If you time your visit well, you can catch one of the town’s famous music festivals.
Is it possible to combine a trip to Essaouira with other Moroccan destinations?
Depending on the length of your trip, you will be able to combine your trip with other destinations. You can either take an internal flight from Essaouira or go by road to another destination, for example the journey takes around three hours to Marrakech and Agadir. If Essaouira is to be combined with only one other destination, it’s a tough contest between the High Atlas and Marrakech…perhaps one to talk through with us.
Is Essaouira a safe destination for families?
Essaouira has a relaxed feeling that is different to the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. Shopkeepers let you browse in peace, restaurants welcome you with open arms and if you’re lucky enough to catch a music festival then they are more than accommodating for families. The peace and tranquility of Essaouira makes it a favourable family trip for many.
From our Travel Guides
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Our second unforgettable trip with Natural High, hopefully not the last!
Fantastic Christmas trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar, organised at very short notice. Wonderful staff at every camp, an unforgettable family experience. …
Claire & George
Outstanding customer service well above the call of duty.
Natural High arranged a trip to remember …accommodation first class, transportation on very long road trips was excellent. Spotless . air conditioni…
Personal service and excellent organisation
This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days…
Ken and Caroline
Fantasic Natural High
Brilliant, everything is so well organised. We have had two trips of a lifetime organised by Rod Tether who is also a guide extraordinaire!…
Antony & Jane Braithwaite RT
Fantastic Natural High
Perfectly organised trip to two great Nomad camps in Tanzania!…
Natural High nailed it again
Sledding in Sweden was our second wonderful holiday with Natural High. From the moment you speak to them to when you get home the service and attentio…
Fantasic Natural High
We are repeat customers and NH never fail to deliver an exceptional trip. They understand exactly what we want to experience and tailor the adventure …
Ruth Maxwell AH
Enjoyed EVERY second of an action- packed two weeks in Kenya. Asante Sana👏
This was my fourth safari booked with Natural High and, as previously, it surpassed my expectations. Vanessa’s Itinerary was spot on – the three cam…
Julie Baxter VJ
Fantasic Natural High
They picked out good places to stay that fitted the criteria. Very thoughtful and attentive. They called back and they sent emails with suggestions….
Morroco was a pleasant surprise
This was certainly not our first trip with natural high. As any other trip, organization was great, ie pick up, vehicles, local guides, food, all well…
Don and Bernice Willoughby RT
The holiday was absolutely perfect. The recommended places to stay were spot on, excellent service throughout. It shows that each property has been vi…
Susan And Russell Holdsworth VJ
Everything went smoothly and selection of accommodation was perect for us
Excellent, no problems…
Fantastic Kenya 🇰🇪 Safari thanks Vanessa
We stayed at three beautiful lodges; The Emakoko Nairobi National Park, Tortillis Camp Amboseli National Park and Kicheche Valley Camp Mara Conservati…
David Poninghaus VJ
Seamless service, Catherine was able to accommodate my changing needs, even last minute changes that were my fault, and ended up with a wonderful vaca…
Very helpful and accomodating
Very helpful and Catherine went out of her way to accommodate us. It was also short notice from our side and yet it all worked very well. Good advice …
Phenomenal Safari which will certainly stay with us for years to come
Our main contact, Rod, was extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Safari that we ultimately decided upon. We trusted his recommendations throug…
Matt & Lucy Worthy RT
First class. Experts in the holiday adventure field. Great to deal with
First class! Natural High are experts in their field. All the boxes are ticked which leaves you to travel without any worries. Excellent destinations…
Perfect family Safari!!
Our family Kenyan safari trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary was perfectly planned by Catherine from the moment we landed in Nairobi, to ou…