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The small city of Essaouira is on the western Atlantic coast of Morocco and has been inhabited since the 5th century BC, although the city as it is today originated in the 18th century.
It was the first Moroccan seaport and revolutionised trading with Europe. Today, it’s primarily a fishing village with a bustling medina and a veritable mecca for surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers (see watersports).
We are recommending three gorgeous little riad hotels in the heart of the old town, just yards from the sea and the souks:
We also recommend a luxury resort hotel just outside Essaouira but still in walking distance of the beach: Sofitel Essaouira Mogador
In Roman times, Essaouira was famous for its Tyrian factory which supplied Rome with the legendary purple dye for the Emperor's tunics.
The coastline both to the north and south of Essaouira is a treasure trove of fortresses and cities established under the Portuguese regime. With wind and kite surfing on offer, plus horse riding and sensational beaches, Essaouira is a popular destination for those who like to be active during their holidays (see some of our itineraries), whilst offering plenty for families, too.
From May 2015, easyJet commences direct flights from London Luton to Essaouira (Mondays and Fridays) so it's no longer necessary to have a 2 hour drive from Marrakech We can, of course, organise flights and private transfers for you.
Other destinations in Morocco
Why not enjoy staying in one or more different destinations in Morocco? Our experts can tailor-make the perfect itinerary for you.
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Discover three very different parts of Morocco on our 9 night Morocco itinerary. More
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|Enjoy the ocean in Essaouira, the ancient city of Marrakech and the majestic Atlas Mountains - in style! More|
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Great accommodation combined with 10 hours of kitesurfing instruction. More
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Great accommodation in Essaouira combined with 6 hours of surfing instruction. More
Weather and seasons
Spring (March to May) is arguably the best time to visit as these months are pleasantly warm and sunny, and the landscape is lush and green. Avoid August when Essaouira gets invaded by large numbers of visitors from home and abroad. Autumn (mid Sep-mid Nov) is also lovely, but the countryside tends to look a bit parched. Summer is pretty hot (approx 35°C) but tempered by sea breezes, and winter can be chilly at night.
Tipping is customary in Morocco, and while it is certainly up to the discretion of each client, to a certain extent it is recommended in order to guarantee the best level of service. This, of course, varies depending on where you choose to stay.