Is Essaouira Worth a Visit? – 2023


Morocco is a popular destination for tourists worldwide, known for its exotic culture, ancient cities, and stunning landscapes. One of the most popular destinations in Morocco is Essaouira, a coastal city with a unique charm that attracts travelers from all over the world. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Essaouira is worth a visit, from its rich history and culture to its natural beauty and vibrant atmosphere.

History and Culture

Essaouira has a rich history that dates back to the Phoenicians, who established a trading post on the site in the 7th century BC. The city was later inhabited by the Romans and the Berbers, who gave it its current name, which means “the beautifully designed.” In the 16th century, Essaouira was transformed into a fortified city by the Portuguese, who built a citadel and a harbor. The city became an important trading center for gold, ivory, and slaves, attracting traders from all over the world.

Natural Beauty

Essaouira is known for its natural beauty, with its long sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and stunning sunsets. The city is situated on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, offering breathtaking views of the sea and the surrounding countryside. The beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing, and the warm climate makes it a popular destination year-round.

Vibrant Atmosphere

Essaouira is a vibrant and lively city, with a bustling medina that is home to numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes. The medina is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its narrow streets are lined with whitewashed buildings, colorful markets, and bustling squares. The city is also known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, studios, and exhibitions showcasing the work of local artists and craftsmen.

Cuisine and Dining

Essaouira is known for its delicious cuisine, with a range of dishes that combine the flavors of North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The city is famous for its seafood, with fresh fish and shellfish served in many of its restaurants and cafes. Other popular dishes include couscous, tagine, and harira, a hearty soup made with lentils, vegetables, and spices.


Essaouira has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from luxury hotels and resorts to guesthouses and hostels. Many of the hotels are located near the beach, offering stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding countryside. There are also numerous riads, traditional Moroccan houses that have been converted into guesthouses, offering an authentic Moroccan experience.


Essaouira is a shopper’s paradise, with numerous markets, boutiques, and shops selling everything from traditional Moroccan handicrafts to designer clothes and accessories. The medina is a great place to shop for souvenirs, with numerous stalls selling ceramics, textiles, spices, and jewelry.


There are numerous activities to enjoy in Essaouira, from exploring the city’s historic sites and museums to enjoying the beaches and water sports. The city is also a popular destination for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and sailing, with numerous schools and rental shops offering equipment and lessons. Other popular activities include horseback riding, camel trekking, and quad biking.


Essaouira is easily accessible from Marrakech, one of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations. There are numerous buses and taxis that travel between the two cities, making it easy to combine a visit to Essaouira with a trip to Marrakech.


Essaouira is considered to be a safe city for tourists, with a low crime rate and a friendly local population. However, as with any destination, it is important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.


Essaouira is committed to sustainable tourism and has implemented numerous initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. The city has a number of eco-friendly hotels and guesthouses, and there are also numerous beach clean-up initiatives and recycling programs in place.

Cultural Events

Essaouira is known for its vibrant cultural events, including the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival, a four-day music festival that celebrates the traditional music of the Gnaoua people. The festival attracts musicians and performers from all over the world and is a highlight of the city’s cultural calendar.

Local Experiences

One of the best ways to experience Essaouira is to take a walking tour of the medina, where you can explore the city’s historic sites and learn about its rich history and culture. You can also take a cooking class, where you can learn how to prepare traditional Moroccan dishes using local ingredients.


In conclusion, Essaouira is a destination that is definitely worth a visit. With its rich history and culture, stunning natural beauty, vibrant atmosphere, and range of activities and experiences, it offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation or a cultural adventure, Essaouira is a destination that should not be missed.


Is Essaouira safe for solo travelers?

Yes, Essaouira is generally considered to be a safe destination for solo travelers.

What is the best time to visit Essaouira?

The best time to visit Essaouira is from May to October when the weather is warm and sunny.

Can you swim in Essaouira?

Yes, you can swim in Essaouira, but be aware that the water can be quite cold.

What is the currency used in Essaouira?

The currency used in Essaouira is the Moroccan dirham.

Is it easy to get around Essaouira without a car?

Yes, it is easy to get around Essaouira without a car. The city is compact and walkable, and there are also taxis and buses available for longer journeys.