10 Reasons Why Essaouira Should Be on Your Morocco Travel Bucket List

Last updated on June 24th, 2023 at 05:45 pm

Are you looking for a destination with a wealth of history, culture, and stunning natural scenery? Look no further than Essaouira, Morocco! This charming coastal city is quickly becoming one of the hottest travel destinations in the country and for good reason. With its beautiful beaches, lively music scene, delicious cuisine, and relaxed atmosphere, Essaouira has something for everyone.

Step back in time as you wander through the city’s UNESCO-listed Medina, a maze of narrow streets, colorful markets, and historic landmarks. Discover the city’s fascinating blend of Berber, Portuguese, and French cultures, which is reflected in its unique architecture, art, and crafts. Indulge in some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted, and immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, from traditional hammams to music and dance performances.

Whether you’re an adventure seeker looking to catch some waves, a foodie eager to sample some of Morocco’s most delicious cuisine, or simply seeking a relaxing getaway, Essaouira has it all. 

In this blog post, we’ll give you 10 reasons why Essaouira should be at the top of your Morocco travel bucket list. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to explore one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the world!

01. Game of Thrones Location

Game of Thrones fans, did you know that Essaouira played a role in the hit TV series? In season three, the city’s historic ramparts were used as the backdrop for the fictional city of Astapor. As you wander through the city’s streets and alleys, you might just recognize some of the locations from the show!

In Game of Thrones, Astapor was one of the major cities of Slaver’s Bay, famous for its army of Unsullied soldiers. The city’s imposing walls and narrow streets provided the perfect setting for some of the show’s most memorable scenes, including Daenerys Targaryen’s acquisition of the Unsullied army.

But Essaouira’s connection to Game of Thrones doesn’t end there. The city’s picturesque harbor and beach were also used as the backdrop for scenes in season three, where Daenerys and her army set sail for the city of Yunkai.

For fans of the show, exploring Essaouira is like stepping into the world of Game of Thrones. With its ancient ramparts, bustling marketplaces, and stunning sea views, it’s easy to imagine yourself in the fictional city of Astapor. So if you’re a Game of Thrones fan planning a trip to Morocco, don’t miss the chance to visit Essaouira and see the show’s iconic locations for yourself.

02. Beautiful Beaches

Looking for a beach destination that’s off the beaten path? Look no further than Essaouira, Morocco! This charming coastal city is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the country, with miles of white sand and turquoise waters just waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, swim, or simply stroll along the shore, Essaouira has a beach for you. The city’s main beach, Plage d’Essaouira, is located just steps from the historic Medina and is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. With its calm waters and soft sand, it’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.

For those looking for a more secluded beach experience, there are plenty of hidden coves and bays to discover. Sidi Kaouki Beach, located just a short drive from Essaouira, is a favorite among surfers and kiteboarders, thanks to its strong winds and big waves.

And if you’re looking for a truly unique beach experience, head to Ile de Mogador, a small island just off the coast of Essaouira. Here you’ll find stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and diving.

So if you’re a beach lover looking for a destination that’s both beautiful and off the beaten path, Essaouira is the perfect place for you. With its miles of white sand and turquoise waters, it’s a beach destination that’s sure to take your breath away.

03. Windsurfing

If you’re passionate about windsurfing, then Essaouira in Morocco is a must-visit destination for you! This charming coastal city is known as one of the world’s best windsurfing spots, thanks to its strong winds and flat water, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world.

The best part about windsurfing in Essaouira is that the conditions are suitable for all levels of expertise. Whether you’re a first-timer wanting to experience the thrill of windsurfing for the first time or an experienced pro seeking a new challenge, Essaouira has something to offer everyone. With numerous schools and rental shops in the city, you can easily rent equipment and take lessons from experienced instructors to improve your skills.

Aside from windsurfing, Essaouira offers a variety of water sports to enjoy, such as kiteboarding, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding, thanks to the city’s ideal wind and wave conditions.

So if you’re searching for a breathtaking and adrenaline-packed destination, Essaouira is the perfect place for you. Whether you’re a seasoned windsurfer or someone eager to try something new, Essaouira has everything you need for an exciting and unforgettable water sports adventure.

04. Music Festival

Essaouira is not only a beautiful coastal city but also a hub for cultural and artistic events, including the Gnaoua World Music Festival. This annual festival is one of the most significant cultural events in Morocco, attracting thousands of music enthusiasts from all over the world.

The Gnaoua World Music Festival is a celebration of the Gnaoua music genre, which is a fusion of sub-Saharan African, Berber, and Islamic religious music. The festival features renowned Gnaoua musicians from all over Morocco, as well as international artists, performing on various stages throughout the city. The festival’s unique ambiance, with the sounds of the music echoing through the medina and the sea breeze, creates an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Apart from the Gnaoua music, visitors can also enjoy a wide range of other genres, such as jazz, blues, and rock, played by international artists. The festival is not only about music but also includes cultural events, such as art exhibitions, poetry readings, and film screenings, making it an immersive cultural experience.

Attending the Gnaoua World Music Festival is an excellent opportunity to experience the vibrant music and culture of Morocco and to connect with people from different parts of the world who share a love for music. So if you’re a music enthusiast looking for an extraordinary experience, make sure to add Essaouira and the Gnaoua World Music Festival to your bucket list.

05. Rich History

If you’re a history buff, Essaouira in Morocco is the perfect destination for you. This charming coastal city boasts a rich and fascinating history, with influences from Berber, Portuguese, and French cultures that are visible in its architecture, art, and cuisine.

The heart of the city’s historic charm is its UNESCO-listed Medina, a walled old town with a labyrinth of narrow streets, lively markets, and magnificent landmarks that reflect its past. Here, you can wander through the bustling souks, browse traditional crafts, and marvel at the intricate woodwork and blue-painted doors that adorn the buildings.

One of the most striking features of Essaouira is its historic ramparts, which date back to the 18th century and provide stunning views of the sea and the Medina. These walls were built by the Portuguese and later fortified by the French to protect the city from invaders.

Other notable landmarks in Essaouira include the Skala de la Ville, a fortified bastion with old canons that were used to defend the city, and the Moulay Hassan Square, a bustling plaza lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops.

In short, Essaouira’s rich history and cultural heritage make it a fascinating destination to explore. From its colorful markets to its imposing ramparts and historic landmarks, the city offers a glimpse into the past and an unforgettable journey through time.

06. Unique Architecture

Essaouira is a city that truly stands out for its unique blend of Moroccan and European architectural styles. The city’s stunning buildings and structures showcase an extraordinary mix of influences that have been seamlessly blended together over the centuries, creating a unique and beautiful cityscape that is sure to leave visitors in awe.

One of the most iconic architectural features of Essaouira is its historic ramparts, which were constructed by the Portuguese in the 16th century. These walls are made of local stone and have a distinctive pinkish hue, adding to the city’s charming and picturesque appearance.

Another impressive example of Essaouira’s unique architecture is the Skala de la Ville, a fortified tower that was built by the Portuguese to protect the city from attacks. This structure has a distinctly European feel, with its imposing walls and arched windows, yet it blends seamlessly with the traditional Moroccan buildings that surround it.

The city’s Medina is also home to many beautiful examples of unique architecture, with its colorful buildings, ornate doorways, and intricate tilework. Visitors can explore the maze of streets and alleyways and marvel at the mix of Moroccan and European styles that are on display.

In summary, Essaouira’s unique architecture is a testament to the city’s rich and diverse history, and it offers visitors a chance to experience a blend of cultures that is truly unlike anything else in the world.

07. Crafts and Souvenirs

Essaouira is a shopper’s paradise, with a bustling medina full of colorful shops and markets selling traditional Moroccan goods. The city is famous for its skilled artisans who create exquisite woodwork, jewelry, and textiles. Stroll through the narrow alleyways and you’ll find an array of unique and high-quality crafts.

One of the must-visit markets is the Essaouira Souk, which sells everything from handmade pottery and carpets to spices and leather goods. You can also find the famous Thuya wood, which is only grown in the region and is used to create intricate carvings and furniture.

In addition to traditional crafts, Essaouira is also known for its contemporary art scene, with several galleries showcasing the works of local artists. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry or a beautiful handwoven rug, you’re sure to find something special to take home as a souvenir of your time in Essaouira.

So, if you’re a fan of unique and handmade crafts, Essaouira should definitely be on your travel bucket list. Don’t forget to haggle with the vendors and enjoy the colorful shopping experience that this Moroccan city has to offer.

08. Day Trips

Essaouira is a wonderful destination for those looking to explore beyond the city limits. This charming coastal city is well-located for exploring some of Morocco’s most beautiful and fascinating destinations.

Just a short drive south of Essaouira lies the Argan forest, known for its rare and valuable argan trees. Here, you can learn about the traditional methods used to extract argan oil, a staple of Moroccan cuisine and beauty products.

If you’re looking for a quiet beach escape, head to the fishing village of Sidi Kaouki, just a 30-minute drive from Essaouira. This laid-back village offers miles of beautiful beaches, perfect for surfing, swimming, or just relaxing in the sun.

For a taste of traditional Berber culture, take a day trip to the town of Tafedna. Located about an hour’s drive from Essaouira, Tafedna offers stunning views of the Atlantic coast and a chance to experience Berber hospitality and traditions.

With so many fascinating day trip options, Essaouira is the perfect base for exploring the best of Morocco. Don’t miss the chance to discover some of the country’s most beautiful and interesting destinations.

09. Delicious Cuisine

Essaouira is a must-visit destination for foodies who appreciate good cuisine. This charming city boasts a rich culinary heritage that has evolved over the centuries, blending flavors from Arab, Berber, and European cultures. The abundance of fresh seafood is the highlight of the local cuisine, with dishes like grilled sardines, seafood tagine, and fish stew being among the most popular.

In addition to seafood, Essaouira has a wide range of delicious Moroccan tagines, including lamb, chicken, and vegetarian options. The tagines are slow-cooked and flavored with an array of spices and herbs that create a unique and aromatic taste.

For those who crave international cuisine, Essaouira has plenty of options as well, with French, Italian, and other international restaurants located throughout the city. Don’t forget to try some local street food and delicacies like msemen, a Moroccan crepe-like dish that is often filled with savory or sweet ingredients.

In Essaouira, you’ll find something to satisfy every palate, from casual cafes to high-end restaurants, and everything in between. With so many delicious options to choose from, food lovers will be spoilt for choice when visiting Essaouira.

10. Relaxed Atmosphere

Essaouira, Morocco, is a city that exudes a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for travelers looking for a more laid-back vacation. Unlike the bustling cities of Marrakech or Casablanca, Essaouira offers a slower pace of life that encourages visitors to take their time and enjoy their surroundings.

The city’s picturesque scenery, including its white-washed buildings, colorful fishing boats, and stunning beaches, creates a calm and peaceful environment that is hard to resist. The city’s old medina is also a great place to unwind, with its narrow streets and quiet alleys that are perfect for leisurely strolls.

Essaouira’s relaxed atmosphere is also reflected in its cultural scene, with a variety of events and festivals taking place throughout the year.

In Essaouira, you can experience the perfect balance between relaxation and exploration. Whether you want to take a leisurely walk along the beach, indulge in delicious seafood, or explore the city’s history and culture, Essaouira offers a laid-back atmosphere that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Best Time to Visit Essaouira

The best time to visit Essaouira, Morocco is during the months of April to June or September to November when the weather is mild and pleasant. The summer months of July and August can be hot and crowded, while the winter months of December to February can be windy and chilly.


In conclusion, Essaouira is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. From the stunning beaches to the rich history and culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Essaouira offers it all.

The city’s unique blend of Moroccan and European architectural styles creates a beautiful cityscape that is perfect for strolling and exploring. And with its laid-back and friendly atmosphere, Essaouira offers a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of big cities.

Windsurfing enthusiasts will love the strong winds and flat water that makes Essaouira one of the world’s top windsurfing destinations. And the Gnaoua World Music Festival is a must-see event that brings together artists and visitors from around the world.

From delicious cuisine to beautiful crafts and souvenirs, there are plenty of reasons to visit Essaouira. And with its convenient location for day trips to nearby attractions, you can easily explore more of Morocco’s beauty.

So why not add Essaouira to your travel bucket list? You won’t be disappointed.

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