Essaouira lies on the Atlantic coast west of Morocco and is one of the most picturesque towns in the country. Originally a Phoenician trading post, it prospered during the Roman era as citizens extracted the Tyrian purple colour, beloved of Roman Emperors and kings, from a local shellfish.
The Sultan Sidi Mohammed had a captive Frenchman design the town and promoted trade, making Essaouira a cosmopolitan commercial centre.
The fortifications that ring the city provided a haunting backdrop for Orson Wells’ Othello. Built by the Portuguese, these are intrinsic to the charm of Essaouira.
Highlights of Essaouira
Other attractions include the port, bringing in fresh fish each day, and the tremendous beach that stretches away to the south.
The easy-going nature of the town, the dramatic ramparts and the beach, with its excellent windsurfing, have combined to attract artists and hippies for years, creating a bohemian atmosphere quite different from the rest of the country.
Suggested itineraries featuring Essaouira
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Essaouira, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Essaouira
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Essaouira
- Taroudant 90 miles away
- The Souss-Massa National Park 95 miles away
- Marrakesh 106 miles away
- The Atlas Mountains 113 miles away
- Ourika Valley 126 miles away
- Oued Mellah 158 miles away
- The Draa Valley 158 miles away
- The Anti Atlas 161 miles away
- Ouarzazate 174 miles away
- The Southern Oases Valleys 191 miles away
- Casablanca 191 miles away
- Skoura 193 miles away
- The Dades Valley 224 miles away
- Rabat 244 miles away
- Zagora 248 miles away
- Meknes & Volubilis 295 miles away
Photos of Essaouira
Accommodation choices for Essaouira
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Essaouira. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.