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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 color, 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 center.

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

Essaouira, MarrakeshOther 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.

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Audley Travel specialist Olivia

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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

    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.

    • Riad Watier

      Ryad Watier

      Medium

      Just a five minute walk to the old fishing port and the golden beach of Essaouira, Ryad Watier is a quirky yet traditional property with exceptionally friendly staff.

    • Suite, Heure Bleue Palais, Essaouira

      Heure Bleue Palais

      First Class

      Boasting a fantastic location within the old medina of Essaouira, the Heure Bleue Palais, once a traders hostel in the 19th century, allows you to step back in time whilst experiencing the luxurious touches of a Relais & Chateaux boutique hotel.

    • Le Medina Essaouira Hotel , Essaouira

      Le Medina Essaouira Hotel

      Medium

      Located just outside the picturesque walls of Essaouira medina, and a matter of yards from the long, sandy beach, Le Medina Essaouira Hotel is arguably the best of the modern hotels in town.

    • Lounge Area,Dar Maya,Essaouira

      Dar Maya

      Medium

      The Riad Dar Maya offers excellent value for money and is situated in the heart of Essaouira's old medina, just a short walk from the souqs, ramparts and beach.

    • Madada Mogador, Essaouira

      Madada Mogador

      Medium

      The Madada Mogador is a small, chic riad with just 6 rooms. It is hidden away up a small alley in the medina and only a ten minute walk from the beach.