Home » Visiting Essaouira from Marrakech: Essaouira Travel Guide

Visiting Essaouira from Marrakech: Essaouira Travel Guide

Visiting the pretty coastal town of Essaouira from Marrakech is straightforward, making it a great day trip to consider whilst in Morocco.

The lively port is a great stop for a day’s respite from the madness of Marrakech. Essaouira can also be a worthwhile and an interesting stop on a longer Morocco itinerary too.

Essaouira has very relaxed, slow and laidback vibe. There isn’t a multitude of tourist sites to see so there isn’t any dashing about to be done, trying to tick several attractions off your list. Instead, Essaouira is home to a huge gorgeous sandy beach with several watersports and sand-sports on offer. There is also its colourful, lively harbour and a really pleasant, calm medina.

the port of Essaouira
The iconic port in Essaouira

If you’re planning a visit to Essaouira, whether its for a day or longer then read on my Essaouira travel guide. In this blog post, I’ve detailed everything you would need to know for visiting Essaouira, including what to do, where to eat and what not to miss!

Visiting Essaouira from Marrakech

Visiting Essaouira as a day trip from Marrakech can be done, but it’s a very long day. Day trippers would need to leave very early in the morning and expect to return to Marrakech very late in the evening. But it can be done! If you are able to spare the extra time, you could easily spend a night or two here unwinding and taking in the sites.

How to get to Essaouira

Public buses run throughout the day and can take around 4 hours each way (!). The road is bumpier than you’d expect and progress can be quite slow. The bus station is just outside of the medina in Marrakech, and the two main bus companies plying this route are CTM and Supratours. You should be able to buy a ticket on the day at the bus station, or the day in advance if you have any concerns about it being full.

Another option is to rent a car, giving you greater flexibility. Going by car (or taxi) takes around 2.5 hours making it a far faster journey.

Most tourists are likely to catch a bus or taxi in from Marrakech, but you can also fly directly into Essaouira airport now from London airports. This is a great option if you’re keen on staying for a longer period time.

the entrance to the medina in Essaouira
The stunning entrance to the medina in Essaouira

How to spend one day in Essaouira

Whether you’re visiting Essaouira for the day, or for longer, there are some of the best things to do in the area:

Explore the medina

Essaouira has some great shopping. The town was one of the last stops on my three week Morocco itinerary, and it definitely had the very best shopping.

The little stores and stalls in Essaouira’s medina are so lovely to shop in. The owners are kind and patient – there’s definitely no hassling. I also felt the quality of all the products were better too than in other places in Morocco.

Best of all, the medina in Essaouira is really easy to navigate!

shopping in Essaouira
Some of the locally made products you can buy in Essaouira
buying spices in the medina in Essaouira
A beautiful display of spices
shopping in the medina in Essaouira
You can even buy viagra, no less!

Explore the fishing port

Essaouira is Morocco’s third biggest fishing port. On any given day, you’ll find it busy and bustling. There’s tons of fresh seafood to buy on the harbour and it’s a fantastic place to see Moroccan locals going about their daily lives.

The medina is also the location of Essaouira’s most iconic photo spot – the blue fishing boats and medieval walls.

the port in Essaouira
The port in Essaouira
exploring the port in Essaouira
Exploring the port area
buying fish in the port in Essaouira
Some of the fish stalls you can see in the port

Wander along the beach

Essaouira’s main beach stretches for miles along the coast away from the town. It’s a popular place to enjoy a camel ride or learn to kite-surf, as the conditions are optimal.

the most beautiful beach in Morocco
Arguably, one of the most beautiful beaches in Morocco
watersports in Essaouira
Watersports and camel rides are popular activities
camels in Essaouira
Meeting the locals!

Where to eat in Essaouira

So with the relaxed lifestyle here, we noticed service was noticeably slower in Essaouira than Marrakech for example. So much so, we really had to chivvy our waitress on a fair bit! However, we found a few great cafes and restaurants in Essaouira – here are our favourites:

eating in Essaouira
Some of the lovely restaurants in Essaouira

Where to stay in Essaouira

Although it is do-able to visit Essaouira in a day, if you can spare the time, you won’t regret an extra day or two spent ambling around this pretty port. There are some excellent places to stay in the town, mostly smaller and locally owned and few big chain hotels.

We stayed at Riad Inna, and loved it. A cute boutique hotel, with lovely furnishings and a very central location.

Check out the latest prices and availability for Riad Inna here

However, some other great options include:

accommodation in Essaouira
The entrance to the medina in Essaouira
exploring the streets of Essaouira
Exploring the streets of Essaouira

Essaouira is a calm and charming little town, offering a chilled out version of Morocco. Especially compared to the madness of Marrakech and Fes. However, if you’re looking for even more ideas on things to do in Essaouira, then check this great post here from Journal of Nomads.

I hope this post has been useful for anyone planning on visiting Essaouira for the day of for longer. If you’re wondering if it’s worth the journey from Marrakech (read my Marrakech city guide here). Feel free to ask any further questions and I’d love if you shared this post on any of the below links!

Where to next?

If you are planning a longer trip around Morocco, then you might find some of my other blog posts on the country useful. I’ve written detailed guides to RabatChefchaouenFesspending 3 days in Marrakechexploring the Sahara desert and enjoying a beach break in Taghazout and Paradise Valley. I’ve also written some more specific blog posts such as visiting La Mamounia in Marrakech as a day visitor, and visiting Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. And of course, a a guide to some of the best places to eat in Marrakech.

Wanna see more? Check my Instagram here, my Facebook here or my Twitter here!

Disclaimer: This visit to Essaouira was entirely paid for by myself and there was no involvement from a hotel or a tourism board. This is an independent guide

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11 Comments

  1. May 17, 2018 / 8:33 am

    Look like you have a great time, I love the old streets, ocean, beach and camel. Plenty of sunshine too. I guess you are in paradise! It would be in my bucket list for sure. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.

  2. Zoran Stankovic
    May 17, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    This is so beautiful places!I love this photos!So beautiful view and colors!

  3. Elizabeth O
    May 17, 2018 / 3:30 pm

    Wow what a great post full of beautiful pictures. It sure looks like you are having the best time exploring and experiencing all the beauty and culture.

  4. May 17, 2018 / 11:51 pm

    I’m going to Tunisia in the summer so I was thinking of visiting another country while there and Marrakech was my second option. Looking at your pictures makes me think I made the mistake of choosing Barcelona instead of Marrakech.

  5. May 18, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    You always visit the most amazing places on Earth! In total honestly I had never heard of Essaouira, that’s not surprise because I don’t travel a lot. But your pictures and your descriptions make me want to visit this place!

  6. Esme Sy
    May 19, 2018 / 12:02 am

    I definitely enjoyed this post, I kept on scrolling back and forth because of how beautiful every shade of brown is from this place. Did I just see some Viagra up there? Haha. You’re right about this, gorgeous, calm and if I may say so, the perfect shade for a place under the sun.

  7. Maria
    May 19, 2018 / 10:30 am

    Marrakesh has such a deep and amazing culture! I really want to go to Morrocco soon, I think it’s such a beautiful destination!

  8. May 20, 2018 / 5:27 am

    I love the colorful corners you can find on trips. Marketplaces can be so beautiful and foreign foods each have their own spices. I’m looking forward to more adventuring when our kids are a little older!

  9. May 21, 2018 / 7:54 am

    The photos are amazing. I guess that’s the beauty of travelling. You see the different colours of the cities, the different cultures, and here, I see the beautiful sights, through your article!

  10. Ana Vukosavljevic
    May 21, 2018 / 11:55 pm

    What a beautiful place! I would LOOOOVE to go there. I saved this post and I hope I’ll get a chance to see all of these places soon!!

  11. Julie D Harbour
    May 25, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    Looks like an amazing place to travel! The beaches, the colorful architecture, the blue boats and the camel, wow! I love it all!

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