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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
- JUICE for the best smoothies and coffees in town
- Adwak for the best local Moroccan dishes
- Beach and Friends for seaside dining
- Loft Cafe for an eclectic dining spot
- Taros Cafe for brilliant views
Where to Stay in Essaouira
Although do-able to visit Essaouria in a day, if you can spare the time, you won’t regret the 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 hostel-boutique-hotel type place, with lovely furnishings and a very central location.
Aaaand that’s about it!
It’s a gorgeous, calm and charming little town offering a chilled out version of Morocco. 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 visiting Essaouira or wondering if it’s worth the journey from Marrakech (read my city guide here). Feel free to ask any further questions in the comments section below!
If you’ve enjoyed this post, feel free to share using the below links 🙂