Visiting Morocco last summer was indeed one of the greatest adventure so far because everything there is so different and unique and it has a particular beauty that I find really hard to describe. This journey made us see life with glittering eyes, taught us so many thing about the people and made us feel humble and tiny in this wide world, but oh-so-genuinely happy and grateful. Although Marrakech was on top of our list and we spent there an entire week, exploring every tiny street and pretty corner, loving its wonderful charm, I have to say that our day trip to Essaouira offered us a different perspective.
Known also as Africa’s windy city (and trust me, it’s windy even during summer), Essaouira is located in the western side of the continent, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It has more than 300 days of sunshine and pleasant weather, being blessed with local Alizes winds that reduce the strong African sun, making Essaouira a perfect getaway even during summer days, when the rest of Morroco is boiling in the heat. For example, we went there in July and while in Marrakech it was a constant temperature of 42-45 °C, in Essaouira there were only 25 °C, at lunch.
The city is the perfect blend of history and culture, having strong influences from the Arabs, Africans, Romans and French. If you love special places that are both mysterious and full of joy, you have to put Essaouira on your bucket list.
The city is pretty famous worldwide also. Chances are you may have seen Essaouira on screen because its medina has appeared in movie scenes of Game of Thrones, the Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Alexander, Othello and Lawrance of Arabia.
If I made you curious, here are the most iconic things to do:
Walk the ramparts. You simply can’t go to Essaouira and not climb these famous city walls, where the medina meets the Atlantic Ocean. Built in the 1760s by a French military architect, to protect the port from raiders, the city became instead a commercial center for trade with Europe. You can witness the power of the ocean, watch the fishermen bring in their catch and observe the people walking by. A great mixture for all senses.
Climb the fort. Enjoy the bright and breezy Moroccan city with a spectacular view climbing up the small fort and admire the rolling waves of the Atlantic, the coastline and the famous blue fishing boats. Although it’s not an impressive building, the fort has a hidden secret: the rooftop. And once you’re there you will understand as before you an entire painting will be revealed. The entrance fee of just 10 dirham is totally worth it, because you will leave this place with priceless memories and beautiful photos.
Explore the medina. If you’re into souks and sunsets, Essaouira is the place to be. Spend a few hours discovering the vibrant blue and white medina, full of delicious oriental food, leather goodies, handmade jewelry, aromatic spices, colorful ceramics and textiles, lovely cafes, local art objects and relaxing music. Getting lost in the tiny passageways can be fun and you will be amazed by the number of decorations you will find in this enchanting Moroccan city. Essaouira is also a city of music, good vibes and summer joy and that is what makes this place a great destination and Morocco’s favorite beach city. Feel the rhythm of northern Africans, the spirituality of the Arabs and the elegance of the Andalucian music and feel free to feel whatever you want.
So, if you’re looking for a super cool summer destination, if you love the charm of exotic cultures, the mystery of new places and if you want some color in your life, Essaouira is definitely the IT place. Also, if you plan to visit Morocco, bear in mind that Essaouira is a great alternative to the frenetic melting-pot of Marrakech…and after you’ll see it, you will keep it close to the heart.