You will be surprised how many things a you can do in such a small Moroccan seaside town called Essaouira.
We spent three weeks in this amazing little town. We had never actually been in a place that wasn’t western Europe. It was an experience. One that is worth having. They have a little airport about 15min away from the town.
Here are a few things that you can do while you are there.
Walk through the medina– This is a must, if you are used to the medinas of Marrakech, then you will prefer this one. More relaxed feeling, not too many people dragging you into their shops. The amount of different types of fabrics, instruments, spices, food and many more things to look at and try is just inspiring.
By fruit and vegetables from the medina– There is the Main Street of the medina and if you walk up it away from the beach, you will get to the vegetables and fruit section. There are many shops selling different types of fruit. My preference was to go into the riad on the left. You will notice there is the live animal section on one side and then on the other is fruit and vegetables. This is where I got the best deals of fruit and vegetables even though I was notably not a local.
Spend the morning on the main beach– This was a little fun trip for me, first I went to the medina to buy some bread and avocado and a few fruits to have a snack. Then my daughter and I took a stroll down to the beach and paid about 50MAD for an umbrella and lounge to sit on. This is the top price you should pay (2018). As you get more familiar, you start to get discounts. Worth a try to haggle but don’t pay more than 50MAD. Chill out in the shade, have a snack. If you didn’t bring a snack, there is usually a few food sells on the beach side pavement. I would sometime get some crisps in a cone for about 5MAD. Other food stalls sell chickpeas, sweet corn, candy floss and a few other things.
Take a walk to the local beach and collect thrown away tiles– The local beach is on the right side of the town of the main beach is on the left. It’s worth a trip out if you have time. We walked there which was an interesting walk. We walked past a whole load of horse and trailers. We also found a very modern shopping mall which was just a large supermarket. Once we found the local beach, you will notice the abandoned decorated tiles lying amongst the sea sand. As you walk along the beach, you will notice the beautiful reflections in the sand. Either of you walking along or even the buildings. You can play around in the sea ponds investigating the algae and spotting crabs or even jelly fish. You see locals in the distance fishing.
Experience a cook and taste of a authentic Tagine– We found this one on Airbnb Experience. We had a wonderful time going to the market for vegetables and spices and then going back to the owners apartment to learn how to cook and then eat an authentic Tagine.
Get your name written in Arabic using chaligraphy– If you spit the calligraphy stalls, it could be fun to see your name in Arabic painted on paper. Also, have a chance to learn about calligraphy and how it’s done.
Try a different restaurant every night, even if your vegan– I was so surprised at the amount of restaurant and cafes there are in this little town. Also, how many vegan restaurants and cafe there are in a Moroccan town. We didn’t have to go back to the same place throughout our stay as there is always something to try.
Go to a seaside beach cafe and watch the kite surfers and camels– It always fun to take a walk along the beach. My daughter and I walked all the way to the other side of the main beach. There are a few different beach cafes where you can sit with the view of the beach. This side of the beach is mainly for kite surfers. The camels and horses are also on this side. You can pay to go on for a ride but it’s not something we would do. It was an experience to see a camel and seeing how large they really are.
Catch a taxi if you don’t want to walk home– All Taxi’s trips around the city cost 7MAD. No more, unless you want to give a tip. I usually payed 10MAD as i didn’t like to wait for change. Just wave a taxi down and jump in. Don’t expect amazing great cars, this is Morocco. Just go with the flow.
View the city walls– These are visually beautiful with amazing views of the ocean. This was also the place where they filmed parts of “Game of thrones”. Quite impressive to be there and then watch that part of Game of Thrones. It gives you a sense of what might have been as the city walls of protection.
Visit an art gallery– There are many art galleries in Essaouira, so go in a few and it will feel like an art gallery. There is a wonderful artistic side of essaouira and it’s would be a shame to miss it.
Watch the sunsets– The sunsets over the medina is quite amazing. Watching the sky turn dark and hearing the night sounds of the medina is an experience.
If you arrive on a religious day called the day of sacrifice, then take a walk through the medina– We arrived in the week of religious holiday. As we travelled from Marrakech to Essaouira, I notice many sheep being loaded into cars as many people where getting ready for the day of sacrifice. On the day, most of the medina was closed. It looked completely different to a normal day. There was out door fires every block or so with people firing the sheep’s sculls and scraping the meat off. It’s definitely worth seeing it.
Let the little kids have a ride in the remote control car– Most days there are the little remote cars that you can let your kids ride in with the help of the owners. They will take your kids for a ride around the square while you watch. These are about 20MAD a go depending on how often you go.
These are just a few things to do and there are many more. What have you done in Essaouira that i have not listed.