Go to Essaouira coastal city!

Essaouira in the Atlantic Coast is located just 260 km away from Marrakech. Essaouira is one of best Morocco’s holidays destinations located not far from the Red City of Marrakech. A day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira is quite possible and you are able to enjoy Moroccan sea coast in one day.

Essaouira Morocco
Photo of the ramparts and Atlantic Ocean in Essaouira historical city, Morocco

On this page I will give you necessary Essaouira travel information. Where to go, transportation, also riads in  essaouira, day excursions departing from Marrakech and much more. I hope this page about Essaouira is somehow useful for you to prepare your vacations in Essaouira – Moroccan Atlantic coast.

You can rent a car in Marrakech or take a private excursion to Essaouira departing from Marrakech. On this page I will give you detailed information about Essaouira, how to get there, where to stay, what to see, photo gallery and several other interesting facts that will make it easy to prepare your next travel in Morocco.

Photo of street musicians in Essaouira old city
Photo of street musicians in Essaouira old city. These men usually play Berber music from the Souss region.

Map of Essaouira and Marrakech
You can navigate this map and zoom in and out.

Essaouira is the ancient city of Mogador on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. For centuries it was occupied by many invaders. In 1506, the King of Portugal built a fortress called “Castelo Real de Mogador”. The Medina of Essaouira formerly Mogador is a protected site included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is an excellent example Portuguese fortified architecture of the 16th century until the 18th century built in North Africa.

Photo inside the old Medina of Essaouira
Photo inside the old Medina of Essaouira

Essaouira is one of my favorite destinations in Morocco included on my Top 10 best Moroccan destinations. This city has a great atmosphere, relaxed and beautiful architecture and extremely photogenic. The small streets inside the walls, the fish markets and the port are some of the places not to be missed. There is a very busy nightlife with some cafes, lots of restaurants and a lively central square.

Photo of camels on the beach in Essaouira
Photo of camels on the beach in Essaouira. You can notice Essaouira old walls and the old city on the other side of the ocean waves. All around Essaouira you have plenty of beaches to enjoy the Atlantic Coast. Due to some wind and strong waves, Essaouira is the perfect place for wind surf and kite surf.

Essaouira is the ideal place to stay at least 2 or 3 days, with some excursions outside the city and the nearby beaches during this time. This is a fantastic region for water sports: Surfing, Kite-Surfing and Body-Board.

Photo of the entrance to Essaouira souks in the old medina in center town
Photo of the entrance to Essaouira souks in the old Medina in center town

Monuments in Essaouira – Essaouira Sightseeing

Basically Essaouira points of interest are two: the old city and the beaches. So, the majority of Essaouira sightseeing places are located inside the old city, inside the walls surrounding Essaouira. Essaouira beaches tend to be better if you go away from the city a couple of kms walking or taking a taxi.

Map of Essaouira, Essaouira street map
You can navigate this map and zoom in and out.

Don’t miss in Essaouira

  • The Medina and Souks (markets)
  • Ramparts and The Port
  • Beaches
  • Gnaoua World Music festival (June)

Movie Othello from director Orson Welles

Othello movie from American filmmaker Orson Welles has many parts filmed in Essaouira and El Jadida in the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Both selected cities by Orson Welles were cities built by the Portuguese back in the 16th century. The Portuguese presence in Moroccan coast is very strong and many cities are quite well preserved with the ancient Portuguese architecture from the 16th century.

Photo of the old Skala of Essaouira and the fishing port
Photo of the old Skala of Essaouira and the fishing port

Othello is a drama movie filmed in 1952 based on a Shakespeare play performed by Mercury Productions Inc. and Les Films Marceau, distributed by United Artists in 1955. It was directed and produced by Orson Welles who also represented the film as an actor. The movie was filmed in El Jadida and Essaouira in Morocco, and Venice, in Tuscany and Rome in the Scaler Studios.

Riads in Essaouira

Dar les Sirènes

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Dar les Sirènes is a cozy, charming and elegant riad in Essaouira located on the northeast of the Medina wall near the historic old Jewish quarter (Melleh) and a stones throw from the main market street. Dar les Sirènes is an old house (dar) which has been meticulously restored in a fine contemporary style by Italian architect Edoardo Miotti who focused on creating a spacious riad in Essaouira with a good amount of natural light suited perfectly for a romantic getaway or a bringing together of people for a family holiday in Essaouira.

Dar les Sirènes has been created using traditional Moroccan building materials and techniques of tadelakt walls and bathrooms with thuja (a beautiful Asian species of cedar tree) and decorated with pale colors creating a creating a cozy, intimate and restful atmosphere in this Essaouira riad.

This riad in Essaouira boast a large terrace which gets a good amount of sunlight plus an intimate living room on the ground floor with fireplace and cozy seating area perfect for a romantic evening in Essaouira.

The five rooms at Dar les Sirènes are each furnished with an individual personality, located on the first and second floor of the Riad. Rooms are cool in the summer and well heated in the winter, with all the comforts you would expect of a boutique hotel with private bathrooms housing a shower bathtub.


Villa de l’Ô

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A luxury Riad in Essaouira beautifully furnished with a combination of original Moroccan and oriental artifacts along with modern luxuries and conveniences making Villa de l’Ô a beautiful Riad in Essaouira and a excellent contrast between the contemporary and traditional.

Sheltered by the original Medina walls in one of the closest locations to the beach in Essaouira and working fish port, Villa de l’Ô is a Riad in Essaouira only a few meters from the souks, thriving main square and most of the best restaurants in Essaouira.

Villa de l’Ô is a XVIIIth century Riad, in keeping with the Riads architectural spirit and giving the subtle alchemy between stone, sculpted wood, and the quivering of the beautifully made fabrics. Meticulously refined, the modern decoration of  Villa de l’Ô combines the oriental and colonial spirit in a Sub-Saharan African style but without forgetting the most modern facilities and technologies.

Villa de l’Ô offers one of the best views in Essaouira of the beach and Atlantic ocean from its large roof terrace, “LÔxygène”, where guests can relax in peace and tranquility or take breakfast on the variety of seating areas.

Villa de l’Ô has 2 more intimate seating areas in the Riad, “L’Ôbène” and “l’Ôracle”, created as salons for a calming moment of reading, conversation or as a pre-evening exploration Apéritif, always most appreciated on any holiday in Morocco.

“L’Ôasis”, is the central patio at Villa de l’Ô where guests can meet to have a drink or relax a while under Essaouira sky in a blessing of light, vegetation and water.


Essaouira Day Excursion with hipmarrakech

  • The normal departure time is 8.00 am and you can expect to be back in Marrakech at 18.00Your dedicated vehicle will collect you from any hotel or accommodation in Marrakech. If you are staying in one of our wonderful Riads in the old town you will be met at the nearest medina gateway. You do not have to be staying with hip to book an excursion through us.Please pay attention to input the correct email address and phone number in the booking form. After your reservation is secured the local operator (patente 45191146) will use those details to contact you directly to arrange pick up.

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