Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the most amazing things to do in Essaouira, a hidden gem on the Moroccan coast. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, Essaouira is a must-visit destination for any intrepid explorer. So, buckle up and join me as we dive into the top things to do in Essaouira that will make your trip truly unforgettable.
From wandering through the ancient medina to soaking up the sun on the pristine beaches, there’s no shortage of things to do in Essaouira. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, this charming coastal town has something for everyone. So, without further ado, let’s embark on our journey and discover the best things to do in Essaouira!
Exploring the Historic Medina
If you’re looking for things to do in Essaouira, exploring the historic Medina is a must. The Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most well-preserved examples of a fortified North African town.
Start your journey at the Bab Marrakech gate, which is the main entrance to the Medina. From there, wander through the narrow streets and alleyways, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this vibrant and bustling area.
One of the highlights of the Medina is the Souk, a traditional market where you can find everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and pottery. Be sure to haggle with the vendors to get the best prices.
As you explore the Medina, you’ll come across several historic landmarks, including the Skala de la Ville, a 18th-century fortress that offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also visit the Moulay Hassan square, which is surrounded by cafes and restaurants and is a great place to people-watch.
If you’re interested in history, don’t miss the Essaouira Museum, which is housed in a former palace and showcases the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Overall, exploring the historic Medina is one of the top things to do in Essaouira. It’s a fascinating and immersive experience that will give you a glimpse into the city’s past and present.
Beachside Activities and Watersports
When it comes to things to do in Essaouira, beachside activities and watersports are a must-try. The city’s long coastline and consistent winds make it a perfect destination for water enthusiasts. Here are some of the top activities to try:
Essaouira is known as one of the best kitesurfing spots in the world. The strong winds and flat waters make it an ideal location for both beginners and experienced kitesurfers. There are several kitesurfing schools and rental shops along the beach, offering lessons and equipment for rent.
Windsurfing is another popular watersport in Essaouira. The city’s strong winds and waves provide an excellent opportunity for windsurfers to show off their skills. There are several windsurfing schools and rental shops along the beach, offering lessons and equipment for rent.
Essaouira’s coastline is also a great spot for surfing. The city has several surf schools and rental shops that offer lessons and equipment for rent. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Essaouira’s waves are sure to provide an exciting challenge.
For those who prefer a more adrenaline-fueled activity, jet skiing is a great option. Several rental shops along the beach offer jet ski rentals, allowing you to explore the coastline at high speeds.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed activity, horseback riding along the beach is a great option. Several stables in Essaouira offer horseback riding tours along the beach, allowing you to take in the stunning views while enjoying a leisurely ride.
No matter what your interests are, there are plenty of beachside activities and watersports to enjoy in Essaouira. So, don’t miss out on these exciting things to do in Essaouira and make sure to add them to your itinerary.
Art, Culture, and Local Handicrafts
When it comes to things to do in Essaouira, exploring the city’s art, culture, and local handicrafts scene is a must. Here are some of the top activities to consider:
Visit the Essaouira Museum
The Essaouira Museum is a great place to learn about the city’s history and culture. The museum is housed in a former palace and features exhibits on local art, music, and handicrafts. It’s a great way to get a deeper understanding of the city and its people.
Explore the Medina
The Medina is the heart of Essaouira and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a maze of narrow streets and alleys lined with shops selling local handicrafts, including pottery, textiles, and jewelry. Take your time to wander around and soak up the atmosphere.
Attend a Gnawa Music Festival
Gnawa music is a traditional style of music that originated in West Africa and is now popular in Morocco. Essaouira hosts an annual Gnawa Music Festival, which is a great way to experience this unique style of music. The festival usually takes place in June and attracts musicians and visitors from all over the world.
Visit the Cooperative Marjana
The Cooperative Marjana is a women’s cooperative that produces and sells argan oil and other local products. The cooperative provides employment opportunities for women in the area and is a great place to learn about the production process of argan oil. You can also purchase high-quality argan oil and other products to take home as souvenirs.
Take a Cooking Class
Moroccan cuisine is known for its unique blend of spices and flavors. Taking a cooking class is a great way to learn about the local cuisine and culture. There are several cooking schools in Essaouira that offer classes, including La Maison Arabe and Atelier Madada.
Exploring the art, culture, and local handicrafts scene in Essaouira is a great way to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and traditions. Don’t miss out on these unique experiences when planning your things to do in Essaouira itinerary.
Culinary Delights and Traditional Cuisine
When it comes to things to do in Essaouira, exploring the local cuisine should be at the top of your list. The city is known for its delicious seafood dishes, which are a must-try for any foodie.
Sample Fresh Seafood at the Port
Head to the port to sample some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. You can choose from a variety of fish, including sardines, sea bass, and red mullet. The fish is grilled to perfection and served with a side of bread and salad. Don’t forget to try the famous Moroccan fish soup, which is a local specialty.
Visit the Local Markets
The local markets in Essaouira are a food lover’s paradise. You can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to spices and herbs. The markets are also a great place to try traditional Moroccan dishes like tagine and couscous.
Take a Cooking Class
If you want to learn how to cook traditional Moroccan dishes, sign up for a cooking class. You’ll learn how to make dishes like chicken tagine, lamb couscous, and harira soup. The classes are taught by local chefs who will share their secrets and techniques with you.
Try Moroccan Pastries
No trip to Essaouira is complete without trying some of the local pastries. The city is known for its delicious almond and honey-based sweets like chebakia and briouats. You can find these pastries at local bakeries and cafes throughout the city.
In conclusion, exploring the culinary delights and traditional cuisine of Essaouira is one of the best things to do in Essaouira. From fresh seafood to traditional Moroccan dishes and pastries, there’s something for every foodie to enjoy.
Unwind in Authentic Moroccan Hammams
If you’re looking for a unique and relaxing experience during your visit to Essaouira, then you must try the traditional Moroccan hammams. These steam baths are a popular activity for both locals and tourists alike.
What is a Hammam?
A hammam is a traditional Moroccan steam bath that has been used for centuries as a way to cleanse the body and relax the mind. The hammam experience typically involves a series of steps that include steam, exfoliation, and massage.
Where to Find Hammams in Essaouira
There are several hammams in Essaouira that offer an authentic and relaxing experience. Some of the most popular ones include:
Hammam Ghita: This hammam is located in the heart of the medina and offers a traditional experience with a modern twist. You can choose from a variety of treatments, including a full-body massage and a traditional black soap scrub.
Hammam Ziani: This hammam is located just outside the medina and offers a more traditional experience. You can choose from a variety of treatments, including a full-body massage and a traditional rhassoul clay treatment.
Hammam Chez Ali: This hammam is located in the countryside just outside of Essaouira. It offers a more rustic experience and is perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
What to Expect During Your Hammam Experience
When you arrive at the hammam, you will be given a traditional robe and slippers to wear. You will then be led to the steam room, where you will relax and sweat out toxins for about 15-20 minutes. After the steam, you will be scrubbed down with a traditional black soap and exfoliating glove. This will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. Finally, you will receive a relaxing massage to help you unwind and de-stress.
If you’re looking for a unique and authentic experience during your visit to Essaouira, then you must try the traditional Moroccan hammams. It’s a great way to unwind and relax after a day of exploring all the things to do in Essaouira.
Day Trips and Excursions from Essaouira
If you’re looking for more things to do in Essaouira, consider taking a day trip or excursion to explore the surrounding areas. Here are some options to consider:
1. Visit the Mogador Islands
One of the most popular day trips from Essaouira is a visit to the Mogador Islands. These two small islands are located just off the coast and are home to a variety of bird species, including the rare Eleanora’s falcon. You can take a boat tour to the islands and spend the day exploring the wildlife and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
2. Explore the Argan Forest
The Argan Forest is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located just outside of Essaouira. This unique ecosystem is home to the argan tree, which produces argan oil, a popular ingredient in many beauty products. You can take a guided tour of the forest and learn about the traditional methods used to harvest the argan nuts.
3. Visit the Ounara Village
Ounara is a small village located about 20 kilometers from Essaouira. It’s known for its traditional architecture and beautiful gardens. You can take a guided tour of the village and learn about the local culture and history.
4. Take a Camel Ride on the Beach
No trip to Essaouira is complete without a camel ride on the beach. You can book a guided tour and ride a camel along the beautiful coastline while taking in the stunning views.
5. Explore the Souks of Marrakech
If you have more time, consider taking a day trip to Marrakech, one of the most vibrant cities in Morocco. You can explore the souks, visit the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square, and take in the stunning architecture of the city.
These are just a few of the many day trips and excursions you can take from Essaouira. With so many things to do in Essaouira and the surrounding areas, you’re sure to have an unforgettable trip.
In conclusion, the enchanting coastal city of Essaouira offers a plethora of experiences for every type of traveler. From exploring the rich history of the Medina to indulging in the freshest seafood, there’s no shortage of things to do in Essaouira. As Journeying Jack, I can confidently say that my time spent in this magical city has left an indelible mark on my heart, and I’m certain it will do the same for you.
So, whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Essaouira has something for everyone. I hope this Suitcase Stories blog post has inspired you to add this charming city to your travel bucket list and explore the many things to do in Essaouira. I assure you, it’s a destination you won’t soon forget.
Until our next adventure, fellow travelers, I wish you fair winds and smooth seas as you embark on your journey to discover the captivating things to do in Essaouira. Safe travels, and may your Suitcase Stories be filled with unforgettable memories.