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esaouira map eng 

 Mansion houses, cobbled squares, bustling bazaars, and enchanting beaches compose an idyllic setting, full of colors and smells, capable of awakening all your senses!

A few words about the city

 Essaouira is a coastal town in western Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean coast. Its name comes from the word "Souira", meaning "small fort", while "Es Souira" translates as "well-designed". It is a city inhabited since ancient times, first by the indigenous Berbers and then by the Phoenicians and Romans. The foundation of its city is due to Sultan Mohammed Ben Abdallah, who ordered its construction in 1760. His goal was to establish a port as close to Marrakech as possible and cut off trade to Agadir, which supported his political opponents. After that, Essaouira became the most important port in the country, surpassing Rabat in the movement of goods! The city's location was significantly degraded at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, beginning with the bombardment of the city by the French Navy. After Morocco's independence, Essaouira has developed into an important tourist and cultural center. Of course, the castle city we see today is largely due to the Portuguese, with the fortified city center, Medina, having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001! Finally, according to the last census, the population of the city is 77,966 inhabitants. So I will try to introduce you to Essaouira through my own eyes and share with you what I think someone who visits her for the first time should see.


 Surely a tour of Essaouira could not begin without the Medina! At is essentially its fortified center, which is built within the city walls and is square, unlike most Medinas in Morocco. In this crossroads of cultures, which has been a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, you will find literally everything. From mosques, special constructions and impressive gates to local galleries, beautiful cafes, picturesque restaurants and traditional shops! The markets of Essaouira are considered among the best in the country, as they have more handmade, local products and the prices are, of course, lower than the big cities. Of course, here too, the bargain is mandatory!


Port de Essaouira

 The port of Essaouira (Port de Essaouira) was the largest port of Morocco during the 18th and 19th centuries! In fact, it was known as the "Port of Timbuktu", as all African goods to be sent to Europe and America started from there. Today, of course, it does not claim laurels of beauty, nor are there many things to do around. Nevertheless, if we were looking for the most characteristic image of the city, it would without a second thought be the blue boats in the harbor, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is an impressive setting in blue hues, which has made Essaouira famous all over the world. Of course, the color of the fishing boats is not random, but completely practical! The locals believed and still believe that this particular color deters insects and protects wooden boats from damage caused by the sun, salt water and marine organisms! Also, the color blue has cultural significance in Essaouira, since it holds a special place in Moroccan culture and is associated with various symbolic meanings. More specifically, it is associated with protection from the "evil eye" and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. By painting their boats blue, the fishermen seek to secure their livelihood and ensure a fruitful catch!


Sqala du Port

 Walking along the ramparts and walls of Essaouira is one of the best things one can do in the city! The square of the port (Sqala du Port) is considered the most popular attractions of the city, which was made famous by the Game of Thrones series. There you will find nineteen bronze cannons along the wall, while at the same time the main entrance of the fortified city dominates. The walls were built in 1760 by the French military architect Théodore Cornut, in order to protect the port from raids. They are extremely well preserved and are testament to Essaouira's rich architectural heritage and strategic importance. They are made of local stone and lime, stretching for nearly two miles, providing a protective barrier against the turbulent Atlantic Ocean. Finally, according to the locals it is the right place to see the sunset in Essaouira.

Borj El Barmil

 Directly across the street, an impressive building will pique your interest. I am, of course, referring to the well-preserved Peak Observatory (Borj El Barmil), which offers panoramic views of the beach, the picturesque harbor and the bustling Medina. This tower was also built at the same time, in the middle of the 18th century and served as a defensive structure, providing strategic surveillance against possible threats from the sea. Today, it functions as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, the tower is currently undergoing maintenance and it is unknown when it will reopen to the public. Of course, you can content yourself with seeing it from the outside and become one with the fishermen trying to sell their wares under its shadow.

borj el barmil

Fish Souq

 If you want to get a taste of the everyday life of the locals in Essaouira, you don't have to look far. The city's fish market (Fish Souq) is located inside the Medina and is unquestionably the commercial center of the city. There the fishermen list their catches and the hot bergain begins with the buyers, which, of cours,e is closely watched by the hordes of seagulls and stray cats, ready to pick up any leftovers. So in the fish market of Essaouira you will find types of fish that you have never seen before in your life, in various colors and sizes! What makes this particular market stand out, however, is the fact that you can buy the fish you want and have it cooked for you directly in one of the nearby restaurants! Its definition from the sea to the plate!

vfish souq

The gates

 Continuing your tour inside the Medina, you will distinguish the four entrance gates to the old city. The main gate of Essaouira is called Bab El Marsa or simply port gate and it is certainly the most famous of them. Crossing it is considered one of the greatest experiences that one will live in the city, since from the labyrinthine alleys of the old city you will be confronted with the wonderful view of the shining islands and the Atlantic Ocean.

bab el marsa

 Second in ranking is Bab Sbaa, which is the largest of the four and next to it dominates an impressive clock tower (L'Horloge). It was built in the 19th century and originally housed a permanent bazaar, where caravans from Marrakesh sold their wares. Today, this gate leads to the city's tourist office and is also known as the taxi rank.

bab sbaa

 Next gate of the old city is that of Marrakech (Bab Marrakech), which connects the Medina with the rest of the city. It is a semicircular arch, which stands out for its simplicity and beautiful design. The Marrakesh Gate is the oldest surviving, dating back to the early 18th century and, of course, as its name suggests, it directed the roads to Marrakesh and Agadir.

bab marrakech

 Finally, Bab Doukkhala also dates back to the 18th century and is located in the northwestern part of the city. It was built during the Alawite dynasty and led to the territory of the Dukes!

bab doukkhala


 One of the nicknames of Essaouira is "city of the winds", because of the winds that exist in the area. As a result, even in the summer months temperatures hover around normal levels, around 20 degrees Celsius, in contrast to the sweltering conditions that prevail in the rest of Morocco. The beach of Essaouira (Plage) is more than two kilometers long and is one of the landmarks of the city. So if you don't mind the sandblasting then you can rent a sunbed and take a dip in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean! Of course, most travelers choose this beach because of the high waves to do various water sports such as kitesurfing or windsurfing. Finally, there you can ride a horse or camel, play football or volleyball with the locals and relax watching the sunset!


Musée Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah- Galerie la Kasbah

 The truth is that Essaouira is not famous for its museums, but in the city you can find two very interesting ones. The first and most important is the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah Museum (Musée Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah), which is located in the heart of the Medina and is housed in a beautiful 19th century mansion. The Museum takes its name from the founder of the city himself and there you will be able to admire beautiful historical objects from Essaouira, such as ancient pottery, jewelry, musical instruments, woodcarving and weaving. Also, the museum contains a lot of interesting information about the Berber tribes that inhabited the area and their life in the desert. On the downside that everything is written in French and Arabic, there is no English. So if you don't speak one of these two languages it will be difficult to understand exactly what you are seeing. Finally, this particular museum is one of the few attractions in the city that you need to pay to visit, since the entrance costs 70 dirhams, which is about 6.5e.

musee sidi mohammed ben abdellah

 The other art space of the city is the Kasbah Gallery (Galerie la Kasbah). The entrance here is free, since it is a small and not at all touristic gallery, where you can admire wonderful and special works of local artists. Most of the exhibits are paintings, but among others you will find works of wood carving, sculptures, ceramics, etc.. Finally, if you like something you can get it, since most of them are on sale and the prices are affordable.

mgalerie la kasbah

How to go

 At the moment Thessaloniki is not directly connected by air with Essaouira, while flights there from Europe are limited. The best option is to go to another city in Morocco, ideally Marrakech, and from there reach Essaouira by bus or train. For flights from Thessaloniki to Marrakech you could choose a combination of Aegean, Ryanair and Wizzair flights with intermediate flights to Milan and London, where with proper planning you can find tickets starting from€ 208 round trip! Finally, the bus ticket from Marrakech to Essaouira varies between 77-120 dirham, which is about 7-11e.

Where to stay

 Essaouira is a small town that has a lot of tourism, but usually for a short time! This means that there are several accommodations in the city, which fluctuate at normal price levels. In my opinion, being in the city and generally in Morocco, you have to experience staying in a riad. Riad is old traditional houses or palaces with internal courtyard, which have now been renovated and function as accommodation. So my suggestion is Au Riad Laylati, which is a charming little riad within the old town and very close to the beach of Essaouira.

How to move

 As I mentioned above, Essaouira is a small town that can be easily explored on foot. As a tourist I think you won't need any means of public transport, since everything is within the walls of the Medina. Nevertheless, in Essaouira there is a bus network with nine lines and forty-two stops, covering the whole province of Essaouira and its neighboring cities. Finally, taxis are also an option, which are relatively cheap, but it would be good to ask the price in advance, because they usually do not use taxi meters and you may find yourself surprised.

What to eat

 Moroccan cuisine is considered the best in Africa and one of the tastiest in the entire world. It has influences from Andalusia, Arabia and France and is characterized by unique flavors and combinations, such as sardines with coriander, parsley, cumin and chilli or pie with pigeon meat, cinnamon and sugar and more. Some of the country's most famous dishes are Tagine, which is a clay pot with a conical lid and is used to cook various meats and vegetables. Particularly popular is the famous couscous, Harira (soup with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and lamb), B'ssara (soup with dried beans), Chermoula fish (grilled fish marinated with herbs and spices), meatballs, Zaalouk (eggplant salad), Makouda (small fried potato balls) and finally B'stilla (layers of phyllo with a mixture of pigeon meat, almonds and eggs, sprinkled with saffron, cinnamon and fresh coriander). Of course, before or after every meal the locals drink Moroccan whiskey, which is nothing but mint tea! For coffee, dessert or a quick meal I recommend Mandala Society Essaouira, in the city center which serves entirely vegetarian and vegan options!

Useful information

morocco info

In Essaouira we travel with a Passport valid for at least 6 months. You do not need a Visa to enter the country.

In Essaouira the language used is, of course, Arabic, but the majority also knows French. Of course, due to the tourist development of the country in recent years, everyone speaks English too!

The country's currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD) and its current exchange rate is €1 = 11.21 dirhams. Many small shops in the bazaars accept dollars and euros.

I suggest you transfer your money to some bank in the city where they keep the lowest commission and not to exchange offices!

Essaouira is two hours behind Greece (GMT +1).

For your journey to and from the Essaouira airport, I recommend choosing a taxi, as the distance is short and the cost is minimal!

In Essaouira there is no Greek embassy or any Greek consulate so if you need anything you should contact the nearest one, which is located in Rabat at 18 Rue Aït Hdidou, Souissi and its telephone numbers are +212537 638964, 638975.

The best time to go to Essaouira is either autumn or spring, when the temperatures are at normal levels, while if you find yourself in the middle of summer you can take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean!


Recommended excursions → Marrakesh, Agadir, Merzouga

essaouira lang eng


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Mouzakidis Pantelis

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I am Pantelis or as the title of the blog testifies "O Thessalonikios". If you also have a passion for travel, then you are in the right place. My goal is to be able to see the 237 countries of our planet and my purpose to give you information that I gained from my travels. 

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