Essaouira is a small village located on the Moroccan Atlantic coast – wind, fishing boats and seagulls definitely belong to the village as much as tea in one of the many tea houses do. There are comfortable Supratours busses going directly from Marrakesh to Essaouira. The tickets are sold at an awesome price of 70 Dirham (ca. 14,30€) for a three-hour-journey. You can easily buy the tickets at the bus stop in Marrakesh, either the day before, which is the safer option or simply on the day of departure.
Looking at Essaouira from the outside you might think it is a fortress. You don’t see much except for big walls and small entrances. Once entered, however, you will be amazed by the oriental feeling of small alleys covered in carpets, ceramics and Tajines. On top of that you find Riads at pretty much every corner. Riad is the local word for guesthouse or hostel. If you want to stay here you can either book in advance or simply go and check out the offer on-site. A night at one of the Riads ranges from 5-15€ for a double room per person. A little advice in advance: check Websites such as Hostelworld or Booking and you might find a really good offer for one of these amazing Riads. We stayed at Riad Inna – a typical Riad in the alleys of Essaouira.
So what to do in a little, sleepy fisher village on the Moroccan Atlantic coast, if you have only two days and a tiny budget to spend?
Day 1 in Essaouira
Morocco travel tips: 1:30 Arrival in Essaouira
We directly arrived at the Supratours bus stop, only a 10-minute walk away from our hotel: Riad Inna (30-36 Rue Med Benabdellah, Essaouira). Essaouira’s alleys are full of good restaurant, which often offer fixed menus for really little money. We headed for the Restaurant Malak (7 Rue Youssef Ben Tachfine, Essaouira) and enjoyed an awesome three-course menu. Moroccan cuisine is based on lots of veggies and bits of meat, mostly lamb, veal, beef or chicken. Vegetarians have a vast range of food to try here!
Morocco travel tips: 3:00 Village stroll through Essouira
After food you should definitely make your way to the harbor. Through little alleys you quickly get to the Port, where hundred of fisherboats including fishers discuss their daily business surrounded by the sound of seagulls. Stay here for a bit and have a tea in one of the many cafés on the big square opposite the harbor.
Morocco travel tips: 5:30 Sunset
Essaouira is not only famous for its numerous alleys but also for a stunning sunset. Head over to the beach and get yourself the right spot for an amazing sunset. If you get here early you might even get the chance of watching the last-kitesurfers-standing J
Morocco travel tips: 7:00 Snacktime in Essaouira
Morocco might not be, compared to Asia, the perfect place for street food. At least not in the little villages or towns. Still, a crêpe can be found at every corner and where there is a crêpe, there is a sandwich. Ask the kiosk owner for pain (bread) and fromage (cheese) and you will end up with a nice sandwich.
Morocco travel tips: 8:00 Lounging in Essaouira
If you are one of these people who comes to Morocco hoping for big nights out and big drinking, get this thought out of your head and move your fingers away from booking a trip to this country. There is no such thing. However, even bigger is the level of happiness that you reach when you actually find a bar that has a well-equipped cocktail menu. At this point I do not want to sound like a desperate drinker who needs alcohol to travel. I am not. But, I do enjoy the one or the other wine when being in an awesome place like Essaouira. If you are the same check out Taros (Place Moulay Hassan, Essaouira). This bar is a mix of orient meets Mediterranean and is totally worth a visit.
Day 2 in Essaouira
Morocco travel tips: 11:00 Late breakfast à la temps maroccain
You will find breakfast offers in each café or restaurant in town. Breakfast mostly consists of bread, jam, honey and Baghir, the Moroccan pendant to pancake. All together for only 25 Dirham (ca. 2,20€).
Morocco travel tips: 12:30 Day trip to Dabiat
Alright, at this point I must admit that this has been one of the weirdest places I have ever visited. Dabiat is famous for one thing: Jimi Hendrix has NOT been here. Whereas the locals resist on the fact that the iconic musician stayed in Dabiat some time in 1968, there is no facts and figures about his actual stay. Well, this at least was enough to build an entire Café dedicated to Hendrix’ (non-) presence in Dabiat. The Café itself has nothing except for Hendrix pictures and photos. Nonetheless, you do find some good coffee here. Despite the fact that there is nothing, not even Hendrix, here we were still curious and took a taxi to Dabiat. The ride costs 100 Dirham (ca. 8,90€) and does not take moe than 30 minutes.
Morocco travel tips: 2-5:30 Check these alleys of Essaouira
What should you do in Essaouira, famous for its alleys? Correct. Check them out! Somehow, you always find your way out of this complex set of tiny little streets. Do not forget to climb the fortress: you will not only find yourself in an awesome setting and a perfect view over the windy ocean but also might as well hide in of the little place within the fortress and chill Moroccan style.
Morocco travel tips: 6:00 Fishtime in Essaouira
Back to the harbor for one last sunset before spoiling yourself with freshly fished fish. Right at the harbor you will find some little huts where local fishermen sell their fish. Go on and negotiate a good price. A little advice here: the later you go, the better the prices. If you go right after sunset or even a bit later you will end up having an entire tray of mixed fish for about 100 Dirham. The fishermen grill the fish pretty much in front of you and serve it with salad and lots of bread – cheap, awesome, yummy!
From Essaouira we went down to the surfer village Taghazout. What should I do in Taghazout?