It’s safe to say that there’s something about Essaouira, Morocco’s weather-beaten and whitewashed coastal jewel. The town, protected from the wild Atlantic Ocean by 18th century fortifications, has a laidback and unrushed feel to it that has attracted travellers for decades. In fact, many have never left, and hence the town has an excellent range of restaurants, guest houses and companies offering activities in the area. It’s one of our favourite places in Morocco and should be seen as Morocco’s best coastal performer in terms of its range of possibilities to suit a range of tastes. Read on for a selected list of places to stay and things to do and please enquire for more options.

Where To Stay

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> RYAD WATIER

Ryad Watier, lovingly restored by the guest house's passionate owner Jean, offers an excellent level of personal service, together with a collection of very spacious rooms with flexibility for groups and families. Jean is always on hand to assist with help and advice on restaurants and activities in Essaouira and our guests are always in good hands. Rooms start at around £80 per night for a double.

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> RIAD CHBANATE

Situated in the heart of the charming Essaouira medina, Riad Chbanate is a friendly, well appointed riad where our guests are always impeccably looked after by the team. Rooms are all decorated differently and all offer a an excellent level of comfort and style. Rooms from £80 per night for a double.

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> BAOUSSALA

Baoussala is one of our favourite "get away" guest houses in Morocco. Set at the end of a dusty, almost Mexican-style, dirt road, around 10 km from Essaouira, this rustic and laidback maison d'hotes has a handful of spacious rooms, a great pool and excellent home cooked cuisine. Highly recommended to get away from it all. Prices start at around £80 per night for a double room.

What To Do

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> LEARN TO COOK

Essaouira is also a great place to learn to cook the Moroccan way. One of Essaouira's best restaurants organises for visitors to spend a half day with one of their chefs, learning to cook a Moroccan meal. Courses are daily, either in the morning or the afternoon and the workshop finishes with your group dining on what you have created.

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> KITE SURFING

Essaouira is one of the world's leading kite surf destinations and its relatively calm bay makes it a good place to learn. There are a number of surf and kite schools on the Essaouira sea front and we can organise tuition from a day upwards for those who want to learn this ever popular sport. If you are an accomplished kite surfer we can help you hire equipment.

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> QUAD BIKING

The Essaouira region is perfectly adapted to exploration by quad, and we are fortunate enough to have an excellent quadding partner based in Essaouira. From here you can explore, in the course of half day, full day, or longer, coastal forests and long expanses of wild Atlantic beaches, in the region between Essaouira, Cap Sim and the surf beaches of Sidi Kaouki.

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> CAMEL TREKKING

A great way to see the beautiful Essaouira coastline is on a camel trek. You can choose the length of your trek – anywhere from an hour to a whole day – and then enjoy the experience of riding on the swaying camel’s back through the shoreline sand dunes and looking out to the Atlantic ocean, the island of Mogador and the old, ruined Portuguese fort. Particularly beautiful at sunset.

ESSAOUIRA

Altitude : 5m Best time to visit : all year Population : 70,000 Temperature range : 18-28°C Infrastructure : excellent facilities Environment : coastal Journey Time : 2 hrs 30 M'kech