Essaouira is a coastal town a two hour bus ride from Marrakech. Blue and white and as picturesque as a post card, it was a definite highlight of the trip. We left Marrakech on Friday a.m. with our luggage to spend a night in Essaouira. After being there, we both agreed that it would have been nice to spend more time in this quaint beautiful village by the sea.
Essaouira was the most important port of the North African coast in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is surrounded by ramparts that are wonderful to walk on and catch the sea breezes and see the surrounding sea and fishing boats. While we were here, the water was a deep chocolate brown, which I understand is not normal. There had been some storms earlier in the day so perhaps the sand churn caused the color change. Fish plays an important role in this small town and the fish stalls near the port offer great food, freshly caught and grilled at very low prices. Walk around and find what you want and they will cook it up for you. We ate all of this for only 100 dirhams (about $12) total!!!!
There are fewer people here and there is a strong artistic presence in the town. The souks have some of the usual souvenirs, but seem to be more “upscale” than many we saw in Marrakech. The prices however were good. There are a couple of large plazas with cafes and bars and places to sit for drinks along the seaside. The beach is wide, but at this time of year it wasn’t widely occupied.
We stayed at a 5 star hotel which I found on www.booking.com for 89 euro ($115) called Le Medina. It was exceptional. Located on the seaside, it was elegant and sophisticated. We didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the amenities, but I would definitely stay there again!
In the evening, we ate at a seaside restaurant called Chalet de la Plage, a short walk from the hotel. We had fresh oysters, and calamari stuffed with rice and shrimp, along with a nice bottle of wine. It was a lovely ending to our week in Morocco!