Essaouira is the perfect destination for a day trip away from the hectic activity of Marrakech. On this day excursion to explore the varied facets of Essaouria, one of the most beautiful and unspoilt towns in Morocco. A famous trading post 3000 years ago, the old harbour has fine examples of both Portuguese and Moroccan architecture, as does the 17th century Mosque and the local artists quarter. Essaouira has stunning beaches that make it a paradise for surfing enthusiasts, it is a cradle for artists of all genres and poets. Its main square is worth a visit as this is where all the main cafes, restaurants and patisseries are clustered.
At 8 am, your guide and driver will meet you at your centrally located hotel in Marrakech. Leaving Marrakech, we drive through lush valleys filled with orange groves, ancient olive trees and farms. After a short while, we arrive in Chichaoua, where we can take a short break for a coffee or snack at a cafe. We will continue deep in a semi-desertic area, the vegetation changes; passing by shepherds with their acrobat goats perched on Argan trees. These special trees are valued for their nutrition, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. The tree is an ancient species from the Tertiary age, is extremely well adapted to drought and other environmentally difficult conditions typical of southwestern Morocco. This tree is so important and endangered, that they are under the protection of UNESCO.
After your morning drive, you arrive in Essaouira, you’ll head deep into the walled medina, the center of all the action in Essaouira. Formerly known by its old Portuguese name “Mogador”, this town is a citadel with a prestigious past. It has been occupied since prehistoric times and was famous for its Tyrian factory which supplied Rome with a special purple dye. Here you’ll meet local artists in their studios and check out some of their pieces, giving you the chance to discover Moroccan artwork right from the very source. After you’ve got your artistic fix for the day, you’ll head over to the crazy fish market for a savoury lunch of grilled fish. Being on the coast, the produce here comes right from the sea, so you can definitely expect the freshest and most sustainable seafood to choose from. You can park yourselves down at wood benches and tables, right alongside the locals, and pick your fresh fish to be grilled, while enjoying picturesque views of the fishing port and the walled medina from the bastion of Skala du Port.
There is plenty of leisure time for you to enjoy the charms of this resort, you might decide to go on a walk along the beach at low tide to see the romantic fort of Borj El Barod crumbling into the sea, or the ruined sultan’s palace at Diabet, or to take a boat to the Iles de Mogador, breeding ground for the rare Eleanora’s falcon. If you love watersports, you must try some surfing/ kitesurfing/ windsurfing/ bodyboarding/ kayaking or just sit at the beachside café. Here you can relax and watch the world go by with coffee or mint tea, and maybe a Moroccan pastry, in one of the cafés on Place Moulay Hassan.
- Pick-up time: (summer) 08:00 am – (winter) 09:00 am (from Marrakech)
- Drop-Off time: (summer) 05:00 pm – (winter) 06:00 pm (back to Marrakech)
- Distance: 356 km / 220 miles (round trip)
- Approx. Duration: 9 to 10 hours.
• Transportation: 1 days Air-conditioned 4WD vehicle(s), mini bus or motorcoach.
• Services of a qualified English-speaking guide.
• Comprehensive sightseeing including guidance.
• Drinks and personal items