Essaouira is at once familiar and exotic with its fortified walls, fishing harbour and seagulls soaring over the town. At first it seems as though this could be a town in Brittany, France. Not such a strange thought given that Essaouira was designed by the same Frenchman who designed Brittany’s most famous port town, Saint-Malo. And yet once you enter the walls, it is also infinitely Moroccan: narrow alleyways that reputedly drives people crazy, the smells of fish guts and damp sea air mixed with aromas of spices and thuya wood, women in white haiks (veils), midday palm-tree shadows on red city walls, and the sound of drums and Gnawa singing reverberating from shops and houses.
Sun-seekers be wary of this coastal town however, as it is also known as ‘Wind City of Africa’ with a strong coastal wind blowing for most of the year. It is no wonder that the city attracts so many wind and kite-surfers between the months of April to August.
Our favourite thing about Essaouira has to be its charming bohemian vibe. Following the frenzy of Marrakech, a few days by the sea to stroll through Essaouira’s Medina at a more relaxed pace is well deserved. Whether it be browsing through the Medina’s many galleries and boutiques or visiting one of the Argan oil plantations or vineyards further outside of town – there is plenty to do in this colourful coastal city.