Our Weekend Escape to Whitewashed Essaouira. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Our Weekend Escape to Whitewashed Essaouira

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With its whitewashed buildings with blue shutters, colossal seagulls, and cobalt blue skies, Morocco‘s walled town of Essaouira, also known as Mogador, is an easy weekend escape from Marrakech.

Our Weekend Escape to Whitewashed Essaouira

A few hours drive away, on the Atlantic coast, a stay in Essaouira is all about the beach and sea: wandering down to the port to watch the sailors unload their catch from their bright blue boats, feasting on sublime fresh seafood in charming restaurants such as Chez Sam, and strolling the Corniche with the locals in the late afternoon.

After that, it’s all about kicking back in the compact medina, exploring its labyrinthine alleyways, browsing its myriad carpet, silver jewellery and jellabiya/babouche shops, chatting to the local Bob Marley/Jimi Hendrix wannabes in the music stores, or watching a band from a rooftop bar after dark. Essaouira is home to an annual summer gnaoua festival and has a bit of a music scene.

There are no real sights to see other than the scala, so no real pressure to keep to any kind of pace – other than slow.

Whereas the medina of Marrakech is crazy and chaotic, its people always in a hurry, and the market touts increasingly more aggressive, Essaouira’s tiny old town is low-key, the pace unhurried, and its people as laidback as they’ve always been.

We became smitten with Essaouira the first time we visited when we backpacked Morocco 12 years ago, and we fell in love with the petite port town all over again when we returned five years ago.

For us, it’s impossible to come to Marrakesh without seeing Essaouira, which is why we broke our two-week per destination rule – so we could show you Essaouira.

We are staying in another HomeAway riad, Dar Lazuli, a cosy, cute three-storey place with rustic-chic décor and two rooftop terraces with views over the medina rooftops.

We’ll show you our little home and more of Mogador tomorrow.


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

3 thoughts on “Our Weekend Escape to Whitewashed Essaouira”

  1. I LOVED Essaouira when I was in Morocco. Such a relaxed and pretty place. I spent a couple of days hanging out with a local musician I met in the medina who played in a band called Essa, I think. Bought a CD off him, which is really good!

  2. Hey Nick, Essaouira doesn’t lack for musicians and music shops does it? As a musician, I love the place and love the live music – it’s a great place to hang out. Good to see it hasn’t changed too much over the years. We’ll be back!

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