After three nights in Marrakech, we travelled through the arid landscape in the February sunshine on the 2 ½ hour drive to Essaouira. About half an hour outside Essaouira, the countryside becomes a little more welcoming, with roadside shops selling argan oil, and the distinctive argan trees, many populated by goats! The charming fishing port and town of Essaouira, surrounded by its medieval battlements, is very picturesque with its white and blue buildings and ancient doors and archways. Alleyways lead to the souks, with thuya wood workshops, carpet, jewellery and leather shops, and art galleries - all providing a colourful backdrop to the 10 km long sandy beach.
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out in Essaouira. Every day at the bustling port, there are fish stalls offering the ‘catches of the day’, cooked on charcoal barbecues; while along the seafront there are many inviting cafés and restaurants with outside terraces, all offering a good choice of light snacks and meals. In addition, there is an interesting mix of bars and restaurants where you can dine out in the evenings.
Our recommendations include:
A rooftop bar and restaurant with a wonderful view over the medina, the port and the sea. Guests are given ponchos to keep warm during the cooler months. A great atmosphere accompanied by good food and wine …. and a lethal cocktail menu!
This unusual venue is a genuine Ali Baba’s cave, housing an art gallery, antiques, large pot plants – packed with character, and with an excellent menu too.
Great beachfront restaurant offering fresh seafood …. oysters, sea-urchins, giant prawns, squid, lobster and whole fish…
Casual beachfront restaurant, perfect for long lunches. Interesting menu with an oriental twist. Follow lunch here with a camel ride along the beach!
Our accommodation in Essaouira is in one of 8 luxury properties, situated on the Royal Mogador Golf Course about 4 kms south of the town. The villas have car parking, or you can travel in and out of town by taxi for around 50 MAD (about £4) each way. All the villas have modern, very spacious interiors and open to terraces with private swimming pool, gardens and fabulous views of the golf course and the sea. They are great value for the high standard of accommodation and provide a quiet and relaxing base, combined with proximity to town.
Maybe we have been lucky with the very mild weather, but apparently it isn’t unusual and, for a late winter/spring break, a two-centre holiday in Marrakech and Essaouira has to be a great option. At at all our properties, minimum stay is 3 nights, so both can easily be enjoyed for a week’s break. This will made even easier shortly by the planned Ryan Air service to Essaouira from London three times a week, meaning you can fly into one city and out from the other.