A Trip to Essaouira from Marrakech: 11 Things To See & Do in Essaouira

11 things to do in essaouira morocco article by maroc maker

You’re in Marrakech and want to spend a day in Essaouira? Then you’ve come to the right place! Discover 11 things to see and do on your excursion to Essaouira from Marrakech.

Essaouira may seem insignificant to Moroccan visitors who only know Fez, Marrakech or Tangier. But Essaouira is a city not to be missed, as this lively port city is full of surprises!

Known as Astapor in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Essaouira, Morocco, is a nugget. This welcoming seaside town boasts a historic medina, numerous seagulls, a fishing port with its typical blue boats and excellent surf spots.

What to do in Essaouira on an excursion from Marrakech?

Essaouira is relatively small, so you can explore the city’s main attractions on foot. Visit the famous ramparts, haggle in the souk market, or simply follow the smell of freshly grilled fish – Essaouira is full of surprises!

1. Visit the historic ramparts

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Essaouira has only a handful of historic sites, and the ramparts are one of them. These ramparts, constructed in the 1760s, assisted in defending the city against attackers. At either end of the ramparts is the Skala du Port, which serves as the gateway to the fishing port.

There are two ways to access the ramparts. You can pay 60 dirhams (approx. €5.50) using the harbor entrance, or you can head towards the fishing port and walk to the end. You’ll find a staircase leading up to the ramparts (free). From here, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the port, the sea and the medina of Essaouira.

2. Take a cooking class at Khadija’s Kuzina

Learn to cook couscous or tajine in Essaouira by taking a cooking class. We recommend Khadija’s Kuzina classes because they take place in her home. This means you can enjoy the dishes you’ve prepared and experience authentic cooking in a real Moroccan home!

khadija kuzina essaouira maroc maker

3. Visit the port

essaouira port morocco

Fishermen unload their catch while seagulls crowd around their boats in the hope of getting their piece of the pie. This spellbinding spectacle has been going on since the 1900s and is a must-see on your Essaouira excursion from Marrakech.

If you’re hungry, you can also buy fresh fish and cook it right on the port for a delicious feast. You’ll find plenty of carts with barbecues. For just a few dirhams, we’ll take care of cooking your catch!

4. Discover the beach

Atlantic Ocean coast, Essaouira Coastal landscape, Morocco

With its long stretches of golden sand and calm, shallow waters, Essaouira’s beach is ideal for swimming, relaxing or water sports. On your trip from Marrakech, a swim in Essaouira is a must in summer to enjoy the ocean!

Parents can let their children play in the water or build sandcastles, especially during the summer months. Locals normally avoid the beach in winter, but if you still want to take a dip, it’s possible with a surf or diving suit.

5. Take surfing or kitesurfing lessons

Surf dakhla beach sahara

Essaouira is a paradise for surfers and kitesurfers, thanks to the powerful Atlantic winds. Take your first lessons or, if you’re already experienced, rent equipment from one of the many rental companies on the beach. However, we recommend that you book in advance, so that everything is ready for you when you arrive. That way, you’ll avoid wasting time on your day trip to Essaouira from Marrakech.

Never tackled the waves of the Atlantic? Don’t hesitate to take a surf lesson to learn the basics and feel more comfortable on your board!

6. Ride a horse or camel

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Make the most of Essaouira’s beaches with a horseback or camel ride. Ride during the day or take a romantic sunset ride with your better half…

There are plenty of opportunities for horse and camel rides on the beach, but it’s best to book your ride in advance. We’ll help you find the best animal-friendly “renters” below.

7. Go quad biking

Merzouga Morocco Several riders wait with their quad ATVs in the Sahara Desert The vehicles sit under a blue sky on a flat stretch of sand

Want to live life at full speed? Try quad biking on your trip to Essaouira from Marrakech! Ride along the beach, cross the sand dunes or discover the forests around Essaouira. Haggle with the rental companies on the beach or book a half-day excursion at the best price to avoid wasting time negotiating!

8. Visit the Essaouira medina

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Essaouira’s medina is smaller than Marrakech’s, but has the distinction of being located on the Atlantic Ocean. It has existed since the 18th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Explore every nook and cranny, shop in the souks or stroll around Place Moulay Hassan. You can also stop off at one of the cafés for a refreshing mint tea and live music!

9. Visit the Sunday souk (open market)

souk maroc moroccan souk artisanat crafts

Practice your bargaining skills before heading off to other major Moroccan souks. Essaouira’s relaxed souks offer stalls for everything you need: fish, textiles, Ras el Hanout spice blends, handmade jewelry and much more!

Want to buy second-hand? Head to Place de La Joutia and visit the souk on a Sunday to find the best treasures to take home. This is the local weekly souk, and prices here are unbeatable. Don’t bargain too hard, as the prices charged are really affordable. See how the locals do it and imitate them!

10 – Climb the sand dunes of Diabat

Diabat lies 4 kilometers south of Essaouira. It’s an easy day trip if you want to escape the crowds during the warmer months of July and August.

Don’t forget to visit the Dar Sultan Palace. This fascinating structure was once a grand palace that has now been swallowed up by the sand dunes. Admission is free, so feel free to explore the stone arches and marvel at the mosaics on display. This is a somewhat secret activity on your trip from Marrakech, where you can avoid the crowds who have come to try out Essaouira’s must-sees!

11. Relax in the hammam

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Take a moment for yourself on your trip to Essaouira from Marrakech! Discover the traditional hammam. Men’s and women’s hammams can be found throughout Essaouira’s medina.

For the uninitiated, a hammam is a public bath where you undress, rub your skin with black soap and chat with others. If you don’t dare bathe with strangers, Essaouira’s spas also offer private hammams for an intimate experience!

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