Essaouira Morocco: How To Spend 2 Days In This Coastal Moroccan City
Heading to Morocco and interested in visiting Essaouira? I spent two days there and wanted to share a more detailed itinerary of what I did in this lovely coastal town.
FOR MORE HELPFUL POSTS AND LINKS:
- For more travel tips and other destination guides
- Riads: Where To Stay During Your Morocco Trip
- A 14-day itinerary for seeing Morocco
- How to spend 48 hours in Marrakech
- A photo diary from Essaouira
- My Morocco hammam experience + tips for the first timer
- How to take the ferry from Spain to Morocco
- Click here to book the best deals on your accommodations
- For more accommodations in Essaouira
- Use this link to research your flights and car rental
- We used Europcar, the car rental company we used in Morocco
- Get a discount off your first stay with Air Bnb by using this link
From Marrakech, my brother, sister-in-law and I drove to Essaouira. It takes roughly 2.5 hours when you map it out on Google Maps but of course, timing is never exact when you travel. We stopped along the way to eat in a town called Sidi Mohktar. We drove by some cafes on the side of the road and we stopped for pizza and grabbed snacks for the car ride. It was no Neapolitan pizza but we were starving and I found it to be quite good for the side of the road in Morocco.
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En route to Essaouira on a two-lane “highway”
We got a speeding ticket en route to Essaouira. Actually, we got a handful of “speeding tickets” in Morocco but this particular one on the way to the coast was the only official speeding ticket. All of the other tickets we paid a “fine” but didn’t get any kind of ticket except on the way to Essaouira. When you see a sign posted with the speed limit on the roads and you are driving, adhere to them!!!! Don’t go over the posted limits!!! Trust me.
Side of the road pizza in Morocco
I do love Coca-Cola in other countries – made with real sugar my friends!
Along the way, we tried to look for the famous goats in the trees but it was too late in the day for this. We were very sad about this. I guess I’ll have to go back for the goats!
We booked our riad on Booking.com and I messaged with theFrench proprietress before arriving. She gave us tips on where to park and how to find our accommodation. We parked our rental car near Bab Marrakech in a lot and walked to our riad which was close to the water. We settled in for a bit and then went off to our cooking class with Khadhija’s Kuzina.
I had asked my friend Jacki before leaving for Morocco what she did when she visited and she recommended this particular cooking class. I arranged for my brother, his wife and I to take an evening class so that we could learn to cook Moroccan food and knock out trying to find a place to have dinner at the same time. Win-win! The class was fantastic, Khadhija and her husband were so lovely and I can’t recommend it enough. If you are going to Essaouira, it’s a must do! I will be sharing a post just for the cooking class shortly, so please look out for it!
Our room in the riad
The next morning we had the most lovely breakfast made by our riad hostess. She served us pastries, homemade yogurt, and fruit. We spoke with our hosts at breakfast and they gave us tips on what to do and one of them was going to a hammam so they made an appointment for us in the evening.
Mmmm simple but tasty breakfast at our Moroccan riad
After breakfast, we drove out to try and look for goats again. It did not work out in our favor. I think the goats are out early in the morning and we went too late. After driving around for a while we went back to the medina and explored some more.
At lunch, we wandered towards the docks and noticed some seafood shacks. Here you pick out what you want to eat and they cook it for you. For my brother and sister in law, it was a wonderful experience. For me, it was also until got sick. Sad horns. I wrote about getting sick here…so be warned! After lunch, we went shopping and managed to buy rugs and a blanket. The rug vendors packed our goods really tight and they were easy to carry and since we had a car and were ferrying back to Spain, we weren’t worried about weight or size.
Rug vibes in Essaouira
After shopping, we had our hammam appointment. What is a hammam? It’s sort of like going to a spa (less ritzy) and having someone scrub you down. In Islamic culture is a very social thing where families or friends (segregated by sexes) will take baths. It’s not weird, it’s awesome. I think I’ll share a more detailed version of my hammam experience because it was hilarious but for now, I will say that I would do this all the time if it was a thing here at home in North America. I love any kind of spa or beautifying treatment and to have a woman scrub me until I am soft was amazing. After my hammam experience, I bought also bought a few kessa (exfoliating) gloves to take home with me.
After the hammam, I went back to our riad because I was sick but my brother and sister in law went out for dinner. They headed back to the main square where there are several restaurants lined up serving local and foreign food.
Since Essaouira is on the coast there are many different beach activities you can do. There were flyers around town for kite surfing, riding camels on the beach, and more. If you want to try surfing I think you have to go further south to Agadir but sadly we didn’t have enough time. I really wanted to try surfing here but I had to make some difficult choices!
Photos from exploring Essaouira
- If you are driving around Morocco, please pay attention and stick to the posted speed limits. The Moroccan police love their radar guns!
- There is a parking lot near Bab Marrakech (Marrakech gate) if you are driving a rental car. We paid a few dollars for 2 days. The car was safe, just be sure not to leave anything of value inside.
- We wheeled our bags to our riad which was at the opposite end of where we parked so when we were leaving and had bought carpets and a blanket, we hired a man who had a cart who wheeled all of our things
- There is a massive Carre Four where I bought supplies for our time in the desert. I was sick so I stocked up on crackers, bread, 7 up, water, toilet paper, and detergent.
- There is a lot of moisture in the air in Essaouira so if you wash your laundry by hand and dry it, it won’t really dry even after 2 days.
- Do have some small change to tip people.
Have tips for Essaouira? Please share in the comments!
PRODUCTS THAT I USE ON EVERY TRIP!