Between 1912 and 1956 Essaouira (pronounced Essa-Wira) was known as Mogador, a derivative of the Muslim Saint’s name, Sidi Mogdoul also the name of the budget hotel we stayed at. It’s new name is a Berber word meaning the walls – a reference to Essaouria being a walled city. Outside of those charming walls lies Essaouira Beach – another world entirely to the white and blue lanes filled with cats and crockery to be found within the walls.
Our to do list in Essaouria was blissfully empty. Days with nothing to do but explore the fishing harbour, inspect the battlements, hunt down Moroccan plates and bowls in quaint hidden away shops, and generally go camera crazy. But we do love a relaxing beach walk, so on day three we walked back through the gates and south along the beach.
Have you been on a wider beach than this?
Essaouria Beach is impressively wide and usually windy and this day was no different.
Sand piled up along the promenade and djellaba clad figures bowed their heads against the wind. A brown djellaba traditionally denotes bachelorhood.
We met a scattering of tourists, kite surfers camels and uninterrupted space.
Our destination was Beach and Friends, a Beach Club about a kilometre or so down the beach, after overhearing a recommendation for it on the bus from Marrakech. It was meant to be a great place to while away a few hours and we had plenty to spare.
It was totally suitable to lay in bathers on the lounges within the walls of Beach and Friends, but outside of those walls it was time to cover up again.
The solid walls on the sides of the beach club’s outdoor area thwarted the strong breeze, yet it lay totally open to the beachfront activity.
With the laid back atmosphere and a great sound track playing we decided to have a drink, and then stayed. Lunch was a tasty Bento Box shared, lemon tart and ice-cream, yum. I thought we had teleported into India or Cambodia when a few cattle straggled along the beach, but no-one batted an eyelid so it must be a normal occurrence in Morocco as well.
Diabat, an old hippy town was not far away, but we were beckoned by what looked like a big cluster of rocks further south, at the waters edge.
After arriving in a flurry of kids and camel rides, we decided it wasn’t an all natural rock formation as we had assumed. It showed signs of having been partially man made, but it was hard to fathom as it was buried at odd angles in the sand.
It was Borj el Berod, a Portuguese observation fort which once prominent, was now collapsed and claimed by the ocean.
Portugese inscriptions could be seen on the stonework and Marty climbed it easily for a better view of the area. It was an exciting thing to discover before it disappears beneath the sand forever.
This is a delightful town to relax in after the craziness of Marrakech, and spending a day at Essaouira Beach is one of our favourite things to do in Essaouira.
What You Will Find in This Post
Marrakech to Essaouira
- By Get Your Guide Day Trip in an air-conditioned Mini-bus (transit time 3 hours each way).
- Supra Bus departs from Marrakech Train Station. One Way. 2 hours. 80 MAD (11AUD).
What to do in Essaouira
- Explore the Medina
- Eat French and Moroccan Food
- Drink Coffee and eat Pastries in Courtyard Cafes
- Listen to the bands that busk outside Cafes
- Photograph the Cats
- Walk the Ramparts
- Visit the Fish Markets
- Visit the Port and watch the seagulls
- Take photos of Essaouira through the round porthole in the Port Fort
- Watch boys jump into the water at the port
- Watch fisherman unload their catch
- Photograph the blue fishing boats
Things to Know about Essaouira Morocco
Essaouira is portrayed in Game of Thrones as the city of Astapor.
The Medina is World Heritage Listed.
It’s strange for me to see the camels on the beach. What a mixture of cultures.
I agree – I thought the cattle were really weird. At least the camels were there for a reason. I see what you mean about the culture mix, what with the kite surfers.
I’ve always thought I’d include Essaouria in my plans should I make it to Morocco. What a treat with five days & no plans. I really should do that more often. Great & colourful photos Jan.
Thanks Leigh, We quite often take it easy when we travel, but then we can really pack a lot into a day if we have to.
Mary @ The World Is A Book
Beautiful photos! Love the scenery and the food pictures. There’s not many places you can go with camels, cattles and an old Portuguese fort in a nice stretch of beach. Such an interesting place!
I loved getting these photos together, but it has made me wish so much I was back there again. I think I could live there, that is how much I loved it!
Great place to visit 🙂
Love love love the beach!
Me too – luckily I live near the ocean.
Michele @ Malaysian Meanders
I really like the camels and cows on the beach. And that lemon tart looks delish!
Koren @ City Gal
I really wanted to get to Essaouria when I was in Marrakech, but there wasn’t enough time. Looks like I missed out! Love that beach restaurant, and the photos of the food look delish!!
Thanks Koren, It was luck really that we got to go there because we were looking at doing an Intrepid Moroccan trip but couldn’t make the dates work so ended up doing our own thing, so I could incorporate it. Jan
What a beautiful place! I’ve heard of Essaouria but I don’t think I’ve seen photos before. I love the one with the camels and the kite surfers on the beach!
Thanks Lisa, I liked that it was so different to our beaches at home. Usually photos of Essaouira are of blue boats and white walls as in a Greek Island, which is gorgeous, but I thought I would show a different side. Jan
I love the atmosphere of these shots. Morocco has been on my list for a while. Definitely must get there soon!
Hi Nancie, I love that the atmosphere of the beach was so different to other beaches I have been to. Jan
I love getting to see places I’ve never really heard of or explored. Thanks for showing me something new.
I love exploring through other blogs as well, you never know what awaits. Jan
I love this beach, especially the camels!
Great pictures – they really give me a sense of what is like. We were planning to leave this off our Morocco itinerary, but now I’m not so sure!
Hi Cindy, It is always hard to make the decision isn’t it. Where else will you be going on your trip? Jan