Embark on an out of the ordinary journey in Essaouira with AccorHotels
A romantic getaway or a journey among friends, let's head to Essaouira for a luxurious trip, between winds and tides. Take a walk in the typical medina of Essaouira, have a taste of the local sea food, discover the local culture, golf with the sea as a background or enjoy windsurfing: the Moroccan coastal city has it all / has everything to rock your boat. Get on board!
Roots and wings
Small blue fishing boats drift by lazily, flirting with seagulls while a salty breeze softly sweeps around you. You can see the fortified walls surrounding the city while different languages mingle into a soothing brouhaha. This is Essaouira, a city where all the cultures meet. The old Mogador, from the Phoenician word Migdol (small fortress) was later called port of Timbuktu. Aesthetes and artists, such as Jimi Hendrix, have fallen in love with the city: Othello was filmed there by Orson Welles and Louis Bertignac wrote “La Fille d’Essaouira” ... Inspired and inspiring the city founded in 1757 by the Alaouite sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah is quite fashionable. Essaouira even became Astapor when the third season of Game of Thrones was being filmed. Indeed, with a very distinctive architecture, a mix of European military designs and arabo-muslim urban style, Essaouira looks good. From Phoenicians to Portuguese, from Romans to Amazighs, from Arabs to Jews and Europeans, Essaouira holds dearly on its mixed and colourful history.
Behind the fortified walls
After a walk around the port, enter the medina, a UNESCO world heritage, to wander in the small streets and have a look at the typical blue and white buildings whose doors are sometimes adorned. Contrary to other old cities in Morocco, you cannot get lost in the medina. The old city of Essaouira was built by a French architect whose work was influenced by Vauban's design of the city of Saint-Malo, thus giving its nickname to Essaouira “the well-designed”. While strolling around, you will come across colourful markets, the souks, traditional shops of local craftsmanship, spices stalls where puns can be made but also young creators shops and concept-stores. When it comes to food, you will be able to choose between contemporary cafes and restaurants or trendy roof-tops. For a “beldi” touch, head towards Moulay Hassan square. In vino veritas? Looking for something truly out of the ordinary? Take a ride to Ounagha, about 15 minutes away. Here, in the Val D'argan vineyard, Charles Melia, who is from the Rhône Valley, produces an organic wine in the pure tradition of the Chateauneuf-Du-Pape.
A city of arts
Here artists are at home. Listen carefully, you could hear the irresistible almost hypnotic rhythm of the guembri of the Gnaouis. Essaouira being the capital city of Gnaouis with its highly popular festival at the beginning of summer. During a week, neophytes and music lovers are enjoying Gnaouis concerts. In Essaouira the music never stops! Indeed, during spring time, the “ Printemps musical des Alizés” is dedicated to classical music while in Autumn Spanish music can be heard everywhere during the “ Andalousies Atlantiques” festival. Essaouira is famous for the living arts but one should not forget the local handicraft. Marquetry in Thuya wood is the signature of Essaouira. More unusual, discover the raffia which is sewed by craftsmen here.
Essaouira is truly a curiosity cabinet and is full of talents. You can therefore discover naive paintings in the art galleries around town or unique objects made of metal designed only in this city.
Earth and sky
Set off for the high seas! Off the coast lie a small group of islands known as the “Purpuraires Iles”, whose name comes from the purple dye, are a bird sanctuary. Here the Eleonora's falcons nest on their way to Madagascar. But in Essaouira's sky, birds are not the only ones to fly. Kitesurfing, windsurfing, let's fly away! The region is known in the whole world for being a great spot for water sports even for beginners. A few kilometers away, Sidi Kaouki is a well-known beach break where locals and tourists enjoy surfing.
You are more a green kind of guy/gal? Don't worry, Essaouira has it all! Located on the hills, the Mogador Golf Course is just a few holes from one of the two 5-star hotel of the town.
You still want more? On horse, on quad bike, on bike or on foot, head for the desert dunes or the countryside which are just breath-taking.