The allure of Morocco as a travel destination is due in part to your ability to experience the desert, the mountains, coastal towns, bustling cities, outskirts where nomads live and enjoy both centuries-old architecture and modern day development all in one visit.
My parents are making the trek through all of these locations throughout Morocco and bringing life to them through guest blog posts. Today they are in the coastal town of Essaouira.
Words and photos in this guest blog post by Don and Robbie Hamper:
In a town with a name we can hardly pronounce – Essaouira (pronounced Esa-weera) – we find the most spectacular views of our visit yet. This is small, picturesque coastal town where fishing is a main industry.
The early mornings at the harbor docks are busy with fishermen bringing in their catch for the day. Essaouira is known for their large sardines which you can imagine show up as a popular addition to many meals.
There’s lots of “eye candy” here for photographers like us. Beyond the busy fishing ports and breathtaking views of the water, the colorful buildings and scenery deserve attention on their own.
There are whitewashed houses, doors painted in vibrant blue and artisans carving the fragrant thuya wood into beautiful creations. We see stunning furniture pieces like cabinets with elaborate wood inlay. Each piece is a functional work of art.
Essaouira beaches are full of eye candy of another sort as sun-worshipers get their fix at some of the finest beaches in Morocco. It is also a top surfing spot for both novice and advanced surfers.
There are several surfing companies here that offer lessons to beginners and guide the experienced surfers to the challenging locations. Even if you’re not a water sport enthusiast, it is fun to watch the surfers ride the incredible waves that hit Essaouira.
Unlike some of the other cities in Morrocco that are buzzing with constant activity, Essaouira is pretty laid back. The atmosphere feels relaxed, and of course, the beautiful coastal backdrop helps with that.
This might explain why the town was a favorite hang-out in the hippie-era for Jimmy Hendrix, Cat Stevens, and Bob Marley. We can’t blame them!
If you go:
- It is hard to resist the one-of-a-kind workmanship that you will find among artisans here which means you should budget a little extra to get your items home if you plan to do any serious shopping. Impulse buying is easy to do and everything seems large in size (rugs, furniture) or heavy (fossils). Fortunately, many of the bigger merchants include the cost of shipping in the price of the item. Many merchants who sell larger items also take credit cards and make the buying process very simple.
- While we are not the surfing type, we did see many surf places offering lessons and rental equipment for beginners. If surfing in an exotic locale is on your bucket list–it’s easy to do here even with no experience.
- One of the most memorable and breathtaking spots in Essaouira is actually outside the walls that surround the city near the port and beach looking back where you get an uninterrupted view of the old fortification.