I still am not entirely sure how to pronounce the name of this beautiful coastal city, but I do know that it is one of my favorite places that I visited in Morocco. It’s only about a three hour drive from Marrakech, but it could not be more different. Essaouria is laid back. Very laid back. In fact, it was the most peaceful place I visited in Morocco. There were a few overzealous vendors along the way, but they were respectful when I said “non merci” in my terrible french accent. In Essaouira, you won’t have to side-step speeding motorbikes or worry about strangers aggressively offering to give you directions to a place you don’t want to go. This was a nice break from the non-stop chaos in some of the other Moroccan cities.
I spent hours walking through the medina and along the coast, taking in the fresh ocean air and snapping more pictures than I can count. The colorful fishing boats provided a pleasing contrast to the old, white walls in the medina and the rocky shores. This is a place where you’ll want to clear out some space on your camera’s memory card. You may even have a sketchy dude offer you a “magic” cake (note: do not eat this cake). I was only in Essaouira for two days, but it is the one place in Morocco that I could see myself staying for an extended period of time.
Fun fact: Many scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed in Essaouira.
Note: The correct pronunciation is “Essa-wee-ra” but often shortened to “Ess-wee-ra” (YouTube video of pronunciation)