Situated due west of Marrakech, the charming port of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast is a fascinating place to visit and serves as a wonderfully refreshing contrast to the dry, arid country that makes up much of Morocco.
The scenic, bird-rich lagoon at Oualidia is situated in a unique location sheltered by cliffs, green pastureland and saltwater marshes, about half way between Casablanca and Essaouira.
- Enjoy lunch of freshly caught fish on Essaouira’s waterfront
- Shop in the relaxed souk and visit the old Portuguese fort
- Walk along Essaouira’s long, sandy beach
- Explore the scenery and birdlife of Oualidia’s lagoon by boat
Originally known as Mogador to sailors and traders in the 17th & 18th Centuries, Essaouira prospered at this time as the only Moroccan port south of Tangiers open to European commerce and many European and Jewish merchants settled in the Kasbah and Mellah quarters respectively.
Enclosed by medieval-looking battlements and fortifications, situated opposite rocky islands and trailed by a vast expanse of empty beaches and shimmering dunes, Essaouira is a fascinating area to explore on foot with some excellent seafood restaurants and attractive shopping opportunities.
If you are looking for some uninterrupted relaxation at the end of a trip to Morocco, watching the morning’s catch being hauled ashore or merely soaking up the peaceful atmosphere, Essaouira is the ideal destination.
Likewise, the lagoon at Oualidia to the north of Essaouira offers safe swimming off the sandy beach, a range of watersports, boat trips, walking, fishing and bird watching. Or else you can just soak up the scenery with a glass of wine and a good book.