Essaouira has been a strategic port throughout the centuries: traders, pirates, colonial powers, all had used (and fought for) its harbored bay. Nowadays, it may have lost its geopolitical importance but it remains one of the main tourist destinations of Morocco. So, when Fatima from Infinite Morocco invited us to a tour to Essaouira, we didn’t hesitate.

Our driver Mohammed picked us at Jemaa El Fna and we headed west towards the sea. The cities that we passed by (Loudaya, Zoudia, Chichaoua, Sidi Al Mokhtar) had the same red colors of Marrakech but, as we got closer to the sea, buildings gradually changed from red to white. Halfway across our journey, we had a surreal vision of goats climbing on trees. They do that to eat the nuts that produce Argan oil. When we took pictures, the goat herders came asking for some money. An extra income is always welcome, I guess.

Essaouira’s main attraction is its fort. It was built in the 18th century and it’s well conserved. On its ramparts, cannons pointing to the sea, you feel like in a pirate’s movie. The fortress protects the harbor, where fishermen’s boats were unloading their daily catch. Essaouira has a big presence of tourists and a more relaxed, holiday ambient that other parts of Morocco. Even the Medina felt more planned and less chaotic than the ones we had seen before. We wandered around and ate a tasty fish tagine for lunch, but we also couldn’t resist eating some grilled squid freshly caught in the fishermen’s Grill Stands at the entrance of the harbor.

After four interesting hours, we met Mohammed for our trip back. Leaving the city, we saw another reason for Essaouira’s success: its windy beach is a paradise for kite surfers and windsurfers.

Back in Marrakech, Mohammed drove us to the train station. We had ahead of us a three-hour trip on a new, comfortable and clean train.

Sponsored by: infinite3p

[Text by Òscar Buenafuente/Photos by Karla Brunet]

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