Follow my steps: Essaouira

Scene 1, Act 3:

You are in 18th century, in a well protected fortress with strong walls, right on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. There`s dusty air surrounding you and as you head towards the ramparts in the port, you can see a quiet sunset descending into the waves and sailors returning home.

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Fast forwards to three centuries, not much has changed!

There are perhaps more tourists now and all those tiny streets and tunnels might not look as inviting as once did, but you can still see goats in the trees on the side of the road as you take an 100 years old taxi from the airport.

As in most Moroccan cities, people don`t rise early, so hopefully you are not hungry if you land in the morning!

We have arrived inside Essaouira`s walls around 12pm and shops begin to open. I encourage everyone to eat in a small local restaurant rather than in a fancy international chain (not that there are many options here).

If you arrive here during early summer, be sure to go into market and buy fresh fruits! I have had a hand full of delicious smelling strawberries!

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Even though we are obviously tourists, nobody threw us a second glance. Same story happens in small pubs or local restaurants. We haven`t met many tourists (or not as many as Marrakesh, for example) and yet locals are used to see foreigners and like to join us in conversations (`I bet weed is not as cheap in England as is here, eh?` true story).

There is not much to visit in Essaouira and some parts of the city look decadent (part of the centuries old charm). And yet, don`t be in a rush to leave either!

You can easily window shop and visit medina in less than an hour, with places to rest and drink an overly sweet tea at every step. It`s also the perfect place to start your journey into traditional Moroccan food: tangine with chicken and olives, couscous or zaalouk (to name a few).

Head to the port and befriend some locals:

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I can say that despite the lack of budget options for things to do or see, Essaouira remains a city I truly liked. It`s a city where you are welcomed, but not preferred: locals will be nice to you if you ask for directions, but not bump into you with flattery or harass you with their tourist traps like in bigger cities. Everybody seems to mind their own business and you are invited to do the same.

Serious information: the price for a taxi from Essaouira`s airport into the town is 150 MAD for 20 minutes (aprox 14 euros). This price is not negotiable as it is fixed by law. It will leave you right outside the walls of the town since cars cannot pass through some of those tiny-tiny streets of the old town.

There is a bus every two hours, but when we arrived we were supposed to wait another three hours. Taking the bus is cheaper and you can always ask at the airport helpdesk for it.

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PS: You might be `attacked` by stray cats begging for food. Now, my adversity towards cats may  play a role in this, I strongly encourage you to not feed them and teach them to rely on tourists for food.

PS: You might be `attacked` by stray cats begging for food. Now, my adversity towards cats may  play a role in this, I strongly encourage you to not feed them and teach them to rely on tourists for food.

PS: You might be `attacked` by stray cats begging for food. Now, my adversity towards cats may  play a role in this, I strongly encourage you to not feed them and teach them to rely on tourists for food.

PS: You might be `attacked` by stray cats begging for food. Now, my adversity towards cats may  play a Now, my adversity towards cats may  play a Now, my adversity towards cats may  play a 

You are welcome to stay, enjoy the ocean air on the city walls with a mint tea by your side.

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11 thoughts on “Follow my steps: Essaouira

  1. I’ve always fancied going to Essaouira but never made it, despite 4 or 5 visits to Morocco. I like the way you have described tourists being welcomed but not preferred. But I would definitely have to discourage those cheeky stray cats!

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    1. I`d recommend Essaouira for a quiet holiday. The local lady who hosted me through airbnb was really nice too. My friend`s backpack was ripped and she offered to fix it (she owned a small boutique with chic clothes). She also offered very useful advises even through the language barrier! The whole city had a chill vibe and I definitely recommend you to check it next time you`re in Morocco!

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  2. I’ve been thinking about going to Morocco for the last five years but haven’t made it there yet. Essaouira looks like a nice spot to get into the local scene.

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  3. What an interesting place! I’ve never been to Essaouira, but now I’m really curious. I love how low-key it seems, and really like how you don’t get the tourist hassle of the bigger cities. Plus, I’m intrigued with places with real history to them, and I love that you can still see so much of it here. Very cool!

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  4. “welcomed but not preferred” I like that sentiment. Sometimes it’s nice to just be in a place and see how the locals really live and work.

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  5. Have not really researched this place but your post gives me a fair idea of what to expect. Will be definitely looking up more, especially since you mean that the locals here are quite nice and it seems like an authentic experience.

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  6. Not much has changed in over 3 centuries? Now that’s a place I would love to visit and go back to the classic era. I love the first pic – you look so relaxed. Looks like I need to add Essaouira to my bucket list.

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  7. I’m dying to get to Morocco. It’s the #1 place I’d like to visit in Africa at the moment! I’ve never heard of Essaouira, but I’m adding it to the list! I can’t wait to hear more of the adventures you’ve had in Morocco! Cheers!

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  8. The place still has vestiges of the old charm which makes it attractive to me. It would definitely be a great experience to spend some time here and soak in the culture and atmosphere of the place over a cup of hot mint tea.

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