Think Game of Thrones. Castles. Ramparts. Canons. Then think of Morocco. Essaouira is one of the most interesting cities in Morocco because of it’s unique mixture of European influence and traditional Moroccan design of the port and the nearby Medina.
Located on the western coast of the country and situated on the Atlantic Ocean it has been an important port for trading since the 5th century BC. Because it’s located very close to Marrakech it was hugely important for moving goods from the caravan routes of Timbuktu that arrived in Marrakech to the rest of the world.
Today, Essaouira is a popular tourist destination for Moroccans and people from all over the world alike. It’s a great place to escape the heat of the inner part of the country, the cooling winds are a very welcome respite. It’s quiet in the off-season (winter) so you can feel as if you have the city to yourself since there aren't as many people around.
Experience Game of Thrones
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, like I am, you’ll recognize the citadel and the harbor scala from Season 3, it served as the location for Astapor, Slaver’s Bay. Very little of the harbor and citadel were changed to accommodate the set of Astapor, so you’ll find that it looks very recognizable. You can experience the place where Daenerys sees the unsullied for the first time and meets with the masters.
Kitesurfing or Windsurfing
Most people don’t think of surfing when they research things to do in Morocco but Essaouira is a surfer’s dream. Whether you’re a novice or a professional, it’s a great activity to add to your list of things to do when visiting Essaouira. It’s a windsurfer’s dream because of the strong Alize winds that dominate the coastline during most times of the year. You can perfect your skills or just have a good time trying.
Tour the Medina
The Medina of Essaouira is relatively small and very easy to navigate. It’s a great example of an 18th century fortified city and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage city. Filled with shops, cafes and many riads to stay in, you’ll enjoy the quiet in the off-peak season and the smaller crowds during the summer. The Medina is most famous for it’s centuries old Thuya wood carvings and cabinet making shops. Another popular event that draws people to the city is the Gnawa World Music Festival held every summer. You can enjoy performances by musicians from all over Morocco.
If you’re interested in joining one of my trips that will include exploring this beautiful city, click here for more information and dates.