DISCOVER OUR SELECTION OF ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES TO DO IN ESSAOUIRA
Essaouira has a strategic position on the Atlantic coast and has, therefore, always been an important trading port since the 15th century. Different populations and cultures have come together in harmony for centuries, creating a city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Its many monuments give it a charm that cannot be found elsewhere in Morocco.
Between mosques, synagogues, fortifications, beaches and markets, visiting Essaouira ensures an unforgettable stay.
Visiting Essaouira is first of all to soak up the typical Moroccan atmosphere. And what could be better than strolling through the narrow streets of the Medina to meet the locals? You will stroll from souks to small restaurants, between shopping and tea tasting. The various souks offer all kinds of souvenirs and gifts: spices, olives, handicrafts ... The charm of the historic center and the cheekiness of the traders will make you have a good time.
The Medina is surrounded by fortifications on which it is possible to climb. If you are looking for what to do in Essaouira, the Medina is a must see. It was classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2001.
The ramparts of Essaouira were built in the 18th century to protect the city from foreign invasions. Essaouira was then the main commercial port of Morocco and Sultan Mohamed Ben Abdallah decided to build fortifications to protect it. It was the French architect Théodore Cornut who was chosen to design the ramparts and direct the work. A pupil of the Marquis de Vauban, he created an enclosure around the Medina which was inspired by the fortifications of Saint-Malo.
On the city side, the fortress is pierced with monumental gates. Towards the ocean, you can climb the ramparts at La Sqala, and admire the twenty or so Spanish cannons pointed out to sea. From the top of the tower, you will have a view of the Medina, the sea and the offshore islets.
The fishing port
The port of Essaouira is deeply linked to the history of the city and a must see if you are going to visit Essaouira. Formerly known as the “Port of Timbuktu”, it served as a link between the trans-Saharan routes to black Africa and the major commercial maritime routes. It remains today one of the three most important sardine ports in Morocco. It is certainly the busiest place in the city, especially in the early afternoon. The fishing boats come in and unload their catch of the day, under the watchful eye of the seagulls, cormorants and cats who wait their turn with more or less patience. The sea bream, sardines and other crustaceans are then sold at the Auction, in a cacophonous atmosphere of course, but all in all organized.
A few steps away, restaurants cook these fresh products for instant tasting. In the summer you may have the chance to attend an improvised diving competition. The children of the city gather for ever more impressive jumps, from the pontoons or even the fortifications and towers. A shipyard is also on site, for the construction of wooden trawls, in a traditional way. An interesting place therefore, if you are looking for what to do in Essaouira for a day.
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