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What to do in Essaouira? Essaouira Travel and Activity Guide

Go kite flying or kitesurfing, Essaouira is known as the wind capital of North Africa. The wind can really blow in gusts at any time of the year due to the natural geography of the area.

If you’re into surfing, just south of the medina you’ll find several places to hire dedicated equipment. You can also organise surfing, kitesurfing or windsurfing lessons. The latter is one of the most popular activities in the city. It is possible to enjoy almost perfect conditions every day of the year.

Activité cerf-volant sur la plage d'Essaouira
Kite on the beach in Essaouira

There are more companies on site available to start your surf lessons in Essaouira. You should also be aware that the high season runs from early April to late September.

Take a cruise

At the port of Essaouira, there is a boat tour available from 10.30am to 2.30pm. It is best to book the day before and the cruise also depends on the weather. Sunset cruises are also available. For both cruises, tea and Moroccan pastries are served.

Spice shopping

Stop at any of the shops in the spice market to buy spices, fill your bags with the elusive saffron. If you’re lucky, you’ll find “royal tea”. This is a special Moroccan tea made from a combination of 15 spices. You will find good prices if you are accompanied by a good guide.

Shopping dans les ruelles à Essaouira
Shopping in the alleys of Essaouira

The beach in Essaouira

Most people come to Essaouira to enjoy its picturesque beach. A series of ruins located about 1.5km from the end of the beach is a worthwhile stop. You can walk, swim or ride a camel or horse to explore these ruins.

Coucher de soleil à Essaouira
Sunset in Essaouira

On less windy days, Essaouira is one of the country’s most relaxed beaches. Hire a sun lounger, relax, watch the kite surfers and football players, read a book and get a tan.

Discover our guide to the beaches of Essaouira

Go quad biking

Whether it’s on the beach in Essaouira or in the surrounding area such as Sidi Kaouki, quad biking is one of the most popular activities in Essaouira.

Quad biking in Essaouira allows visitors to fully enjoy the natural wonders around the city while having an exciting experience offering a unique adventure.

You can hire a quad bike and explore the surrounding area, exploring the vast deserted beaches such as Diabat beach, venturing into the sand dunes. Experienced local guides usually accompany you to ensure your safety and guide you through the best routes.

Moroccan gastronomy

This is one of the many great activities you can add to your trip to Essaouira, sampling and learning about Moroccan cuisine. You can choose from a variety of different dishes, at the majority of the restaurants in the city.

Find out more: The best restaurants in Essaouira

The ramparts

Take a walk along the ancient Portuguese ramparts as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. Listen to the crashing of the waves and watch the world transform into shades of orange, pink and red. Don’t forget to bring your camera! Many old (non-functioning) cannons line the cobblestone walk and provide a great photo opportunity. Perhaps the best view is from the north side of the ramparts.

Les remparts à Essaouira
The ramparts in Essaouira

Under the ramparts, there are several artisan shops selling local crafts. It’s worth a look for trinkets and souvenirs.

The Mellah

In the 18th century, the Jewish population made up almost half of Essaouira’s inhabitants. To soak up this history, visit the extensive Jewish cemetery, see the many intact synagogues and notice the Stars of David carved above many of the doors in this area.

Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Museum

For a glimpse into the history of the area, discover the collection of pottery, jewellery, weapons and tools housed in this converted 19th century riad. For architecture enthusiasts, the photographic exhibition on the history of Essaouira is worth the price of admission. It is located on Rue Laâlouj, and is open daily from 10am to 6pm.