Cool, laid-back beach hotspot
Holidays in Essaouira provide a beautiful mixture of Mediterranean and North African influences, accompanied by 300 days of sunshine per year and a relaxed, picturesque town in hues of blue and white. Affectionately known as the “Windy City” thanks to the trade winds which ruffle the ocean here, Essaouira is the ideal destination for those looking to enjoy water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and paddle boarding. If water sports aren’t your thing, perhaps you’ll enjoy horse or camel riding along the beach, or simply a gentle stroll.
Directly translating to “Little Picture,” it’s no wonder Essaouira is a UNESCO world heritage site; with Portuguese, French and Berber architecture accompanied by gorgeous golden coloured walls encasing the town. The surrounding countryside presents stunning hills and forests, peppered with traditional Berber villages and eucalyptus trees. Step into the town itself to find a perfect example of traditional Morocco, where you’ll be enchanted by the spices and crafts of the marketplaces, the bustling of activity and riots of colour.
Luxury holidays in Essaouira promise a laid back, captivating escape. Spend your days relaxing at the beach, trying some of the water sports, strolling through the bustling marketplaces or indulging in the delicious cuisine on offer. Thanks to its coastal location, seafood is the speciality here. You can even head down to the port to purchase fresh catches directly from a local fisherman, who will grill it right on the spot for you to enjoy.
Sovereign recommends a stay at Dar L’Oussia for the ultimate luxurious getaway. Located in the heart of the medina, this riad style hotel boasts a beautiful terrace, cosy restaurant and fabulous views over the ocean. It’s even home to a hammam spa for those looking to truly indulge. Alternatively, choose to stay at Heure Bleue Palais, which feels like a traditional Moroccan home, with décor featuring African, European and Arabic influences. The hotel treats its guest to a wonderful rooftop terrace with panoramic views, a swimming pool and sun loungers.
Morocco is around 3 hours 30 minutes from the UK.
Transfer time from Marrakech airport to Essaouira is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
There are no two ways about it: Morocco is a scorcher. Summers can get up to 40°C in July and August, although in coastal areas like Agadir, you’ve got the sea breeze taking the edge off. The heat is more tolerable in spring and autumn, when averages hover in the mid-20s. Remember to pack a jacket, though – things can cool down rapidly once the sun goes down.
Visas are not required for UK citizens travelling to Morocco.
There are no specific rules for tipping in Morocco. An upmarket restaurant may add on a service charge, so check your bill carefully. Otherwise, aim to leave around 10%. In taxis, it’s acceptable to just round up the fare. It’s a good idea to have some small change on you for paying taxis and tipping guides.
The official language of Morocco is Arabic. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.