Cool, laid-back beach hotspot
Essaouira is a breezy seaside resort with a laid-back vibe. Its fishing harbour is where it’s all happening, though. This lively, working hub is where the area’s freshest catch comes from. Then you have the sandy beach, which thanks to its location and windy nature, attracts windsurfers from all over.
Like Marrakech, Essaouira has a bustling medina – it’s slightly less chaotic, though, offering a more relaxing shopping experience. The colourful stalls are predominantly in the main medina, though they also spread out into the surrounding ancient streets. Shop for everything from spices and oranges, to dinner plates and hand-woven rugs. The medina lies within Essaouira’s old town and has ancient walls protecting it.
There is a great dining scene, too, from chilled-out loft bars overlooking the medina, to beach front Ibiza-esque restaurants. A trip to Morocco wouldn’t be complete without a traditional hammam (a Turkish bath). You can grab yourself this treatment in many of the hotels and spas across the city.
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.