Essaouira is around 2.5 hours’ (at 175 km from Marrakech,) due west of Marrakech and is one of Morocco’s most charming coastal fishing towns. Set on the Atlantic coast, the town is at the end of a 10 km long sandy bay and near a rocky coastline with offshore islands. The walled town is a great place for first time visitors to explore and there is a good choice of beach side activities.
Essaouira was discovered by the Phoenicians who settled there. Afterwards it was conquered by Rome and then Portugal. By the end of the 15th century, the Portuguese had built the commercial and military port of Mogador (Essaouira today). This port is built at the foot of the city’s ramparts. In 1769, the Navy built a door to connect the loading docks of the port to the city. From this door a small bridge leads to Skala Port and the ramparts that cut the old city into several districts.
Essaouira is fortunate to have an excellent climate, with cooling sea breezes in the summer (also good for water sports) and warming lowland air in winter. This lovely climate, together with its beautiful Portuguese architecture, has always attracted artists and poets, but it continues to be a traditional fishing port at its heart to this day.