Hidden Gems: Essaouira – With its fascinating Medina, stunning beach, and rustic ramparts, Essaouira is an easy addition to our Hidden Gems destination list.
Essaouira, previously Mogodor, is a laid-back Moroccan port city with a heritage in antiquity. Its rich history reaches back to the 5th century BCE and has been shaped by many civilisations such as Ancient Carthage, the Berbers, and Romans. In the late 18th century, it experienced a golden age, becoming the country’s most important commercial port and diplomatic capital. It is an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, so much so, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. Today, it is renowned for its chilled atmosphere; it’s a place to eat amazing seafood, ramble winding spice-scented lanes, and observe fishermen mending their lines in the exquisite old port.
Known as the ‘Wind City of Africa’, this working port and fishing town is renowned for both its ancient origins and relaxed vibe
Essaouira is located on the western Moroccan region of Marakesh-Safi, on the Atlantic coast.
With a population of around 80,000, the inhabitants are laid-back and welcoming to visitors.
Essaouira is extremely mild for most of the year with summer highs of only around 23 °C (73 °F). It is also extremely windy throughout the year, with morning fog and mist dissolving by afternoon.
Although Essaouira has a strong tourism economy, it manages to retain its traditional charm. In the 1960s it was a leisure destination of choice for celebrities such a Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. More recently, its use as the shooting location for season three of the popular Games of Thrones television series has added to its appeal internationally.
What to see in Essaouira
- The medina
- Essaouira beach
- The port
- Skala de la Ville
- Île de Mogador
- Fish souq and auction
- Skala du Port
Best time to visit Essaouira
There’s almost no rainfall in Essaouira from March to October, so that’s probably the best time to go. At the end of June, the Gnaoua Music Festival is a magnificent music and beach event that attracts thousands from all over the globe. So, if it’s peace you’re after, its best to avoid visiting at that time.
What makes Essaouira unique
The vibe! Unlike other Moroccan tourist destinations like Marakesh and Casablanca, Essaouira can be quiet and provides a slower-paced alternative to the crowded and bustling cities.
Flying private to Essaouira
Chartering a private jet allows you to begin your holiday before leaving home as well as enjoy a truly peaceful and relaxed Essaouira travel experience at your own pace.
- IATA code: ESU
- ICAO code: GMMI
- Latitude: 31° 23′ 30.59″ N Longitude: -9° 40′ 32.39″ W
- Landing permits are required
- Airport operates from sunrise to sunset
- Both Jet A1 and AGVAS are available
- Parking available depends on the request
- There is no FBO available
- There are 13 flights on 8 different routes that connect Essaouira to eight cities in five countries
- The most popular routes are from Paris, Madrid, London, Marseille and Brussels
- Citizens of over 70 countries do not require a visa to enter Morocco
- All other citizens can apply for a Moroccan e-visa here
- E-visas are valid for one entry and last for 30 days
- There is no vaccination requirement to enter Morocco
- Visitors do not need to carry proof or pre-departure testing
- Get familiar with Moroccan cultural norms and laws prior to your visit to ensure you are aware of what is appropriate
- Essaouira is safe and has quite a low crime rate, however, as in any tourist town, con artists and pickpockets are not uncommon so always be aware
- E-visas are valid for a single entry and for a 30-day period
For more Hidden Gems, visit the UAS Blog