Dar Ettouahen

About Essaouira

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Essaouira is a small historic fishing port on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, renowned for its laid-back and friendly atmosphere, its souks stuffed full of local art, craftwork and local produce, its long sandy beach and its well-preserved old walled medina, named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2001.

Essaouira is a great place just to relax. To wander the souks stopping to watch craftsmen at work, to eat and drink good food and wine, to walk on the beach, or to read and watch the world go by in a cafe or on the terrace of Dar Ettouahen. But if you're feeling more energetic, there are lots of other things to do!

The weather is temperate and warm year-round and the bracing sea winds make it an attractive spot for windsurfing. On the beach, windsurf equipment and surf boards can be rented, or you can arrange to go kite-surfing or kayaking. Lessons for all these are also available. Horse and camel rides can also be taken along the beach, but for the more adventurous, cross-country trekking is available. Quad-biking is popular in the outskirts of Essaouira. Closer to home, you can always try a local hammam!

The beach is also home to daily local football and basket ball games and at the south end are the ruins of Borj el-Berod, mythically said to have been the inspiration for Jimi Hendrix's 'Castles made of sand'. The old medina ramparts are a great spot to watch the waves crashing onto the rocks as the sun goes down over the 'Ile de Mogador', a group of tiny islands which offer sanctuary to Eleanora's falcons.

Inside the medina, the narrow streets (from which cars are banned), are filled with bustling fish, spice, vegetable and pottery markets, art galleries exhibiting work of local artists, souks selling carpets, ironwork and local thuya wood craftware and children playing. Stop and stare in one of the local cafes or patisseries, selling strong coffee, Moroccan mint tea and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Evenings are happily wiled away in one of the numerous restaurants, steeped in atmosphere and warmth, which serve traditional Moroccan fare: tagines, couscous and Moroccan and French wine.