Essaouira: Beautifully-Curved Beach in Mystical Surroundings

Essaouira is by far Morocco’s most popular resort. Seen from the harbour, it is mystical and magical: an eighteenth century town enclosed by medieval-looking battlements, facing a beautifully curved beach and trailed by empty sands and dunes. The walled white town, the ramparts, the colonnades, the craftsmen working behind closed doors, the harbour with its boat builders and sardine fishermen and the wooded hills dominating the skyline all offer a colourful and pleasant backdrop to the beach. It is no wonder this town is called “Essaouira”, which means an image, for it is the perfect photograph seen from any angle.

Many of the tourists visiting Essaouira are drawn by its sandy beach, but equally the strong wind known here as “alizee”. This creates much sought-after waves for wind-surfing and the town has effectively promotes itself as “Windy City, Africa”. In the summer, Essaouira is awash with windsurfers from across the globe taking part in international windsurfing contests.

Essaouira is not only popular with youthful European backpackers. A great deal of chain hotels and villas have sprung up along the cornice, making it increasingly popular with independent travellers and packages. It remains, however, a pollution-free atmosphere and the best spot to unwind and relax after a visit to the cities, Marrakech or the desert.