Tourism and history of Essaouira


If Essaouira the former Mogador of the Portuguese is one of the most endearing cities of the Moroccan Atlantic coast, it certainly owes it to its temperate climate all year round, to the kindness of its inhabitants, and to its architectural heritage.

But behind its ocher and red ramparts, there is a unique atmosphere. You will come across onlookers, fishermen, traders and artisans, in which artists from all over the world come to mingle.

History of Essaouira

Its history begins in the 7th century BC

The Phoenicians stopped over at Mogador Island on their way down to Black Africa. The Romans later installed a purple manufacturing center there; this bright red dye that gave its name to the Purpuraires Islands off Essaouira.

It was in 1764 that Sidi Mohamet Abdallah to counter the growing growth of Agadir decided to make the city of Mogador a fortified city. Sidi Mohamet Abdallah entrusted a French architect Théodore Cornut with the responsibility of building the new ramparts, the new city within these ramparts is thus protected from possible attacks by rebellious tribes.

Turn around and admire “ESSAOUIRA the well drawn”. And now descend from the ramparts and come back to the present to enjoy all the charms of Essaouira. So pleasant, so evocative, so endearing, Essaouira has attracted Moroccan poets, scholars, artisans and designers since the 18th century. The city remains one of the active centers of contemporary Moroccan art.


The islands off Essaouira

Au moyen-âge, les portugais baptisent la ville « Mogador », sans doute une déformation de nom de Sidi Mogdoul, un marabout local.

You want to go on an excursion ?

Visiting the city, discovering the souks, historical monuments, local crafts? Take part in sports activities? A stone’s throw from the Ryad Watier, we show you all the best addresses …

Tourism in Essaouira

Stroll in Essaouira and its medina


Cultural discoveries, crafts, architecture, museum, painting exhibitions, sporting activities, water sports (windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing …), hiking and horse riding, 4X4 or quad circuit … activities almost all year round, and the famous Gnaoua festival every year in June.

Go through the traditional main gate of Ryad Watier, and you will be immersed in the heart of the Essaouira medina. Welcome to Morocco ! The authentic city opens up to your feet and all your senses: smell, taste, listen, discover the life of the inhabitants and their smiles during your walks. You have the whole city at your fingertips:

The harbour

At your feet dance spots of bright colors; these are the sardine, longline and trawler fleets. The exclamations of fishermen spreading their nets and sailors unloading crates of silvery fish reach you muffled. The aroma of grilled sardines tickles your nostrils. You will never be bored contemplating the fishing port of Essaouira.

Barques de pêcheurs

The market

You will feel like you have been sent back to another era when you discover Essaouira’s busiest market. Here old women come to sell wool and exchange all kinds of objects: jewelry, fabrics, dishes.

Discover the thousand scents of the small market with its fish, spices, grain souk, jewelry, traditional auction sales… Great entertainment in the morning and in the evening, a must see!


Essaouira is an important center of wood marquetry in Morocco. Many craftsmen work the root of thuja, to make boxes, dishes, decorative objects and furniture. You will also find here: jewelry, rugs, leather goods (slippers!), Pottery, furniture and traditional decoration …


The beach

Sunny daydreams on the long golden sand beach of Essaouira and swimming in the waters of the bay sheltered by the islands, surfing on the foaming rollers of the Atlantic, windsurfing race in Sidi Kaouki… The coast around Essaouira lavishes the multiple joys of the ocean all year round. Because the weather is always fine there: more than 3,200 hours of sunshine and less than 300 mm of rain per year.

Mogador Island or Purpuraires Islands

After observing the fish, go see the birds: gulls and hawks occupy the Purpuraires Islands, a magnificent ornithological reserve. Have a fisherman lead you and don’t forget your binoculars.

Coucher de soleil