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In 1506, the Portuguese built a fortress there called ‘Castelo Real de Mogador’ but due to the resistance of the local population, the Portuguese left on the 4th of December 1510, although despite being abandoned it remained protected by the Saadians during the seventeenth century.
In 1760, the sultan Mohammed III ordered the construction of the city and hired a French architect, Théodore Cornut. In 1775 the Sultan ordered the demolition of the Castello Real and the stones were later reused in the construction of the Port Sqala. Years later the city became one of Morocco’s main commercial centers. Until the 1960s, Essaouira was generally known as Mogador, the most likely theory is that the name comes from the Berber name ‘Mugadir’ which means ‘the one surrounded by ramparts’.
The medina of Essaouira has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001. The town is well preserved and, for the most part, has conserved its authenticity.
The medina is easy to navigate, all districts were founded between the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the oldest one remains the Kasbah, a fortified area where dignitaries lived. You can also find many small craft workshops in the medina.
Your Accommodation / Airport, Train-Bus Station or wherever you want
15 Minutes Before Departure
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for Essaouira. The journey to this former Portuguese fishing village offers up only a few roadside towns and the occasional Berber village. In the ’60s and ’70s, Essaouira was a pitstop on the hippie trek from Marrakesh. Jimi Hendrix made the pilgrimage, as did Bob Marley and Cat Stevens. Essaouira was the inspiration for Hendrix’s song “Castles Made of Sand”
in Road to Essaouira stop at an Argan Cooperative to see how women make Argan Oil, Nut Butter, and cosmetics from the Argan nut. Option to continue directly to Essaouira or visit a local winery for a wine and cheese tasting. Enjoy the local wines produced in the region of Essaouira.
Take a stroll along the town’s sunlit pedestrian main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan and the Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers breathtaking views of the Portuguese ramparts. Explore the ramparts and the spice and jewelry souks of the medina.
Have lunch at the fish-grill cafes, with wooden tables and benches laid out overlooking the sea that was once- in the 19th century- the only Moroccan port south of Tangier. After lunch visit Orson Welles’ Square and memorial, designed by Samir Mustapha, one of the town’s artists, which pays homage to Orson Welles’s filming of Othello in Essaouira. Essaouira’s history is a reminder of the times when Spain, Portugal, and England fought to maintain control over their coasts. It has a typical Portuguese harbor that is a stunning example of Moorish and Portuguese architecture.
For a side excursion within Essaouira Morocco consider a visit to the Ranch of Diabat, located in the small village of Diabat. Ranch of Diabat arranges tours of high quality with quads on the beach, camels, or horses – and it can be for 2 hours or it can be for several days. Weather permitting, consider extending your stay to try kayaking, kite surfing, windsurfing, or just regular surfing. Essaouira is the wind capital of Africa and the world.
After a fantastic day trip in Essaouira, You will take the road back to Marrakech, drop off in your accommodation, end of service.