Visiting Essaouira & Agadir
As many of you know, last moth I had chance to visit the beautiful country of Morocco with Lastminute.com and Visit Morocco. It was probably one of the most photogenic places I have ever been with the colours, sights and sounds being a total feast for the eyes. We spent three amazing days in Marrakech, more of which you can read in my guide right here. The second half of our Moroccan adventure became somewhat of a road trip where we hopped in a rental car and drove from Marrakech to Essaouira, where we spent our third night. From there, after discovering that beautiful port town, we sped down the coast to Agadir – a town known for it’s stunning resorts and amazing surfing. Both places had their own charm and both boasted different qualities, which describes Morocco perfectly. It’s like 1001 Arabian nights – you can have your 1001 adventures each time you come back to Morocco and have a totally different and equally magical experience. I know I will definitely be back to experience more of what this country has to offer. For now, though, let me take you on my own Arabian adventure to the beautiful corners of Essaouira and Agadir…
After the craziness of Marrakech, I loved the more relaxed vibe of Essaouira. Essaouira (pronounced e-ssa-wee-ra) is a fishing town to the west of Marrakech with a quaint little port packed with small blue boats waiting to be taken out to sea. Being a colour-lover, one thing I especially adored about Morocco was how each city had a colour that pertained to it. Morocco and the Medina was very pink, the walls were this sort of terracotta/salmon colour, while in Essaouira it was more white-washed with blue details. Now although the city is quite blue, it is not to be mixed up with the blue city of Chefchouains where the walls are actually painted blue! Eassouira instead has more white walls with blue shutters, still giving that blue character which I am certain will have something to do with it being by the sea.
This city is much smaller than Marrakech, so far easier to digest within a couple of days. We arrived in the evening and called it a night on so we could get up bright and early to enjoy the day. And what a day it was! We were blessed with the most perfect blue skies, crisp air – the perfect conditions to enjoy this picturesque port town. I particularly enjoyed walking around the fish market (although the smell was rather pungent!) and seeing what the local fishermen had on their stalls. From fresh orange juice kiosks to fresh fish stalls, it was beautiful bustling down by the port – bursting with the colour blue which is iconic to Essaouira. Following our morning stroll we headed into town to discover more of what it had to offer. The light spilt through the narrow streets so perfectly and we headed off the beaten track to get lost in the white washed streets. I loved this in both Essaouira and Marrakech, how every corner you turned looked like a painting. Essaouira boasted vendors selling similar products to Marrakech (albeit for a better price!) but it was the hidden away narrow streets that stole my heart in this town.
What to do in Essaouira:
- Visit the port – This is a must and I would advise going early in the morning when the fishermen are out and there are less tourists.
- Visit the market – There are so many streets hidden away, lined with colourful carpets and spices. Don’t be afraid to take a turn off the main street to discover some of the lesser known corners of the city – the town is small enough that you won’t get lost (unlike Marrakech’s Medina!)
- Try Moroccan seafood – As Essaouira is by the sea, they do some of the freshest seafood so don’t miss out on sampling their fresh fish in this town!
Being by the sea Essaouira will obviously boast some of the best seafood. You can enjoy an array of freshly cooked fish or opt for a meat/veggie tagine if that’s what you prefer. Though we didn’t have time to try them we did see a lot of vegan restaurants in the town, so there is that option there if you’re vegan. Some of the cute places we saw while there were:
- Le Patio – Moroccan seafood restaurant open in the evenings for dinner.
- Chaabi Chic – Interiors shop & rooftop café
- Madada rooftop – Restaurant and hotel on the seafront
- Triskala – Vegan-friendly restaurant in the town
Where to stay:
In Essaouira you have the choice of either going for a traditional Riad or opting for a larger more international resort. What I love most about this is that in one holiday you can have the best of both worlds, you can have the relaxed vibe of enjoying your resort stay and pop into the town for a more traditional experience, or you could stay in the town and potentially get a day pass to one of the resorts to lounge by the pool. Either way, you’re destined to have a beautiful stay whichever floats your boat. I know I personally first about Essaouira first when a close friend of mine visited and stayed in a big resort, then visited the town during her stay and loved it!
There are number of great spots to stay in Essaouira, these are a few that caught my eye:
Agadir was the last destination on our agenda and one we sadly had the least time to explore. As a destination, Agadir is known most for its magnificent beachside resorts where you can relax and absorb the wonderful moroccan sunshine. And if lounging by the pool isn’t your kind of thing, Agadir also boasts some of the best waves for surfers who come from all over the world to test out the Moroccan surf. Unfortunately Mollie and I aren’t surfers, so this wasn’t something we dared to experience whilst there, but what we did enjoy was having the chance to enjoy staying in one of their amazing seaside resorts. After a few days on the road, we truly revelled in our final night of the trip at the incredible Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay Resort. Though it was big, what I loved about the resort was that still had an authentic moroccan feeling to it (not how modern or characterless some big resorts can be). The warm and tranquil lobby welcomed you with open arms – the staff showed you to a sofa where fresh mint tea was served as soon as we arrived – it was one of the most relaxing check-in experiences I’ve ever had!
That evening, we relaxed by the pool watching the sun set behind the tall desert palms. We munched on a dinner (had one of the best sea bass fillets I’ve ever tasted, truly!!) before retreating to our rooms with beds fit for a king. I could imagine hopping on a flight and escaping the English winter to arrive in Agadir to spend a week lounging by the divine Sofitel pool… which was exactly what we did for the short remainder of our trip. Making the most of the stunning grounds at the Sofitel and really soaking up the experience that Agadir offers holiday-makers who want to switch off and relax was the perfect Moroccan send off. I feel that if you do plan a trip to Morocco and desire relaxation to be on your agenda, then aim finish up with a few days in a beautiful hotel in Agadir where you will be treated like royalty and can zone out under the Moroccan sunshine…
Agadir hotel recommendations:
A big thanks goes out to Lastminute.com and Visit Morocco for sponsoring and making this magical trip possible. As always, all opinions are my own. I hope I have inspired you all to visit Morocco one day and write your own Moroccan story!