The beautiful seaside fishing city of Essaouira is perhaps most famous for its role in the hit TV show, ‘Game of Thrones’. Fans of the programme will recognise the city’s sights from some of the episodes. Villanovo have found the top 10 things to do in Essaouira.
To the South of the mouth of the Oued Ksob river lies a piece of history. An ancient ruined watchtower, known as the Bordj El Berod, has collapsed on the beach and has become famous as the inspiration for the song ‘Castles Made of Sand’ by guitar legend, Jimi Hendrix.
A visit to Essaouira is not complete without a trip to the ramparts. These defensive walls, that stretch for 200 metres, guard the castle and are a symbol of the city’s history. The Portuguese first built the ramparts in 1506 as they thought Essaouira was in a strategic location. The ramparts are really beautiful, rich in history and provide breathtaking views of the seaside with its rocky cliff faces carved by the Atlantic Ocean. The cannons are very much still intact and have played a significant role in past battles.
After a long day of exploring the beautiful city of Essaouira there is nothing quite like a relaxing spa treatment in a traditional hammam. Embark on a journey of wellbeing and rejuvenation as you revive your senses. For an even more private experience, why not opt for a luxury villa complete with its own hammam? You will be amazed by the benefits of this option.
You have not been to Morocco if you have not visited a traditional souk. Take the time to explore the winding alleys and be overwhelmed by the number of colours and smells that fill the streets. Stalls sell all kinds of items ranging from tapestries to traditional clothes, potteries to food. These markets are like a giant treasure chest with lots of souvenirs to take home to loved ones and are one of the most impressive cultural experiences.
The Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum, located in the heart of Essaouira, is a history museum that was named after Mohammed ben Abdallah, the founder of the city. The museum itself is housed in an old riad and has a small collection of costumes, jewellery, woodcarving, embroidery and weapons native to this region. The collection of musical instruments and ritual items is really fascinating and should not be missed. Lose yourself in the culture and history of this beautiful city for a few hours, you will not be disappointed.
Essaouira has been the main fishing port in the whole of Morocco since the mid 1900s, and so both the port and the market are must see sights that should be on your bucket list. Admire the authenticity of your surroundings, relaxing in peace as you realise what makes this city so famous. The scenery is simply stunning with vast numbers of small blue boats docked in the harbour. Fishing is such an important trade to the people of Essaouira and so in the markets you will be able to buy the fresh catches of the day or try some that have been freshly cooked.
Morocco is famous for its products made with argan oil as the argan tree is indigenous to this country. In Essaouira you will have the opportunity to visit an argan oil cooperative and discover how these products are made. You will be inspired by the women who use ancient tools to press oil from the kernels by hand and go on to create argan cream. Although the products will be more expensive here, this open air museum will be a highlight of your trip.
The annual music festival held in Essaouira each year is a dedication to the Gnaoua. The Gnaouas have descended from ancient slaves in sub-Saharan Africa and with them have brought their own unique traditions both spiritual and musical. This festival, popular with tourists each year, is held in June and brings together blues, jazz, Gnaoua and world music to create a fantastic atmosphere.
The stunning structures that define the beauty of Essaouira haven’t gone unnoticed by directors in Hollywood. Game of Thrones fans will be delighted when they see the magnificent walls of Essaouira that have formed the backdrop for Slaver’s Bay and parts of King’s Landing. Visit the ramparts and pretend that you’re on the set of Game of Thrones for a day. Lights, camera, action!