We have introduced Essaouira as the destination renowned for its many golf courses, its essential water activities, or for its sumptuous decor. But what about local activities that you will not necessarily think about, but which are nonetheless unavoidable? Villanovo invites you to discover the 7 authentic experiences of Essaouira.
The old fortified city of Essaouira, former Mogador, is simply an architectural jewel. Here, you can simply feel the pulse of Essaouira: its strong historical dimension and the waves of its raging sea that hit the walls. The wall of the Medina of Essaouira having survived many historical episodes is classified World Heritage by Unesco. You will find impressive remains of the past, such as the Spanish cannons turned to the ocean that were sometimes used to protect the city from maritime attacks.
This rich history of colonization has left many influences and a cosmopolitan culture worth seeing. The living quarters of the Medina occupied by Jews, Christians, Arab Muslims, Berbers and African Blacks, testify to the harmonious cohabitation of a diverse people.
The authenticity of the Medina is a source of inspiration for many artists. The white city with touches of blue offers an enchanting setting, which today hosts more art galleries than mosques.
When we think of Morocco, we think instinctively of its essential souks rich in colors and smells. Unlike the effervescence of those of Marrakech, in Essaouira, these last ones are true haven of peace, where stays a surprising tranquility. Motor vehicles prohibited, you can stroll in peace in the middle of this local place. The souks of Essaouira have kept all their authenticity, to the point that the transport of goods is still today, most of the time established by carts pulled by mules.
In the middle of this festival of perfumes of musk, harissa, nougat, jasmine, fresh mint, or succulent Moroccan pastries; we feel, we taste, we exchange, but above all we negotiate. The negotiation, which is part of the Essaouira culture, is done in good harmony, in a good-natured atmosphere.
Also, do not miss the exceptional fresh fish, straight collected from the port of the city.
If the souks are calm, the port is a source of movement! The port of Essaouira is undoubtedly the heart of the city. Indeed, in addition to being a major artisanal shipyard, it is now the third largest sardine fishing port in Morocco. It is not surprising to note the effervescence around the many essential activities. First, the "Improvised Diving Competition". It is not unusual on hot days, to see local children and teenagers bring masks and snorkels to venture into the waters of the bay of Purpuraires Island. The port is then transformed into diving grounds, where a good mood reigns among the youngest and the oldest.
Also, you will be tempted by a tasting of fresh grilled fish, with different choices depending on the catch of the day. All along the harbor, you will find plenty of small traditional restaurants for a local gourmet experience.
Finally, do not miss the fish sales! At the beginning of the afternoon, the boats return to the harbor, the nets filled with various fish. Expected by the whole city, it is a real spectacle that occurs. Fishermen are acclaimed as celebrities and proudly parade with their touches of the day. They don’t need more than one hour for to sell everything. Ambiance guaranteed!
The heavy historical past of Essaouira, as we have stated, has made it a muse of artistic inspiration. The music Gnaoua, comes from the descendants of former black slaves of Morocco, giving place to a euphoric trance music. If you did not know it, Essaouira was the source of this musical genre infusing the history of rock. Thus, every year, the locals and visitors to the city have the chance to attend the Gnaoua and world music festival of Essaouira, where people gather around improvised jam sessions, poetry, exhibitions or debates. It's simply a unique cultural experience, and as always, in a good mood. In fact, the genre of music has been well-known in the sixties, especially for hippies. We feel this atmosphere "Peace and Love" throughout the city.
The sunset is part of the city. Every day is a different show that is offered to visitors.
We recommend three unmissable spots to admire this exceptional spectacle: From the top of the Skala of the Kasbah, around the Skala of the port, and in front of the port, towards the trawlers. These warm color gradients, lying on the harbor, offer a very special dimension to the authentic city.
One of the main assets of Essaouira is undoubtedly its capacity to have preserved its authenticity while having resisted mass tourism. Indeed, the city is full of small Berber villages around, which are home to local pearls.
We refer in particular to the souks. They are the testimony of the lives of local people. Each small town has its weekly souk, giving way to the discovery of a new market every day in a different village.
The Berber souks are spaces of cultural enrichment: exchange with the villagers coming to do their weekly shopping, or with the merchants selling their crops. Discover the barter of animals, take place in one of the "Berber cafes" installed under the tents of fortunes. You can pick up a schedule of local souks so you do not miss this rewarding experience.
If you want to recharge your batteries in a calm environment, Essaouira is the perfect place for a holiday far from tourist nuisances and for a guaranteed change of scenery.
The region offers many possibilities for an exclusive authentic stay: stay in a Riad or luxury villa in the middle of thuyas and argan forest, at the edge of a hot sand beach, near a creek or medina for a stay “feet in the water”.
Villanovo offers you riads with indisputable local charm, for a total rest thanks to a house staff, a private swimming pool, or a direct access to the beach.