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Essaouira is a great contrast to busy and bustling Marrakech, with its souks and markets, or to the resort of Agadir with its well-developed package holiday hotels.
Also known by the Portuguese name of Mogador, Essaouira won a reputation in the 1960s as a hippy hangout that attracted stars such as Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.
These days, Essaouira holidays are less about rock and roll and more about lounging on the beach or poolside at your luxury boutique hotel or soaking up the intoxicating sights, sounds and smells of the markets and harbour. The sizzling freshness of grilled fish will waft in your nostrils as you tour the town and pick a spot for dinner.
And if Essaouira seems a little familiar, you should know that film directors use the destination to capture North Africa in their movies. Ridley Scott filmed parts of Kingdom of Heaven here.
During your own adventures in Essaouira, be sure to visit the old fortified town, the medina, which has been listed by Unesco thanks to its importance as an ancient city. There are a number of hotels within the medina, but many of the bigger high-end hotels are to be found outside of the walls.
There are hotels to cater for every taste and budget in Essaouira, including accommodation in a riad – a typical old Moroccan house.
Essaouira's long sandy beach draws visitors; look out across the water and see if you can spot the falcons that live on the islands of Île de Mogador, just a short distance from the Atlantic shoreline. You can see the birds with binoculars from the fishing harbour, too.
The art museum in Essaouira, housed in an old riad, is another pleasant way to spend some time.
Situated on the west coast of the nation, Essaouira is perfectly positioned to enjoy views of the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean. It's also handy for reaching the vibrant and exciting city of Marrakech (also spelled Marrakesh) or for seeing the majesty of the Atlas Mountains.
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Package holidays to Essaouira are mostly snapped up for travel in spring, summer and autumn, when the sun lingers long in Moroccan skies...
The punishing heat of Morocco's northern coast is not to be found in Essaouira thanks to cooler Atlantic waters. Summer highs average a pleasantly hot 25C, with cool winds bringing evenings to a manageable average 15C. Winters are mild in Essaouira.
Add a handful of extra high notes to your Essaouira holiday when you attend any of these tuneful annual events...
Alizés Musical Spring Festival; April: Classical music is on the agenda at this spring event.
Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival; June: A wider variety of music is performed in summer, from rock and jazz to traditional. Locations throughout Essaouira host events.
Festival of the Atlantic Andalusias; October/November: The influence of Andalusia spreads farther than Spain. Discover how the Moroccan culture was influenced during this tuneful event.
This seaside resort captures the essence of Morocco. Get a taste of the nation with these magical experiences…
Romance: For a date with a difference, hop on a two-seated quad bike. Enjoy a guided tour among the sand dunes, deserted beaches and spectacular scenery of Essaouira.
Grown-up families: Fancy a break from the beach? Soak up the soul of Essaouira by wandering around the winding streets within the old medina walls before feasting on fresh seafood from the outdoor fish grills.
Shopping: While the souks in Essaouira may not be as chaotic and noisy as those of Marrakech, you'll still be able to get your hands on a variety of goodies. Elaborate wooden boxes, Moroccan slippers, spices, rugs and ceramics await – just make sure you hone those haggling skills first!