About Me


ˋssawira,ˋssawira, ˋssawira, calls out the taxi driver whenever someone travelsome looking approaches the busy area at the grand taxi station in Agadir. There are in fact two places where the collective taxis leave from and to some places they might leave from either station, generally in Morocco the place of departure in the city will provide services to specific towns or areas close by so you always have to find the right grand taxi station to be successful and only pay local prices (they will probably take you from anywhere you´ll just pay for it). After a long wait and  switching the taxi station there are finally 6 people assembled wanting to go the direction of Essaouira. Luckily my host and friend from Agadir helped me negotiate so that even with having to switch taxis I only paid 100 dhm for the  ~4 hour ride.

Essaouira is a very nice little city by the beach, the old Medina lies between the ocean on two sides up on the peninsular with the port at the tip. Behind and along the bay stretches the town to all sites and has been growing rapidly in the last decades. It is a popular holiday and weekend destination for Moroccans and people from all over the world. While the city is full of nice cafes, little shops of all sorts, restaurants but also bars and some nights clubs it is very calm and small compared to, for example Marrakech, Fez or Tangier. Essaouira has been mainly Jewish, Portuguese and, French and Amazigh in the previous century which has formed the cities architecture, no one I met got yet tired of wandering the streets of the mendina, the long beach in the bay towards Diabat and the back land of Essaouira. What is also special about this city is the coexistence of western style touristic places and authentic local life, even within the medina the vibe changes a lot from thai restaurants and instagramable 40 dhm coffee to 5 dhm soups and whole in the wall work sheds and bakeries towards the Bab Doukalah. Just by the turn of a corner the whole vibe can change from interior Design focused eateries and shops stuffed full of leather products, herbs and pottery with hundreds of tourist pushing through to calm streets where the open doors let you glimpse into the work and sales area of local art and crafts people. In these streets you will get the cheapest pastries and authentic local products. But everywhere in the city both poles co-exist, only a few steps from the crazy mega loft restaurant small affordable places with plastic chairs offer a similar menu and often better food.

upper floor of cafe, closed of, my stuff on the ground tablet, coffee, some pillows

Bakery and café Pârisserie Driss nice local vibe, the second floor of the courtyard terrace was my private writing and smoking escape when it was closed off later in the season my very private escape thanks to the lovely waitress moving the flowerpot with a smile leading me up to the stairs. The cheap prices and delicious baked goods and coffee are only to recommend as well.

Chez omar for cheap priced authentic Moroccan food with omar welcoming you every day. My go to place for Friday couscous also the squid was super tasty but a treat.

La Roche is a nice in between of low key fancy but traditional, the beautifully presented food is amazing and reasonably priced and they have some different dishes to offer.

Chaabi chic has a beautiful roof top terrace with sun in the afternoons. Due to the location it is very calm and cheap for drinks at least. Also the interior looks super cool but it was more a tea and smoke and chat spot for me.

Learning the names and locations of the different gates (Babs) of the medina is a huge advantage for orientation.

There is Bab Doukalah, towards the more local area of the medina to the north-east, beyond lays the local street market (on Sundays a big second hand market fills the streets), the liquor stores and the local bus and grand taxi station.

Bab Marrakech is further south and still on the more local side of the medina, outside is the supratours bus station located and opposite the city walls a few night clubs stretch between here and Bab Sbaa to the west.

Bab Sbaa is the nearest exit to the beach here most petit taxis and tourist transport arrives and many elderly men with carts wait to assist tourist carry their luggage inside the medina for around 20 dhm. It leads out onto the beach promenade and the hotels lining the city front along the bay. If you pick up a rental car or book any tour this will most likely be your meeting point.

Bab el-Mechouar towards the west and the port lies next to the big square, entering through you walk between two massive orange stone walls with a wide cobble stone street and greenery until entering the inner medina part. In front of the Bab are many little restaurants joining the port, fresh fish can be bought here or on the portside, there are also grill stands that will fry your fish for a few dirham or negotiate for the best feast of a variety of seafood, Moroccan salad and bread in one of the small restaurants.

On the big Placa street musicians, Popcorn venders, some cafés and Restaurants and the wall on one side overlooking the rocky coast to the north, invite everyone hang around for a bit.

Depending on the current conditions, the tide and time of day Essaouira bay can be good for surfing, kitesurfing or Stand up paddle, swimming and walking as well as relaxing (if the tide is not too high with strong waves) on the beach are always possible and the promenade stretching along the whole bay has a good path for skating, a basketball court and a football field, whilst that is mostly played on the beach. I spend two month in Essaouira, the lovely crew and guests at the chill art hostel made me very comfortable in my volunteering position there and so I got into the flow of surfing in the mornings or hanging around in cafés in the afternoon whenever I was free. Living at the hostel and meeting so many so different people got me really exited for that aspect of traveling again. While within the wide variety of people coming to the hostel there is usually still a common sense, openness, community and sharing but also respect and acceptance of one’s space are natural to most people traveling within international communities and especially hostels. On the streets of Essaouira I made very different experiences which I want to share because it has been an important impression on this journey for me. When I was moving a round the city by myself I would quite regularly get harassed by local men of all ages, and I am not talking cat calling or enthusiastic venders here. It seemed that it was generally social people looking for connection or exchange of some sort, the issue arises, when after an declined approach, respect and sense are not present in the peruse of conversation. So these discussions about not wanting to talk right now or exchange contacts are getting tiring and frustrating after a short time. Many fellow female travellers have similar experiences, the solution offered by many I spoke to about this was to keep in company, ideally of a male. And while I also did change the way I moved around the city not taking long wanders by myself anymore, for me it leaves a conflict with my own needs and morals.

Essaouira is a city that has everything I suppose, local life, luxury, sport and leisure opportunities city life and beach vibes and loads of art on top. Cultures clash and co-exist in every street and whilst wondering within the impressive city walls behind every corner and door there is something to see and the time of day will change the picture on the streets aswell. After two month still find new paths and try new food stalls.