Marrakech to Essaouira: all options + what to see + 5x hotels

Essaouira is located two and a half hours from Marrakech and is also one of the most popular day trips from this touristic city.
That shouldn't be a surprise, because Essaouira is really a piece of heaven on earth. I would even go so far to name it my favorite place of Morocco!

Getting from Marrakech to Essaouira

Along the article, you can also find my favorite tours from GetYourGuide. I used them to book my tour from Marrakech to Essaouira and many other (day) trips in Morocco. They’re easy to use and book with and you can cancel every tour up to 24 hours in advance.

 


Essaouira - Things to do around Marrakech

Essaouira is the perfect day excursion from Marrakech!

Marrakech to Essaouira

From Marrakech you have several ways to travel to Essaouira.
With one day in Essaouira, you have enough to see all of the sights and have some time to enjoy the town. But I think it’s much more fun to spend some extra time here. After all, the relaxed atmosphere is a relief after busy Marrakech!

Shuttle from Marrakech to Essaouira (and back)

For $28 (£22 or €25), I arranged a quick go and return transportation from Marrakech to this cozy beach town.
In the morning you are picked up early, but that’s fine. Because this way you can enjoy an extra long day in Essaouira. And believe me… Once you’re there you’re reluctant to go back to Marrakech!

On our way, our driver also made a remarkable stopover where we saw a tree filled with goats! A very strange sight, but nevertheless worth a few pictures.
The owners of these strange animals lie stretched out under the shady trees, while the white goats enjoy the delicious leaves of the argan nut from up high. It’s a real treat for them!

Once you arrive in Essaouira (around 10 o’clock in the morning) you will have more than enough time to explore everything. Around 4:30 pm you are expected at a pick-up point just outside the city, and by seven o’clock in the evening you again walk among the many people on the busy Djemaa El-Fna square.

Book shuttle

goats in trees morocco essaouira

When taking a daytrip from Marrakech to Essaouira you make one very strange stopover…

Marrakech to Essaouira by bus

A much cheaper way to travel to Essaouira is by public transport, especially the CTM buses.
From the gare routière in Marrakech there are two CTM buses that leave to Essaouira daily. One at nine o’clock in the morning, and one at 12:30 pm.
On average, a single ride takes three to four hours.

Do keep in mind that these buses do not stop at other sights such as the above ‘goat tree’. If you want to see this fantastic sight, you must book a day tour ($28) or drive a car yourself.

To return to Marrakech, the bus hours are a little less appealing… Again, there are two departures: one at 12:30 pm and one at 4 pm.

A single ticket costs 70 dirham per person, approximately 7 euros or 8 dollars.

fish market essaouira

You don’t need to wake up early to head to the fish market of Essaouira. You can find fresh fish here all day long!

Marrakech to Essaouira with taxi

If you prefer a little more freedom, you can also arrange your day excursion with a grand taxi (old mercedes taxis who drive long distances).
In just over two hours, you can commute from Marrakech to Essaouira, but if you do this you have to make sure you are an expert in negotiating and haggling…
The taxi drivers start with prices of about 1000 dirhams (= € 100 / $115), but normally you can get a decent reduction. My friends took the taxi from Essaouira to Marrakech for 600 dirham, but they had to negotiate for a very long time!

Remember, you can also share the taxi with other people. There’s six people that can fit in a taxi, but with four it’s a lot more comfortable.

If you would like a bit more luxury, you can also arrange a private taxi. These newer cars give place up to four people and cost $120 or €110.

So… to summarise:

 ExcursionPublic transportTaxi
Price $28 / £22 / €25 (go and return)$16 / £12 / €14 (go and return)$130 to $230 / £110 to £180 / €120 to €200 (go and return)
Time (single)2,5 hours3,5 to 4 hours2 to 2,5 hours

Things to do in Essaouira

Whether you are taking the taxi, the CTM bus or an excursion to Essaouira, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
I would like to list some of my favorite things to do in Essaouira, together with some pictures I’ve made while visiting.
Gosh… Now that I look at the pictures again, I start to miss this beach town even more!

See the colorful boats at the port

Just outside of the medina of Essaouira lies a small harbor. There is something to be enjoyed at any time of the day!
Dozens of blue boats are almost permanently docked, while slightly further down the daily fish market can be smelled from afar.
Definitely peek around at this market a little bit because you will find fish that you haven’t even seen in the zoo!

port of essaouira

Colorful boats and fresh fish!

The medina of Essaouira

Essaouira’s medina is a very interesting area to walk around in. The walled city is cozy and cute!
From large squares, you walk into narrow streets filled with street musicians, fine shops and cute restaurants.

You can easily walk around here for a few hours, as there are always some new things to be noticed. Behind the high walls of the medina you might even hear the sea!

essaouira medina

Try not to get lost in the medina of Essaouira!

The traditional souk

In the middle of the medina lies a very traditional Moroccan souk. The car-free street is characterized by dozens of vendors who sell all kinds of products. Fruit, vegetables, spices, but also a lot of meat and fish!
Be sure to peep into some of the narrow side streets, as there are often more covered markets to be explored.

market essaouira souk

Fresh meat and fresh fish. You can almost find everything in the souk of Essaouira!

Eat delicious fish

In the souk or near Essaouira’s main square you can eat delicious fresh fish. And for almost no money!
You first choose what you would like to tru, and then the owner will prepare it for you. The different restaurants seem to almost fight for having you sit down at their tables, but once you’re seated you are spoiled as a king.
For a giant crab, two small lobsters, two sea urchins, a lot of prawns and a few more fish we didn’t even pay €10 ($11) per person for two people. And that price included a soda too!

fresh fish essaouira restaurant

It feels a little uncomfortable to pose next to an animal with such sharp claws… But it was damn tasty!

Go relaxing on the beach

Did you visit all of Essaouira? Then it’s time for some relaxing!
The beach is a few hundred meters away from the various city gates of Essaouira. Make yourself comfortable on the sandy surface, or get active and splash into the water to master some kind of water sports activity.
Do you want to make your friends even more jealous? Then head to one of the many camels on the beach. For only a few dirhams you can pose with them as much as you’d like!

essaouira beach

The gentle breeze at the beach of Essaouira makes sure that you cool down from the hot weather!

5x staying overnight in Essaouira

If you prefer to stay a little longer than just one day, then you’ll find a lot of great accommodation options in Essaouira as well. Below I list five geat riads and hotels in Essaouira.

Dar Adul

Young people will be happy to stay in this colorful, characterful riad in Essaouira. A French artist took care of the design of the accommodation and that resulted in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. One of the rooms even has a solarium and a private terrace: real luxury at very low prices. You can dine in the owner’s popular restaurant or relax on the sea-view terrace while enjoying a tasty cocktail.

This traditional Moroccan base is located in the old medina, just a ten-minute walk from the harbor. It is the perfect location for a romantic vacation with two. So make sure to take a walk along the beautiful beach of Essaouira that extends to where Bob Marley had a house. Or… You can explore the bustling and busy souk where you can taste some of the local herbs and spices. The room rates for a night in Dar Adul start from €42.

Prices and availability: Agoda.comBooking.com

Dar Adul Hotel Essaouira

© Dar Adul

Casa Lila & Spa

Lovers of the song ‘Purple Rain’ may already be fond of this specific color, but after spending the night at Casa Lila & Spa, purple may also convince other visitors. The charming and authentic home has romantic rooms and suites with checkerboard floors, authentic furniture and Moroccan art. You will undoubtedly become completely relaxed here thanks to the many amenities that the accommodation has to offer. Enjoy the spa facilities, such as the hammam and massages, or soak up the sun on the roof terrace.

Located in the heart of the old town, this is a great place to discover Essaouira. There is a lot to experience in the area. For example, you can take a walk through the lively medina, where you can admire many traditional artworks and offices. If you want some more action, you can go windsurfing or kite surfing or perhaps you can just go to the beach to try out a camel ride.

A night at Casa Lila & Spa costs around €67 for a double room.

Prices and availability: Agoda.com Booking.com

Casa Lila Spa

Casa Lila & Spa

Riad Emotion

The lucky ones who have the opportunity to get a room at this hidden boutique hotel in Essaouira await a blissful rest. The sun-drenched patio and the large, bright rooms with a seating area at the entrance make this a top choice for travelers who want a little more luxury at an affordable price. Local artists work in the quiet, refined interior and the owners do their utmost best to make your stay as pleasant as possible.

Riad Emotion is located in the old center, less than a five minute walk from the beach, so you can make the most of your holiday by the sea. If you like a day of sunbathing, you can ask the hotel to make you a picnic. The owners, Philippe and Gisèle, also organize fishing trips for sea lovers, an activity that you should definitely have experienced. This riad is perhaps a bit more expensive than other properties, but the service here extends far beyond what you would expect. The average price per night in a double room here is €92.

Prices and availability: Agoda.com Booking.com

Marrakech Essaouira Riad Emotion

© Riad Emotion

Les Jardins de Villa Maroc

If you are traveling from Marrakech to Essaouira with the whole family, you might have to consider staying at Les Jardins de Villa Maroc. It is a charming rural property that is ideal for families and groups. This hotel offers suites and studios surrounded by green surroundings in the city. In terms of entertainment, you will certainly not be bored here either. After all, there are two outdoor swimming pools, Moroccan cooking workshops and a hammam that you can make use of.

The hotel is located in the east of Essaouira and is just outside the lively downtown of the popular beach town. Nevertheless, the medina and its colorful souks can be reached with a short drive. If you have not rented a car, you can also use the accommodation’s shuttle service. The sights are maybe located a bit further away, but Les Jardins is so beautiful and peaceful that this is no downside at all. An overnight stay in this traditional B&B is €103 for two people.

Prices and availability: Agoda.comBooking.com

Les Jardins de Villa Maroc

© Les Jardins de Villa Maroc

Salut Maroc!

Salut Maroc! is a pleasant, funky hotel in Essaouira in a prime location in the medina. The quirky rooftop terrace offers a sublime sea view, while the eclectic interior is an homage to the tradition of Moroccan hand-carved tiles with colorful, geometric patterns and jazzy furniture. This original accommodation also offers many wellness facilities, including beauty treatments and body scrubs. You can also go to the hairdresser if you feel in need of a new and fresh haircut.

Thanks to its location in the old town center of the coastal town, the property is close to many sights and great restaurants. Wander around the lively fish market or get lost in the maze of traditional souks. Visit the impressive city walls and the many historic buildings before relax a bit on the beach. In this accommodation you can already spend the night from €131 in a double room.

Prices and availability: Agoda.comBooking.com

Salut Maroc Essaouira

© Salut Maroc!

Package deals to Morocco

Are you looking for a trip that will blow your mind? Then you should consider visiting Morocco! All of your senses will go in overdrive.
Check out these package deals:

Excursions in/to Essaouira

Sometimes you don’t feel like planning everything yourself, and sometimes it’s not even worth the time and effort. Several tour agencies in Morocco offer very cheap tours to Essaouira.

 

» All tours and excursions in Morocco

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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  1. Roy Edwards says:

    Thanks for the information about Essaouira. Booked for June and flying to Marrakech. Looking for a reasonable transfer/taxi from Marrakech airport to Essaouira. At the moment, the prices are more expensive then the flights! Any suggestions?

    • Hi Roy

      I don’t think there’s any other options than taking an expensive taxi from the airport (about $110 – $150) or an excursion from the city center of Marrakesh ($30) to Essaouira… Unless you would drive yourself, but that’s probably not something I would recommend.

      Kind regards
      Sam

  2. Hello,

    I would like to ask you how will I get from the airport to Marrakech.
    And how much is the cost?

    Thanks !

    • Hi Vana

      For an airport transfer with a private shuttle bus you would pay €15 or +/- $17 from Marrakech Menara airport to your accommodation in Marrakech. (Check with GetYourGuide for example). I think taxi’s would charge about the same, a bit more or a bit less. That all depends on your haggling skills! Haha 🙂

      If you want to take a private taxi from Marrakech to Essaouira (or the other way around), it’ll cost you $130 or €150 for up to 4 people. (Check GetYourGuide). If you’re not traveling with four people, it’s probably better to take a taxi to the bus station and go to Essaouira/Marrakech from there.
      You can of course also share a taxi with other people. But it’ll never be as cheap as the bus or shuttle services.

      Have fun!
      Sam

  3. HUY NGUYEN says:

    Hi Sam,

    We are a group of 6 so we are thinking of taking up on your suggestion of hiring a private taxi to go from Marrakech to Essaouira on oct 2, 2019. We will stay overnite & return the next day to Marrakech. Our question to you is: the getyourguide only has a 1-way taxi from Marrakech to Essaouira. How do we book the return using a private taxi?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Huy!

      I did a little bit of research for you, and I see that GetYourGuide only offers a 1-way taxi from Marrakech to Essaouira indeed.
      I would just book that taxi and then, once you’re in the taxi, arrange the return shuttle privately with your driver. I’m sure that they will be very happy to take you back to Marrakech the next day (especially since you’re such a big group).
      You can also try to already book two transfers from Essaouira to Marrakech and in one, you can perhaps fill out that you would like the other route (Essaouira > Marrakech). Once you made the booking, you can contact GetYourGuide or the taxi company itself and ask if this is possible. If not, you can always cancel for free (up until 24 hours in advance, so you should be fine).

      If this would fail -which I doubt-, I would just ask your hotel to arrange a taxi back for you OR just go where the taxi dropped you off. There are always quite some taxi’s waiting and they always know other people who would like to bring you back to Marrakech in a van or grand taxi.

      Good luck and have fun! Essaouira really is beautiful 🙂
      Sam

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