To journey to Essaouira is to journey again in time. On Morocco’s Atlantic coast, that is far faraway from Marrakech’s rakish La Mamounia or Royal Mansour. Essaouira means “little image” in Arabic and whenever you step inside this secluded medina it is instantly clear why. Picturesque however unusually so. In a world the place it is troublesome to discover a view with any originality – simply consider each UK excessive avenue with its Costa Espresso, Boots and Pizza Specific, a carbon copy of the city it flanks.
However right here in Essaouira you will discover lots of of blue boats bobbing by the port, crashing waves, buttery sand and a maze of outlets and eating places inside the metropolis partitions. A fortress city relationship again to the 18th century, your entire surrounds are UNESCO World Heritage listed. Solely a three-hour flight from London, this was as soon as a getaway for the likes of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, a undeniable fact that any native will proudly inform you, and it is simple to see the allure and vitality that enticed such legends right here.
The Medina Essaouira by no means will get overly crowded or congested and the shopkeepers do not problem vacationers. There is a laidback nonchalance right here – maybe induced by the 320 days of sunshine every year. You could be requested as soon as, at most twice, to peek right into a storefront and in the event you politely decline that would be the final you hear of it. The rhythm of town is calm and informal in comparison with the frenetic market squares of Istanbul or Fes. And the Medina is linked by the central backbone, operating down Essaouira immediately from Bar Doukkala the northern gate by means of to the principle sq. Place Moulay Hassan. Within the maze of outlets you will discover slippers and supple leather-based sandals, spices, rugs, stylish straw baggage and clutches, jewelry and a kaleidoscope of ornaments and kitchenware.
Favorite retailers embody the vintage and jewelry finds inside Galérie Aida, run by Joseph Sebag; homeware at L’Atelier; on-trend vogue at Histoire de Filles. There’s additionally an artwork quarter, a scant cross-section of streets that includes work and mosaics. Maybe the busiest, owing to the climate and the much-lauded annual Gnaoua Pageant, is June however even then it feels sedentary in comparison with the likes of Oxford Circus or Leicester Sq..