Camels stand on the sun-soaked sands of Essaouira beach. Their handlers compete for my attention with crashing waves as a horse gracefully gallops through the Essaouira surf. We came for windsurfing lessons on this stretch of Morocco’s Atlantic coast, most famous for being windy.
It’s a beach that is home to many international surfing and windsurfing competitions. Essaouira kitesurfing is also becoming popular. Our first day was too windy for beginners to windsurf Essaouira, so our girls opted for surfboarding lessons. They enjoyed it enough to stick with it during the week. I was happy to be an observer, an Essaouira surfing photographer.
Essaouira beach is not a place for sun bathing as the wind blows fine sand everywhere. There are plenty of beachside cafes, and we enjoyed Moroccan mint tea from one of them. If I focus only on the sun, sand, and waves, Essaouira beach could almost be anywhere. Aside from the wind, what makes it unique are horses, camels, birds, and wildly colourful sunsets every night.
I have been to cleaner, more beautiful beaches on tropical islands like Aruba, Samoa, or Fiji so why is Essaouira beach one of my favourites? Most likely it is because our visit to Morocco stayed with me. I think it changed me more than any other country we visited. Here we got to know people, to learn about culture and history from them, and to see the world from a different perspective.
When we go back to Morocco, the Essaouira beach will be on the top of my list. It made us feel at home and welcomed. Take a look at the rest of my Essaouira photos and see for yourself:
A coastal community in North Africa, Essaouira is a mix of exotic aromas, cobblestone streets, and some of the friendliest people we have met anywhere.
More Tips and Practical Information for Visiting Essaouira Beach
- Windsurfing, kitesurfing, and surfboarding are all available as lessons in the famous Essaouira surf, or as board hire from several spots along Essaouira beach. We took lessons from Ocean Vagabond.
- Horseback riding and camel riding are popular with tourists and are available on the beach. For us, camel riding in Oman fulfilled our need for this once in a lifetime experience.
- We saw several tourist women in western swimwear. Our girls needed to be in wetsuits to stay warm enough in the water. While less seemed okay on the beach, women are recommended to cover at least shoulders and cleavage in the older parts of town. Otherwise, expect stares.
- There was plenty of free street parking near the beach when we were there.
- Take caution when drinking water in Morocco.
- Carry toilet paper with you.
- If you prefer a tour with a company you know, Viator offers several affordable options.
- We stayed at Riad Watier in the old medina and recommend it. Check for current prices at Booking.com.
- If you are heading to Morocco, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Lonely Planet’s Morocco Travel Guide.
There is more to Essaouira than just the beach. We stayed for five days and could have stayed much longer. Here are some of the medina highlights.
(This is another post in my throwback series encouraged by moving all my photos to Lightroom. Most of these photos have never been published before today. We visited Morocco in 2012. Fes was our first stop in the country followed by Chefchaouen, Rabat, Marrakesh, Essaouira, the Sahara, and Casablanca.)
Have you been to Morocco? Did you dip your toes in the Essaouira surf, or try your skill with a wind-based sport on Essaouira beach?
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