Known as the 'Wind City of Africa', Essaouira is an enchanting and laid-back port city situated on the windswept shores of Morocco's Atlantic coast. Powerful 'Alizée' trade winds are in constant supply, making this a haven for windsurfers, kitesurfers and surfers alike who are looking for a slice of ocean action. The city is also famous for its Portuguese, French and traditional architecture, as well as for its fortified medina and its atmospheric port.
The name ‘Essaouira’ translates to ‘the wall’ in both Arabic and Tamazight – a reference to the magnificent fortress walls that used to encircle the city. These are now still evident in the blue and white medina, which is enclosed by sand-coloured ramparts and imposing city gates. The spice-scented alleyways and bustling souks are well worth exploring here – as is the port which plays host to a historic fort and hundreds of bright blue fishing boats and trawlers.
Many come to Essaouira for the waves, and for good reasons – the surf here is arguably some of the best you can find on West Africa’s coastline. The sandy breaks at the namesake beach and other beaches within the area are ideal for both beginners and intermediate surfers alike, and there are great spots for windsurfers and kitesurfers from April to November. You can also go quad biking and horseback riding, and bird watchers can bring their binoculars and spot Eleonora's falcons on the Île de Mogador located just offshore.