This private tour of Essaouira is a wonderful way to find your bearings and explore the city with a private guide.
You start your day at the Bab Doukkala Gate before turning up towards the Mellah or Jewish Quarter. The sea walls are located on your right-hand side before you pass the Haim Pinto Synagogue. You continue past the Synagogue Slat Lhakhal Mogador. Look for stone door signs with the six-petal rose of Mogador (Essaouira’s former name) and the plaque outside the steam baths where Orson Welles filmed scenes for Othello in 1949.
You work your way through a narrow winding street to the main fish souq and the former grain market. You can stop for a quick coffee at Mandala or brunch if you feel peckish.
Turn into the heart of the small souqs of the Medina, and you are really getting into the heart of things. Additionally, your interest will largely dictate the route. Your guide will know where you are. We suggest stopping at the interesting Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum. It is housed on an old riad and contains an interesting collection of jewellery, woodcarvings, weapons and costumes. As with most museums in Morocco, the building itself is the main reason to visit.
After your wander through the souqs, continue to the Skala de la Villa – the main bastion on the city walls with wonderful views to match. You can walk back down the city walls before arriving at Moulay Hassan Square. We suggest then visiting the Espace Othello, a superb private gallery showcasing work by up-and-coming artists. There are a few further art galleries on Avenue du Caire, so do pop in if they take your fancy.
It’s now time for lunch, and the quintessential culinary experience in Essaouira is to head to the outdoor fish stalls located close to the port. Feast on lovely freshly cooked fish served with bread and salad. Your guide will do the haggling over price, so take your seat and enjoy.
After lunch, visit the local fish auction, which takes place after the catch-of-the-day is brought in. Walk to the Skala du Port is another bastion with views over the fishing port and Ile de Mogador. You then are free to kick off your shoes and walk along the vast beach. Return to the Place Moulay Hassan afterwards, and watch the musicians and acrobats from a table at Dolcefreddo Caffetteria Geletaria, eating the best ice cream in town.