Our final part of the journey took us to Essaouira, a beautiful city on the west coast that combined charming French influences and a relaxed, magical vibe about the place – and the finest seafood we had ever eaten!
Travelling from the mountains to Essaouira is simple. You basically have two options: a grand taxi (costing around £100 – one way), which takes you directly there or a local cab to Marrakech and then a direct air-conditioned bus (about £15 each – return journey). We would definitely recommend the latter as the coaches are comfortable and the saving is very tempting leaving you more available budget to spend on Moroccan goodies. Look to travel with Supratours or the other bus company located just round the corner called CTM. Unfortunately you can`t pre-book tickets with either company so if you can`t get on the preferred Supratours bus, which actually charges a slightly cheaper fare then try CTM as they both run at slightly different times.
We arrived in Essaouira and as with most seaside places we immediately realised the vibe was ten times more relaxed than in Marrakech. We arrived at the luxury Madada Mogador found at an intimate address hidden within the ancient walls of the city, which offered one of the finest views across the beach and harbour. The popular Le Cinq (After Five) restaurant owned by the same people is a few doors down and offers some rather stylish dining.
Madada Mogador was spacious, beautifully kept and the views were to die for. The rooms had been lovingly designed in a Moroccan style, furnished with quirky aged brass fittings and neutral calming colours.
It provided seven rooms, all designed individually in their own right, providing air conditioning and ranging from around £75 – £120 per night (including a delicious breakfast, which can either be eaten on the main terrace or on your own private balcony). On our first night we stayed in Madada, which was vast and roomy, it had an ocean view, its very own private balcony and a stunning bathroom, which looked out to sea. Pacha was also one our favourite rooms with an even better ocean view than Madada, with double doors that opened directly out onto the roof terrace.
The communal lounging area provided a Wi-Fi connection, wide range of books and even a masseuse on demand (to name just a few features). The staff members who managed the riad were incredibly friendly, welcoming and attentive to our every need during our stay. One of the riad`s finest features was definitely its location perfectly positioned right in the centre of all the action, which included the Souks, harbour, fishing port and a long sandy stretch of beach. The roof terrace provided us with views across the bay and is the perfect place for catching some the suns rays whilst losing yourself in a book or two.
Essaouira is a must-see if you`re intending to visit Morocco, there`s little in the way of sights BUT don`t let that put you off – we absolutely fell in love with the place. In a nutshell you don`t get hassled half as much as in Marrakech and if you love to eat stunning seafood then you won`t be disappointed … we promise!
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