Seaside Escapes

Essaouira & Oualidia

The picturesque seaside town of Essaouira, with its ancient Portuguese ramparts and bright blue and white painted houses, is perhaps one of the best known  coastal resorts in Morocco,  and can be reached easily by road from Marrakech in just under 3 hours, or from the UK on the new direct flights in just about the same time!

It still remains remarkably unspoilt by tourism and has a distinctly laid-back atmosphere. Walking around the Medina, is like being transported back in time, as you rub shoulders with long-robed locals, while exploring the fascinating array of traditional souks, art galleries and restaurants, including the harbour-side fish market where you can buy fresh fish directly and even have it cooked for your lunch!

Mint Morocco has selected some of the best boutique hotels and most charming riads that Essaouira has to offer.

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The warm temperatures in Essaouira remain remarkably constant all the year round, and there is always a breeze, which attracts both wind-surfers and sun lovers to this resort’s lovely horseshoe bay and sandy beaches, where seagulls swoop beneath perfect blue skies.

There’s also plenty to do here for both couples and families with young children; the wide sandy beaches are ideal for sunbathing, walking or camel riding, and there are many restaurants and beach clubs to relax in, soak up the sunshine and enjoy some delicious fish menus.

Just a short drive from Essaouira, lies the tranquil, laid-back village of Sidi Kaouki, which overlooks a sweeping bay and the shimmering waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  Once a haven for hippies and keen surfers, this unpretentious village has now become popular with weekenders and a favourite retreat for families, looking to recharge their batteries and get close to nature, the sea and the sandy beach.  With the direct flights into Essaouira, from both London and Paris, visitors have increased to the Sidi Kaouki region, resulting in a wider choice of local activities, restaurants and cafes, to suit all tastes.

Originally a small fishing village, Oualidia  is a small and friendly seaside resort on the Atlantic coast, which in spite of having become more popular over the last few years,  has still managed to retain its laid-back charm, where everyday Moroccan life still continues……

We discovered Oualidia many years ago, when it was a well-kept secret and there were only a handful of small hotels and a large choice of small fish restaurants. With its superb sandy beaches and fabulous cobalt blue lagoon, it was easy to fall under its spell. Just under a 3 hour’s drive from both Marrakech and Essaouira, Oualidia is a wonderful place to visit to relax in, to swim, windsurf or sail and sample some of Morocco’s best seafood in one of its many beachside restaurants

There’s plenty of things to do for all the family; you  can take boat trips on the lagoon, spot curlews, herons and pink migrating flamingos, haggle in the bustling souks and take the kids to the beach for some fishing in rock pools, or wind-surfing lessons.

From £195 per room for 3 nights
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Villa Garance
20
10
  • Essaouira Medina: 1 min walk
  • Charming, traditional riad
  • Terrace with panoramic views, dining room, great for groups!
From £405 per room for 3 nights
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Villa Maroc
46
21
  • Essaouira Medina 2 mins walk
  • Legendary, stylish, traditional riad
  • Hammam, massage rooms, bar and restaurant
From £270 per room for 3 nights
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Ocean Vagabond
30
14
  • Essaouira Medina 5 mins walk
  • Family friendly
  • Lovely pool and gardens
From £1655 per week
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Rebali Riads
36
18
  • Essaouira Medina 25 mins drive
  • Family friendly hideaway moments from the beach
  • Hammam, swimming pool, tennis court, camel rides and water sports
From £3120 per week
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Les Jardins de Villa Maroc
8
3-4
  • Essaouira Medina 15 mins drive
  • Countryside retreat with pool, perfect for small groups
  • Access to restaurant and larger heated pool nearby
From £500 per room for 3 nights
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Azalai Beach Cottage
22
9
  • Oualidia - 10 mins walk
  • Pretty gardens and pool
  • Direct access to beach
Mint Morocco