No, honestly, you really should and here's eight reasons as to why people, particularly from the UK, should not ignore this post:
Essaouira offers almost constant sunshine with a very pleasant ambient temperatures ranging typically between the late teens to mid 20s for January and February. That single reason alone might be enough for some to start looking online for deals and I wouldn't blame you.
2) It's super-cheap - particularly for western living standards
This encompasses practically everything, including airfare, accommodation, along with food and drink. Keep your luggage to bare minimum and not require hold luggage and you could get a return flight for something like £60. Yes, seriously!
3) Speaking of flights, you can fly direct from Luton
Less than a couple of years ago Easyjet started offering flights to Essaouira direct from Luton. The fact that Easyjet have continued this route confirms its current success. What's more, if time is against you and you can only spare a few days off work, no problem, you can arrive on a Tuesday and return home on the Saturday. That's long enough for you to get properly sample the culture and it's short enough for you to want more and so you'll return here in the future.
4) You'll get to add a new continent to your own travel list
This is AFRICA after all, folks.
Besides, there's no greater cultural enlightenment and observable disparity to European culture closer to home than here.
5) Beach and water sports
A big advantage of coming here instead of say, Marrakech, is that the beach is next to the Medina and considering the Medina is likely to be where you'll be staying, the beach really is pretty much on your door step. You can ride quad bikes on the beach and indeed a camel too. This vast stretch of the south eastern Atlantic coast is unsurprisingly very popular for surfing (and various other water sports) for all-round cool dudes and adrenalin junkies.
6) Subsistence and hospitality
I've enjoyed the food and drink here in Morocco as much as anywhere in Europe last year, if not more. Whether it's the fruit on the market stalls, the abundant mint tea (be sure to drop a cube or two of sugar in), a Berber omelette, or the plentiful cous cous and flavoursome tagine's, you'll be in food heaven.
If you're not backpacking, you absolutely must stay in a Riad/Ryad, particularly if you are travelling with a + 1. Riad's are well looked after guest-houses and I would hope, is the most popular type of accommodation for tourists, as oppose to the soulless, commercialised hotels we see all over the world. Your Riad will give you a little luxury relative to African living and yet it'll offer you so much more in visual splendour and delight.
7) There's no shortage of incredible day tours available
If you're able to stay a little longer than just a few days, you'll be able to visit more cities and see and do more things. Marrakech is a few hours away north east of Essaouira and Agadir is the same amount of distance but in a more southerly direction. Not forgetting of course what I would imagine to me unforgettable experiences such as a tour of the Atlas mountains, meeting indigenous Berber people and even a starry night under the less polluted sky from the Sahara desert.
8) The vibe of Essaouira
I touched on this on my previous post but didn't go into detail. To my complete surprise, the vibe of Essaouira is nothing like I expected it to be. Get this, it's super chilled, super-relaxed and somewhat 'hippy'. Then again, if you're not staying in a hostel, you won't see as much of this compared to someone that is.
Still, something hippy people and non hippy people will be able to relate to and enjoy is some downtime, chill-time, and this place meets that criteria without question. Ironically, its said to be the complete opposite of the chaos filled city of Marrakech and yet the majority of UK travellers will travel there and then complain that is was too much hustle and bustle for them. If Marrakech is to much for you, and staying in a mountain somewhere is too remote for you, you'll find Essaouira fills this void perfectly. Besides, and as we know, 'the middle' is always a nice place to be.
You know even the cats here, of which there are so many, know how to proper 'chillax' - albeit in the most unusual of places...
Things to note:
There are, of course, a few things you should note particularly if you're not used to an African country.
- It's not particularly sanitary here in the Medina - and probably throughout Morocco. Relatedly, you will see poverty more often than not and you'll also see many of these poor, impoverished people urinate in the narrow streets - the very streets you'll walk along constantly trying to avoid stepping in the ubiquitous cat and dog poop.
- You can pick up a tummy bug more easily than you would in Europe. I've had no health problems at all for the last week but for how long, who knows?
- You'll hear the Islamic 'Call for prayer' several times a day and this can be as early as 5am. Each 'chanting' session doesn't last long though.
- Wanna buy things in the market? Haggle, of course, and enjoy the bartering. Don't wanna buy things? No problem but be careful which market stalls you take photos of as they can kick up a fuss if you're not parting with money but snapping away at their produce.
- Stray animals. If you're an animal lover and you come here, you're going to need to take on a somewhat toughened approach. The animals are as best looked after as you can realistically hope for and with the Medina having no shortage of food, the animals are able to search for food all day long.
Other than that, it's fantastic here. I hope then this article has at least shown you that there is now an alternative to the hustle and bustle of Marrakech so get out of your comfort zone and try something new, try Morocco, try Essaouira, you won't regret it folks. Needless to say I'm in no hurry to leave the country just yet.