Essaouira, formally known as Mogador, is a city located in the western region of Morocco on the Atlantic coast. The city itself was built around 1760 as a naval base, thus it is surrounded by ramparts (fortification walls) and sqalas (sea bastions). From the 18th century, almost half of Atlantic sea traffic passed through its port, known as the Port of Timbuctu - these were caravans from Sub Saharan Africa trading into Europe. Today only a few hundred people live here, but it is slowly growing as a wonderful tourist destination. The 1970's brought the hippie populations to this region, and it is said that Jimi Hendrix wrote his song Castles Made of Sand from his experience in Essaouira.
Located just a two hour drive from Marrakech, Essaouira is the perfect beach extension for many trips in Morocco. It has retained its feel as an artists' town, with influence on painting, sculpture and more recently Gnaoua music. The beach is long and wide (depending on the tides) and is the essence of daily life here. You'll see surfers, windsurfers, kids playing soccer, families having picnics and people sipping tea at the various beachfront cafes.
The medina is much like that in Marrakech, only much smaller. It is here where you will find most of the shops, restaurants and hotels of the city. Its small size makes it fun to walk and explore, without fear of getting lost. Enjoy its white washed buildings, sea views, friendly people and fabulous fresh seafood.