Hanging around Essaouira

The place :
Essouira, in Morocco, situated on the Atlantic coastline in the midst of a large bay protected by the Purpuraires islands, is one of the country’s most attractive cities. Built on the foothills of the Atlas mountains on a rocky peninsula, this city of 170000 inhabitants looks out into the sea.

In order to fully experience Morocco’s warm-heartdness, feel free to explore and wander through the city’s medina, and taste the alleyways’ unique atmosphere. Come and witness the cultural richness that vouches for the country’s ethnic (Arab, Berber and Jewish) diversity, and the kindness of the local population. Essaouira, formely known as Magador, boasts a rich cultural and architectural heritage, made up of imposing city walls, historical monuments and religious buildings, proof of the city’s long-standing tradition of tolerance.

Perhaps the best evidence of the richness of this cultural heritage lies in the excellence of Moroccan craftmanship, be it pottery, plate, Souri marquetry craft, tapestries, or earthenware craftwork.

During the your holiday in Morocco, expect a temperate climate, mild and sunny, as well as a choice spa experience: thalassotherapy, steam baths and oriental massages will be on offer. But do not shy away from tasting and indulging yourselves with traditional Moroccan food, especially the Argane oil, the renowned and refreshing mint tea, and other culinary specialities that reflect Morocco’s strong tradition and expertise in this field.

All the reasons mentioned above concur to explain why we chose to begin this unique thalassotherapy cure, making the most of the region’s godsends and blending together traditional spa services with an unforgettable cultural experience in Morocco.

This programme in Morocco aims to help you immerse yourself into the country’s culture, discover the wonders of Essaouira and Marrakech and enjoy the beneficial effects of traditional treatments.

Let us detail the organisation of this 4-day holiday:

DAY 1 :
Arrival in Marrakech and transfer to Essaouira for a night at the Riad Casa Lila.

DAY 2 :
On the next morning, explore the Thalassotherapy centre for a day-long relaxing cure. Once you feel good and ready and your stress has started to melt away, you will be invited to wander through the city’s alleyways.

DAY 3 :
Tour of the Argan oil factory in Tamounte, one of the region’s most important and dynamic economic activities.
Indeed, this oil is produced from the argan tree and its fruit, which is rich in vitamins (similar to the olive oil) and cosmetic contents (a high-vitamin E concentration makes it an effixient moisturizer), used in many Moroccan treatments. It is a very rare and precious oil, as 6 or 7 trees are required to collect a litre of the substance, and then 10 hours of additional conditioning are necessary to complete the production process.

You will have the chance of exploring a breathtaking natural site, namely the incredibly beautiful wild coast that stretches from Essaouira to Agadir, where cliffs and plateaux are strewn along vast and deserted beaches.

In the afternoon, a coach will take you to Marrakech, for a tour of the city and a night at the riad Julia.

DAY 4 :
Free tour of the city and shopping spree in Marrakech’s souks, transfer to the airport and flight back to your home country.
Hotels and residences :

Hotel "Riad CASA LILA"

This riad is hidden within the walls of the old city and offers a prime access to the medina, the souk, as well as to Essaouira’s port and beaches. The Casa Lila riad owes its name to a beautiful lilac-flowered patio, with a top-floor terrace looking out to the ocean. It features 8 rooms and suites covering 20 to 80sqm, which have a comfortable and refined feel about them.

The two nights spent in the riad will undoubtedly be one of your holiday’s highlights, as you well through every nook and cranny of the small salons scattered within the hotel’s warm and intimate two storeys.

Enjoy the refined and delicate Moroccan decoration, the delicious traditional cooking, the thoughtful and discrete staff, and Essaouira’s innumerable secrets. All such things contribute to this peaceful haven’s success, so quiet and welcoming after a walkabout in the city’s crowded souks.

Hotel "Riad JULIA"

Located right in the middle of the medina district and within walking distance of the Dar’el Bacha museum, the Jamee El Fna square, and the city centre’s souks, the Julia riad is a traditional Moroccan dwelling which subtly brings modern comfort and refined details together, in a warm-hearted atmosphere.

Moreover, the hotel boasts a patio, a swimming pool and a Moroccan salon on the ground floor, where guests are welcome to rest and relax. In order to make the most of the Moroccan sun, feel free to lounge and laze on the terrace and enjoy a beautiful view of the city.

The riad features 8 rooms equipped with a bathroom. Each room boasts its own unique style and theme reflecting the richness and diversity of Moroccan culture.

Sports and Activities :
The fact guests are free to experience and discover Essaouira and Marrakech as they wish, makes this both an interesting and exciting destination.

Nonetheless, let us stress the charms of some of the city’s monuments and curiosities that cannot be ignored: indeed, both cities’ souks and medinas are an absolute must.

To fully blend and mix with Moroccan culture, wander through Essaouira’s medina and its secret alleyways famous for the colour of their doors and windows. The story goes that it was the Jewish community that first painted its doors blue to keep wasps and mosquitoes away.
In the midst of the city’s bustle, a shopping spree will give you the opportunity of trying out some of the local products, be it in the fishermen’s market or in the jewelry souk.

For Westerners, Essaouira is crammed with curiosities such as the famous Bab Doukkala door, which guards the entrance to the medina, or Essaouira’s port. Not to mention the Kabash Scala, a particularly bustling place when fishers come to auction their catches, alongside der Hafen and the city’s once feared guns and cannons...

If you travel to Essaouira in June, stop by the Gnaouas music festival, named after one of the city’s most important communities, reminiscent of the African magic, Arab music, and Islamic tradition of the city’s origins.

Marrakech is southern Morocco’s capital and boasts an impressive architectural and cultural legacy. This makes of the ‘red city’ a Mecca for international tourists.

The Jemaa El Fnaa square is the medina’s geographical, social and cultural epicentre, as well as a busy meeting and trading spot. It is a place like no other in the city, one where you will naturally encounter local craftsmen, shopkeepers, and traditional artists of the likes of fire-eaters, snake charmers and acrobats. Marrakech’s souks are also an absolute must.
The Majorelles gardens, designed by Jacques Majorelles, are a botanical wonder, a masterpiece crammed with rare species from the four corners of the world.
The Koutoubia mosque, also known as the booksellers’ mosque, owes its name to the manuscript merchants who built their houses in the building’s vicinity when it was first erected and is considered a Moorish art masterpiece.
Access :
By car By car
Marrakech – Essaouira is a 3h drive
By plane By plane
Paris – Marrakech is a 3h15 flight
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