We left Marrakech behind and hit the road on a three hour bus ride to the coastal city of Essaouira. As I may have hinted, I found Marrakech to be a bit “full on” and was delighted by the sleepy and wonderful Essaouira, known as a surfer and boho haunt. Side note for Game of Thrones fans – scenes were shot on site here for the army of the unsullied buying and then “shame walk”. Very cool!
How we got there: We took a supratours bus from near Marrakech railway station. One way tickets are 70 dirhams ($7.00) and can often be arranged through your hotel or Riad. Note that seats are actually numbered and assigned – it costs 5 dirham (50 cents) to check a bag under the bus.
Where we stayed:
Located within the old city walls, about a 5-10 minute walk from the Supratour station this was another fantastic book.com selection. This boutique B&B offers the services of a larger hotel (room service and great amenities) within a smaller scale operation. As this is their “low” season, I think we were the only guests there. Massages are offered onsite in a rooftop room looking over the sea and the hotel can arrange for cookery classes at their sister restaurant, La Table Madada (more on that later). I neglected to take any photos of the room but we spent most of our time on our private terrace – taking in the views and drinking sumptuous wine or eating a fabulous breakfast. Sidenote that there are no tvs in the room but you’re really not jetting off to Morocco to take a 3 hour bus ride to a seaside town to watch rerun of the office, now are you?
Where we ate:
Probably one of the best meals we have ever had – delightful little restaurant with witty staff, inventive takes on traditional moroccan food with some more mainstream selections. Tuna tartare, sea crab gratineed in its shell, delicious calamari, beef fillet and lobster pastilla. All in all, a quality experience I will never ever forget. Reservations a must.
A good dinner, though we mainly eat there to say we did not eat at La Table Madada every night of our stay (though we could’ve easily). I would say the decor upstaged the food – note, their card machine was on the fritz that night, so we had to pay in cash.
Our hotel noted that the you go to Taros Cafe for the view and drinks, not the food – and after reviewing the menu, we agreed.
Fishmarkets in the Port
If you’re a seafood junkie like Steve, you must. You have no other choice than to select a platter and have them cook it up fresh. If you’re me, they’ll give you a coca cola and some bread to nosh while you watch him destroy it.
What we did:
Walked on the beach
Climbed the ramparts
Shopped til we drop – Essaouira is – in my humble opinion – a much nicer shopping experience than Marrakech. You can find everything notable in Morocco for the same or less. Highly recommend.