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Essaouira along the central western coast of Morocco is a laid-back and peaceful place (no traffic within the huge walled area), lots of cafes in squares to lounge around and drink mint tea and just soak up the atmosphere. You can walk everywhere in Essaouira as it is relatively small. Essaouira is the perfect place to unwind at the end of a Moroccan tour. The beach is clean with gorgeous soft sand and pretty much hassle free. At times, the beach can be very windy and ideal for windsurfing, and at other less windy times it is ideal for relaxing on a sunlounger, although, as with all weather you have to take your chances. Essaouira retains its old fashioned traditional charm, unlike more aesthetic built up resorts like Agadir and there is not a jet ski in sight! The coastal town is famous for the GNAOUA World Music Festival which takes place every year around the 20th of June for 4-5 days (see below).
Most of the activity in Essaouira is normally limited in the area within the sandstone walled area of the medina and especially at the time of the GNAOUA festival. The medina consists of a number of alleys and Babs (doors/gates). Bab Zerktouni is famous for the two restaurants - one that serves pizzas and the other very good breakfasts. Different babs serve different functions: there are places which are reserved for restaurants and others where they sell souvenirs and traditional wares etc.
The GNAOUA festival comprises a number of individual concerts and other events, starting from noon untill late at night. At this time, small riads and apartments get booked up and locals even rent out their apartments for the duration. This can be a good option but if anything goes wrong, you can’t count on the police since the place you are staying is not registered. The best events tend to be at night, at the entrance of the Bab e medina. This is the place where the best atmosphere can be seen from 11:00pm onwards until 2:00am. The atmosphere in the concerts is amazing with lots of people on a high! The Moroccans love to dance and their movements would put any ballerina to shame. A lot of the performers are French and Moroccan rap artists. Though a word of caution: when going out at night it's best to leave your valuables in your hotel, because of groups of pick pockets in the packed crowds.
The weather is generally mild compared to the rest of the country. In fact, the town is known for having the smallest difference between both summer and winter temperatures as well as day and night temperatures. Days range from 18 °C in January and February to 22 °C from August to October. Nights are between 12 °C and 17 °C. It is generally nice all year round but sometimes windy. It's usually not very humid though and conditions are fairly fine year round. The average annual amount of precipitation is about 340 mm with most of that falling from November till April.
Some domestic services exist as well, for example to and from Casablanca. Regional Air Lines has many domestic services.
Essaouira is a 2.5 hour drive from Marrakech or a 3.5 hour drive from Agadir on good tarred roads.
Taxi's leave from the bus station or the area just outside the walls of Place Moulay Hassan. These can be handy for a trip to Diabat if you'd prefer to go by road rather than along the beach.
You can walk around the town in about half an hour. The bus station is an easy stroll about 15 minutes inland, towards the back of the town.
The medina is just a 15-minute walk from the main bus station so there is no need to take a taxi, even though you may be persuaded by eager locals that you need to. You can however take advantage of the helpful men with huge wheelbarrows who will happily wheel your luggage to your riad or guesthouse for a few dirhams and this can be a welcome relief in the heat.
There are lots of budget guesthouses or mid-range traditional riads as well as 4-5 star ones like Sofitel on the seafront. Finding accommodation should not be a problem outside of the festival period. There is a campsite about 25 kilometres down the coast, handy if you have a car.
|Dar Al Bahar||1 rue de Touahen||Guesthouse||89|
|Hostel Essaouira||17 rue laghrissi||Hostel||86|
|Kasbah Zineb||Km 15, route village Idaou Gourd||Guesthouse||-|
|Les Matins Bleus||22 rue Draa||Guesthouse||93|
|La Maison du Vent||25 Rue Mourabitine||GUESTHOUSE||86|
|Palazzo Desdemona||12-14 Rue Youssef El Fassi||HOTEL||-|
|Riad Chakir Mogador||13 Rue ben morhal 4400 Essaouira||Guesthouse||88|
|Riad Jemalhi Mogador||6 Ahmed Ouharoun||Guesthouse||81|
|Riad Marosko||66, Impasse Rue d'Agadir||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Majestic Essaoiura||40 Derb Laalouj Essaouira 44000||Hotel||77|
|Hotel Orson Welles||14 AV al Akaba||Hotel||-|
|Riad Etoile de Mogador||8 Rue Allal El Waquawi, BVD Agadir Medina||Guesthouse||92|
|Riad Le Grand Large||2 rue Oum Rabii||Hotel||90|
|Riad Zahra||90 Quartier des Dunes||Hotel||93|
|Riad Lalla Mogador||12, rue de l'Iraq||Guesthouse||-|
|Dar Skala Guesthouse||Quartier Kasbah Medina||Guesthouse||87|
|Hotel Beaurivage||14, Place Moulay Hassan||Hotel||85|
|Bahja de Mogador||596 Avenue Al Aqaba||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Eraounak Souiri||339 Coter Eraounak Essaouira||Hotel||85|
|Riad Lunetoile||191, Rue Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah||Guesthouse||87|
|Dar Nafoura-Mogador||30, rue Ibn Khaldoun||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Riad 33||33 Rue De Bouchentouf||Guesthouse||-|
|Emeraude Riad Hotel Essaouira||228 Rue Chbanate||Hotel||88|
|Hotel Riad al Madina||9, Rue Attarine||Guesthouse||-|
|Riad Sidi Magdoul||21 rue Sidi Abdesmih||Hotel||88|
|Riad Imik Imik||25 rue Zalaqa Medina of Essaouira||Guesthouse||-|
|Riad les 2 Mondes||El Ghazoua||Guesthouse||-|
|Maison du Sud||29, Avenue Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah||Guesthouse||88|
|Riad Asmitou||32 rue bagdad, medina||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Riad Mimouna||62, rue d'Oujda (sandillon)||Guesthouse||-|
|Dar Mellah||First Floor, 3 Rue Boutouil Essaouira||Apartment||89|
|Kirsty's Place||Rue Hamadani, Lot 5 Essaouira||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Riad Etoile d'Essaouira||02 Rue Quadissiya Av Sidi Mohmed Ben Abdelah essaouira||Hotel||89|
|Riad Jade Mogador||16 Rue Annaser||Guesthouse||88|
|Dar Assalama||Derb Ahl Agadir 5, AV Alall Alwakawi||Hostel||-|
|Caverne d'Ali Baba||21 Baba Ahmed Soudani 39 Av Istiqlal||Hotel||90|
|Dar Latigeo||12 Rue Youssef Ben Tachafine||Guesthouse||-|
|Riad El Pacha||21, Rue Abderrahamane Eddak||Hostel||83|
|Mogador house||Lot Erraounak N 85||Guesthouse||-|
|Riad Darko||3 rue Enasser 44000||Hotel||-|
|Riad Halina||28 Rue d'Iraq||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Casa di Carlo||17, Rue d'Agadir Essaouira||Guesthouse||89|
|Dar Darek||86 rue Moulay Smail||Guesthouse||91|
|Hotel Des Iles||Bd Mohammed V||Hotel||-|
|Riad Dar Chakir||12 reu Khalid Ben Oualid place My Hassane||HOTEL||-|
|Ryad Mogador Essaouira||Route de Marrakech B.P. 368||Hotel||-|
|Riad AL Zahia||4 rue mohammed diuri||GUESTHOUSE||87|
|Riad Kasbah Boukho||Sidi Kaouki Essaouira||HOTEL||-|
|Auberge Tangaro||Domaine de Mogador Diabat||HOTEL||-|
|Riad Etoile D'essaouira||02 rue kadissiya av sidi moham ed ben abdelah||Hostel||-|
|Surf & Chill||Sidi Ben Daoud 7||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Dar Zayna||75 Rue Agadir||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Riad Asmitou||32; rue bagdad||Guesthouse||-|
|Lila Saida||579 lot Azlef||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hotel Riad Azzouz||7 Riad Azzouz Darb ahl Agadir Moulay Azouz||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Sol e Luna||Route d'Agadir||HOTEL||86|
|Al Jasira Hotel||18 rue moulay ali cherif quartier des dunes||Hotel||-|
|Dar Maris Guesthouse||KM16 Route d'Agadir||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Villa Damonte||km 6-route d'Agadir||HOTEL||-|
|Dar Baboosh - The Snail's Shell||13 Rue Zayane||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hotel Gnaoua||89, Avenue Zerktouni||HOTEL||-|
|Les Jardins de Silona||Douar laarab Essaouira||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Riad Orange Cannelle||10, Rue Abdessalam Lebadi Medina Essaouira||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hotel Dar El Qdima||4, Rue Malek Ben Mourhal||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Sahara||Avenue Okba Ibnou Nafiaa||HOTEL||-|
|Palazzo Desdemona||Rue youssef elfassi N°12_14 avenue oqba ibn nafii||Guesthouse||-|
|Riad Remmy||29 Daoud Ben Aicha||Guesthouse||-|
|Dar Ichraq||12, Rue Khalid Ben Oualid Place Moulay Hassan||GUESTHOUSE||88|
|Riad Thais||181 Avenue Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Ancienne Medina||GUESTHOUSE||89|
|Riad l'Ayel d'Essaouira||28 rue Malek Ben El Morahhal Essaouira||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Dar Latigeo||12 rue Youssef Ben Tachfine||Hostel||-|
|Dar Afram||10 Rue Sidi Magdoul||Hostel||-|
|Résidence La Galiote||11 Rue Cherif Idrissi Quartier Hammouth||APARTMENT||-|
|La Maison du Chameau||Ida Ougourd||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Riad Inna||30.36 Rue Mohamed Ben Abdellah (Mellah Kdim )||HOTEL||86|
|Atlantic Hostel||Derb Lebbana, 34||HOSTEL||-|
|Surf for Life||13 Rue Koweit||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Mogador Locations Vacances||18 rue Qadissiya Essaouira||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Dar Assenfou||Rue Chbanate 194||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Green Milk Hostel||Rue Ceuta 26||HOSTEL||-|
|Dar Nora||33 rue Abdessalam Lebadi||Guesthouse||-|
|Riad le Marlin Bleu||Route de Sidi Kaouki||GUESTHOUSE||-|
There are plenty of Cybercafes in cities and small towns and accessing the Internet won't be a problem. The price is around 4 to 10DH/ hour. If you have a laptop while traveling then you can buy a USB key for wireless connection from one of the 3 main telecommunication companies (Maroc Telecom, Meditel, and Inwi). Credits are available starting from 10DH/24 hours (starting from the time you use it, if you start at 2:00am then next day at 2:00am you will have to recharge it again). Wifi is getting more and more common in places like hotels, shopping malls and in restaurants and coffee places in larger cities. The wireless connection in some areas might be slow, that depends on the signal as not the whole of Morocco has 3G coverage.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Morocco's country code is +212, International Call Prefix is 00. The telephone numbering scheme is changed starting March 2009. All fixed telephone numbers have a 5 inserted after the 0, and all mobile telephone numbers have a 6 inserted after the 0. All numbers are now ten-digit long, counting the initial 0. Useful numbers are Police: 19; Fire Service: 15; Highway Emergency Service: 177; Information: 160.
Public telephones can be found in city centres, but private telephone offices (also known as teleboutiques or telekiosques) are also commonly used.
The GSM mobile telephone network in Morocco can be accessed via one of two major operators: Meditel or Maroc Telecom. Prepaid cards are available. It is very easy and cheap to buy a local GSM prepaid card in one of the numberous phone shops showing a Maroc Telecom sign.
Post Maroc is the national postal service of Morocco and has details on their website (French) regarding the sending of letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically and internationally. The postal service in Morocco is very efficient and the post offices are generally open Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 12 noon and 2:30pm to 6:30pm. On Saturdays it is open from 8:30am to 2:00pm. Some might keep longer hours though, especially in larger tourist cities and central areas. You can post your mail at one of the post offices or otherwise in the yellow post boxes you'll find throughout the country. For packages, you can also use international courier companies like TNT, DHL or UPS. They offer quick, reliable services and competitive rates.
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