Essaouira is an old fortified town to the west of Marrakech, on Morocco's windswept Atlantic coast. The town's whitewashed walls and weathered blue wooden doors, the rustic ramparts of the Skala de la Villes - the city ramparts - and the beach stretching south of the town are some of its popular attractions.
Essaouria's walled medina is another highlight. This UNESCO World Heritage site features a collection of souks, quaint cafés, art galleries and excellent seafood restaurants - which serve fish as fresh as it comes, straight from the town's fishing fleet.
In past centuries, Essaouira was a centre for a busy foreign trade with Europe, but today the vibe is noticeably more relaxed. Windsurfing and surfing in Essaouira are popular activities, thanks to a steady wind and a surf break suitable for all standards of surfers. Boards can be hired on the beach to the south of the town.