Opening Times
Mon-Thursday 9am-6pm
Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 9am-2pm
Bank Holidays 10am-4pm

Wednesday, 9 April 2014 12:00 AM

Moroccan Holiday Choices – Essaouira or Oualidia

Holidays on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast

Morocco has a huge coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, with many interesting towns and cities dotted along its length. Whilst the coast is open to the Atlantic weather systems, it is generally has a year round temperate climate (especially in its mid-latitudes – the region covered by this article) offering year round holiday options.

The most obvious options for beach holidays are in Essaouria, Oualidia and Agadir; however, Agadir beach is a mass tourism resort of large hotels, something that Naturally Morocco does not actively promote – so we discuss the merits of the other 2 beach resorts in this article.

In Essaouria and Oualidia winter temperatures drop to around the late teens, with some rainfall from late October through to April, but summer temperatures head up to the mid 20s deg C with virtually no rain.

Holidays in Essaouira

Essaouria has an excellent mix of beach and culture – a long sandy beach and an interesting medina.  It is linked to Marrakech by a steadily improving motorway connection, a little over 2 hours away, lending itself to a comfortable 2 centre holiday with flights into Marrakech international airport.

The beach is long, wide and shallow with protection created by the island of Mogador a little way off the coast, and offers plenty of beach activities, including surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing hire and lessons. In peak summer Essaouria beach can be quite windy.

The walled medina is a mix of small artisan shops near the ocean wall aimed at the tourist guests, to everyday Moroccan souks further inland. The medina offers a large range of riad accommodation, with more accommodation options along the coast.

Holidays in Oualidia

Oualidia is also a beach resort, but quite a different kettle of fish. Oualidia is a sleepy fishing village on the bottom edge of a large tidal lagoon. It lies north of Essaouria (around 3.5 hours drive on slow local roads) and around 3.5 hours from Marrakech – Casablanca (and the international airport there) is only around 2 hours away – hence is a much quieter place to relax.

The village doesn’t have the historic medina of Essaouira, rather it has a few hotels and restaurants (it is renowned for oysters), but the beach offers a surf school and boat rides along the lagoon can be arranged – it is a haven for bird-life (including flamingos) especially in the spring/ autumn migration periods.

The accommodation that we offer here is more limited than in Essaouria and far more exclusive, for that special break.

In Summary

Whilst the basic premise of both destinations is similar, Essaouria and Oualidia offer very different holiday options.

Essaouria with good road links to Marrakech (and its international airport), an interesting medina, a range of accommodation and beach with numerous activities is an easy option for a varied and lively holiday.

Oualidia with its beautiful lagoon a haven for wildlife, being harder to get to and with less choice of accommodation, is more suited to the special and relaxing escape away from the tourist crowds.

What is best for you depends on what you want and we are here to explore the options further with you.