boats beside fishing nets

Mini-break: Essaouira

Essaouira is within driving distance of Marrakech, making it a favourite destination for a long weekend. This coastal town offers a much more relaxed, “chill” vibe that the children loved. The medina is just as laid-back, free from the intensity on display in Marrakech and it’s worth staying in a riad there, if you can. Our mini-break saw us staying at Riad 7 Pierres with friendly, helpful staff and a delicious breakfast, essential for starting our day properly!

Climbing the stairs to Cafe des Arts

Day 1

Despite leaving Marrakech later than intended, we arrived in time to grab some lunch at Restaurant Cafe des Arts before taking a leisurely stroll around the medina and along the beachfront. I had given the children a budget for our trip to be used on snacks (I’m trying to teach them financial responsibility), so they opted to treat themselves to dessert by buying ice cream from one of the many food stall sellers along the boulevard – also an opportunity to put their language lessons into practice!

As with most holidays with children, our trip revolved around meal times and so we ended our gentle start with dinner at Dar Baba. Hands down, my favourite meal/experience I’ve had in Morocco in a long time. You can’t visit a seaside town and not eat something from the ocean! The seafood lovers had squid ink rice with fried calamari , while I had the crab with avocado. As we were getting ready to leave we were treated to a close-up magic show, that amazed us all, before taking the peaceful walk back to the riad for the night.

Lunch with a view at Ocean Vagabond

Day 2

After a delicious breakfast, we headed out early to meet the ‘shuttle’ for a surprise I had arranged for us all. It’s been on the bucket list for a while since I saw the videos of people riding along the beaches of Essaouira. While I had no delusions that any of us would be able to canter along the beach, I still wanted to get as close to the experience as possible. So, I booked a 1 hour morning horse ride with Ranch de Diabat. They picked us up near our accommodation, the horses seemed well cared for and the stables were very clean. We had to watch a safety video beforehand and our guide took photos and videos of us with my camera. Overall it was a very professional experience, we got to see the Dar Sultan Palace ruins, ride through the dunes and view Mogador Island. The shuttle was free and they took us to our next destination – lunch!

We had lunch at Ocean Vagabond, a popular lunch spot offering amazing views of the ocean (and camels). We (the children) spent the afternoon playing the ocean and we were fortunate to be experiencing 32C (89.6F) weather, so they were able to dry off pretty quickly and enjoy some snacks like corn on the cob from the food stalls along the boulevard.

After a nice hot bubble bath at the riad, we headed back out for calamari & cocktails at Taros, watching the sun set to the soundtrack of traditional Moroccan music.

Discovering the small doors of the Essaouria medina

Day 3

Our last day and we couldn’t leave without browsing the medina, exploring the port and having brunch at Mandala Society before heading back to Marrakech.

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