Explore Artist Paradise Essaouira on Morocco’s Coast with 320 days of Sunshine
4 Oct 2017
- The magical light and beauty of Essaouira have always attracted artists
- Explore the UNESCO medina filled with art galleries and artists
- Stay at Jardin des Douars, a secluded paradise only 10 minutes from the medina
Throughout Essaouira on Morocco’s coast, visitors will witness artists at work and the UNESCO medina is full of galleries with a vast selection of brightly coloured paintings for sale, easy to pack to bring home. Most of the artists are local and self-taught inspired over the years by the light and beauty of this small city. The Galerie Damgaard, located at the gates of the medina, showcases Arab and Berbere cultures with a creative power of gesture, wide variety of themes and plenty of jubilant colour.
Winter is a wonderful time to visit Essaouira and whilst the beach may be windy, hotels like Jardin des Douars, offer a secluded paradise away from the winds with two heated outdoor pools. Essaouira officially has around 320 days of sunshine per year, but winter never really sets in here temperature wise. It is a wonderful time to feel the real Essaouira with walks on the beach and peaceful surroundings.
Some art galleries to visit in Essaouira include:
- L’atelier des Arts Empreinte – see collections by resident artists inspired by Morocco
- Elizir Gallery – spread across several levels and a follow up to the art filled restaurant
- Galerie l’Arbre Bleu – local & international artists exhibit inc. paintings & photographs
Where did Jimi Hendrix and where does Mick Jagger holiday? Essaouira. This small city is very laid-back and doesn’t show off yet it has all the charms of a city that should. Over the last few years there has been a surge in cool new openings of local independent businesses around the medina including restaurants, shops and galleries. Many are owned by young locals or Moroccans from other cities, keen to enjoy the unique vibe this coastal city offers. The creative community love Essaouira and costume designer Jenny Beavan often visits for inspiration.
The Gnaoua & World Music Festival takes place each June. This annual contemporary music festival welcomes a diverse selection of artists for four days. The vibrant festival spills out across the town with street performances. One of Morocco’s most popular music events.
Le Jardin des Douars is nestled in the heart of the Essaouira hills, sheltered from the winds and isolated from any noise pollution. The botanical garden setting further adds to the attraction of this hideaway. There are 19 bedrooms and 6 suites in total and three luxury villas. The hotel’s facilities include two outdoor heated pools, three dining areas including a large open plan restaurant, a couples only restaurant and alfresco dining on the terrace. Other facilities include a hammam and spa and a shuttle service.
The hotel’s restaurant offers a diverse menu of Moroccan and European flavours with a daily specials menu. For those eager to sample Moroccan cuisine, dishes include:
- Beldi chicken tajine with olives, orange reduction and saffron
- Shredded lamb, prune and apricot purée
- Beef couscous «à la Balboula»
- Monkfish tajine «à la Chermoula»
- Vegetable tajine
Essaouira is home to the famous Argan trees found across forests just inland from the Atlantic coast. The Argan is a true symbol of the region surrounding Essaouira. Southwest Morocco produces this highly prized oil which is extracted from nuts and these have been used across the world in beauty products and spa treatments. Le Jardin des Douars is the perfect backdrop for relaxation. The hotel offers a varied hammam and spa treatment list not typical of most hotels, the Argan oil used is local and organic. Treatments include the Skin exfoliation Hammam with Smimou Salt and Argan Oil.
The charm of Essaouira is that it has not been taken over by tourism, add to that the many days of winter sunshine and creativity across the city and Essaouira is a wonderful exotic hideaway just three hours from Europe.
B&B priced from around £140 per room, per night or £450 per villa, per night
Travel Information: easyJet fly between London Luton and Essaouira twice per week on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Essaouira airport is located 15 minutes from Le Jardin des Douars and a shuttle service is available. Marrakech is about three hours from Essaouira.
Winter Sun Package 2018 7th January – 10th February
20% off room rates on a B&B basis when staying three nights or more