Essaouira, a picturesque coastal town overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is yours to discover. This easygoing fishing port dating back to the 17th century is where Orson Wells filmed Othello! This charming town is also credited with playing host to guests such as Jimmy Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. While the town is not as historically relevant as Fes or Marrakech, you can see glimpses of Portuguese influence in the white painted buildings of the old walled area. In the 18th century synagogue, you can find evidence of what had once been a thriving Jewish community. In the week preceding Rosh Hashanah, witness the annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Chaim Pinto in the vast Jewish cemetery adjacent to the ocean. Essaouira being a hub of artists, you will see plenty of handmade works of art in the modest souk. The windy conditions in this town make it a great destination to try out windsurfing and kite surfing. You can also explore the town on camels and horses or go on quad bike excursions. Lunch at the port with fresh fish cooked right in front of you, is yet another highlight of Essaouira!

In the 7th century BC, the Phoenicians founded a base where Essaouira now stands, and in the 1st century BC, Juba II, founder of the Roman city of Volubilis , made it a centre of the manufacture of purple dye. The Portuguese established a trading and military bridgehead here in the 15th century and named it Mogador. The town itself, however, was not built until around 1760, when Sultan Mohammed III set up a naval base here. The town, the harbour and the fortifications were designed and built in the style of European fortresses by renowned French architect Théodore Cornut, who had worked for Louis XV. On the small group of Islands known as the Îles Purpuraires, visib from the coast, there is a bir sanctuary for gulls and thre. ened species. Phoenician, Attic and lonian amphorae found on the Île de Mogador and now displayed in the Musée de l’Histoire et des Civilisations in Rabat , prove that were traders here from the 7th century BC. In the 1st century BC, Juba Il set up a centre for the production of purple dye, from which the islands take their name. Highly prized by the Romans, the dye was obtained from the murex, a type of mollusc. The ruins of a 19th-century prison are also visible. Some 12 km (7.5 miles) south of Essaouira, the beach at Sidi Kaouki is popular with surfers. A mausoleum,