Essaouira is gorgeous, the beach is huge, and there are plenty of tourists (if you want there to be) to feel safe. It's a really nice break from the hassle of Morocco but there are no fewer shops or market stalls. Restaurants are a little pricey but only because I was on a 10£ a day budget! Haggle for the rooms when you get there because no one ever does and they overprice them a bit!.
Essaouira is the second most visited city in Morocco. After years of quietness it has recently gained a lot of interest due to some celebrities finding this sleepy Moroccan spot. Many developers have now invested in Essaouira and renovated old buildings in the historical city. It has very old and nice enclosed quarters, built during the Portuguese colonial period, which have gained UNESCO world heritage status.
While staying in an Essaouira hostel, make sure to explore. Strolling the narrow streets of this fortress is like going back in time several centuries even though the Portuguese are long gone. The city is also next to the ocean, but don’t count on sunbathing easily, because strong winds regularly blow for days a time, more often than many would like. Not all visitors are unhappy about the wind though, since it makes Essaouira a fantastic spot for windsurfing and kite surfing.
While it’s a quiet city, the influx of tourists has generated a good selection of places where one can enjoy the night, so ask the staff at your Essaouira hostel for the night spot of the moment. You can sample typical Moroccan food in Essaouira, with a good selection of seafood based dishes, such as grilled sardines and other fishes, and the inevitable tajine, a kind of stew using seasonal veggies.
It is easy to reach Essaouira by bus from any airport or major city in Morocco. The old city streets are very narrow, so choose your Essaouira hostel in the enclosed part of the town if you are in for the atmosphere, and don’t mind a little walk to get to anywhere, but avoid them and opt for a seaside hostel in Essaouira if you are there for the sports and the beach