ROBIN McKelvie spends a weekend in Essaouria, Morocco
Check into Riad Dar l’Oussia (doubles from £60, www.riad-darloussia.com), a relaxed boutique-hotel style riad and enjoy the rooftop terrace with its views of the pounding ocean and bustling medina.
Head towards the fishing boats and you will come to the dozen or so seafood shacks fronting a small garden. Put together your own platter – a feast of lobster, sea bass, large prawns and squid for two with drinks costs about £20.
Ramble around the fishing harbour, admiring the small inshore wooden boats and the larger deep sea trawlers, taking care to avoid the notoriously aggressive seagulls.
Taros Café Restaurant (www.taroscafe.com) is on Essaouira’s main square. Dine downstairs where seafood stars, with cuttlefish tagine washed down with dry local wines.
Head to the rooftop terrace at Taros. Sip on an ice cold Casablanca beer and admire the views, with live music often playing late into the night.
Lose yourself in the medina. Compared to Marrakech you get a lot less hassle here, so peruse the myriad stalls at will within the old stone ramparts, before bargaining hard.
Take a table on the waterfront terrace at Le Coquillage (044-47 6655) and enjoy fresh seafood dishes right by the waves.
A hammam is a quintessential Essaouira experience. The Heure Bleue Palais (www.heure-bleue.com) hotel offers a private hammam for two that comes complete with a massage treatment.
Stay on at the Heure Blue for dinner. Enjoy an aperitif in the verdant courtyard, before dinner in their elegant dining room. Local lobster is the star, with a Moroccan themed tasting menu tempting decadence.
Take a (usually) windswept stroll along Essaouira’s expansive sandy beach and blow the cobwebs away before your flight home.
• easyJet (www.easyjet.com) fly from Glasgow to Marrakech with return fares from around £75. Onward transfers and buses available to Essaouira. Lonely Planet’s Morocco guide has a good section on Essaouira.