Want to visit Essaouira Morocco but aren’t sure how to get there? It can be really stressful trying to figure out how to travel in a foreign country but getting to Essaouira from Marrakech is really easy.

I’ve made the trip myself and have done all of the research for the best ways to get to Essaouira and I’m going to share all the info with you.

You have a few options that include driving either by renting a car, hiring a driver, or taking a bus. Another option is to fly there. I’ll go over all of those options below.

The Essaouira Port with all the blue boats - getting to Essaouira from Marrakech

Where is Essaouira Morocco?

Essaouira is a small coastal town off the Atlantic Ocean and is the perfect place for visiting the beach in Morocco. But first, you have to get there! The closest major city to Essaouira is Marrakech, which is located 177km east (110 miles) and takes about 2.5-3 hours to reach.

Map of Morocco showing the drive to Essaouira from Marrakech.

NOTE: Curious how to pronounce Essaouria? Here you go! Ess-uh-we-ra.

Essaouira from Marrakech by car

Marrakech is nice but after a few days of the chaotic and noisy city, you’ll be ready for an escape to a laid back beach town. Most people who visit Morocco have Marrakech and Fes on their Morocco itinerary but Essaouira is often overlooked. You definitely don’t want to skip this cute little beach town!

But first, you have to figure out what your travel options are and which one is the best one for YOU. Let’s figure that out. I’ll give you all the details and prices for the different ways of travel between the two cities.

Marrakech to Essaouira by car rental

Time: 3 hour drive

Cost: $20+ per day plus gas

If you’ve decided to rent a car in Morocco then this is an easy decision. The drive between Marrakech to Essaouira is a straight shot down National Route 8 (N8) from Marrakech to Essaouira. This road is also listed as Route 207 (R207) after you get through the town of Chichaoua, which is about 81km outside of Marrakech.

Chichaoua is about the halfway mark between Marrakech and Essaouira. It’ll take you about 2 hours and 45 minutes to drive between the two cities, not including any stops.

Once you get to Essaouira you can find plenty of parking right outside the Medina. Remember, you cannot drive a car in the Medina but luckily there aren’t any stairs so if you’re staying inside the Medina it’ll be an easy walk with your luggage. The map below show the road you’ll drive on coming into Essaouria (the blue one).

a map of the city of Essaouira Morocco

You’ll drive in on R207 and you can see on the map below the medina highlighted in blue and there is a parking lot right outside of the medina (the rectangle in red) that you can park in. There are other parking lots throughout the town but this parking lot is very large and the closest one to the medina and beach area.

A satellite view of Essaouira and route 207 that leads into it from Marrakech.

Here is a close up of the medina, parking lot named Parking Bab Marrakech and the road you drive in on (in yellow). It costs around $6 to park in the parking lot for 24 hours. There should be an attendent there but you might have to look for them.

There are parking lots that are further away that are cheaper to park in. If you don’t find a space at this one you might need to drive around for a little while to find another.

A close up view of the medina in Essaouria, the parking lot, and route 207 that goes into Essaouria Morocco.

Essaouira from Marrakech by taxi or private driver

Time: 3 hour drive

Price: between $15-$50 per person

Another way to get to Essaouira from Marrakech is to take a taxi or hire a private driver. While taking a taxi from one city to another might seem like an expensive option, it’s actually not that bad in Morocco. Taking a taxi for long distances is very common in Morocco. It’s also a great option if you are traveling with kids or if you have several people in your group.

The pro to taking a taxi or hiring a private driver is that you can stop for something to eat or to use the restroom at your convenience. We stopped about 30 minutes outside of Essaouira at a small cafe and a women’s argan oil cooperative to learn how Argan oil is made.

Hiring a private driver

The best way to hire a driver is by asking at your hotel in Marrakech if they know of someone you can hire. This is what we did and how we got to Essaouira. There is ALWAYS someone available to do this and chances are really good that whoever works at the hotel knows someone willing to do the job. Just get the price upfront before agreeing.

We had 5 people in our group and we paid $15 a person to drive one way.

You can also hire a driver on several different websites like Viator or Get Your Guide. This will cost more than a recommendation from the hotel but if you have enough people in your group then splitting the cost will bring the price down per person.

You can expect to pay around $100 for up to 4 people on one of these sites. If you are traveling during a busy time then you’ll want to schedule your driver in advance to make sure you have a ride.

Taking a taxi to Essaouira from Marrakech

If you arrive at the Marrakech airport or train station, you will find a parking lot full of taxi drivers. In Morocco, there are two different kinds of taxis: a Grand Taxi or Petite Taxi. Petite taxis are smaller and only allowed to operate within the city they are in. To get a taxi to take you to Essaouira you’ll want the Grand Taxi.

A taxi from Marrakech to Essaouira will run around $100 for 4 people, or 1000 dirham. This is supposed to be a set price but you might be quoted more. If so, be sure to haggle and get the price down. If they don’t budge then walk away and find someone else. I actually like to get several quotes anyways just to make sure I’m not overpaying.

If the vehicle is a shuttle van and sits more than 4 people then the driver will likely wait until the seats are full before leaving. Take this into consideration if you’re on a tight schedule. It could take a while to fill those seats.

Where to find a Grand Taxi in Marrakech

If you’ve flown into Marrakech or taken a train into Marrakesh from another Moroccan city, you’ll find taxis right outside the airport and train station. You can just walk right outside and you’ll find plenty of drivers approaching you. You don’t even have to go looking for one!

Marrakech-Menara Airport

You can also save some time by scheduling your pickup before you arrive at the airport. Again, the more people there are the less it will cost per person.

Marrakech Train Station

At the train station when you walk out the front doors you will find all of the taxis to your left in a big parking lot. You’ll probably have someone come up to you and ask you if you need a ride to your hotel. Just let them know what you need and they will point you in the right direction if they can’t take you.

Remember, there will be Grand taxis and Petite taxis at the train station so the first taxi you find might only be a petite taxi and they won’t be able to drive out of Marrakech.

The price to get from Marrakech to Essaouira from the train station should be in line with taking a taxi from the airport. So if you need to walk away and find another driver then make sure you do that. Haggling and negotiation is always expected in Morocco.

You can see that the train station and airport are on the same side of town and the train station is right on National Route 8.

Map of the city of Marrakech Morocco with the airport and train stations visible. Marrakech to Essaouira

Marrakech to Essaouira by bus

The cheapest way to get from Marrakech to Essaouira is by bus. There are two different kinds of buses you can take to get to Essaouira: the CTM bus or Supratours bus. These buses are nice touring buses with air conditioning.

Time: 3 hour drive

Price: between $9 – $12 per person

CTM Bus Service

The CTM Bus Company is one of the largest intercity bus operators in Morocco and has been in operation since 1919. They operate between major cities, towns, and tourist destinations throughout Morocco.

You’ll find the CTM bus station right across the street from the train station.

close up map of where the CTM bus station is in Marrakech Morocco - how to get to Essaouira from Marrakech

The CTM bus service has one departure a day from Marrakech to Essaouira. It’s a 3 hour bus ride and leaves at 9am and arrives at noon. The CTM bus ride will cost just 90 dirham or about $9.

If you’re on a budget then this is the best way to get to Essaouira from Marrakech. It takes the same amount of time, give or take 15 minutes, and costs 3x to 5x less than any other way.

But, with just one bus a day making this route you’ll need to book your ticket online or in person before you leave.

Supratours Bus Service

If the CTM bus is booked you have another bus service option called Supratours. This bus company has been in operation in Morocco since 1991 and just like CTM, they operate between major cities, towns, and tourist destinations.

The Supratours bus station is right outside the train station.

A map showing that the SupraTour bus station is righ outside the Marrakech train station.

The Supratours bus has 4 buses a day that operate between Marrakech and Essaouira. The ride with Supratours takes 3 hours and leaves at 9am, 10:45am, 12:00pm, and 2:45pm.

The first bus that leaves at 9am costs 120 dirham, or $12, and the other three buses cost 100 dirham, or $10. You can either book your seat online at the Supratours website or you can book it in person.

Getting to Essaouira by air

Time: 3.5 – 24 hours

Price: $300+

Essaouira has a small airport and has a few flights a week arriving from cities in Europe. You can find flights from Paris, London, Brussels, Madrid, and Dusseldorf as well as a few other cities in France.

Flying to Essaouira from another city in Europe is a great option if you are planning to just visit Essaouira or want to start your trip in Essaouira. A one way ticket to Essaouira is around $360.

There are flights from Marrakech that leave 3 times a day HOWEVER, there is not a direct flight. I know this is kind of crazy considering the two cities are just 30 minutes apart by air, but a flight from Marrakech would take between 17-27 hours with layovers in Europe.

Because of this, flying from Marrakech to Essaouira is not a good option and I don’t recommend it but I still wanted to provide the information.

Summary of Travel Options to Essaouira

If you’re already planning on renting a vehicle during your time in Morocco then driving to Essaouira is your best option. It’s also the most convenient and depending on how many people are in your group it can be cost effective.

Flying to Essaouira is only a good travel option if you’re coming from one of the European cities that has a direct flight to Essaouira. If you’re already planning on flying to Morocco from one of those cities then this is a good choice.

If you’re looking for convenience then taking a Grand Taxi or hiring a private driver is your best choice.

And finally, if you’re looking to save money then taking the CTM or Supratour bus will be the best way to reach Essaouira from Marrakech.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the road like between Marrakech and Essaouira?

The road between the two cities is in good shape. We didn’t notice any potholes or any other hazardous issues with the road.

Can I just take a day trip to Essaouira?

Yes, you can take a day trip either on your own or with a tour to Essaouira. I actually recommend staying 1-2 nights but if that’s not possible then there are tours that go there. Just rememeber that you’ll spend 6 hours of your day driving there and back so you will only have around 4-6 hours in Essaouria.

Is there a train that goes to Essaouira?

Unfortunately Essaouira does not have a train station so there are no trains that go there.

Once I’m in Essaouira how do I get around?

Essaouira is not that large and all the tourist sites in the Medina, port, and beach are all within walking distance of each other. Walking is the best way to get around Essaouira.

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