If Essaouira is generally acclaimed as one of the most enchanting spots along Morocco's Atlantic coast, it owes this position to a temperate climate which hardly varies from one month to the next, to the welcome and warmth offered by its inhabitants, to its inheritance of treasures both architectural and cultural and, more than all of these perhaps, to the unique atmosphere which rules its graceful streets, where fishermen, locals, tourists both Moroccan and European, merchants, craftsmen, musicians, and artists of all kinds come to share their work, their perspectives and their friendship as they have now for hundreds of years.

For some time now Essaouira has been experiencing a boom in tourism, aided by regular flights from major destinations around the world. Essaouira is developing fast, while carefully maintaining the combination of reflective beauty and youthful energy which draw people back to this town again and again.

Essaouira possesses a classical European 'Grand Place,' beautifully preserved ramparts and naval fortifications, one of the finest remaining fortified ports in the world, and numerous monuments of historical interest left by figures ranging from sixteenth-century Portugese explorers right up to Orson Welles and Jimmy Hendrix. Its architecture is both harmonous and yet varied, exposing at different times its French, Portugese, and Berber heritages. Mixing historic buildings with award-winning twentieth century designs lining its long, serene boardwalk, Essaouira is, like Morocco itself, a study in contrasts -- its impressive ramparts and cannon-studded walls enclosing tranquil winding streets, the bustle of the souks giving way to the crumbling grandeur of the ancient Mellah, mosques nestled next to churches and synagogues; and just minutes from the crash of ocean waves one finds the many great riads, their tranquil courtyards and soaring atriums restored to the golden age of Moroccan tilework and woodcraft, offering hospitality once again in the purest Moroccan tradition.

More recently another group has discovered Essaouira: the athletes of wind and surf, drawn here by the great waves which unceasingly ply the coast from Moulay Bouzerktoun down to Sidi Kaouki. Kite, wind, and board surfers have their own Essaouira, a laid-back year-round paradise which they have dubbed "Windy City, Africa."

Moreover, Essaouira is now once again truly an international crossroads, as numerous foreigners fall in love with this town and painstakingly restore the ancient homes of the Kasbah, opening new restaurants and hotels which combine a European sensibility with careful attention to Moroccan heritage which make Essaouira a truly special place to spend days, weeks or years.