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Our pick of the BEST hostels in Essaouira for 2024

Our pick of the BEST hostels in Essaouira for 2024

With the vast range of accommodation options and the many Essaouira hostels available, it can be overwhelming finding the right one for you. If you’re looking for the best budget accommodation in Essaouira, we’ve done the research for you. Here we have rounded up our pick of the best hostels in Essaouira.

Whilst there are some superb upmarket hotels, cosy riads, and homely Airbnbs to choose from in Essaouria, for some travellers, especially backpackers, a hostel is what you’re looking for.

Perhaps it’s the community vibe at a hostel, knowing that you are likely to meet other travellers, or maybe you just need a cheap bed for a couple of nights, somewhere that feels safe as a base for exploring all the things to do in Essaouira? Or probably, it’s a bit of both.

When we’ve lived in Essaouira, an Airbnb has been our preferred choice and is the most budget-friendly option for a long-term stay. However, when I’ve taken trips to Essaouira on my own as a solo female, I sometimes prefer to stay in an Essaouira hostel. It’s nice to have other travellers around me and the Essaouira hostels often provide a nice atmosphere to work (I particularly like Hostel La Smala for this, it’s a great option for digital nomads in Morocco).

I should mention that if you are a group of friends travelling together, it’s worthwhile checking out Airbnbs, as you may get a better deal there. An Airbnb won’t provide that community feel a hostel offers, although you will find this at some of the Essaouria bars, especially Taros in the medina.

This cosmopolitan beach town has been welcoming travellers for decades, so it probably comes as no surprise that there are some fantastic Essaouira hostels to choose from. Here we have rounded up our pick of the best ones. Each offer a different vibe, but all are clean and welcoming (our top two criteria for any Essaouira hostel).

If you are visiting in July or August, make sure you book your Essaouira hostel in advance, especially if you are looking to stay a week or more, as this is the high season (with both domestic and international tourism).

Map of the best hostels in Essaouira

Use the below map to help you work out the locations of our suggested Essaouira hostels. Most are located in or around the medina (except for Essaouira Beach Hostel, which is an excellent location for surfing in Essaouira, and Diabat Hostel, which is an quiet option for further out of town).

Tips for selecting your Essaouira accommodation

  • Accommodation close to the ramparts and Taros should be avoided if you want a peaceful night’s sleep. Music from the bars and restaurants along here can go on until 1am. However, earplugs do work wonders.
  • Within the medina, it’s likely you will be woken by the call to prayer at sunrise. Rooms next to a mosque will be the loudest. Whilst this is a charming experience of Moroccan life, it may not be appreciated by those who enjoy a lie-in on holiday. Again, earplugs are an idea. Otherwise, use it as an alarm clock to get up and explore the medina at its quietest.
  • Many of the hostels in Essaouira have narrow stairs to climb and often the better rooms are towards the top floor as these offer the better views. For those with mobility issues (or heavy backpacks), the stairs are something to consider.
  • If your accommodation doesn’t offer breakfast, there are many restaurants within the medina serving breakfast. So don’t limit your Essaouira hostel search to those that serve breakfast.
  • All Essaouira accommodations require a government tourist tax to be paid. This needs to be paid directly to your accommodation in cash, often requested on departure and goes to the local community. So don’t be surprised if your accommodation ask for this extra payment.

Explore Essaouira ebook

Updated for 2024, the Explore Essaouira ebook is the only travel guide you need for exploring Essaouira. It is jam packed with inspiration on what to do, where to eat, where to stay, and also includes a step-by-step self-guided walking tour (with photos). 

This is a PDF download for use offline and on the go (and ad-free!). Save it to read on the plane to Morocco, download to your phone to follow the self-guided walking tour around the medina, or print it off at home before you leave on your adventures and highlight all the bits you want to remember for your visit.

1. Hostel La Smala

Hostel La Smala is probably the most upmarket hostel in Essaouira, reflected by their rates. But the décor is fresh and funky, the location is brilliant, and the food served on the rooftop is fantastic.

I first visited Hostel La Smala to dine at their rooftop café. It’s easily one of the best cafes in Essaouira and the ocean views over the ramparts are stunning, especially at sunset. Indeed, it’s a place I return to on every trip to Essaouira. Although do note that in the high season, they sometimes close the rooftop to walk-ins.

On the walk up the stairs to the rooftop café I spotted the clean rooms and could see that other digital nomads were using the central workstation, as well as the rooftop café, to work (indeed, the WIFI here is excellent). So when it came to choosing an hostel in Essaouira for a solo trip, I knew that Hostel Smala would be perfect.

There are both mixed and male/female only dorms available, all with shared bathroom. You are provided with a box to sleep in, a bit like the capsule hotels popping up around Asia, so they do feel very private for a dorm. It’s very clever and stylishly done. They also offer a double room with ensuite for those visitors who want to enjoy a hostel vibe, but want more privacy.

Breakfast is an additional cost. Admittedly you can get breakfast much cheaper elsewhere, but it’s worth experiencing a breakfast here at least one morning as it’s served on the rooftop. Breakfast views don’t get much better than this in Essaouira. What a perfect way to start your day before heading out on our Essaouira walking tour or on one of the many Essaouira activities.

My only criticism of this Essaouira hostel is that is lacks that quintessential Moroccan architectural charm. The décor is very fresh and clean, and in all honesty, if it weren’t for the rooftop views, you could be anywhere in the world. But if you want a hostel in Essaouira that guarantees cleanliness, Hostel La Smala, is your best bet.

“One of the best hostels I’ve stayed in. The box beds, with curtains at the end gave good privacy. The decoration at the hostel was amazing, and the dining place at top, had amazing food and view….”

Lykke Denmark on

2. The Chill Art Hostel

In the heart of the medina, tucked away from the main thoroughfare, The Chill Art Hostel is considered one of the best hostels in Essaouira. It’s very popular and has many return visitors.

The Chill Art Hostel is a great place to meet other travellers and backpackers in Essaouira as there’s always someone hanging out in the communal area, and the vibe is exceptionally friendly and laid back. There are sometimes workshops and activities arranged through the hostel and there’s often an open mic night.

Being a Essaouira riad (an old, traditional Moroccan house), this hostel oozes Moroccan charm and character, which is perhaps what Hostel La Smala (above) lacks. Indeed colourful art adorns every nook and cranny (well it is called ‘ The Chill ART Hostel’).

Lockers are provided in the dorm rooms (you can rent a lock from the front desk if you don’t have your own) and each bed has a privacy curtain and reading lamp. There’s also a very affordable apartment with private bathroom and terrace should you want a private room but still enjoy the communal atmosphere.

There’s quite a party vibe here, so if you’re a quiet soul who likes an early night, this place is perhaps not for you. But for those travellers who want a clean, central and funky base to meet like-minded people, The Chill Art Hostel is the place for you. And if you’re planning to enjoy the Essaouira nightlife into the early hours, please note that the front door closes at 2am. If you are going to be later than this, you need to let the front desk know via Whatsapp.

A huge bonus is that breakfast is included. This is the usual Moroccan spread of orange juice, breads, and eggs.

“Exceptional hostel, great for meeting people, really chilled vibe. Raymondo the Chef does a fantastic dinner with fresh fish from the market for a few extra dirham. Cannot recommend it enough!”

Andy United Kingdom on

3. Moga Hostel

Moga Hostel Essaouira

In a great location in the medina, close enough to the action but still maintaining a peaceful vibe, Moga Hostel on Avenue Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah is a sociable place where you’re almost guaranteed to meet fellow travellers on the third floor lounge area. If you’re visiting during a warmer time of year (remember that it can get cold in Essaouira during the winter), head up to the top floor and the rooftop terrace.

With a choice between private (twin and double) and dorm rooms (all rooms have a shared bathroom), we’d recommend choosing a dorm room as they offer a similar level of comfort to the private rooms, and you’ll be sharing a bathroom in either case. The dorms come with lockers to keep your stuff safe. Breakfast is also available at the hostel.

We liked the secure feeling to the hostel and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. It can get a little loud at times (typical of most hostels in Essaouira in all honesty), but it’s quite well protected from general street noise. Mainly, it’s a relaxed and chilled place to sleep and meet fellow travellers, and the location takes some beating.

“Perfect! Very cute hostel and the staff are really kind and fun. Hakim and Yassine made us feel welcome and provided a great time. The environment is friendly and warm. I recommend it highly!”

Tom United States on hostelworld

4. Atlantic Hostel

Located towards the Bab Doukkala end of the medina (away from Essaouira’s main beach), Atlantic Hostel offers very cheap dorm beds and is therefore one of the cheapest hostels in Essaouira. The dorms are basic and rather cramped, and the mattresses have seen better days. But if you’re after a bargain, this is where to stay.

But this Essaouira hostel makes up for basic dorms with the superb common areas, which are vibrant and airy. The rooftop terrace is a fantastic space, especially for sunset views, as it’s the tallest building in this area of the medina.

And if you really want to save your dirhams, there’s also a communal kitchen to prepare and cook your own food. Unfortunately the kitchen isn’t the cleanest, but for the price you pay at this hostel, you can’t really complain.

“I came here for one week back in February, still here 2 months later as I keep extending my stay. Pretty much speaks for itself how good this place is.”

Christine United Kingdom on

5. Essaouira Beach Hostel

Essaouira Beach Hostel is what happens when the best elements of a more upmarket hotel are combined with the atmosphere and philosophy of a hostel.

Located away from the medina, just opposite the beach, Essaouira Beach Hostel is partly aimed at the younger, surfing crowd, with surf lessons available, a relaxed rooftop area ideal for sunset views, regular music, and a communal atmosphere.

There’s a wide choice of rooms, ranging from mixed dorms to triple and double rooms with private bathrooms. The dorm rooms are thoughtfully equipped with power points, privacy curtains and lockers. You get the sense that the owners have been backpackers themselves and know what works.

With a free breakfast included in the price, it really works out as a good value option. Something which really appealed to us was the live music in the evenings, plus food and drink available on the roof terrace as the sun sets. It’s a very sociable spot.

If you need any help with booking Essaouira activities, including surf lessons, quad-biking, or Essaouira day trips, the friendly staff are only too happy to help. Essaouira Beach Hostel is a fantastic hostel where you’ll be very well looked after.

“Brekkie was fab plenty of variety and all you want. Wifi great. Bed’s with real black out curtains and very warm and comfy. Hot water in showers. Place to hang and dry clothes. Free couscous…”

Thomas Ireland on

6. Giraffe Hostel

Giraffe Hostel rooftop

Sipping a mint tea from the rooftop of Giraffe Hostel as the sun rises over the medina is a beautiful moment. Add to this the sound of the call to prayer drifting over the rooftops, and a stay at Giraffe Hostel feels pretty perfect.

This is a calm and clean Essaouira hostel with exceptionally friendly staff. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, there’s an air of simplicity here, which may appeal to mature solo travellers.

Choose between the six-bed mixed dorm (security box and toilitries included) or a deluxe double room with bath for privacy.

“The location was excellent and they have a beautiful rooftop. The staff was so nice and always ready to help. Rooms were comfy, in the dorms the blinds were really shielding against light.”

Ronja Germany on

7. Berber Hostel

Berber Hostel is a smaller hostel in the middle of the medina, well located for the shops, restaurants and sights nearby. The building itself is several decades old and gives you a strong sense of the history of Essaouira when this type of building was most common.

With a straightforward choice between a private room or dorm room, you’ll feel at home as soon as you arrive. It feels more like you’re staying in someone’s home, unlike some of the other hostels in Essaouira which are built on a bigger scale.

It’s the sort of place you can relax in, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and perhaps get to know your fellow guests.

“The atmosphere is the best in this hostel! Because you take your breakfast together with the other guests and volunteers, you get to know everyone very quickly and become best friends in no time”

Elena Belgium on

8. Diabat Hostel

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Essaouira, especially in the peak season months of July and August, consider staying at Diabat Hostel run by a lovely local family.

As the name suggests, this hostel is actually in the town of Diabat, a dusty, sleepy village, 4km south of Essaouira. It’s where most tourists just visit for quad biking or horse riding, before returning to the medina.

The communal areas provide a homely feel with hand-carved furniture and verdant plants. Rooms are basic but comfy.

Opposite the hostel is a road that leads down to Dar Sultan Palace (a ruined castle amongst the sand dunes). This the leads you further down to the windswept beach of Diabat, popular with the professional kite-surfers.

To get to Essaouira from Diabat, you can take a petit taxi (it’s a flat fare of 30DH) or perhaps take your time and enjoy the beautiful walk from Diabat to Essaouira along the beach. We recommend timing your walk with a sundowner at Beach & Friends, one of our favourite bars in Essaouira.

“Really friendly hostel, you live alongside the family who also live on the hostel grounds. The hostel is clean and the terrace is beautiful looking over the sea. We were given tea and dates when we arrived which was lovely. We really enjoyed the outdoor living. Our private room was very comfortable and the shower was great. The hostel is in Diabat which is a 20 minute walk from Essaouria beach front – the people in Diabat were all very friendly. The kitchen we shared with the family was good.”

Anonymous United Kingdom on

Explore Essaouira ebook

Updated for 2024, the Explore Essaouira ebook is the only travel guide you need for exploring Essaouira. It is jam packed with inspiration on what to do, where to eat, where to stay, and also includes a step-by-step self-guided walking tour (with photos). 

This is a PDF download for use offline and on the go (and ad-free!). Save it to read on the plane to Morocco, download to your phone to follow the self-guided walking tour around the medina, or print it off at home before you leave on your adventures and highlight all the bits you want to remember for your visit.

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