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April 1, 2022

Discover Essaouira, Morocco's Coastal Gem - Ep. 7

Discover Essaouira, Morocco's Coastal Gem - Ep. 7

Welcome to the stunning oceanside city of Essaouira, located southwest of Casablanca, due west of Marrakesh, and midway down the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

In this episode, Azdean welcomes Xavier Panadés, owner of the riad "Riad Zahra," which sits but one block from Essaouira's stunning beach and oceanfront promenade. Xavier has Moroccan roots, but grew up in Barcelona, before returning to Morocco, settling in Essaouira and opening his Riad about 16 years ago.

Essaouira has many claims to fame, perhaps none more important or poignant than as a melting pot of cultures and religions. Arabs, Jews and Christians have lived together harmoniously for hundreds of years, a source of pride for the locals, known as swiriyin and swiriyat

Xavier gives us some background on things to see and do in Essaouira, local dishes, spices and markets, and the story behind his beautiful riad, which combines Moroccan and Spanish cuisine and influences.

You're about to learn:

- About Essaouira's Game of Thrones connection. Orson Welles too.

- About Riad Zahra, just 2 minutes' walk from the beach.

- Check out the amazing Live Webcam!!

- The Gnaoua International Music Festival, one of the largest music festivals in the world.

- The Hiloula Jewish festival, commemorating Rabbi Haim Pinto.

The special tagines of Essaouira:
- eel tagine
- octopus tagine

- Useful, valuable tips for buying Argan oil, Olive oil and even Moroccan honey. Look for the new official government label to ensure quality control.

- How Essaouira is a haven for Thuya wood and Argan trees.

Now is the time to visit, and Destination Morocco is in fact offering a special Jewish-themed guided tour, July 17-26, incorporating Jewish heritage highlights, in addition to regular popular sights.

All the details and a special rate for podcast listeners can be found here:

This Episode is sponsored by:

Travel Anywhere - One stop for all your travel needs.

Resources Mentioned in this episode:

Essaouira map

Riad Zahra website

Riad Zahra welcome video 

Argan oil 

Thuya tree 

Gnawa music 

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Xavier Panades BenolielProfile Photo

Xavier Panades Benoliel

Born in Tangier in 1961 from Spanish father and Sepharad Moroccan mother. In 1963 all my family left Morocco to Barcelona. I lived in Barcelona until 1984 and then I move to Principality of Andorra until 2006.
We bought Riad Zahra in Essaouira and move with my wife and my son because Essaouira is a very special city in Morocco.
This city have an special atmosphere, nice people, plenty of history and a beautiful medina and a picturesque port.
We manage some rental apartments and this family run hotel since 2006 and we are very happy to live here.