Agadir holidays from
Morocco for modernists
Soak up the rays and catch some waves
Morocco’s leading coastal resort on the Atlantic, Agadir, offers over 300 days of annual sunshine, a busy port, glossy marina, a vast souk, plenty of green spaces and miles of well-kept sandy shores so far untarnished by high-rise developments. Agadir was levelled by a devastating earthquake in 1960 and then completely rebuilt, making it one of Morocco’s more modern cities and today it serves as a calmer introduction to the country than most. You won’t have to venture too far though to find idyllic nature spots, prime surf and shopping.
Stroll around Medina d’Agadir, a faithful recreation of pre-earthquake Agadir built in 1992 that’s home to atmospheric Berber streets fashioned from local materials housing many inviting arts and craft shops. Stroll along the Corniche and then take a sunset ride on the 50-metre high Big Wheel, the first of its kind in Africa.
There are several nearby towns which make decent day trips. The market village of Imouzzer Des Ida Outanane has a waterfall and plunge pool. Take the two-mile walk down to the foot of the falls lined by souvenir shops and cafes to discover cliffs and olive groves. There’s even a petrified section of waterfall. Try the local honey, made by bees busy pollinating wild thyme, lavender and other mountain herbs.
Taghazout is a former hippy haven 12 miles north of Agadir that’s popular with younger visitors drawn by its calm beaches, affordable fish eateries and excellent surfing spots. Book your flights to Agadir today and start exploring.
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Keen birdwatchers flock to Souss-Massa National Park, an 83,000-acre oasis of wetlands, forests and Sahara-like dunes some 10 miles away. The Massa Lagoon is one of the area’s key habitats packed with flamingos, avocets and ducks, while the sandbars and waters of Oued Massa are thronged with various species such as sandgrouse, cranes, black-tailed godwit, turnstone, dunlin, snipe, black-headed bush shrike and little crakes. While you’re there you can also try sandboarding on the Taboga dunes.
What are the best things to do in Agadir?
- Check out the atmospheric ruins of the 16th Century Kasbah, also known as the Agadir Oufella. Following the 1960 earthquake, only the crumbling outer walls and entrance way remain of this ancient structure which once housed 300 people, but the hilltop setting 236 metres above sea level offers spectacular views over Agadir, especially at sunset.
- Agadir is Morocco’s prime beach destination and so comes blessed with miles of pristine honey-hued sands, sheltered bays, beachfront cafes and restaurants and waters with conditions ideal for surfing. Palm Beach is a private beach with good facilities and a children’s play area offering more seclusion than most, an urban beach stretches for eight miles with much of it on virgin sands, while Agadir’s southern beaches offer dramatic cliffs and small, rocky coves.
- Submit yourself to an invigorating trip to a hammam and immerse yourself in this time-honoured Moroccan tradition of cleansing and socialising. Have your pores steamed open and then get your body thoroughly scrubbed with black-olive-oil soap leaving you feeling perfectly cleansed and revitalised. For the ultimate luxurious experience swing by Argan Palace, where you can enjoy an authentic Berber massage complete with aromatic essential oils, soothing music and cosy candles.
- Agadir’s Marina is one of the city’s most exclusive areas. The Dubai-style pleasure port has moorings for 300 glitzy yachts, plus scores of cafes, restaurants, bars, boutiques, landscaped gardens, luxury apartments and even a mock pirate ship called the Jack Sparrow. Take a boat trip along the surrounding coastline from here.
- Don’t miss a shopping – and haggling – trip to the Souk El Had, one of Morocco’s largest markets with some 6,000 stalls spread across 32 acres selling everything from fragrant spices to tagine pots, plus fruit and veg, clothes and household goods. It’s better organised than most, with 12 gates and an easy-to-follow numbering system. Go in the morning when it’s quietest and escape the clamour with a refreshment on the roof terrace of the charming cafe by Gate Six. Alternatively, to experience it in full throng, pop by on a Sunday, the day after which the market is named.
Where are the best places to stay in Agadir?
Founty is home to many of the city’s more exclusive beach resorts, packed with opulent villas and holiday homes. Several of these resorts boast excellent spas while many of the city’s best restaurants can also be found here. Don’t miss the stunning gardens of the Royal Palace, the Museum of Amazigh Culture and the striking modernist Grand Mosque in this central area.
Talborjt was completely devastated by the 1960 earthquake, but the rebuilt area just 15 minutes’ walk from the beach is a mecca for shopping and dining. It’s a lively area for locals and visitors alike, packed with budget hotels and humble cafe-restaurants. Some of its key attractions include the Mohammed V Mosque, opened in 1969, Cinema Sahara and Olhao Garden, with Amazigh architecture, water features and lush greenery.
Bensergao is a quiet rural neighbourhood that’s home to a park, a well-rated golf course and several mosques. The main attraction though is undoubtedly the Agadir Medina, created by Italian-Moroccan architect Coco Polizzi in 1992 to recreate the original medina destroyed by the earthquake. Today it’s a charming mishmash of narrow alleyways, stone and earthenware buildings and tempting market stalls. The medina is populated by numerous artisans, including the likes of henna tattoo artists, stonemasons, wood carvers, metalworkers, artists, and jewellery makers. It’s a fine place to stop for some Moroccan pastries and a glass of mint tea.
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