Agadir – an oriental fairy tale of the Atlantic
Morocco’s premier seaside resort is a city of wide, palm-shaded promenades and world-class hotels lined along the golden-sand coastline of a magnificent bay. Raised from the ashes at the end of the 20th century after the devastating 1960 earthquake, Agadir is now a modern city that thrives on tourism.
As a showcase of progressive Moroccan urban style, the city is impressive. However, for most visitors, its biggest attractions are its recreational infrastructure and more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Agadir is also an interesting blend of old and new: centuries-old Moroccan traditions and culture are combined with modern life. The Atlantic seaside resort is also the gateway to the major attraction of northern Africa, the mythical and alluring Sahara.
How do I get to the city from the airport?
Agadir’s Al Massira Airport is located about 20 kilometers from the center of the city. There are two ways to get there: by bus and by cab.
Bus 22 departs from the main road that runs near the airport terminal. However, this route does not go to Agadir itself, but only to a suburb called Inezgan, which serves as the main transportation hub in the region. The last bus leaves the airport at 8:30 p.m. In Inezgan, you must change to another bus number 20, 24 or 28 to the center of Agadir. Although, paying no more, you can also take a public cab to the resort (this is when, in addition to you, there are several other companions in the car).
If you decide to take a cab, then about 200 meters from the exit of the hall of arrivals find the parking of intercity Grand Taxi (“big cab”), whose carpools are mostly equipped with old “Mercedes” and “Peugeot” cream color. The fare is fixed and can be found at the information desk inside the terminal. However, the price is better to negotiate. Keep in mind that the bellhop drivers waiting at the exit of the airport ask twice as much for a ride into the city.
The center of Agadir is flat with spacious, well-kept avenues and boulevards, so it’s a pleasure to move around on foot. It’s quite safe to walk around the city, but female travelers would do well to deflect the excessive attention of local men.
There are many bus routes in Agadir, and they connect the city center with the suburbs and the magnificent beaches in the north of the resort. Keep in mind that the buses are often crowded with locals and can move very slowly, but this justifies the low fare. The final destination is indicated on the front of the bus in Arabic and French. Make sure you have coins to pay, as drivers usually don’t have change.
Only the orange Petit Taxi (“little cab”) can carry passengers within the city, unlike the Grand Taxi which you are already familiar with. You should either negotiate the price of the trip or ask the driver to put the meter on, but that’s on condition if you catch the car on the street. If you call for a car through the hotel administrator, the driver turns on the counter without any alternative. In any case, traveling in such a cab in Agadir is not expensive. Grand cab with a capacity of up to six people (although in fact in the car “squeeze in” seven passengers) runs not only between cities, but also inside the resort. However, it works as a minibus, moving on a fixed route, and does not depart until a full set of passengers. As seats become vacant, the driver drops off new fellow passengers. If you don’t want to have fellow passengers, you can buy out the whole car and travel “without witnesses.” The main cab rank in Agadir is at the Place Assalam bus station
There are no railroad tracks in Agadir except for a small section in the tourist areas, where a small sightseeing steam train runs.
Agadir is not a very busy city, but you should be prepared for the fact that locals and cab drivers have little regard for the rules of the road, like to drive right up against each other and constantly honk. The situation is complicated by ubiquitous motorcyclists and people crossing “wherever they want”. Agadir is bordering a mountainous region, where almost all roads are serpentine. To rent a car in the city is not difficult. You need an international driver’s license (although Russian ones are often accepted) and a credit card with the necessary amount (although again, cash is often taken).
Kasbah of Ufell.
After the catastrophe of 1960 there is nothing left of old Agadir except the fortress. But what a fortress! The citadel of Agadir – called the kasbah – is a kind of magical place with a fascinating history.
After relaxing on the beach and strolling along the promenade, head to the suburb of Bensergao, about five kilometers from the city center, for a change. This is the new medina of Agadir.
Mohammed V Mosque
The Mohammed V Mosque is located at the intersection of President Kennedy Avenue and Avenue 29 Fevrier in the New Talborget district. It is the largest and most important mosque in the city, as well as the most prominent.
The port of Agadir was once a small fishing village whose main purpose was to serve as a trading post for the country. The port has progressed and developed over the years and is now the fourth busiest commercial port in the country. There aren’t many attractions in Agadir, so sooner or later all tourists end up here.
Museums in Agadir The museums in Agadir are very few, which is why they are valuable. If you want to know the history and culture of this region, you must visit them.
Museum of Memory of Agadir
This memorial museum is located in the southeast part of the Olhão Gardens in the modern center of Agadir. Its exhibition is dedicated to the terrible earthquake of 1960 that destroyed the entire city and killed about 15,000 people. After the disaster, Agadir was abandoned by its inhabitants, but later it was decided to rebuild it. In the museum you will see many pictures of the city before and after the earthquake, and newspaper clippings about the tragic event. After the tour you can walk around the beautiful gardens in the backyard and enjoy the silence in the center of Agadir.
Berber Cultural Museum
The Berber Culture Museum is a small two story museum in the heart of downtown Agadir with a wonderful collection of old Berber things from the 18th and 19th centuries. It was opened with the idea of preserving the heritage and culture of the indigenous people of Morocco. The museum showcases carpets, earthenware along with ancient Berber architecture, building materials and information about how construction went. You will also find ancient musical instruments of the people, Berber jewelry and talismans, traditional clothing, ancient manuscripts and handicrafts from all over the southern region of Morocco. On the first floor of the museum there is an art gallery where paintings by local artists are usually displayed. All in all, it is a great place to learn about Moroccan and Berber art history.
This museum in Agadir has only recently opened, so its exhibit is not yet very rich. In the future, meteorites found all over Morocco will be on display here. The museum also hosts a number of thematic forums and workshops for professionals. In addition, all interested professionals will be trained to distinguish between real meteorites and ordinary stones.
Shopping tour of Agadir
Although Agadir is not the most shopaholic paradise in Morocco, the city can still meet the needs of both haggling in the bustling local market and strolling through air-conditioned shopping malls. Whether you want to buy handmade ceramics, leather clothing and accessories, carved figurines, famous oriental spices, argan oil, or even a rug, make sure you have enough cash (bank cards are not liked in Morocco) and never settle for an initial price. In the new city, the main shopping areas are around Boulevard Hassan II and Avenue du Prince Moulay Abdullah. Here you’ll find plenty of boutiques and department stores with branded goods and souvenir shops with Moroccan trinkets and trinkets. Also, to buy something and just stroll around the colorful place, visit Agadir’s new medina, where there are many stores with jewelry and handicrafts.
The City Market (Marché), open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., is a two-story concrete complex in the city center between Avenue des FAR (Avenue des FAR) and Avenue Prince Sidi Mohammed. The range on the first floor has an abundance of fresh fish lying next to various fossils and handicrafts. On the second floor you will mainly find souvenir stores with not the lowest prices. In Talborjt, on Rue El Mahdi Ibn Toumert there is a simple little food market (daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm) that sells mainly fruits and vegetables.
The most impressive market in Agadir, however, is Souk el Had, located in a massive walled area on 2 Mars street (open Tuesday-Sunday 8:00-18:00). Here you can buy fruits, vegetables, household items, clothes and, of course, all kinds of souvenirs and ready-made oriental delicacies. On Sundays the market grows significantly when people from different parts of the region come there with their goods. This is probably the most ideal place to immerse yourself in the Moroccan flavor.
When you get fed up with the hustle and bustle of the local markets and want to escape, head to the Marina Mall, which promises to put a European twist on things. The mall is located in the upmarket Marina neighborhood of Agadir, on the coast of the city. Here you will find almost everything that is typical of a modern shopping center. And you can buy everything you need – groceries, small household items, cheap souvenirs, and other items – side by side with the locals in hypermarkets like Marjane and Uniprix.
What and where to eat in Agadir?
Agadir’s restaurant scene is alive and well despite the booming all-inclusive resort system. The main areas where you can eat lunch or dinner, as well as other interesting things to do, are downtown, the coastal promenade and the southern part of the city near the first line hotels. Although there’s a good variety of restaurants, the cuisine is limited to European – with a strong emphasis on British – and Moroccan, which reflects the nationality of the outnumbering majority of the tourists in Agadir. Of the national treats, be sure to try the tender and crumbly couscous; the tagine, a dish of meat or fish and vegetables cooked in a pot of the same name over low heat for several hours; and the jaya mahamaru, a chicken stuffed with almonds, semolina and raisins. Agadir is also Morocco’s largest fishing port. Tons of fresh fish and seafood arrive here every day, and skilled local chefs turn them into real delicacies. Moroccan seafood cuisine is a particular treat at one of the coastal restaurants overlooking the ocean. For a nice lunch or dinner in a pretty spot, visit Le Quai. Located in the marina, this stylish restaurant can delight you with delicious international and Moroccan cuisine. The atmosphere is very nice and relaxed and the staff is friendly and helpful. You can also indulge in local delicacies along with Mediterranean culinary masterpieces in a traditional oriental setting at Le Mauresque restaurant, where in addition to the main room, there is a charming outdoor terrace. Another
upscale place offering national cuisine is the Scampi restaurant in the center of the city. Its attentive waiters can give you great advice on the choice of dish and tell you which type of wine goes best with it. You can try Moroccan cuisine at a reasonable price at the Daffy restaurant near the Lubnan mosque. The most popular dish in this restaurant is tajine.
For those who have had enough of Moroccan food, visit Mezzo Mezzo, an Italian restaurant serving delicious pizzas, pasta and risotto, or Le Parasol Bleu, a French restaurant with an excellent wine selection. Fish and seafood lovers should head to Mimi La Brochette next door to the beach and ocean. Other seafood delicacies are served in impressive portions at Little Norway. For a quick bite to eat on the run in Agadir, try McDonald’s, but better go to Chiche Kebab, where you can sample Oriental fast food and the usual burgers and sandwiches.
Some uninformed travelers come to Agadir expecting nightlife that borders on that of Ibiza, and are disappointed when they find none of this.Agadir nevertheless provides a decent, albeit constrained, selection of bars and other entertainment places in comparison to the rest of Morocco.. After a day spent on the beach, you want to change the environment from idle relaxed to fiery fun, so tourists flood the local nightclubs, bars and even casinos.
The wealthiest and most gambling tourists can try their luck at one of the three casinos operating in Agadir: Atlantic Palace Casino Resort, Shem’s Casino d’Agadir and Casino le Mirage. In them, you can find more than 324 gaming seats and machines. In the gambling houses of Agadir you will find games such as Blackjack, roulette, slot machines, three card poker, Caribbean poker, Texas Hold’em, electronic roulette, Punto Banco and some others.
Beach vacations in Agadir
There’s no denying that all life in Agadir revolves around the beach, which is incredibly huge (10 kilometers) and, unlike other parts of the North African Atlantic coast, well protected from the ocean winds. The city authorities keep the coastline clean and safe: thanks to police patrols that minimize raids by pickpockets and hawkers, sunbathers can fully relax and enjoy peace of mind.
In addition, numerous cafes, comfortable lounge chairs, and entertainment such as jet skis, quad bikes, sand buggies, horseback rides, camels and a small tourist tram that runs along the beach contribute to a full immersion in relaxation. The only drawback is the undercurrents, which sometimes make the ocean dangerous for swimming. In fact, Agadir has one wide and long municipal beach. However, some hotels have their own private sections, most of them are simply separated by a cord. The only difference is that on the city beach you can use the sunbeds only for a fee, and on the territory of the hotels their guests are “gifted” with chairs and umbrellas for free. In addition, the area hotel beach area, as a rule, a lot less people. Many travelers prefer the beaches in the north and south of Agadir, as they are relatively wild and interesting to explore. Fifteen kilometers north of the resort in the village of Taghazout, the sandy coast is famous for stunning waves, which attract surfers from all over the world. You can get here by bus (№12, 60 or 32) or by a grand cab with hitchhikers. Those who are not too lazy to drive 150 kilometers south of Agadir will discover the stunning beach of Legzira with scenery inexpressible in words. Here, you will feel as if you are on Mars, because you will be surrounded by bizarre shaped cliffs of red sandstone. The views are particularly spectacular when the rocky massifs are lit up by the dawn or dusk sun. You can get to Legzira beach in the following ways: by bus to the nearby towns of Tiznit or Sidi Ifni, and from there by cab, asking the driver to wait for you, as finding a car back will not be easy; by cab from Agadir with waiting (which is very expensive); or as part of a sightseeing trip from an agency.
What to see outside the city?
The Valley of Paradise and the village of Immuser de Ida Utanan
Immuser de Ida-Outane is an excellent excursion from Agadir, through the Valley of Paradise, a beautiful ravine lined with palm trees. It can be done in one day, but it is still much more interesting to stay overnight in one of the guesthouses in the valley.
Famous for its majestic, reddish-brown and honey-gold fortress walls, Taroudant is one of Morocco’s most elegant cities.
Souss-Massa National Park
Souss-Massa National Park, founded in 1991, is located just outside the city of Agadir (about 45 kilometers). Although Morocco has numerous national parks, none of them have a fascinating array of bird species like Souss-Massa has.
Change the rhythm of a relaxing stay in Agadir by visiting its various events, the brightest of which take place almost every month of the year.
Fish and seafood is the mainstay of the Moroccan economy, so it is only natural that Agadir, the country’s biggest fishing port, should bring foreign and domestic suppliers to its huge International Fish and Seafood Fair every November. At the same time, the best local and international chefs are invited to the event to present their masterpieces of seafood cuisine for judgment and sampling by visitors.
This is an annual summer festival held in the hill village of Immuzère de Ida-Outane 60 kilometers from Agadir. Honey is one of the favorite products of the Moroccans and is added to almost all traditional oriental sweets. At this event, you can taste different varieties of the bee’s gift to man.
If you vacation in Agadir at the end of June, do not miss the significant music festival Timitar, dedicated to Berber culture. This event is really worth seeing, and not only for music lovers, because to go to a concert of Moroccan ethnic music performed by professionals is not often possible. In addition to the Berber national motifs you will find dancing performances and thematic exhibitions of art and crafts. In addition to oriental music, you can hear jazz, rap, hip-hop and even latin music at the Timitar Festival. The venues for the event are usually the city’s squares and theaters.
The main holiday in Morocco is Monarchy Day, celebrated on July 30. Although the main big celebrations take place in the capital, other cities (including Agadir) also offer festivities and fireworks.
The city festival of Morocco’s main seaside resort takes place every year in December. This event is recognized as the biggest and most important in Agadir. Extravaganza and fun are two words that could describe this event in its truest colors. The Agadir Festival is a complete entertainment package with concerts and shows performed by artists from all over the world.
Where to go with the kids?
Agadir does not have many attractions geared toward holidays with children. Still, there are a couple of places in this resort town, a visit to which will not leave your kids indifferent.
The Valley of Birds
The Valley of the Birds
The Valley of Birds is the city’s zoo of Agadir with a small but charming collection of exotic birds and animals, including llamas, kangaroos, monkeys, mountain goats, pink flamingos and a variety of parrots. In addition, the park has a refreshing waterfall and a body of water on which you can take a boat ride. In front of the park entrance on the waterfront side is a stop for the tourist streetcar. Be sure to take it for a ride after your visit to the four-legged and feathered inhabitants of the Valley of Birds. Admission to this little menagerie of the resort is free.
The Crocoparc is a crocodile farm which is not in Agadir but in the town of Drarga, 15 kilometers away. This reptile kingdom is home to about 300 specimens. You will be taken through an artificial canal running along the entire park where crocodiles lie in every corner and bask in the sun, some swim leisurely and some yawn – in general, a measured life. Children and adults are especially impressed by the feeding show, when a man with a bucket comes “into the arena. At this moment, the measured crocodile life is gone – everyone rushes to grab his titbit. In addition to the inhabitants themselves, the farm has a botanical, tropical and water garden with small waterfalls and roaring cascades, accompanied by birdsong. Holidaying in Crocopark as a family is a pleasure!
What is a must-do in Agadir?
Try your hand at the art of haggling in the most colorful market of Souk el-Had.
Taste the freshest seafood from the Atlantic in one of the coastal cafes.
Sample all the sites of the city’s enormous beach.
Swim in the ocean at sunset.
Take a photo next to the “God” mountain sign.
Buy argan oil.
Here you can find the most important emergency numbers in Agadir and other useful ones.
Ambulance – 15
Fire Department – 15
Roadside assistance – 117.
Agadir is not the kind of resort city that explodes with music, entertainment, and crazy tourist life as soon as you enter it. On the contrary, it is a very quiet and comfortable town, ready to caress the sunlight, splashing near the sandy shore of the ocean, the hospitable locals and oriental color of all who seek a quiet and measured rest. So if you get tired of the similarities between the world’s more lively seaside resorts, get a change of scenery and come to Agadir!
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