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Agadir

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Agadir is a major modern city in the southern part of Morocco. It is of interest primarily because of its location, as it is surrounded by the Anti Atlas, the Sahara Desert on the Atlantic coast with many national parks, and secluded beaches which are all easily accessible.

Photo of one of the beautiful sandy beaches in Agadir

In 1960 the city was hit by an earthquake which destroyed the city including the ancient kasbah. An estimated 15,000 were killed, 12,000 injured and some 35,000 people left homeless. On seeing the devastation the late King Mohammed V said "If Destiny decided the destruction of Agadir, its rebuilding depends on our Faith and Will." In 1961 the city begun reconstruction two miles south of the epicentre. The city centre was based on a grid system, similar with New York, making it simple to get your bearings and move around. There are wide avenues and boulevards lined with cafes. The architecture is somewhat unusual with lots of low rise concrete buildings in the 1960's futuristic design with classic Moroccan styles. Back in the late 1960's and 1970's it was an ultra modern tourist resort, today some may argue that it looks slightly dated, others would say that this makes it absolutely unique and it really stands out from Casablanca, Rabat, Fez or Marrakech. The city continues to grow at a rapid pace with new developments throughout the edges of the centre.

The population is 678,000 including the nearby towns of Inezgane and Ait Melloul Most locals speak Berber as their first language with Arabic as the second language followed by French, though English is widely spoken in the city.

Agadir is a very tolerant city. The local Berber community are proud of their heritage and culture and are very welcoming to visitors. In a Muslim country where a bar or a casino can be footsteps away from a mosque, a country where homosexuality remains a crime, yet there is an obvious gay community, made up of many older Europeans. Everyone just seems to live and let live in this incredible resort.

Whilst tourism plays a vital role in the city's economy it remains a major port with a thriving fishing industry, exporting produce and natural resources. If you head north of the city towards the beaches around Tamraght you will pass a small town called Anza where there is a fish processing factory, the smell on hot days can be quite unreal! Having said that the seafood is excellent.

Today the city centre itself is primarily a tourist resort popular with Europeans. It has excellent clean beaches, first class golf courses, health and beauty spas and all the other facilities that European travellers demand.

Contents

Climate[edit]

The weather in Agadir is subtropical, yet very dry, since rainfall is scarce and fog is the most common type of moisture. The temperature in summer is 80°F/20°C, with nights cooling off to around 65°F/18°C. Spring and fall experience nights from 57°F/13°C-60°F/15°C, and days around 75°F/24°C. Winter temperatures see nights around 47°F/8°C, with occasional frost, and days around 70°F/21°C. Water temperatures stay relatively mild all year long, with winter water temperatures around 60°F/15°C, spring water temperatures around 65°F/18°C, summer water temperatures around 70°F/21°C, and fall water temperatures of 67°F/19°C. Due to the sea breeze summer temperatures are more comfortable than Marrakech

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Agadir-Al Massira Airport (IATA: AGA) [1]. Agadir has an international airport with direct scheduled flights coming in major cities in Europe as well as many charter flights arriving from all over Europe. If you are flying from the US, Canada, Asia or elsewhere, you'll have to change planes in Casablanca an internal flight takes just an hour and prices are competitive.

Get in[edit]

Airport-taxi 200 Dh during the day and 300 Dh during the night (if you arrive during the evening, the change is about 8PM). There is a company that can bring a taxi to your hotel at any time of the day or night and costs the same as taking the taxi in the street. They speak Tamazight, Arabic, French, English and German.

Alternatively from the main road junction just outside the airport, bus number 22 goes by to Inezgane (4 Dh) every 40 minutes or so. From there you can get directly to Agadir (see below). Grand taxis also wait at the junction and will happily take you to Agadir for 200 Dh.

By train[edit]

There is no train connection to Agadir, you can only use the bus as public transport.

By bus[edit]

Agadir's bus station is at the Sahara hotel's parking, and it is possible to take grand taxis there. Inezgane is around 10 kilometres away and is the region's bus hub. It is very usual to arrive there and not at Agadir. The grand taxi to Agadir costs from 5 Dh/person, regular busses go there for 3–4 Dh/person.

Go to Inezgene from the airport, which is closer, easier to catch there bus to Marrakech (3 hours, 100 Dh), Ouarzazate, Taroudannt and other places.

Get around[edit]

The city centre is flat with large attractive, clean avenues and boulevards making it easy to get around on foot. It is generally safe to walk around.

Agadir's petit taxi are orange most are quite legal and use the taximeter (you can ask the driver to do it without any problems). If you go around the centre of town, they will ask you normally from 10 to 20 Dh.
The petit taxi are only allowed with the city limits, for travel outside the town you will need a grand taxi, which is shared with six passengers, or you can pay extra and hire the whole taxi, but you will need to discuss prices beforehand.

The main depot for taxis is an area known as Batoir. Here you will find petit and grand taxis as well as lots of inexpensive places to eat.

Buses are cheap and plentiful they are handy for reaching beaches such as Tamraght and Taghazout They can get very crowded, can be slow, but fares are cheap with most under 10 Dh. Always make sure you have the correct coins and be mindful that pickpockets operate on buses. For bus timetables and maps visit the Tourist Office which is along the Boulevard Mohammed V near the Miramar Hotel.

See[edit][add listing]

Visit Agadir Museum Municipal du Patrimoine Amazigh which exhibits a small collection of Berber objects from 18th and 19th century including old Berber music instruments, Berber jewelry, traditional clothing and old manuscripts.

Another Museum is located on the corner of the Avenue des F.A.R. and Avenue President Kennedy, unfortunately the sign is missing but you go through iron gates on the corner. Mostly photographic exhibits which concentrate on the Agadir earthquake on 29th February 1960. Cost is 20/30 Dh each and there is a guide who speaks Arabic, French and English. After you have browsed you can walk around the super Jardin Olhao, where there is a cafe, toilets and children's playground.

Ensemble Artisanal situated on the corner of Rue Yacoub Al Mansour et Avenue du 29 Fevrier downstairs is a shop selling all the co-operatives wares, up a few steps you can see artisan's working, painted furniture, ironwork, embroidery, ceramics etc.

Coco Polizzi's Medina. A labour of love, Coco Polizzi has been recreating a traditional Moroccan Medina on route N1 in Bensergao. Out of town you will need to take an orange Petit taxi, and arrange a time for the taxi to return to collect you, but its well worth the effort for the architecture alone. Amble along the cobbled alleys amongst artisans and chatty shop keepers and take a traditional souvenir or two home.

Do[edit][add listing]

Agadir is primarily a resort; and as such has a limited number of attractions.

  • The main attraction is the beach, which is wide and stretches for miles.
  • Dress up for the evening and join locals and stroll along the corniche or promenade. There are lots of cafes and bars, live music and street entertainers.
  • Surfing - Imsouane bay, Devils rock, Anchor point, Cro-Cro and many others.

There are a lot of surf schools and surf camps and surf shop. The best surf season is from November until March, but if you are just beginner, you can surf every day all year long.

  • Part of the original fortress remains at the top of the hill beside the city, over the huge painting. It's possible to go there by taxi, bus or even small mopeds that are for rent around of the Hotel Kenzi (they are expensive, more than 100 Dh an hour).
  • If you want designer label fashion then head to the marina which has a wide selection of international boutiques.
  • There is a small zoo, called "Vallée des Oiseaux". The entrance is totally free lately. There is a very nice cage you can walk inside, many birds from all the world, some goat-like animals from the Atlas, and even exotic mammals. The children of Agadir go there to play in a small and crowded playground. To find it, go to the Uniprix, and the main gate is on the other side of the street on the right (Av. Hassan II).
  • Head to the fish market near the marina where you can buy fish, then take it to the guys who will prepare it for you.
  • Golf. With three top notch golf courses Agadir can rival most countries golf facilities. Ask at any large hotel about the bus transport which collects visitors several times a day.
  • Visit Souk El Had (closed Mondays). With over 3000 stalls the Souk is a must see. Everything from tourist souvenirs, clothes, leather goods, household items, to fruit and veg. If you are a tourist and enter via Gate 9 or 10 (the main gates) expect to be approached by someone offering to guide you. Which of course means he'll take you to all his friend's stalls. If you wish to avoid this, and explore on your own, enter through one of the lower numbered gates where the Moroccan's go. Haggle hard and note some stores advertise Fixed Prices. Worth looking there first so you have an idea of the 'right' price to pay before trying your hand at haggling. Personal favourites and the olives and spices stalls. Generally stallholders are happy to be in your photographs, but be respectful and ask permission first.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Agadir is maybe the city with the least charm to buy the typical Moroccan handicraft goods. The souk is around the big square behind the Uniprix (Blvd. Hassan II with Ave. Sidi Mohammed). There is a concrete building called Marché centrale with many shops inside. Is possible to get in also from Ave. Prince Moulay Abdallah. All the goods are made outside the Agadir region, and it's difficult to find them at a good price. The good thing of buying in Agadir is that there are many fixed-price shops, which is good if you don't know how to haggle well. In fact, you may find that the cheap things you bought in Marrakech are not so cheap!
In the Uniprix shop it is possible to buy small typical pieces in maybe the least authentic shop in Morocco, but the prices are not so high and there is nobody pushing you to buy. You could also try the Marjane hypermarket, great for teapots, glasses, tagines, argan oil, traditional shoes, all are very well priced.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are four main zones to eat in Agadir:

  • Nouveau Talbourjt: The cheapest restaurants can be found here. There are menus for as little as 35 Dh. Lune et les Etoiles is one restaurant which serves wholesome food at well under 100dh for a three course meal. Bear in mind most restaurants in this area are aimed at locals and are dry (no alcohol).
  • The beach: Along the corniche or seafront there are many restaurants. You can find from international fast food, fish restaurants, fine dining, Japanese and Thai. Most restaurants serve alcohol and prices are top end.
  • Around the Uniprix: It's the mid price zone and there is a real mix of restaurants aimed at tourists and those for locals. There is an excellent pizzeria.
  • Batoir: This is the taxi depot and transport hub for the city, around here you will find a good choice of really cheap grills, chicken shops, cafes. Depending on the time of day, vendors will selling pancakes and bowls of soup, snails, grilled corn. If you want authentic and cheap and away from the tourists, head for this area, but do take care at night, as there are street kids on glue who can be quite aggressive with their begging.

If you're looking for a quick snack, keep an eye out for the pastry vendors who roam the beach carrying big plastic trays, selling sweet fried bread (a kind of African variant on the donut).

Beware, however, that these friendly hawkers will often approach you on the beach, strike up a conversation, and then thrust a pastry into your hand, whether you asked for one or not. Which, of course, you are then expected to pay for (5Dh or 10Dh is a fair price). If you don't want to buy, simply refuse the offer with a polite smile. They are delicious, though.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Within the tourist zone you will find a wide range of night clubs and bars where you can find more tourists beside the usual locals looking for tourists. The majority of locals who use the tourist venues are prostitutes (both men and women). Alcohol is served in all these places.

Try Moroccan Whisky, which is tea served in a ritual ceremony in small glasses. It is a blend of Chinese green gunpowder tea, mixed with sugar and fresh mint. It is delicious and refreshing.

If you are looking just to talk and drink, watch the world go by during the day or the evening, you can head to one of the big cafes that are at Ave. Hassan II, like La Fontaine, La Veranda, Le Dome, etc. It's a real ritual for many Agadir citizens. These stylish cafes have a very Parisian feel they serve coffees, teas, fresh orange juice, the delicious Moroccan avocado smoothie, which is incredible. You can also get get cakes and ice cream at these cafes.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The main budget accommodation area is in the Nouveau Tablorjt. A simple double room will set you back around 150–180 Dh although you might find a really basic hotel with crappy toilets for 80 Dh. Arrive early as hotels tend to fill up quickly in high season. If you are an unmarried couple looking for a double room, many hotels will refuse - as they will only allow married couples to share a room. This doesn't apply to same sex couples.

  • Anezi Hotel Agadir (Anezi Hotel Agadir), Boulevard Mohamed V BP 29, Agadir, 00.212.528.84 09 40, [2]. checkin: 2 pm; checkout: noon. The Hotel has a commanding position with a magnificent view of the bay and the city. Guests can keep in shape in the gym, have a swim in one of the 3 beautiful outdoor pools, or relax in the health club with a sauna, or a massage. Your children will be entertained in the kids club, while you can unwind enjoying a cool drink from one of the three bars. Amenities of this Agadir Hotel include conference and banqueting facilities, and there is a business center, where guests can access the Internet. In the evening, the traditional Moroccan-style restaurant Fez features live folk music, the hotel restaurant serves a buffet, including salads, chicken dishes, fish tagine specialties, fresh fruit, Moroccan cakes and soups, and there is also a pizza restaurant. from 60.00.  edit
  • ATLAS KASBAH Ecolodge, Tighanimine ElBaz - Drarga, 00.212.661.488.504, [3]. checkin: 2 pm; checkout: noon. Located only 20 minutes from Agadir, this ecolodge is the perfect place to discover centuries-old Berber culture and the unesco Argan Biosphere Reserve. It features gourmet food using fresh and natural product especially ones from the organic garden of the Kasbah. The objectives of the ecolodge is to provide a comfortable and educational experience for guests by learning about local customs, food and traditions as well as the natural environment. Thus, it is a leader in the Souss region in alternative technology and high environmental standards as well as positive economic side effects for the local population. from 60.00. (N 30° 26’ 3,8’ ’,W 9° 29’ 31,1’) edit

Check out the 4 Star Hotel Jacaranda Golf Hotel Agadir. Every comfort and great food and lovely pool and gardens

If you're on a budget, Hotel Diaf is a great place to stay. It's just near where the bus stops (1 min walk), right next to an internet cafe and about 20 mins walk or a 6dh taxi ride (don't forget to get them to turn the meter on) to the seafront. It is possible to stay in a room on the roof with a double bed and a single for 100 Dh! The best thing is, it has an amazing warm shower with a large showerhead. The rooms definitely have a "backpackers" feel, but its a great, and cheap, experience.

  • Hotel Tiznit Beach Resort,1 Rue des Amicales Bloc C, Agadir, Morocco. bungalow-style beachfront hotel built on a five-hectare site amidst landscaped gardens, 600 metres from the city centre.
  • Hotel Sud Bahia, Rue des Administrations Publiques, Agadir 335, Morocco. Four-storey with 246 rooms 400 meters from the beach in the center of Agadir and with an outdoor pool.
  • Hotel Petit Suede, [4]. Close to the centre, rooms with shower (shared toilet) from 170 Dh, very clean, breakfast served in a rooftop eatery. Street-facing rooms can be a bit noisy.  edit
  • Hotel Timoulay, Cite Founty F6 Baie des Palmiers, 212 528 23 42 20, [5]. 10 minute walk from the beach. This hotel is on the smaller side, but the rooms are clean and spacious. Has free wifi, pool, working A/C, and a restaurant. $100-200.  edit
  • Hotel Tamri, Agadir. Hotel Tamri. Cheap place to stay - 70 Dh for single room. Hot shower outside - from 7-10 am morning and 6-9 pm. The electricity plugs are "hidden" on left side of the "neon" lamp above sink in your room. Just ask receptionist... Rooms could be quite noisy as hotel is close to the street and those crazy motorcycle drivers without exhaust pipes. So if you are sensitive, don't forget about your ear plugs. 70. (DH,) edit
  • Ecolodge Adventures, [6]. Ecolodge Adventures , The Eco Lodge Guest house departement in Agadir  edit


Get out[edit]

  • 40km south from Agadir, there is the Souss-Massa river national park. Go from Ave Mohammend V (Bus 97) to Inezgane (bus station near Souk, last stop) for 3 Dh and take Bus 42 to Massa (11 Dh). From there it is a 4km walk to entrance of the national park.
  • About 80km east from Agadir, there is the city of Taroudannt, which is worth the visit if you don't plan to visit Marrakech or other big historical cities.
  • The coast north of Agadir has wonderful and very accessible beaches. Why not head to Aourir, Tamraght and the hippy surfing village of Taghazout only about 15 km away. You can get to these towns using the Zetrap bus line: 60 and 'RATAG' bus line: 12 that leave from the center of Agadir. Bus Number 32 runs every 20 minutes or so north on Boulevard Mohammend V (12 Dh).
  • Imouzzer with its famous cascades is located about 60km northeast of Agadir, this is a journey through the oasis of Paradise Valley, before heading up steep mountainous roads to this traditional Berber hamlet.



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