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.
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.
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/27°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
Agadir-Al Massira Airport (IATA: AGA) . 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. Immigration queues can be incredibly lengthy taking often over an hour to pass through, waiting times are longer in the evenings.
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 by public company ALSA (name on bus) number 37 goes by to Inezgane (4,50 Dh) every 2 h or so (bus stop on roundabout out of airport territory, no timetable, no information at airport). 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.
Grand taxi can take you to hotel for max. 50 Dh or 100 Dh for 3 people. To get better price just wait and not take first one.
There is no train connection to Agadir, you can only use the bus as public transport.
Agadir's Gare Routiere is about 2.5km from the centre of town and the beach. A petit taxi from here into town will cost 10-15 Dh.
Note that the CTM buses into Agadir also arrive and depart from this station.
There are direct shuttle buses to Agadir from Marrakesh, Essaouira, Imlil and Imsouane run by Souk to Surf. These shuttles collect and drop guests right in the middle of town, so most accommodation is only a short walk from one of the stops. Tickets can be booked online and trips are run in modern, comfortable minibuses (with AC). The drivers speak English and French and luggage (including surfboards) is carried free of charge. Using the shuttles gives you the peace of mind of knowing you have a guaranteed seat, as well as knowing your exact arrival time. As the shuttles leave from near the hotels (rather than the bus station) there is no hassle from touts and it is impossible to get on the wrong bus!
Taking a non-CTM bus from this station is entirely possible for travellers. Compared to Marrakech and Casablanca, travellers will find Agadir's Gare Routiere well laid out, mostly free of touts and easy to make sense of. Platforms with numbers and bus company names are clearly marked.
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 (e.g. nr. 98) go there for 3–4 Dh/person.
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 although women may need to fend off unwanted attention from local men.
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 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.
Agadir is primarily a resort; and as such has a limited number of attractions.
Agadir is maybe the city with the least charm to buy the typical Moroccan handicraft goods. There is one main authentic Souk in Agadir - Souk El Had. (Corner of Ave Abderrahim Bouabid and Rue du 2 Mars) (soukelhad.com) Open daily (excl Monday) from 9am-8pm. 3000+ stalls. Busiest on Weekends and best to visit by day to avoid any potential pickpocketing. Sells a very wide range of goods from "designer brands", to local Argan Oil products to tagines, clothing, shoes, handbags in addition to products more suited to residents of Agadir including home furnishings, cleaning products and an extensive fruit and vegetable market. You will find spices here to be of incredibly good value, particularly saffron. This souk is laid back and friendly and lacks the hassle that the souks of Tunisia and Egypt suffer - stallholders will approach, but a polite decline will yield you wishes of a good day. To avoid the usual taxi scams, request "Gate 2 of the Souk" and mention that you wish to buy fruits or vegetables, or; ask the taxi to take you to the neighboring Ibis hotel and walk 100m to the souk. Dress conservatively (cover shoulders and knees) to be treated respectfully, this souk is far from the beach area and swimwear, etc. have no place here.
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 favorites and the olives and spices stalls. Generally stallholders are happy to be in your photographs, but be respectful and ask permission first.
There are several smaller souks in Agadir, which cater primarily to tourists. One 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!
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.
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. Inside you can find a broad range of items: clothing, souvenirs, children's toys, food and drinks and alcohol. Uniprix is open daily but closed during siesta time (1-3pm).
The marina has designer label fashion shops such as Zara, Mango, Adidas, Geox and Lacoste, for those who are looking for genuine brands or warmer clothing you may wear again when you get home!
Further out of town there are several branches of Marjane hypermarket, great for toiletries, teapots, glasses, tagines, argan oil, traditional shoes, all are well priced. It is a great place to buy spices. While 100g of spices in shops/stalls in Marrakech costs around 30DH here you can buy 1kg for 20-70DH. Also dates are quite cheap, costing aprox. 13dh per kg.
There are four main zones to eat in Agadir:
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.
Although most locals abstain from drinking, some will frequent the seedier side of the Agadir nightlife scene. Although it is not uncommon to see prostitutes in bars and nightclubs, it is much better for tourists to use bars and clubs attached to hotels where prostitution is less common and locals in attendance are merely of the 'golddigger' variety! Alcohol is served in all these places. Good nightclubs for tourists to visit are: Actor's, Loft, and Papagayo.
For evening entertainment accessible to all, head to the Sofitel for a good atmosphere and drinks. The English Pub has a good range of entertainment and sports on and attracts an international crowd.
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.
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.