Guide to Agadir: Beaches, shops and the natural beauty
In this whirlwind guide to Agadir we examine just some of the city's best beaches, shops and stunning natural beauty spots that make it one of Morocco's most popular destinations with holidaymakers.
As one of just three countries to boast both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, it's not surprising that Morocco, as well as being a land of mountains and deserts, is best-known for its beaches. While Morocco offers a huge amount of attractions, Agadir is the undisputed tourist capital of the country and the easiest starting point if you're new to North Africa, and want a great beach holiday.
With a completely different atmosphere and layout to the other well-known Moroccan cities such as Marrakech and Essaouira, Agadir is was completely rebuilt after an earthquake in 1960 levelled the original town, hence the modern feel and the fact that this is the setting for the most varied nightlife and international cuisine you'll find in Morocco.
Walk along the seafront promenade
Agadir's promenade or corniche is vibrant and full of life by both day and night. It's the perfect place to go for a stroll at sunset when a mixture of local Moroccan families and tourists gather to see the day fade over Agadir's vast beach.
It's also a fantastic place to people-watch. From the kids playing football in the sand to the buzzing activity at the cafes and restaurants, which all take place under a vast Arabic inscription on the hillside reading 'God, Country and King', it makes for an atmospheric view.
Hit the beach
With a tourism campaign concentrated on the fact that Agadir boasts a staggering 360 days of sunshine a year, any guide to Agadir will highlight the key tourist draw here - to laze on the endless sandy beach. The 10-kilometre Atlantic-facing Agadir Beach is the one everyone talks about and is perfect for indulging in watersports such as wind surfing and jet-skiing.
Visit Souss Massa National Park
It may only be a 40-kilometre drive from Agadir, but this 34,000 hectare national park is a world away from the chic resorts, bars and restaurants of the city. The dunes, beaches, cliffs and wetlands that make up this part of Morocco's Atlantic coast were collectively designated a protected reserve in 1991 due to the large numbers of rare and endangered birds which call the area home.
An important habitat in Morocco for birdlife, you can see kingfishers, cormorants and the bald ibis, as well as falcons, cranes and pink flamingos in Souss Massa National Park. It also provides habitats for more than 100 species of bird, and is best visited in March and April when the migratory birds are in residence.
No matter what type of souvenirs you're after, Agadir is sure to satisfy thanks to its diverse collection of shopping outlets and markets.
For traditional Moroccan finds: Souk al-Had
An atmospheric and fun place to shop for artisan Moroccan crafts, here you'll everything from lamps, silverware and wooden hard-carved items to ceramics, carpets and hookah pipes.
This souk, which can be found on Boulevard Abderrahim Bouabid, is actually the third largest market in North Africa, after Fez and Cairo, though unlike Cairo's Khan al Khalili the hassle levels are manageable for tourists.
Tip: haggle hard and don't try to visit on a Monday as that's the only day when the market is closed.
For contemporary European boutiques: The new marina
The recently opened Marina d'Agadir at the northern end of the main beach is lined with upmarket boutiques, restaurants and apartments, and makes a delightful place to stop for a coffee or an ice cream. Browse shops including international chains such as Zara and Stradivarius, and if you get peckish try the latest chic restaurant, Yacht 33.
Where to stay in Agadir: Riad Villa Blanche
Riad Villa Blanche is Agadir's original boutique hotel and a different breed to most of the resort's larger properties. The 28 rooms are decorated in an elegant style, combining traditional Moroccan décor with a modern edge.
The riad is set a block back from the beach, and is perfect for couples seeking a romantic break. There's a heated indoor pool, a luxurious spa area with sauna and hammam, and a celebrated restaurant serving a blend of French and Moroccan cuisine which is listed as a destination in its own right in many a guide to Agadir.
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