What to do in Agadir
When you think of Morocco you may imagine old riads, lush gardens, intricate tiles on beautifully designed buildings, and huge squares full of street entertainment. However Agadir is not that city, Agadir is really something completely different.
If you have flown directly into Agadir airport you may need a place to rest after your flight before the next part of your trip, and if you have taken the bus from Marrakech or Casablanca this is also the perfect place to spend a day and a night to acclimatize.
If you have booked your accommodation in advance I recommend you ask them to book you a taxi to collect you when you arrive, taxis at the airport and bus station are typically expensive, there is even an ‘official’ board with the fixed tariffs which are actually around 3 times more expensive than the actual price.
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What to do in Agadir
History of Agadir, Morocco
Agadir is in the south of Morocco in the Souss region, a great distance from the busy cities of the north. In February 1960 there was a huge earthquake that destroyed the majority of the city, the old buildings crumbled and the history in the architecture fell with it. Around 70% of the city was destroyed with a loss of life of between 12,000 and 15,000 people, in the Talborjt region of the city from the 5000 inhabitants only 10 survived.
The main hospital was totally destroyed and as the city is so far away from any other large city aid relief was a challenge. The US and France flew in the military to help recover the area but the sheer scale of destruction and hot temperatures created many problems. The fire stations were destroyed and fires burned throughout the city, disease spread due to the burst sewage and water systems, and from the number of bodies that fell victim to the initial earthquake.
The scale of this disaster is what led to the formation of what is now the new Agadir, the King declared the area a destination for tourism and funding has been brought to the area via large hotel chains and international businesses. Agadir is now a very modern city, with a certain European feel to most parts. You can still feel a similar vibe of a big Moroccan city but with a more modern twist, the people here are very relaxed, they value the enjoyment of each day and nobody is in a hurry. You won’t experience the level of hustle found in other Moroccan cities, they’ll be a little but mostly you will feel welcome and safe during your trip.
Things to do in Agadir
As there are no real historical centers remaining in Agadir if you are looking for a day trip in Agadir you will need to expect something a little different.
Many hotels will suggest a trip to Paradise Valley, but for this itinerary, I suggest you spend a day and night in Agadir before moving on elsewhere. Take the Paradise Valley trip from Taghazout instead.
Agadir is a great place to absorb a little of Morocco while still feeling that link to the Western world. You can head to the marina where there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to sit and watch the world go by. The marina also has a few shops including international favorites Zara, Stradivarius, and Mac Cosmetics. You can visit here for a little shopping and a bite to eat, it is also a great place to watch the sunset with a glass of Moroccan wine or a cold beer.
I also recommend a visit to Souk Al Had, this is a smaller version of the crazy souks of Fez and Marrakech and is much more enjoyable to visit. Here you can find absolutely anything you need.
Souk Al Had
This is a traditional Moroccan souk environment where individual stalls and ‘shops’ are in zones so, for example, you can head to the area that sells leather goods and find all the leather shops there. You can buy literally anything, from furniture to handmade clothes, tourist trinkets, and fruit and vegetables. I recommend visiting the leather shops for beautiful leather bags and shoes. Be prepared to haggle for most things. The general rule. The general idea is that whatever price they give you, reduce it to at least a third and work from there. They always at least triple the price that you should be paying!
Don’t go too mad with your shopping here, you will find much better options in Essaouira and Taroudant so save your shopping until then!
For something a bit different visit the CrocoParc. This man-made botanical garden is home to more than 300 crocodiles and exotic plant species. With an on-site restaurant and a play park for children, it is a great activity to visit from Agadir.
If you are driving it is easy to find directions to the CrocoParc, head on Rue N8 towards Drarga. Find a map on their site here. You can also easily take a taxi there, just ask your hotel to arrange one to ensure the best price. The CrocoParc has beautiful gardens to walk through and is arranged in a fixed route so you can learn about the plant species and the Nile crocodiles in residence.
It is well spaced for the animals to live happily and safely with sandy spaces, ponds, and shaded spots.
The gardens are separated into 5 zones, with a tropical area, cactus garden, and an aquatic garden as part of the walk, it is a little oasis away from the city! The park is also open until 11 pm during the summer months and has been set with an artistic display of lights so you can still see the crocodiles hiding away!
For something close to Moroccan history visit Coco Polizi just on the edges of the city. You will need to take a taxi to find it as it is well hidden! This is a purpose built replica of an old Medina which was built by an Italian architect. Find little craft stalls, cafes, and spots to Instagram until your heart is content!
Agadir Oufella Ruins
At sunset it can be a lovely trip to Agadir Oufella, this is the last remaining ruins of the original parts of Agadir following the earthquake, it is also the highest point in Agadir to see the city.
After the earthquake in 1960, there was little left to salvage of the city but the ruins of the old city up the mountain were preserved and are a great place to catch the last sun of the day and take in the views over the city. The ruins themselves are nothing too spectacular, but it is nice to walk around and feel a little history there, you can see all of Agadir from the port, across the beachfront and far back into the city, it is a great viewpoint.
Be careful of the sellers there, they have you in a captured spot and it can be quite exhausting to ignore the hustling from them, they will often hand you an animal and then demand payment for the pleasure of holding an animal you didn’t ask for.
Expect baby goats, snakes, lizards, and a multitude of other creatures to keep you company too!
Where to Stay
The beauty of Agadir Marina is that is it’s not like a lot of other marina areas in that it isn’t a rowdy late-night venue with loud parties and people drinking. In fact, many of the restaurants on the marina don’t have an alcohol license and those that do are places you would visit for a nice dinner rather than a boozy party.
This makes the marina a really enjoyable place to stay.
If you’re looking for cheaper private accommodation near the Marina, but that has a pool and a private beach check out Hotel Aragana Agadir For £30 ($40) a night.
There aren’t really many hostels in the center of Agadir but a lot of the accommodation in hotels isn’t far off the prices you’ll pay for hostels once you leave the city so make the most of having your own space if you’ll be staying in hostels later in your trip.
Where to Eat
If you want to have a glass of wine or a beer in the sunshine you can visit Les Blancs next to the marina and overlooking Agadir beach. I recommend taking a sharing plate of charcuterie with your drinks but I’d advise eating your main meals elsewhere, there are better options in Agadir.
Other options depend on your price point, just around the marina is Pure Passion, a higher-end restaurant that offers great fish dishes. Lower priced eateries are further into the city centre, try Cafe 116 for build your own salad and pasta dishes or just around the corner from here is a basic bar serving BBQ’d meat with salads and bread for really cheap prices. A favourite of mine and my friends!
How Long to Spend
Agadir has a city vibe to it but isn’t worth spending a huge part of your itinerary staying here. Enjoy a little respite and typical tourist experiences before moving on to more beautiful parts of Morocco. Just stay one night before heading on unless you want to relax at one of the beach resorts for a while.
As it city it is easy to find transport, there is the central hub for taxis and buses, named ‘Batwa’.
Here you can find the bus to Taghazout or take a collective taxi. For more detailed information head to the Taghazout post.
What are your favorite things to do in Agadir? Let me know in the comments below.
Post written by Natalie Collins
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