Traveling around Morocco by own car, my wife (Urszula = matcrazy0) and I, stopped at many palces along the Atlantic Coast looking for any public beach we used to see in Western Europe and... except of hotel beaches, we didn't find any. There were rather some areas of sandy coast but dirty, with no facilities, no foreign visitors but many local sellers and beggars (kids), Urszula complained.
So, Agadir was a surprice! The beach was clean, long (8 km, 5 mi), wide with a lot of tourist facilities along (toilets/restrooms, restaurants, bars, water sport equipment hire etc.). There was a very pleasant breeze from the Atlantic which made it a very nice place all through the day. The beach was guarded by local police and there were not many sellers (a few) on the beach. I could see young locals playing football on the edges (western and eastern) of the beach.
Fondest memory: Wide and loooong sandy beach, to walk along (for me) or to get a tan (for my better half).
There are many banks in Agadir and most hotels can change your money into Moroccan Dirhams for you. The exchange rate is a set rate done daily by the government too so no need to shop around for the best rates. The maximum amount you can withdraw from a cash machine is 4,000 dirham. That's about 400 euro, more than the monthly salary for the average Moroccan.
Most machines accept Debit cards but if you come across one which doesnt work just move onto the next machine and then remember the name of that particular one. Credit cards are not widely accepted for payments, although you can use them at travel agents and many upmarket hotels, restaurants and shops.
You can also change travellers cheques at most banks which you can use Euros, US Dollars and Sterling cheques but they do charge commission.
I am white like a flour or... excuse, Brits or Scandinavians (usually :-) and I hardly get a tan first of a bit red colour... So, sleeping in the sun on a beach is not for me unless I have an umbrella (it costs :-). And being always moving character, I can't do nothing that is I can't lie on a beach to get a tan more than, say 10-15 min.
So my main and favourite activity was swimming or better to say diving into large waves in the ocean, some water sports, walking along long beach, watching people and amazing, exotic gardens of some fancy hotels located along the beach.
After I stayed three times in a hotel in the tourist area between the Boulevard Mohammed V and the beach, it was very refreshing to book a hotel in Nouveau Tarborjt at about 15 minutes walk from the beach and about 5 minutes from most places in the citycentre.
Nouveau Tarborjt is a safe and lively area with shops, a market, shops and sidewalk café's and restaurants. There are several midrange and budget hotels, frequented by independent travellers like backpackers and overlanders and also by Moroccans. Many of the hotels and restaurants are situated around the Place Lahcen Tamri in bright blue and white colours (picture 2).
The Mohammed V mosque at the corner of the Avenue du President Kennedy and the Avenue de 29 Fevrier is an important landmark (picture 1 & 3). In Nouveau Tarborjt are wide avenues (picture 4) and cosy alleyways (picture 5).
The last weekend in Agadir I visited the northern end of the Agadir beach (zone 1), close to the corniche with the restaurants. Unlike in the hazy mornings when I walked along almost empty beaches earlier in the week, it was now in the afternoons very lively and at sunday even very crowded.
I am not patient enough to lay down at the beach for a whole day, but one hour or so is OK for me. So I did at saturday and sunday. I sat at the crowded beach between the Morroccan families, youngsters and kids, who were enjoying the beachlife. From my part I liked the late afternoon sun, the seabreeze and the view at the local beachlife. It was so much more fun and interesting here than in the parts of the beach with the sunbeds close to the hotels with all the tourists from abroad.
Favorite thing: As Agadir itself doesn't offer anything special, one day we rented a car and went to Essaouira. It's about 2-3 hours drive along the coast road. Even the driving was a pleasent experience, no tourist, only sea on the left and mountains on the right. We passed through some typical countryside villeges, such as Tamri, where there was a huge banana souk.
When you travel around Agadir look out for the goats climbing in the trees. In the this part of Morrocco grows the tree argan (Argania spinosa). This tree is unique to Morocco and produce a fruit like a olive, which is pressed for oil. The oil can be used for cooking and the body.
The goats like the argan too and it is not unusual to see the goats climbing in the branches to eat the leaves (picture 1). During all our trips in the area we saw goats acting this way, so you can't miss it. Also there are several places along the road where you can see the production of argan oil (picture 2, 3 & 4).
I like to stroll around on markets in the countires I visit, because of the liveliness, to have a look to the products of the region and sometimes to do some shopping.
I was lucky, just one block from my hotel in Nouveau Talborjt was a local market. I could buy fruits (picture 1) and bread (picture 2) here. It's one block southwest of the Place Lahcen Tamri
Agadir has also a Central Market in the citycentre (picture 3) between the Boulevard Hassan II and Avenue Prince Moulay Abdallah. You can find here vegetables, fruits, meat, flowers, souvenirs.
Fondest memory: This time I went to the Central Market to see one of my VT- friends Med (me_34) who has his flowershop (picture 4 & 5) here. It was nice to sit in his shop for some time and have a look at the daily life in the markethall and of course enjoy his hospitality, having lunch together. Thanks Med for the fresh flowers every two days at my hotelroom and roses to bring home.
When I visited Agadir in the summer of 2007 there were huge works going on reconstructing and expanding the corniche further south of the Place al Wahda (picture 5). On the beach you could have a look at the huge billboards (picture 1) to see how it will look like as the work is finished and new palmtrees are planted.
In summer 2007 you could allready walk over the rough paved area (picture 2 and 4). More south it looked like a new broad entrance from the Boulevard du 20 Aout (picture 3) will be made like the of actual one more north of the Place al Wahda.
I think it will be great to walk along this expanded corniche in the close future, with a bit of shade during the day and a marvellous view at the ocean and the sunset in the evening.
At the northwest end of the beach of Agadir is a nice paved area along the beach, the corniche (picture 1, 2 & 3). You can have a stroll or walk here taking the shortest way to the marina and the harbour further northwest along the coast.
Along the corniche are lots of restaurants (picture 4 & 5) with terraces all with view at the ocean. It is popular place for having a drink, a snack or meal, while watching the people coming by, the beach and the ocean. From here you can see a perfect sunset. I saw in summer also a stage on the beach for music performances. On the terraces you will sit at the first rank.
In summer there are several cultural activities in Agadir. I saw a stage at the beach opposite the terraces at the corniche (picture 3). I will be great to see performances or concerts here with the ocean as background. Also at the Place de l'Esperance I saw a huge stage (picture 2). When I passed the square by car in the evening, I heard the music playing at the stage and saw a lot of people in front of the stage.
When I visited the municipal museum, I saw a fair with several stalls with local craft and art (pictures 4 & 5) along the Passage Ait Souss.
Fondest memory: At the southwestern end of the Passage Ait Souss I saw a huge tent and container (picture 5) with typical art style. I recognized this style as Gnaoua art, seen for the fist time in a a gallery in Essaouira. And I was right, they told me they came from there. At the outside of the container the beach of Agadir with the kasbah hill was depicted (picture 1).
In summer 2007 I discovered at the cultural fair at the Passage Ait Souss a container and a traditional tent with colourful Gnaoua art from Essaouira. The inside, but especially the outside of the container was painted with colourful paintings in this unique artstyle.
Earlier in the year I visited in Essaouira Galerie Damgaard. Frederic Damgaard originally from Denmark opened his gallery in 1988 to give the possibility to local artists to exhibit their work.
Essaouira is known by this group of so-called free artists, all with their own unique style. Their naive work in bright colours is based on myths, depicting animals, human beings, dots and geometric patterns. In their work you can recognise the Berber and African origin of the Moroccan folk-art.
Favorite thing: Agadir is a beach resort so it doesn't represent much of the true feeling of Morocco, so if you'd like to go around on day trips, then these places are best to visit, as they're close enough (a1 to 2 hour drive away) and are not very touristy neither are expensive: Taroudant, Tiznit, Imouzzer, Essaouira, Tafraout, Mirleft...)
Favorite thing: If you're looking to spend a few relaxing weeks on the beach, Agadir is perfect! But if you'd ike to see "the real Morocco" I'd head for Essaouira or Marrakesh instead, as Agadir is very touristy and not that beautiful, as it was built in the 60's after an erathquake.
Our favourite place to stay when thinking of Agadir Is a few kilometres further north up the coast at Tagazout. Usually we stay in an apartment complex that has been built looking over a small bay with beach so the views are great and the sound of the crashing waves I love at night. We can take the stairs down through the complex that come out at the bottom and enjoy the beach that, other than a group playing footie at times, is often to ourselves or just a few others.
A minute or so back along the road towards Agadir is the town centre of small but lively Tagazout - famed for being the surftown of Agadir. The best surf handiest to Agadir is regarded to be here.
So there are surf gear shops, surfing classes available here and a few minutes walk down the beach. CAfes, restaurants and shops are open til late at night here.
Not spoilt for choice of beach though as the coastline with its pockets of sandy or rocky beaches goes for miles. There are popular or secluded beaches and bays south and north of here. So many people like to come and find a spot to set up their space and relax for a few hours or the day. Bring or hire a beach umbrella, and make a tagine and a picnic, and swim.
There are several places where lounge chairs can be rented - and often camels and horses are brought along to make a few dirhams from those who want to take a ride.