From sand to souks: why Agadir in Morocco is worth a visit
City meets scenery
Combining bustling city life with gorgeous beaches and a stunning mountain backdrop, Agadir is a fantastic holiday destination at any time of year.
With a name derived from the Berber word for ‘fortress’, Agadir has grown from a small fishing village at the mouth of the Souss river into today’s vibrant city of more than 600,000 people.
Much of present-day Agadir dates from after the 1960 earthquake, with modern European-style hotels and cafes lining the city’s frontage to the Atlantic Ocean.
Agadir’s historic Kasbah – a castle, built in 1540 – was largely destroyed in the earthquake, but the elevated spot remains one of the city’s most popular attractions. The climb to the top requires plenty of energy reserves, but it’s worth it for the amazing views over the city and ocean.
Heritage lovers should also check out the interesting Bert Flint Museum, named after the Danish art historian who built up its collection. The museum, along with a sister site in Marrakech, is a rich celebration of the Souss Valley’s culture, showcasing theatrical costumes, textiles and decorative arts.
No visit to Agadir is complete without some time exploring the Souk El Had market, an incredible place featuring more than 3,000 stalls.
With plenty of local crafts on display, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up some gifts for the people back home. Don’t forget to haggle, though!
Head out of town, and you can find quieter sandy beaches as well as some spectacular countryside.
To the south of Agadir, the Souss Massa National Park is famous for its diverse habitats and amazing animals and birdlife, including the rare Northern Bald Ibis.
To the north, the much smaller city of Essaouira makes an ideal day-trip destination. Like Agadir, Essaouira boasts some lovely beaches, but culture is the real attraction here – including the Medina of Essaouira, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a maze-like historic quarter packed with local craft stalls.
Getting to Agadir couldn’t be easier. From the city’s airport, it is just 20 minutes’ drive or taxi ride into the centre, and there are regular flights from UK airports, including low-cost options with Ryanair from London Stansted and Manchester.
With year-round warm temperatures, Agadir is truly the perfect destination – enjoyable whenever you choose to visit, and with plenty to see and do whatever your interests.
Photo credit: Maciej Podgórski