Nestled on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the Sous Valley, Agadir is particularly popular among enthusiasts of relaxation, golf, and warm sand. Devastated by an earthquake in the 1960s, the city was almost entirely rebuilt, reducing the number of historical remains to a handful. As a gateway to the Moroccan South, it is often passed through before heading towards the white beaches and wild Atlantic coastline, or, inland, the sand dunes, oases, and palm groves. However, the seaside and port city deserves to be lingered in for a day to appreciate its gentle way of life and discover its more authentic face.
Here are our tips for making the most your visit to Agadir.
Explore the best of Moroccan craftsmanship
An essential stopover in the life of a bargain hunter, the souk is a marvelous labyrinth where you have to know how to let yourself be carried along by the stalls and alleys, get lost in the abundance of smells and colors to better unearth the bargain and, of course, to become a master in the art of negotiation. Because the prices are not fixed and haggling is part of the local customs. If its name means “Sunday market”, the Souk El Hadis now the daily meeting place for Gadiris and passing visitors (except Mondays, the weekly closing day). It is quite simply the largest souk in Morocco. Its dimensions are immense, with some 6000 stalls offering goods of all kinds – spices, poultry, fish, fruit and vegetables but also leather goods, carpets, jewellery, lamps, oils and soaps or even clothing and high-tech products. Even if the souk is, like the city, quite touristy, the atmosphere here is truly worth the detour.
Tame the wave gently
What strikes you when landing in Agadir is its long crescent-shaped beach, with other golden strips fringed by the waves all around. And it’s not without reason that Agadir has gained a reputation among water sports enthusiasts! In the heart of the city, the bay offers sheltered waters with moderate swells, and the water temperatures rarely drop below 15°C in winter. These are ideal conditions for learning and peacefully practicing surfing. Centers offer introductory courses right from the central beach. And for those who are already experts, head towards Taghazout, about thirty minutes north of Agadir, which is home to several spots with occasionally impressive waves during strong weather, such as Banana Point, Anchor Point, or the duo of beaches K11 and K12.
Fresh fish on the go
The wetsuit removed and the board stored away, it’s time to head to the fishing port of Agadir, a prominent port in Morocco located at the northern end of the Corniche. Highly popular among locals, the place comes alive when the fishing boats return. After a stroll along the docks and around the shipyard, one can then purchase fish and shellfish from the nearby small souk. Next to the port entrance, dozens of stalls and small restaurants offer the opportunity to savor plates of seafood, freshly grilled fish, and sardines just out of the water.
Note: A large rehabilitation project is underway for the current fish market and is expected to be completed in the coming years.
Siesta in a memorable garden
The municipal garden of Olhão, also known as the Garden of Portugal, stands among the most pleasant green spaces in the city. An oasis of calm and greenery, its creation is attributed to the twinning of Agadir with the Portuguese town of Olhão. Beloved by the locals who seek respite from the heat, as well as by wandering tourists, the park commemorates the historical ties between the two countries. A delightful stroll awaits among the leafy pathways, suspended bridges, water features, and buildings with Amazigh and Moorish architectural influences. To the southwest of the garden lies the Museum of Memory, a small museum that traces the history of the city and the 1960 earthquake. Captivating photographs of Agadir from the 1920s to 1960 are also on display.
Note: This museum closed its doors due to the opening of the future Museum of Memory and Reconstruction of Agadir, a significant project within the city’s 2020-2024 urban development program.
Immerse yourself in the Amazigh heritage
Opened in 2000, the Municipal Museum of Amazigh Culture is dedicated to Amazigh culture and the Berber heritage of the Souss-Massa-Drâa region. The result of collaboration between the city of Agadir and French museographers passionate about the region, it presents nearly 1,000 old pieces (pottery, carpets, traditional costumes, manuscripts, etc.) and in particular an impressive private collection of Berber jewellery. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, thematic conferences and workshops for children – the ambition of the place being both the promotion of culture and the awareness of young people.
Note: the museum collections will eventually integrate the new Timitar museum , dedicated to Berber culture, which will be built by the sea, still as part of the major Agadir 2020-2024 project. The current building should then be rehabilitated into a museum of modern and contemporary art.
Climb to see some traces of history
A few kilometers from the center, perched on a hill, the Kasbah is one of the rare historical remnants that remain in Agadir. Built in 1541 during the reign of King Mohammed Ech-Cheikh and restored in the late 18th century, it was once home to around 300 inhabitants. The fortress was intended to repel the enemy – the Portuguese at that time. Deeply shaken by the earthquake of 1960, today only the enclosure walls and a few traces of the old dwellings remain. Nevertheless, the site is worth a visit for its panoramic view of the port, the city, and the entire bay of Agadir. The entrance gate is engraved with an inscription in Dutch and Arabic, a reminder of the early trade exchanges with the Netherlands.
Our advice: As the ascent to the Kasbah can be tiring, we recommend taking a taxi to get there and then descending on foot.
Stroll on the Marina and along the Corniche
After admiring it from above, one can reach the bay of Agadir – on foot, why not – from the north, starting with a pleasant walk around the Marina. This marina is integrated between the commercial port and the beach and is home to a multitude of boats, including yachts and floating palaces. As daylight fades and temperatures become milder, it’s the perfect time to wander along the Corniche, a long promenade that stretches for several kilometers along Agadir’s crescent-shaped beach. On one side, golden sand; on the other, a variety of shops, hotels, cafes, and restaurants. One can settle on the terrace of one of them, sipping a drink as the sun sets, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the place.
Intimate Riad and gourmet dinner
While Agadir may not be known for its wide selection of fine dining establishments, there is, however, one exceptional address that is whispered as a secret. In a peaceful and residential neighborhood, at the southern end of the Corniche, Riad Villa Blanche is a little gem organized around its tree-filled courtyard. It offers an exquisite experience for both accommodation and dining. Leading the kitchen are an Alsatian chef and two Moroccan female chefs who skillfully execute a gastronomic cuisine influenced by both traditions, highlighting local and seasonal ingredients. While fish and seafood take center stage, prepared as fillets, carpaccio, or tartare, the meat is savored in tajines, parmentiers, or Rossini burgers, and the organic vegetables compose salads and impeccably flavored side dishes. The plates are elegant and full of flavors, the atmosphere is dimly lit, and the service is impeccable.