Morocco is a magical place. Exotic, sometimes chaotic, mysterious, and often rather diverse. Places like Marrakech are a universe unto themselves. Tangier seems confused. Should it be strictly Moroccan, Spanish, or Berber?
Often, however, the smaller, more rural areas of Morocco are ignored by tourists, and that is a big mistake. With so many cheap flights coming into Agadir, there’s really no excuse to miss out on some of the absolutely wonderful smaller cities within Morocco.
This larger city won’t win any architectural awards. In the 1960s, Agadir was hit by a massive earthquake which destroyed much of the city. Agadir was rebuilt, but the buildings lack the beauty and North African vibe of other cities within this north African country.
However, having an international airport and a cruise ship port, and obviously lots of beaches, does give Agadir some bonus points.
If your only reason for coming to Morocco is to escape the dreary UK/European winter, then you’ll find lots of all-inclusive resorts to help you out. And, in fact, many Brits and Germans come to Agadir for just this reason. Because of this, you’ll find lots of people who speak English which can make things easier on you if you don’t speak French.
One of my favorite cities in Morocco is just a few hours away from Agadir. This is a great beach town with a very interesting medina. The touts aren’t nearly as aggressive as in cities like Fes and Marrakech.
If you like seafood, it’s sold fresh down by the marina daily. How fresh? It was plucked from the sea that day.
There are some great local places outside the medina. If you want a unique experience, go by the Sufi mosque on Friday afternoons. The chanting is mesmerizing and goes on for hours.
There are lots of short-term rentals if you’re interested in having an affordable beach getaway.
Be aware that taxis are not allowed to drive in the medina. If you want help with your luggage in the medina, you’ll find plenty of enterprising young gentlemen willing to carry your stuff in their carts for a small fee. Just make sure to agree on a price before you head on your way.
You can rent lounge chairs for a few dollars a day on the beach.
Be prepared to see a lot of cats, especially kittens, as you walk around. Many of the restaurants within the medina have a complement of a few mother cats with litters. They add some extra entertainment to the meal experience.
If you want to experience the rural life of Morocco, which I highly recommend, this is the town for you. There are several markets selling fresh produce, and the butchers all have great meats (including camel, which is quite tasty).
On Saturdays you’ll be able to visit the big market, also known as the camel market. The Berbers that bring their camels to sell also have some beautiful jewelry and antiques you may want to bring home. Be prepared to haggle. It’s part of their culture, and they really appreciate a good haggle.
The camel market is also a great place to pick up household furnishings, clothes, and food.
In town, you will find several places for breakfast. Make sure to order kulshi (cool-she) which means basically “everything.” You’ll be served Moroccan mint tea, bread, argan oil (which tastes almost like almond butter), and some delicious eggs, all of which is eaten with the right hand (you can hold food with your left hand, but it shouldn’t be brought to your mouth).
When going around town, you’ll probably notice that food tends to be consolidated. For instance, one section of the road will be fish places while another will all be selling rotisserie chicken.
Guelmim is the gateway to the Sahara desert, and it’s easy to find guides who will take you camping in the desert, which is a fun experience. If you want a real treat, arrange a stay at one of the eco lodges on the nearby oasis Tighmert. We lived there for 2 months, and it’s an experience that is worth the effort.
Morocco is a place that can easily steal your heart. The people are absolutely lovely, and it’s generally a safe place to visit. While French is the dominant language for tourists, it’s still easy to get along with English (and sometimes Spanish). It’s an experience you aren’t likely to forget easily.
Have you been to Morocco? What was your favorite area?