Agadir is Morocco’s premiere beach resort town, as popular with locals as it is with foreign tourists. Most parts of the town feel decidedly un-Moroccan, and that’s probably because the entire city was rebuilt anew after a strong earthquake tore down almost everything in the 1960s. However, look deep enough below the surface and you can still find some authentic Moroccan spirit!
It’s been two years since I was in Morocco, and I still have a hard time putting into words exactly how I feel about the country or the cities I’ve visited. Morocco is definitely memorable and unique. It can also be chaotic, stressful, loud. A cultural shock for any Western visitor is all but assured.
First Impressions of Morocco
My first impression of this country was a scary drive from Agadir’s airport to my hotel. The car seemed to be from the early 1970s and it smelled like someone had been smoking in it every day since. Arabic music was blaring on the car radio and there was a donkey carriage in front of us, bringing vegetables from nearby farms into the city’s markets. Honking appeared to be a national pastime.
The cars aren’t the only thing straight out of the ’70s. Local street fashions and the general look on the streets can sometimes feel like a time capsule from 1978. Even the posters outside the local movie theater were from 15 years ago.
Rock the Kasbah
One of my favorite things in Agadir is the Kasbah, located high up on a hill. The ruins of the old fortress are almost as impressive as the views from the hill, over the city and the seashore as well as the nearby Atlas Mountains.
The mountains are also a great place for peaceful hiking. Most likely you’ll only run into a camel or two.
Speaking of camels… They are popular in Morocco, in more ways than one. The beloved camel tagine is a dish that most restaurants on the stylish promenade serve with pride. Also excellent and abundant are fresh seafood, welcoming people and a Mediterranean atmosphere. Stroll along to the Marina and you might think you’ve left Morocco behind and ended up in Saint Tropez.
Below the surface, Agadir is very much a Moroccan city. This nation of merchants rarely forgets its nature, making it somewhat difficult to walk the streets or spend time on the beach without swatting off vendors hawking fake watches, coconuts or other random items.
Another nuisance can be unwanted attention. I found it impossible to go anywhere without attracting an odd amount of attention, with people passing by in cars honking and yelling out, most probably profanities that I was happy to not understand. I chose to believe that they were just professing their love, though.
Sunsets are especially beautiful in Agadir