Where the western ridge of the High Atlas Mountains drops to the Atlantic, Agadir is a port and beach resort with year-round sun.
Even in January, temperatures peak above 20°C, bringing in Europeans in search of warmth and sunshine.
Agadir is Morocco’s favourite getaway, and its long sandy bay is fringed by an endless promenade and continuous row of hotels and restaurants.
Always in sight along the beachfront is a 300-metre mountain capped with the vestiges of Agadir’s old citadel (Oufella). The resort is constantly developing, and new attractions, like a big wheel, swish marina and modern zoo for crocodiles, have popped up in Agadir in the last few years.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Agadir:
1. Souk El Had
Agadir’s central market is on a jaw-dropping scale, covering more than 13 hectares and employing 10,000 people, which makes it one of the largest in Morocco.
It was built like a fortress following the city’s destructive earthquake in 1960, and has been updated over the last couple of decades with a roof and new flooring.
Souk El Had is open every day except Monday, and its name comes from the Arabic word for Sunday (Ahad), harking back to when this was just a one-day market.
Come prepared to haggle, which can be an arduous process, and you can hunt for fresh produce, olives, spices, honey, dates, fabrics, leather goods, furniture, items carved from cedar, clay tagines, Moroccan teapots, argan oil and more than we could ever list here.
Souk El Had would be thriving even without tourists, as you’ll find out at the eye-opening livestock section where chickens are bought and slaughtered on the spot.
Related tour: Agadir City Discovery Half-Day Trip
2. Agadir Beach
Agadir’s wide sandy beach unrolls into the distance from Agadir’s marina and is tracked for all five kilometres by a promenade (corniche). Being on the Atlantic, the water can be chilly and waves can be tall, and there’s a handful of surf schools for newbies.
For parents with littler children and inexperienced swimmers, Agadir Beach is shallow and the waves break a long way out, so there’s less danger of anyone running into difficulty.
This beach is one of the resort’s biggest selling points so is patrolled by police and cleaned regularly, but as the north end is close to the city’s fishing and commercial ports you may prefer to walk further south to swim.
Recommended tour: 2-Hour Beach Camel Ride Experience
3. Agadir Oufella
The ruins of Agadir’s citadel or kasbah, dating back to 1572, are hoisted far above the ocean, up the sharp slopes of a 300-metre hill.
On the scrubby hill-side for all to see are the words “God, Country, King”, in Arabic and lit up and night.
At the top, not much save the restored outer walls is still standing, following a violent earthquake that razed the city in 1960. Many people continue to make the trip to the top by bus or on foot, and there are plenty of hawkers, snake charmers and vendors offering camel rides at the top.
The view all the way down to the Bay of Agadir from the foot of the walls is mesmerising.
Related tour: Agadir Kasbah and Goats on Trees Half-Day Trip
4. Museum of Amazigh Culture
At this small but well-presented municipal museum you’ll discover the Berber traditions and crafts of the surrounding Soussa-Massa region.
The Museum of Amazigh Culture is on Passage Aït Souss, a pedestrian street connecting to the arterial Avenue Mohammed V.
On show are Berber architectural elements, examples of woodcarving, boucherouite rugs, historic manuscripts and pottery.
Most exquisite is the silverwork of the bracelets, brooches and implausibly complex necklaces and earrings in the jewellery collection.
You’ll also get to see the tools used by these craftsmen, and there are always temporary exhibitions, often showing contemporary Berber crafts.
5. Corniche La Côte
This spotless paved promenade traces the beach for all five kilometres down as far as the Royal Palace at the mouth of the Souss River.
There’s life all the way along the Corniche La Côte, at an unending string of hotels, spas, nightclubs, restaurants, fast food chains, cafes, ice cream parlours and surf schools.
On the beach side, the promenade has sinuous wall bending in and out, a couple of metres above the beach.
You can pause beneath a palm tree to watch the sun going down, and look north to the faint cranes of the commercial port and the indomitable bulk of the Oufella and its Arabic inscription.
Things can get a little frenetic late in the day, which is prime time for leisurely family strolls.
6. Vallée des Oiseaux
Just in from the Corniche, on the narrow course of a dry riverbed, is a small botanical garden and animal attraction.
Free to enter, Vallée des Oiseaux is a useful alternative to the beach for families with younger children.
The headline here is the walk-through aviary and enclosures for parrots, ibises, flamingos, peacocks and all kinds of other bird species from as far away as Asia and South America.
Vallée des Oiseaux also keeps small herds of goats and Barbary sheep.
Planted along the walkway are banana trees, magnolias, bougainvillea and oleanders, and there’s a small ornamental waterfall to temper the fierce summer heat.
This zoo, entirely for Nile crocodiles, opened in the outskirts of Agadir in 2015. Crocoparc keeps more than 300 of this species in water-rich habitats on a closed system of three basins fed from the top by a cascade.
You can observe the crocodiles safely from raised platforms and at close quarters through a unique glass box built into the ground in one of the enclosures.
Nile crocodiles are known to grow to more than five metres long, but have disappeared from Morocco since the 1960s.
In 2016 Crocoparc opened a laboratory and nursery, where you may get the chance to watch a baby crocodile hatching.
The attraction is also embedded in a four-hectare botanical garden, growing succulents, water lilies, cactuses, two ombú trees and a 50-year-old ficus among more than 300 species.
8. La Grande Roue d’Agadir
Walking the Corniche you’re sure to see this 50-metre Ferris wheel, which opened shortly after Crocoparc in 2015. La Grande Roue d’Agadir is billed as the first of its kind in Africa, with 27 gondolas, holding six people each.
This ride is computer controlled, and has wind sensors to keep the gondolas stable in the face of Atlantic gusts.
Typically the wheel makes five turns, giving you privileged vistas of the Oufella, the Medina, the marina and the Atlantic.
Naturally, the best time to ride is at sunset.
9. Agadir Marina
Another shiny new development, the marina is a luxurious buffer between the fishing port and beach, at the west end of the Corniche.
You’ll find palmed-lined quays and Moorish-style whitewashed apartment blocks around a rectangular harbour, shielded to the south from the Atlantic to by a long mole.
The whole ensemble is photo-worthy looking back towards the Oufella from the east side.
Brands like Lacoste, Zara, Stadivarius and MAC Cosmetics share the quaysides with cafes, ice cream parlours and an international assortment of restaurants, from Thai to Tacos.
10. Memoire d’Agadir
The rate of change in Agadir has been dizzying, so this museum at the eastern edge of the Jardin d’Olhão will offer a little context about the city.
The exhibition drives home the complete devastation caused by the earthquake of 29 February 1960 that all but destroyed Agadir.
As many as 15,000 people were killed in the disaster, that left 35,000 homeless.
This was the deadliest and most destructive earthquake in the nation’s history.
On display are newspaper cuttings, details of the rescue operation, startling photos before and after the disaster and an account of the city’s reconstruction.
Afterwards you can take a reflective walk by the palms and cactuses in Jardin d’Olhão, named for Agadir’s twin city in Portugal.
11. Paradise Valley
In the High Atlas Mountains, some 20 kilometres north-east of Agadir, the Tamraght River zigzags through a layered rocky gorge as deep as 180 metres.
Here the river fills crystalline pools a remarkable shade of light green, contained by high stone ledges.
On a hot day it’s impossible to resist the temptation to leap into the glistening river.
Close to the car park, the river sustains palms and orange trees, and there’s a cafe serving freshly squeezed orange juice next to the pool here.
This is a visit best made in spring as the pools dry out by late summer.
Recommended tour: From Agadir: Discover Paradise Valley
12. Desert Day Trip and Lunch with Moroccan Tea
This adventure via GetYourGuide.com squeezes a whole vacation’s worth of experiences into just one day.
You’ll head south to see the staggering Youssef Ibn Tachfine Dam on the Massa River, before arriving at the desert dunes of Rsmouka and taking a camel ride if the mood strikes.
For lunch, you’ll be invited into a typical Berber house for a tagine, followed by a dessert of local fruit and a glass of mint tea.
The afternoon will be spent in the walled town of Tiznit, famed as a centre for silverwork, a craft perfected by Jewish silversmiths from the late-19th century.
From there you’ll venture into the Massa Valley at the 33,800 Souss-Massa National Park, a Ramsar wetland sustaining rare breeding sites for marbled ducks and glossy ibises.
13. La Médina
In Ben Sergao, a few kilometres from the centre of Agadir you can step inside a replica of a typical Berber medina.
This open-air museum is deceptively large, at more than five hectares, and was built in the early-1990s using local materials and traditional methods by the Italian artist Coco Polizzi.
In the arcades are workshops for handicrafts, as well as homes, a museum, a little hotel and a restaurant.
A small fee (40 MAD) is charged at the gate, but entrance is free if you plan to dine here.
14. Agadir City Discovery Half-Day Trip
For a bite-sized introduction to Agadir’s best bits you could sign up for this three- hour tour with GetYourGuide.com.
All of the indispensible sights are included on a whistle-stop visit to the Marina, the Oufella and Souk El Had, as well some spots not on this list, like the Mohammed V Mosque, the Beth el Synagogue and the Catholic Church of Sainte-Anne, wrapped in a little garden overflowing with bougainvillea.
The final stop will be an argan oil cooperative owned entirely by women.
Traditionally used in cooking and medicine, argan oil has become fashionable in the west as a base for cosmetics.
Agadir’s status as Morocco’s golf capital is underscored by the Hassan II Golf Trophy and the Lalla Meryem Cup on the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour respectively.
These tournaments both take place at the extremely private Golf du Palais Royal.
The good news is that there are four public courses within ten kilometres of Agadir.
These are Golf de l’Ocean (27 holes), Golf Club les Dunes (9,9,9), Golf Club Le Soleil (18,9,9) and Royal Golf Club Agadir (9), while the marvellous oceanfront Golf Tazegzout (18) is about 20 minutes up the coast.
For anyone who wants to put in a little practice first, the Golf Training Center close to Golf Club les Dunes has a driving range with 51 carpet bays, as well as greens for putting, chipping and pitching.