Agadir is a major modern city in the southern part of Morocco. It is of interest primarily because of its location, as it is surrounded by the Anti Atlas, the Sahara Desert on the Atlantic coast with many national parks, and secluded beaches which are all easily accessible.
In 1960 the city was hit by an earthquake which destroyed the city including the ancient kasbah. An estimated 15,000 were killed, 12,000 injured and some 35,000 people left homeless. On seeing the devastation the late King Mohammed V said "If Destiny decided the destruction of Agadir, its rebuilding depends on our Faith and Will." In 1961 the city begun reconstruction two miles south of the epicentre. The city centre was based on a grid system, similar with New York, making it simple to get your bearings and move around. There are wide avenues and boulevards lined with cafes. The architecture is somewhat unusual with lots of low rise concrete buildings in the 1960's futuristic design with classic Moroccan styles. Back in the late 1960's and 1970's it was an ultra modern tourist resort, today some may argue that it looks slightly dated, others would say that this makes it absolutely unique and it really stands out from Casablanca, Rabat, Fez or Marrakech. The city continues to grow at a rapid pace with new developments throughout the edges of the centre.
Agadir sits by the Atlantic Ocean on Morocco’s southern coast. Virtually destroyed and then rebuilt following an earthquake in 1960, it is the most modern of the country’s cities, but still retains a sense of its past. We list the top 10 things to see and do here.
Perched atop a hill in the city’s oldest district is the Kasbah, a set of fortifications built in 1541. In spite of its age, the Kasbah was one of the few buildings not to be leveled by the earthquake. Nowadays there are two main reasons for hiking up to it: firstly, it’s an impressive example of medieval Arabic architecture and secondly, the view it affords over the rest of the city is awesome.
Agadir is renowned for its beautiful stretch of sand. Unlike the beach at nearby Essaouira, which is battered by Atlantic winds pretty much all year round, Agadir’s is tranquil and inviting. It is also, clean and well-maintained, and there are lifeguards on patrol during the peak summer months.
Souks are an integral aspect of Moroccan culture. Agadir’s Souk El Had is where many of the city’s residents do their shopping. Even if you’re not one for souvenir buying, the atmosphere here alone makes the trip worthwhile. It’s a total sensory immersion, and a wonderful place in which to get lost for a while.
Souss Massa lies due south of Agadir. Created in 1991, the park is comprised of 33,000 hectares of wetlands and rippled, Sahara-like sand dunes. Its focal point is the Oued Massa River, where numerous exotic birds come to breed. Souss Massa is one of the only places in the world where you can see the northern bald ibis. Visitors to the park must be accompanied by a guide and there are several types of tour available.