Located to the south of Essaouira’s town centre its beach is regarded as one of the best in Morocco. Anyone travelling in the traditional Moroccan summer holiday season of late July and August will most likely be amazed by the sheer number of Moroccan holidaymakers that come here to rest and play. All through the summer the trade winds keep this part of the coast cool.
Over recent years Essaouira has grown in popularity as a destination for windsurfing and kite surfing between April and September, the windiest time of the year. On the beach, camel rides are possible for those not visiting the Sahara.
The lagoon also offers a real opportunity to birdwatchers where they can observe a wide range of migrating birds.
With a number of permanent camps providing a choice of accommodation and some new hotel developments, this spot is set to become a major playground for holidaymakers over the next decade.
Between the sea and the desert, at the mouth of two oueds (Souss and Massa), Souss Massa National Park is home to thousands of migrating birds that stop over in the lagoons and reed beds. To protect this natural reserve whilst welcoming birdwatchers, this national park was created in 1991, with pink flamingos, ospreys, cranes, spoonbills, storks, grey herons and last specimens of bald ibis.
The best time to come is between September and November and February and April. So as not to disturb this fragile ecosystem also home to gazelles and ostriches, visits are guided.
With over 340 days of sunshine a year, Agadir is Morocco’s number one tourist destination. Thanks to its 8 kilometre sandy beach, palm-lined promenades and near guaranteed warm weather, the city entertains thousands of sun worshippers from all around the globe.
Offering a wide range of comfortable and modern hotels, restaurants, and music cafés, and a broad offering of water sports and nightlife entertainment and activities, Agadir is the holiday playground of Morocco.
From the early origins of Agadir as a fishing village, in 1505 the Portuguese established a trading post named Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gué, under a governor. In 1541, the city came under Wattasid control and in 1572 a stronghold was built on the top of the hill overlooking the bay – the Kasbah. Agadir became prosperous for two centuries.
At 15 minutes to midnight on February 29, 1960, Agadir was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake that lasted 15 seconds, burying the city and killing thousands. The earthquake destroyed the ancient Kasbah. On its front gate can still be read the following sentence in Dutch: “Fear God and honor thy King”. On seeing the destruction in Agadir, King Muhammad V of Morocco declared: “If destiny decided the destruction of Agadir, its rebuilding depends of our faith and will.” Reconstruction began in 1961, two kilometres south of the earthquake epicenter, giving rise to a modern city.
For attractions, visitors to Agadir are spoilt for choice from monuments to the city itself. Among them, there is the Museum of Talborjt, also called “The Kasbah,” the Bert Flint Museum, Taroudent, Olhao or Ibn Zaidoun Park, and the Medina Souvenir shop.
Agadir is possibly the best destination in Morocco for people who seek both relaxation and fun. During the day, and besides sunbathing and water sports, the city offers its visitors golf courses, tennis clubs, horse riding and boat trips out to sea, where schools of dolphins and whales can be sometimes be spotted.
Located between the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas mountains, Agadir is also an excellent place from which to set out on excursions into the countryside. Imposing, snow-topped mountains, thundering waterfalls, tiny hamlets and expansive palm groves are among the many sights travellers will enjoy.
At night, you will be delighted by Agadir’s convivial atmosphere along its boulevards and in its great venues ranging from restaurants to pubs and clubs.
Originally built on a rocky peninsula and overlooking the Atlantic, Essaouira is one of Morocco’s must-see destinations. With a white-washed medina enclosed by huge pink sandstone ramparts which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with a rich Portuguese and Andalusian heritage, Essaouira holds great appeal.
From a long white sandy beach and dunes to a bustling fishing port with excellent seafood and colourful wooden fishing boats, Essaouira has always been a favourite retreat of hippies, sailors, artists and musicians. Founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC, the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century and established the first fortifications and a trading post.
The town of Essaouira itself wasn’t built until the latter half of the 1700’s, sanctioned by an Alouite sultan, Mohammmed II. It was actually a renowned French architect who designed and built the town, harbour and fortifications in the style of a European fortress.
There are several great attractions in Essaouira as well as the Festivals of Andalusian and Gnawa music. Try and watch the sunset over the Purple Islands, just off the coast. Windsurfing, kite surfing, surfing, buggy and quad-biking are all popular and well-established activities in and around Essaouira.
Located 176 km from Marrakech and just over 173 km from Agadir, Essaouira is centrally positioned for those arriving by air from either gateway. The drive from Marrakech typically takes 3 hours. From Agadir, along a scenic coastal route, the drive can take up to 4 hours. The backstreets and passageways of the old medina are best explored on foot, although taxis are readily available for journeys outside the medina.