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Seven Fantastic Days in Morocco's Tourist Paradise

posted on: Mar 15, 2022

Seven Fantastic Days in Morocco's Tourist Paradise

By: Habeeb Salloum/Arab America Contributing Writer

The February sun shone brightly giving us a feeling of relaxation as it soothed us around the swimming pool of Ali Baba, one of the most comfortable hotels in Agadir.  Tourists from Europe and North America were elbowing each other for space, when from the distance, one could plainly hear the voice of the 

muezzin calling the faithful to prayer.  Yet, tourist and native went on with their daily tasks or pleasures unconcerned.

There is no better way to describe the playground of Morocco than this scene – the modern and the traditional.  Men and women in bathing suits sunning themselves in a land where Islam reigns supreme but is not fanatically practised.  In this Moroccan resort full of excitement, enchantment and the traditional, two opposite worlds seem to blend into one.

Queen of Morocco’s resorts, Agadir is a brand-new well-planned city – the most modern in the country.   It reminds a first-time arrival of a North American resort. 

It was newly built after the massive 1960 earthquake decimated the city.  In just 20 seconds, 70 percent of the town was destroyed and 15,000 of the inhabitants killed.  Yet, despite this catastrophe, an up-to-date Agadir arose from the ruins of the martyred town to become the Acapulco of Morocco.

Today with a population of near 500,000, it is a thriving city and the commercial and industrial capital of the southern part of the country.  However, its touristic attributes have what has brought it fame.  Its wide tree-line streets, over 300 days of sunshine, six miles of 400-yard-wide beaches, year-round mild climate and entertainment activities have made it a first-class world resort.

Tourists travelling to this exotic yet modern riviera for one or two weeks would enjoy a never-to-be-forgotten holiday if before they come, they had an idea of how to spend their days.  As happens on many vacations, by the tie a tourist becomes familiar with all the activities, it is time to return home.

Seven Fantastic Days in Morocco's Tourist Paradise

This one week itinerary should aid first time visitors in making their plans. For two weeks day, the same schedule can be followed with every other day spent on the beach or around the hotel pool and dining in your lodging place or nearby restaurants.

Let us say you have reached Agadir on Sunday and settled in one of the hotels situated on the edge of the beach or in the town itself. The next morning, Monday, a half day tour of the city would be an excellent way to begin your sojourn. This excursion affords the opportunity of seeing aspects of Agadir often missed by visitors. The splendid view of the modern city from the shattered hilltop fortress, the colourful bustle of the port, the fish fleet and fish auction are by themselves worth the $6.25 US paid for the tour. However, also included are, a drive through the city, a stop in an artisan market and a stroll through the people’s souk. 

A few hours in the afternoon can be spent by the pool – every three star hotel and up have clean well attended pools. The sun in Agadir in the winter months is not as hot as in the Caribbean or Central and South America and, at the beginning of a vacation, you could stay a little longer under its rays.

This initiation into Agadir’s sun can be followed by a walk to explore the heart of town – within walking distance of most hotels. On the other hand, if you are staying some distance away taxis are cheap – the furthest point in the city costs $1.50 but make sure they use their meters. 

Seven Fantastic Days in Morocco's Tourist Paradise

Follow this stroll of exploration by having dinner in the cozy atmosphere of Marine Heim – a German restaurant where a full course meal cost $14.00 US, then end the day in the Sahara Hotel’s Alhambra room.  For a cost of $2.50 US, you can sip on a juice or beer while you are entertained by music, first played in Moorish Spain and a variety of folkloric and oriental dancers. But if the modern interests you, there is a popular disco in the hotel. 

Tuesday, in the morning, take the Inezgane Fantastica.  It will acquaint you with the true folklore of Morocco.  Held just a few miles from Agadir, it takes you back into the colourful past.  Not many will forget the impressive display of galloping horsemen twirling their ancient rifles in the air, then firing them in front of the spectators.  Cost $12.50 US which also includes tea and cakes served during the performance.

After spending the afternoon on the beach, dine at the delightful Vietnamese Restaurant La Tonkinoise.   Cost for a full course dinner with wine about $20 U.S.

Go to bed early.  You will need the rest for the next day’s long excursion.

At six on Wednesday morning, take the one day journey to the Imperial City of Marrakesh.  It is a must for tourists who do not plan to tour Morocco.  At a cost of $41.50 US, including one meal, you can travel to that magnificent city and explore its rampart, palaces, gardens, souks, and the unforgettable Jamaa el Fna.  Late in the evening, you will return tired but satisfied – ready for bed.

For Thursday, take a morning trip through the rich Sous Valley to the ancient town of Taroudant.  It is one of the most worthwhile journeys a visitor can make from Agadir.  You will be impressed with this walled city with its medieval souks and the fabulous Salem Hotel – once a splendid Moorish palace.  Cost $12.50 US.

Set the afternoon off for shopping.  If you are interested in handicrafts, the most superb handmade goods in Morocco are to be found in Agadir. They are sold in a modern 20th century tourist bazaar, built after the earthquake, in the heart of the city. A good place to begin your shopping is Uniprix – a supermarket containing a huge amount of priced goods. Its products are not top quality and if you do not buy there, use its prices as a guide for bargaining in the nearby shops. 

For dinner, La Pampa, located in the bazaar, a top eating spot in Agadir, is an excellent choice. Try their steak poivre or fish bastilla.  A full course dinner with either as the main course, including wine costs under $20 US. 

End the day in your hotel bar listening to western music and song while you sip a tea or beer. All four star hotels and up have this type of nightly entertainment period of course, if you are inclined, they also have discos. 

A trip to Essaouira on Friday will make for a fulfilling day.  One of the most picturesque seaports in Morocco, this sparkling white picture postcard city is an enchanting place to visit.  You will be taken through streets where craftsman famous for their marquetry are busy producing attractive boxes and tables from the perfumed thuya wood, then for a tour of the two famous Portuguese fortresses. Before you leave, do not forget to sample the fresh fish being barbecued in the port area.

Seven Fantastic Days in Morocco's Tourist Paradise

When you return, have a Moroccan meal in Restaurant Farah. In its relaxing atmosphere you can listen to the haunting music of the East and watch Berber and oriental dancers while you feast on your harira, couscous or tajine. The cost is $17.00 for a full course meal with wine, but the entertainment is only offered from Thursday to Sunday. 

On Saturday, take the excursion to Goulimine, Morocco’s Gateway to the Sahara.  While there, you will visit a camel market, tour the town, then taken to see the Guedra – a dance performed by women on their knees, now only put on for tourists usually by aged oversized females. On the way back, a stop is made Tiznit, famous for its silver jewelry. 

That evening dine at Darkoum Restaurant.  Its tiled walls, filigreed ceilings and beautifully decorated arches will take you back to the era of Moorish Spain. As you enjoy your tasty full course Moroccan meal, including wine, for a cost of $20 US, graceful swaying dancers will entertain you. 

The last day, Sunday, a journey to Tafraout would be an interesting trip to a relatively unknown part of Morocco.  The route passes through a magnificent countryside of fascinating mountains and valleys dotted with Berber homes and villages perched on ledges and mountaintops. You end up in Tafraout, set amid almonds and palms. Costing $22.00 US, this excursion is a great way to end the week. 

It is said that anyone who comes to Agadir should have at least one meal at Restaurant du Port – by far the city’s best fish eating place.  For the last night, a full course dinner with wine costing about $16 US will leave you with a great impression of Agadir’s culinary delights.

Go to bed early for the next day you will be leaving this resort city with its incomparable climate, beaches, and activities.  Like the visitor who wrote:

Agadir is an enchanting modern seaside resort whose name evokes sun and sand.  A place of enjoyment for today and hopefully forever.  A bewitching city not easily forgotten”,no doubt, you will have been captivated by its charms.

IF YOU GO

Where to Stay in Agadir

Hotel Sahara:  A 5-star deluxe hotel with a Moorish-Andalusian aura.  Bd. Mohammed V, Agadir, Tel:  206-60, Telex:  81-806 SAHARAGA.  Cost from $47 to $141 U.S., double occupancy.

Hotel Ali Baba:  A 4-star B hotel located in green surroundings.  Centrally situated and very comfortable.  Bd. Mohammed V –  B.P. 38, Agadir, Tel:  233-26, Telex:  818-86.  Cost $35 U.S., double occupancy.

Hotel Royal:  A 3-star B hotel next door to the Sahara.  Bd. Mohammed V, Tel: 224-75, Telex:  818-61.  Cost $24.50 U.S., double occupancy.

Hotel Sindibad:  A 2-star A clean and comfortable hotel.  Quartier Talborjt, Agadir, Tel:  234-77.  Cost $18 U.S., double occupancy.

Where to Eat in Agadir

Restaurant Marine Heim:  An excellent cozy small eating place, specializing in German food.  Bd Mohammed V, Bungalow Marhaba, Agadir, Tel:  221-31.

Restaurant La Tonkinoise:  Specializes in top Vietnamese dishes.  Ave. Sidi Mohammed, Agadir, Tel:  225-27.

La Pampa:  One of the top restaurants in Agadir whose owner is often called upon to cook meals for up to 3,000 people when the king travel south.  Imm. A N-8, Agadir, Tel:  228-32.

Restaurant Farah:  Specializes in Moroccan food.  Rue de la Foire, Agadir, Tel:  209-33.

Darkoum:  A beautiful Moorish-Andalusian type restaurant with a fantastic atmosphere.  Ave. du Général Kettani, Agadir, Tel:  226-22.

Restaurant du Port:  The top fish restaurant in Agadir, it serves fresh fish cooked in a dozen ways.  It has a great reputation as a place where the tastiest food of the sea is to be found.  Yacht-Club, Port d’Agadir, Tel:  231-44.

Note:  Restaurant du Port is the only one of the above restaurants which is not within walking distance from the centre of the city, but a taxi there costs less than $1 U.S.

If you are adventurous, try the people’s eating places located in Talborjt, around the Sindibad Hotel – a 10-minute walk from the beach.  In one of the best of these, Restaurant Echabab, a full course dinner without wine costs $2.50 U.S. – that is with tip.