Looking for a warm place to go for winter sun? Agadir, Morocco, has it all: sun, sea and kilometers of fine sand.
Not too many sights to exhaust you so you can just spend lazy days by your hotel pool. And on the beach, breathing warm sea air and watching surf waves.
We spent a winter week in Agadir, jogging each morning up and down the 9 km beach, swimming each afternoon in our super warm hotel pool – and wandering in between through the local city.
Jogging up and down Agadir’s 9 km sandy beach
Yes, Agadir is a living Moroccan city. There are bazaars, squares, mosques, parks, cafes, whatever is needed in Morocco. Including the beach and La Corniche d’Agadir, Agadir’s long beachfront promenade where the whole city meets in weekends.
Sunday morning walkers on the beach
La Corniche d’Agadir, where the whole city meets in weekends
So we enjoyed the sand, sea and winter sun, but as always also went out from the city, I will tell you about that later. This post instead will show you Agadir, Morocco’s number one beach destination.
First about the climate.
Agadir’s January weather
With its 300 sunshine days a year Agadir has pretty much guaranteed sunshine all year round. The climate is almost the same round the year, with day temperatures between 20 and 30 C.
January is the coldest month with day highs around 22. The hottest months are July and August. Even then the average highs don’t rise much over 30 which is low compared to a lot higher inland temperatures.
Many Europeans spend active holidays in Agadir
For us Europeans Agadir is a winter destination. Crowds of tourists from France, Germany and all Europe travel down to Morocco to escape the grey, rainy winter for a week or two. To raise their sun vitamin levels they spend their days outdoors.
So Agadir is a winter destination. But that’s not the whole truth about the city.
Agadir, one of Morocco’s Big Cities
Street view of Agadir, the 5th biggest city of Morocco
Agadir is in Morocco’s deep south, beyond the High Atlas Mountains and far away from everything. We all know it’s on the coast but who knows that the Atlas begins right behind the city? So you don’t have to travel long ways inland to see snow capped peaks, the highest of which are 3 000 to 4 000 m.
Agadir is the largest city and regional capital of South Morocco. With its almost million urban area residents Agadir is Morocco’s 5th biggest city.
Morocco’s Population and Biggest Cities
The other big cities are Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Sale, Marrakech and Tangier.
Moroccan Berber man sitting on sunny stairs
Morocco has a total population is 35 million, 60 per cent Berber and the rest Arabs, black Africans and other folk groups.
The Agadir Earthquake
An Agadir street corner
Yet the city doesn’t look like a Moroccan city. Agadir is modern and has white buildings, wide streets and large squares. How can a Moroccan city be like that?
It’s not on purpose. Agadir was a centuries old city, until in 1960 a major earthquake took it all. 15 000 people died and the rest lost their homes. So Agadir residents had to build their city back.
Knowing this I can see why the city is like this. These wide streets were planned for cars, not for donkeys.
Typical building style of Agadir, Morocco
Old and new meet int the streets
Now we will put Agadir on the map and after that I will show you the main places: the beach and tourist zone, the local city and its center Talborjt, the most popular bazaar Souk el Had and lastly the Medina.
Here you can see Agadir and those places on the map:
Map of Agadir, Morocco
This is Agadir on the map. To see its location in Morocco and the Atlas Mountains, zoom out the map.
Map of Agadir, Morocco
Agadir’s main sights are marked on the map, connected by a walking itinerary.
Both Talborjt and Souk El Had are 2 km from the beach and hotel zone, which is still a walking distance. The new Medina, however, is not in the city but a bit outside which makes it too far to walk. You have to take a taxi.
We will begin from the beach where most hotels are. Views of the beach:
Sporty girls jogging on the beach
Between the high and low tide
Beach sun loungers
Sand dunes and beach vegetation
A lonely sand flower
On a morning walk
The tide starts coming in
Getting any ocean fish today?
Typical Agadir resort pool and garden
The beach is Agadir’s hotel zone where resorts line the beach. There are big hotels like Sofitel Agadir, Iberostar, Atlantic Palace, Riu Tikida, LTI Agadir Beach Club and Royal Atlas and more.
Flowers in hotel garden
This kind of hotel resorts typically have wind-protected pool areas, gardens and palms, sea or pool views from rooms and restaurants and bars to all tastes.
As many of these offer all inclusive you don’t even have to look for where to eat. And if you don’t take all inclusive, the beach promenade is full of international restaurants that also serve wine and beer with dinner.
Compared to Europe Moroccan room rates are very affordable. The hotels I listed face the sea. If these front line hotels feel expensive there are more hotels behind. And if you’re really out for budget accommodation, have a look at Talborjt hostels.
Looking for Agadir Heated Pools
An Agadir heated pool
Yet very few Agadir hotels heat their pools in winter which means very cold water. Even when the days are warm in winter, Moroccan winter nights are very cold.
Knowing this we absolutely wanted a hotel that has a heated pool. For this reason so I started a massive research to find out which hotels really heat their pools and not just tell they do. I found out that some of the luxury resorts had heated pools but not all. Yet we didn’t want to pay hundreds for a hotel night. Then I asked LTI Agadir Beach Club about their pool and there we went!
Here it is, our 24 degrees pool water waiting for bathers in the morning. We really enjoyed the pool and the garden that were well protected from all winds. In other respects, too, the hotel was very good and filled our needs, except that the room was outdated and small. But we decided that we don’t care about the room, we are going to be outdoors anyway.
Palms above my sun lounger
So this was the tourist area and now about the Moroccan part of Agadir:
Agadir’s Local Center Talborjt
Agadir’s local center is called Talborjt. Talborjt and the area around it has the city’s main shopping areas, official buildings and other things that the local population needs. As the area also contains hostels, cafes and restaurants it has also become a bit of a tourist area.
Agadir’s Moroccan center in photos:
Outdoor restaurant table
Moroccan stop sign
Hotel de Ville, Agadir
A blue house, man and motor bike
A green Renault
Agadir street artists’ artworks for sale
An Agadir home
Talborjt market hall
A car right from the Sahara
A mosque and two Moroccan women
Preparing Moroccan tagine in clay pots
A decorated mosque entrance
So this was Agadir’s commercial center. Then there’s another shopping district that’s even more busy. It’s the local bazaar Souk El Had:
Souk El Had
Souks are the Moroccan way of shopping
The Souk El Had is Agadir’s old-fashioned market. Most of it is covered, if not always with roof, then with various layers of textiles. Souk El Had spreads over 13 hectares in a busy residential part of the city. 10 000 people work in the bazaar where almost everything you can buy is for sale.
It’s very much local produce, spices, fruits, dates, olives, crafts, carpets, ironwork and furniture, but also imported fashion, bags, household items and so on.
This is the kind of place where Moroccans traditionally prefer to shop, and they still very much do. As they negotiate each price, shopping takes time. These people know each other and this is their way to discuss.
All Moroccans, however, are not like that, and shopping in supermarkets is a growing trend in the country. Today many people feel they don’t have time for long discussions about every single item they buy
For a tourist Moroccan souks are a must-see place, even if you wouldn’t buy anything.
Souk El Had in photos:
Souk El Had entrance
Tasty bananas from the Sousse Valley
Locally grown oranges in neat piles
Egg seller’s world
Tagine pots for everyday use
Dive into the covered market!
Morocco gets citrus fruits three times a year
The market and its roof
If you like Moroccan souks, you might also like this post: Getting Lost in the Souks of Marrakech
Paying the small medina entrance fee
Thirty years after the 1960 earthquake took Agadir’s medina the Italian architect Coco Polizzi got an idea to build it back the way it was. To do that he was going to use old materials and methods.
So he rebuilt Agadir’s old town. As there was no place for it in the city, they built it outside.
Agadir’s medina is a sight in itself and worth a short taxi ride. Look at these honey colored walls and imagine you traveled centuries back in time. In fact you didn’t, this medina was built in 1992!
Agadir’s Medina, recreated by Coco Polizzi
Visiting the Medina outside the city
Sandstone buildings in old Moroccan style
The Medina’s central square and arcades
A tiled courtyard
A blue door in Agadir Medina by Coco Polizzi
View through an old-style arch
So this was the Medina, and the winter sun destination Agadir. Now you know what to expect if you decide to travel to this popular winter holiday destination.
I will end this post with some winter sunsets.
Agadir, the city of sunsets
More about Morocco Travel
- The inland city of Marrakech is even more popular tourist destination: The Top Things to Do in Marrakech
- The blue and white Essaouira is also worth a day trip from Agadir: Places to Visit in Essaouira, Morocco
- Read about Moroccan goats that climb into trees: Morocco: Did I See Goats in Trees?
- The Moroccan National Tourist Office website