Agadir – the alternative Moroccan destination

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After a recent trip to the African country, travel writer Shauna McCrudden shares her discoveries and why Agadir is the newest destination to add to your bucket list

Agadir aerial panoramic view from the Agadir Kasbah (Agadir Fortress) in Morocco

It has been two long years since my last overseas trip. 

Two years since I sat on those small aeroplane seats. Two years since my ears popped on the way up in the sky. And two years since I experienced a different culture to my own.

So when I got the chance to visit Agadir in Morocco, I jumped at it. It was not only my first trip abroad in a long time, but it was also my first opportunity to experience the African continent and get some sun on my face. I couldn’t wait! 

Of course, there were some nerves about getting back into the airport and all the paperwork that comes with flying in a post-pandemic world. But surprisingly, it wasn’t as excessive as I had originally thought. The rules for taking a PCR test before flying were dropped a few days before my flight, so all I needed were my Vaccine Certificate and a Passenger Locator Form and I was good to go. 

After flying with Ryanair, we landed at Agadir Al Massia airport on a Friday. As a guest with Sunway, they took care of us from the second we entered the airport, making our group feel relaxed. On our transfer from the airport, we noticed the city was under total renewal. We learned that the plan for the city includes the preservation of the environment, the development of green spaces, as well as the enhancement of heritage and places of worship by 2024.

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It all felt brand new and I couldn’t wait to explore. When I think of Morocco, I think of Casablanca or Marrakesh – bigger cities with even more famous movies based on them. But Agadir, a resort destination, truly exceeded my expectations.

Shauna (second from right) with the group at the Botanic Gardens with mint tea

On our first day, we visited the Botanic Gardens in the village of Alma, 18km from Agadir. Here, we enjoyed a mint tea breakfast, the famous national beverage of Morocco. This mint tea – green tea steeped with spearmints – is symbolic of both Moroccan cuisine and of their famed hospitality. 

We learned about the Berber people and enjoyed Amlou, a Berber recipe of argan oil, almonds and honey. This thick brown paste has a texture similar to peanut butter and tastes incredible with fresh flatbread dipped into it. At these botanical gardens, not only do they create tasty food, but argan seeds are used to create oils, makeup, and skincare. The paths are even lined with the discarded shells of the seeds so nothing ever goes to waste.

After our breakfast, we then took a hike to Paradise Valley, a section of the Tamraght River Valley in the Moroccan High Atlas mountains. You can hike, swim, and relax in these natural surroundings but make sure to wear appropriate levels of SPF and a hat as the sun beams down on you here. My pale, Irish skin can only take so much!

Ready to hike Paradise Valley with Sunway guide Mustapha (far right)

Our Sunway guides, Laila and Mustapha, were incredible to have with us throughout the trip. Having the services of a rep on the ground means you can relax on your holiday, as they do all the work with any bookings you like. They meet you at your hotel, suggest tours, and accompany you, so you can be reassured that you have their local expertise to guide you. 

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Exploring the city like a local

On our second full day, we started our morning with a visit to the harbour for some nos nos coffee (meaning ‘half half’ and made with half espresso and half milk) and some more delicious mint tea. Always a great start to the day!

We then took a bus trip to the Kasbah of Agadir, a historical landmark that housed the old city built in 1540. This area was affected by the great earthquakes that struck the city, but the ruined fortress has a breath-taking view of the city and is under renovation which includes constructing a cable car opening this year. There were so many dazzling places in Agadir, from the beaches to the beautifully constructed mosques that I need to go back to explore it all. To top it off, we met Jimi Hendrix, the friendly camel, and took off on a short camel ride!

Colourful fabrics on the Agadir souk market

Our afternoon was spent at one of the biggest souks in Morocco, the Souk of Agadir. This authentic traditional market has 6,000 stalls of jewellery, spices, furniture, clothing, silver, leather, books, and souvenirs – you can find anything here! Our Sunway guides, Laila and Mustapha, thankfully guided us on how to have a proper souk negotiation, which is intrinsic to the experience. I’m not sure how well I fared, but thanks to our guides, I knew what price to look for. My last day had me feeling like a local! 

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Eat and sleep

Throughout the trip, we got to eat at some of the most fabulous restaurants in Agadir. Pure Passion Restaurant is located right on the marina. And La Tapis Rouge by Little Norway restaurant is perfect for a relaxing meal. There are plenty of traditional Moroccan dishes on offer, for example, Tajine, a Moroccan dish cooked in a ceramic dish with a cone-shaped lid. This is made from chicken pieces and potatoes braised with spices, garlic, onion, olives, and preserved lemons and was one of the highlights of my time there. But if you just want a succulent steak or some pasta for picky eaters, the menus have these in abundance.

Our stay was made even more relaxing at the Riu Palace Tikida Taghazout Hotel (riu.com). The all-inclusive hotel is a minute walk from the beach and features five outdoor pools, two infinity pools, one indoor pool and one children’s pool. And we spent another night at the Riu Tikida Beach hotel, a stone’s throw from the beach in Agadir. The staff were so welcoming and I could relax to the sounds of the ocean just outside my window. 

Thinking of experiencing Agadir for yourself?
Sunway has many offers: Packages range from €219pp at the 2-Star+ Suite Hotel Tilila S/C from, 3-Star+ Argana Hotel B&B from €245pp, 4-Star Riu Tikida Dunas Hotel All Inc from €635pp, or 5-Star Riu Tikida Palace Hotel All Inc from €735pp. The prices are per person based on two adults sharing and include flights / accommodation and services of the Sunway Rep.

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