If you’re used to holidaying in Europe and aren’t really sure where to go next why not try one of our new destinations? From May we will have regular flights to Morocco and Tunisia. Not sure what a trip to Agadir on Morocco’s coast can offer you, fear not, because we’ve put together a list of ten great reasons to make it your next holiday destination:
1. Endless sunshine
Although Spain and France are undoubtedly lovely beach destinations right on your doorstep, even the Costa del Sol gets a bit nippy and damp in the winter months.
Agadir on the other hand, which is on a similar latitude to Cairo, enjoys warm conditions year round, and plenty of sun in the winter months too. Average highs stay above 20 degrees C from January to December and in no month does the city endure less than 200 hours of sunshine.
As a result, many of the people you’ll meet in this international destination are Scandinavians, who migrate south during their long winter to top up on vitamin D and play golf.
2. Delicious cuisine
Agadir is one of Morocco’s most important fishing ports – indeed, it is the world’s oldest sardine port – and the local chefs have an abundance of fresh seafood to work with. Combine this with the culinary influence of the French expats living in this French-speaking city and you have a recipe for delicious dishes served with plenty of imported wine.
The local Berber people know a thing or two about cooking up a mean feast themselves and the speciality around these parts is the lamb tagine, a mixture of meat and vegetables served steaming hot inside the pot it was cooked in. A drop of Moroccan lager is the perfect accompaniment to this mouth-watering dish.
3. Golden beaches
Agadir’s finest attraction is its wonderful long and wide expanse of golden sand that stretches for around three miles from the Marina in the north to the King’s palace in the south.
You can either lay on the sand and soak up the sun or take a stroll down the paved promenade, which is lined with restaurants and cafes boasting outdoor seating areas.
4. Shopping at Souq el-Had
If you like markets, you’re in for a treat in Agadir, which is home to the Souq el-Had, one of North Africa’s largest. The souq is the city’s main man-made tourist attraction and boasts no fewer than 13 different entrance gates leading to thousands of stalls inside. Part of the fun of visiting the souq is stepping inside the shops for some Berber tea and listening to the owner describing his wares to you. You’ll then need to deploy your best haggling skills to come away with your very own tagine pot or bottle of locally made argan oil.
5. Activities for everyone
As well as lazing around on the beach, relaxing in a spa and eating well, Agadir is a city where you can get active. At the southern end of the beach is a well-equipped surf school for those hoping to hang ten – the Atlantic whips up some wicked waves in the winter months – or you can hire a jetski from one of the rental centres and go for a blast round the bay, while the golf courses of Agadir are becoming a popular reason to visit the area in themselves.
One particularly exotic experience you can enjoy in Agadir is riding a camel, with visitors invited to hop atop a dromedary and take a canter to the estuary of the river where flamingoes gather in the winter.
6. Exciting day trips
As well as boasting plenty of activities of its own, Agadir makes for a great base for heading off and exploring other parts of western Morocco. Some of the most popular excursions include hiking in the Anti-Atlas mountains, sleeping overnight in a Berber camp under the stars and driving dune buggies in the desert. There are also a number of towns worth visiting within a short drive, including the surf capital Taghazout and the authentic walled town of Taroudant.
7. Exotic location
With its combination of exotic local experiences, such as riding camels and shopping in the souq, and familiar activities such as surfing and sunbathing, a stay in Agadir makes for a genuinely refreshing change to the norm of holidaying in Europe or at home.
8. Welcoming people
Some places you visit can leave you feeling unwelcome as a tourist, but this could not be further from the truth in Agadir, whose residents greet visitors with a ready smile and affectionate inquisitiveness. Expect them to invite you to sit down for some Berber tea at regular intervals during your visit and ask about where you’ve come from. Most people speak good English and all the tourist restaurants have multi-lingual menus, so you’ll have no problem communicating.
As well as being welcoming, the locals are very tolerant and accommodating of Western beliefs, despite Morocco being a Muslim country and the local Berber population adverse to many types of processed food and drink. Alcohol is available in all the restaurants and you’re never made to feel guilty about asking for it. However, you should drink sensibly, and caution should be exercised on the beach, as nudity and public displays of affection will be frowned upon.
9. Family friendly
Based on all the above, you can probably appreciate that Agadir is a really family-friendly destination. At no point in your trip will you feel unsafe, even with a camera round your neck – although you will attract plenty of attention from the local vendors hoping to sell you some of their products and pose for photos.
Even at night, there are lots of tourists around and you can always hop in one of the many orange-coloured petit taxis if you want to get back from your restaurant to your hotel.
10. Less than 4 hours away
What really caps it all off is that you can be in Agadir soaking up the sunshine in a little over three and a half from Manchester. You really won’t have travelled much further than Gibraltar before the pilot will announce the plane is descending into land, so it seems like no time from A to B.
Our flights to Morocco via Agadir start in May from Manchester, with fares from £52.99. Flights depart twice a week on Tuesday and Saturday.