The Southern Atlantic Coast: Places to Explore

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Agadir

Agadir is a holiday resort. Don't hope for a medina, a souk, or a kasbah (although it does have all three, after a fashion). Think sun, sea, and sand. These are what it does best, as hundreds of thousands of visitors each year can testify.

There's no reason to begrudge the city its tourist aspirations. Razed by an earthquake in 1960 that killed 15,000 people in 13 seconds, Agadir had to be entirely rebuilt. Today it's a thoroughly modern city where travelers don't think twice about showing considerable skin, and Moroccans benefit from the growing number of jobs.

There's a reason why this popular European package vacation destination is overrun with enormous, characterless beachfront hotels. The beach, all 10 km (6 mi) of it, is dreamy. A 450-yard-wide strip, it bends in an elegant crescent along the bay, and is covered with fine-grain sand. The beach is sheltered and safe for swimming, making it perfect for families. Farther north, where small villages stand behind some of the best waves in the world, is a surfers' paradise.

Even if you have no interest in surfing, diving, jet skiing, golf, tennis, or horseback riding down the beach, you can treat Agadir as a modern bubble in which to kick back. It's equipped with familiar pleasurable pursuits—eating, drinking, and relaxing next to the ocean—and modern amenities such as car-rental agencies and ATMs. It isn't quite Europe, but neither is it quite Morocco.

The coastal stretch between Sidi Ifni and Essaouira presents the most spectacular anywhere in Morocco. The northern half of the trip from Agadir on the P8/N1 road to Essaouira is particularly stunning. A drive is pleasant in itself, but you can stop and relax at several turnoffs from the main road both north and south of Agadir. Unspoiled beaches lie just 10 km (6 mi) north of Sidi Ifni; the only travelers who find the unmarked dirt road come in campers during the summer months.

Elsewhere in The Southern Atlantic Coast

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