While they're both on the coast and have beaches that people rave about, Essaouira and Agadir couldn't be more different. A hippie hangout whose secret travelers refused to reveal for years, Essaouira is only now coming into the limelight as a mainstream destination, but it nevertheless retains its slightly "other" ambience. Windy beaches attract water-sports enthusiasts rather than sunseekers, and riad-hotels cater to independent travelers.
Agadir, on the other hand, was made for mass tourism. It's a modern resort city with every kind of singing, dancing, and casino-betting distraction on hand along with long stretches of hot, sandy beaches, and calm seas perfect for sunbathing families. Both, however, have lively ports worth seeing in action and superb fresh fish and seafood. Between the two are less frequented spots good for surfing, windsurfing, kite-surfing, kayaking, and bodyboarding, or, for the less active, sunbathing and just hiding out from the world a little.
For those wanting to get closer to nature, head inland southeast of Agadir, and you’ll find fruit orchards, argan trees, saffron crocus fields, pretty painted villages, and kasbahs. The plains of the Souss Valley and the jagged Anti-Atlas Mountains provide stunning vistas with plenty of scope for adventure. The picturesque walled town of Taroudant has historic sights and markets that attract day-trippers from Agadir, but it is also a great base for exploring and trekking into the Anti-Atlas or western High Atlas mountains. A very worthwhile circuit from Taroudant will include the towns of Tafraoute and Tiznit. Tafraoute is famed for its scenic backdrop of towering granite boulders, almond blossoms, blue-painted rocks, and nearby rock carvings, while the 19th-century walled town of Tiznit is famed for its silversmiths and jewelry souk.
Whether your interests involve holing up in luxury or diving into the surf, this coastal area offers a great deal. For nature lovers and culture vultures there are ancient medinas, kasbahs, pretty villages, and wilderness all within easy reach.