Getting Oriented

Morocco's southern coastal towns might be just a few hours from bustling Marrakesh, but their laid-back vibe makes you feel you're a world away. Moroccans and Europeans flock to this region in summer for the sea breeze, the sandy beaches, the luxurious resorts, or the numerous festivals that ensure that there's always music in the air. This is also argan country: otherwise known as "Morocco gold," this tree's oil is changing the economic prospects of local women and the beauty regimes of women across the world.

  • Agadir. Agadir is essentially a large, regional trading city fronted by Morocco’s premier beach resort. Long popular with European sun worshippers and tourists, visitors spend most of their time on the sweeping sandy beach at the south end where there are a number of all-inclusive and five-star resort hotels. You can find some less crowded local beaches to the north and south; the Souss Massa National Park is also nearby.
  • Essaouira. Essaouira is quieter and more emblematically Moroccan than Agadir, though it's becoming more popular, with bus tours coming for the day from Marrakesh or Agadir. The beach stretches for miles in a curving bay with an almost constant breeze great for water sports, but most visitors are attracted by the car-free medina and the busy port with its fresh-fish restaurants.
  • The Souss Valley and Anti-Atlas. The region around the Anti-Atlas Mountains, comprising Taroudant, Tafraoute, and Tiznit, is relatively undiscovered by tourists, attracting nature lovers, walkers, and climbers instead. It's easily reached from family-friendly Agadir, providing a completely different kind of travel experience.

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