Agadir lacks any great attractions other than the one thing that brings everyone here -- the beach. Everything else in this city only dates back to the reconstruction phase that began in the 1970s. There are a couple of sights that are worth a look between morning and afternoon sunning sessions, and day outings to the beach village of Taghazout or the jewelry souk in Tiznit are particularly recommended.

The thalassotherapy center in Hotel Riu Tikida Beach (tel. 0528/842120; www.agadirtikida.com) offers a large range of massages, body wraps, and beauty treatments. One-time entry to the hammam is 70dh; a body scrub or henna body wrap is 120dh; and the Oriental Break, which includes a body scrub, 50-minute massage with argan oil, and a hydromassage in essential oils is 800dh. Reservations required. It's open daily 9am to 1pm and 2:30 to 7pm (restricted hours during Ramadan).

Agadir Bay -- The crescent-shape bay in which Agadir rests is one of Morocco's best. Fine, golden sand stretches for about 9km (5 1/2 miles), and the Atlantic Ocean is usually calm enough for swimming, though be wary of a strong undertow. No matter where in Agadir you are staying, you won't be too far from the beach; it's mere steps away for those staying in the resorts lining the shore south of the city center. Avenue Tawada (formerly rue de la Plage) is the official name for the delightfully long promenade that looks over the main beach (or plage), and here you'll find roped-off areas with umbrellas, sun lounges, and waiters serving drinks, as well as surf lifesavers on duty daily mid-June to mid-September from 8am to 7pm. At the bay's northern extremity lies a recently constructed marina complex, offering a nice extended stroll from the promenade. Besides some shops selling Euro-chic fashions, there are also a few indoor-outdoor restaurants here, including the beachfront Restaurant les Blancs.

During the warmer months there are usually motorized watersports such as jet-skiing (400dh for 30 min.) and surfboard and windsurfing equipment available for rent. MTS Travel, in Complex Manader on boulevard du 20 Août (tel. 0528/827429 or 0669/837345), organizes 2-hour camel rides along the beach for 200dh adults and 100dh children 12 and under; the cost includes tea and pastries. They also offer a yacht cruise, including lunch and nonalcoholic drinks, from 9:30am to 4:30pm for 450dh adults, 225dh children 12 and under.

Agadir's New Medina

On the Inezgane road heading south of Agadir is builder-designer Coco Polizzi's La Médina d'Agadir. Polizzi, born in Rabat into an Italian family of architects, was involved in much of the construction that took place in Agadir through the 1980s and 1990s. In 1983, he built his own workshop in the city, partly to supply his booming building business but also to take the first step toward realizing a dream of building a new medina to replace the earthquake-devastated original. After receiving local government approval in 1992, a 4 1/2-hectare (11-acre) site was leased, and over the next 4 years, using his own capital, Polizzi's new medina took shape. The medina is built entirely of bricks, hewn stone, and wood, and the only concessions to modernity are the plumbing and some electricity; there are no reinforcing bars or metal beams.

A continuing work in progress -- there are plans for a museum, art gallery, hammam, artist studios, and a small lake with landscaped gardens -- the site workshops produce nearly everything, from the mosaics that decorate the floors and walls of the buildings to the intricately carved doors and roshans (latticed windows). Much of the interior work inside many of Agadir's resorts and restaurants (Sofitel, Riu Tikida Dunas, Le Mauresque Cafe) was produced in these workshops. Artisans work with only natural local products -- terra cotta from Marrakech, marble from Casablanca, slate from Tafraoute, and limestone, thuya, and eucalyptus from the surrounding area. Basically a craft and culture village, the medina is a maze of arches and alleyways, each housing a small workshop with a local craftsperson making and selling his or her wares. Most traditional Moroccan art and crafts are represented: textiles, jewelry, lantern making, weaving, woodwork, henna art, herboristes, and glassware. Crafts that produce larger items or ones that are integral to building the medina are located in the rambling workshops to the rear of the property.

An agreement with the government results in every craftsperson in the medina training at least two others, which is integral to Polizzi's ethos of perpetuating Morocco's artisan heritage. Each craftsperson (there are currently 64) is interviewed by Polizzi or his daughter Claudia, who lives within the medina, and must offer something innovative or unique from that already being produced. For me, this is what makes the visit worthwhile. Although this medina lacks the atmosphere of Morocco's ancient medinas, the craftsmanship and subsequent items on display and for sale are of an exceptional quality, unique, and perhaps more in tune with modern-day tastes. The prices are fixed, and each shopkeeper/craftsperson is most willing to show you how each product is made (a good time to ask that herboriste what is in the "Viagra" tea) without the pressure to buy that you find in the other cities' medinas. The larger workshops are available for viewing only with a guide (English-speaking and included in the cost of admission), which I encourage you to use. This is a great opportunity to see these skilled artisans at work in a nonintimidating environment. True to medina working hours, most of the shops close for lunch between noon and 2pm. There is a small restaurant, Cafe Mauré, on-site serving traditional Moroccan cuisine; main dishes of tagine or couscous are 40dh to 60dh. It's open 24 hours.

The medina is located at Ben Sergao, 4km (2 1/2 miles) south of Agadir on the Inezgane road (tel. 0528/280253; www.medinapolizzi.com; 40dh adults, 20dh children 2-12, free for kids 1 and under). Hours are Tuesday to Sunday 8:30am to 6:30pm. A shuttle-bus service from Agadir operates daily from 9am to 6pm and charges 60dh adults, 30dh children 2 to 12, and is free for kids 1 and under; ticket includes admission. The best pickup/drop-off point in the city center is La Medina's own kiosk at the junction of boulevard du 20 Août and Chemin de Oued Souss. Other stops include the beachfront resorts of Riu Tikida Beach and Sofitel.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.