advertisement

Arriving

By Plane -- Due to Agadir's fly-in/fly-out beach resort status, the city's al-Massira airport (tel. 0528/839112), located 25km (16 miles) east of the city center, is a large, modern building offering most of the services one would expect. There is only one terminal for both arrivals and departures, where you'll find desks for rental-car services, a ONMT tourist office (though it only hands out glossy brochures) open between 6am and midnight, a téléboutique, a couple of small souvenir shops, and a cafe/news agency that sells the odd English-language magazine and Agadir city maps.

There are also an ATM and three currency exchange booths that operate between 8am and 7pm but can sometimes be closed for no apparent reason or open outside of these hours. Though you will generally find a bank or bureau de change near your hotel or can usually exchange cash (they may not accept traveler's checks) at your hotel, it's best to pick up some Moroccan dirham at the airport just in case.

Many hotels are happy to arrange an airport pickup for you, and if you're on a package holiday, this should be included. Grands taxis are located straight outside the terminal and charge a set rate of 200dh (ignore the outdated sign stating a daily fee of 150dh) for the drive into town. Apart from dirham, they will normally accept euros and sometimes U.S. dollars and British pounds, but you will receive change only in dirham. Tip: Although they can take up to six passengers, these airport taxis will usually refuse to take multiple passengers who have only just met at the airport. This is to ensure that business is spread out. If you can, try to group up with any fellow independent travelers while still in the terminal.

A modern airport shuttle bus (no. 22) departs for the city nine times a day between 6am and 8pm. Tickets are bought at a counter in the arrivals area, and cost 60dh per adult and 30dh for children up to 12.

By Bus -- Buses to Agadir arrive daily from numerous cities in Morocco, including Marrakech (5 hr.; 95dh-110dh), Casablanca (8 hr.; 200dh), El Jadida (9 hr.; 120dh-140dh), Essaouira (4 hr.; 50dh-70dh), Fes (13 hr.; 245dh-260dh), Meknes (12 hr.; 240dh-260dh), Ouarzazate (8 hr.; 120dh-140dh), Rabat (11 hr.; 200dh-220dh), Tangier (16 hr.; 260dh-290dh), Tafraoute (5 hr.; 80dh), Taroudannt (2 1/2 hr.; 50dh), and Tiznit (2 hr.; 30dh).

All long-distance bus companies, including the ONCF-aligned Supratours, arrive at the recently built gare routière on the outskirts of the city on rue Chair Alhamra Mohammed ben Brahim. The multilevel building houses a few cafe-restaurants and is at least a 30-minute trudge northwest into the city center. Alternatively, there are usually plenty of orange-color petits taxis around that will take you this short distance for around 20dh to 30dh. For onward travel from Agadir, all companies depart from the bus station, where they each have their own ticket booths on the ground floor (you must pay in cash). For an early morning departure, it's advisable to purchase your ticket the day prior to both ensure your seat and allow you time to ignore the touts and peruse the options available. Supratours and CTM buses (tel. 0522/541010 central reservations; www.ctm.ma) to Marrakech are regularly full, so it's best to prebook your seat as early as possible. Supratours (tel. 0528/224010, or 0890/203040 central reservations; www.oncf.ma) also has an office in town at 10 rue des Orangiers (tel. 0528/841207), at the northern end of boulevard Hassan II, which is open Monday to Saturday 9am to 7:30pm and Sunday 9am to 1pm and 3 to 7pm for ticket sales (cash only). Note: Just to confuse the issue, some long-distance buses to Agadir travel only as far as Inezgane, a bustling city some 13km (8 miles) southeast of Agadir and more conveniently located to the major access highways. If this is the case, there are plenty of grands taxis at the bus station plying the route between the two cities (20dh). Ask upon purchasing your ticket so you may avoid this inconvenience, or at least be preadvised.

By Grand Taxi -- Long-distance grands taxis are located on the southern edge of the city on the corner of rue de Fes and rue d'Essaouira. The most regular routes include Essaouira (1 1/2 hr.; 85dh), Marrakech (3 1/2 hr.; 150dh), Taroudannt (1 1/2 hr.; 50dh), and Tiznit (1 1/2 hr.; 50dh).

By Car -- Driving into Agadir is pretty straightforward thanks to the modern, well-designed network of roads leading into and within the city. The coastal road from Essaouira enters the city at the northern end of boulevard Mohammed V, while the major highways from Tiznit, Taroudannt, and Marrakech converge at the hub city of Inezgane. From here a two-lane highway heads into Agadir's city center, where three of the four major parallel streets of boulevard Hassan II, boulevard Mohammed V, and boulevard du 20 Août make navigation relatively easy. Parking within the city usually isn't a problem, and the aggressive driving in other parts of the country is not a problem here.

A two-lane highway connecting the airport and the city center is one of the most hassle-free and navigable in all Morocco, and if you're picking up or dropping off a rental car here, there's a 24-hour gas station, selling both leaded and unleaded, at the airport's entrance.

Visitor Information

The ONMT regional tourist office, on the upper level of Building Iguenouane, opposite the post office on the corner of avenue du Prince Moulay Abdellah and avenue Prince Sidi Mohammed (tel. 0528/846377), is open Monday to Thursday 8:30am to noon and 2:30 to 6:30pm, and on Friday from 8:30 to 11:30am and 2:30 to 6:30pm. This is the main tourist office of the region and has some useful lists of recommended accommodations and restaurants. There is also a local Syndicat d'Initiative, or tourist information bureau, on avenue Mohammed V opposite avenue du Général Kéttani (tel. 0528/840307), which is open daily 9am to noon and 3 to 6pm. It carries a few pamphlets on local restaurants and attractions, as well as lists of emergency medical centers.

City Layout

Agadir is very easy to navigate, and most travelers spend their time between the beach and the four parallel main roads heading away from the beach: boulevard du 20 Août, boulevard Mohammed V, boulevard Hassan II, and avenue du Prince Moulay Abdellah. Here you will find the city's restaurants, banks, and many of its moderate hotels and self-catering apartment blocks, along with a large number of fixed-price souvenir shops. A couple of blocks north of avenue du Prince Moulay Abdellah is an area known as Nouvelle Talborjt, where a number of basic hotels have replaced the old bus station. The northern end of Agadir Bay rises up past a new marina complex to the large industrial port and beyond to the beaches around Taghazout. Boulevard du 20 Août provides access to the beach and its long promenade, where more restaurants and nightlife are to be found. At press time, this promenade was being extended farther south to eventually connect with the first of the beachfront resorts. Branching off south from boulevard du 20 Août are Chemin de Oued Souss and rue des Dunes, where an ever-increasing number of resorts are lined up side by side along the southern bay.

Getting Around

Getting around Agadir is very easy. The beach-facing city center affords a degree of direction to even the most geographically challenged, and because there's no medina, streets are wide, straight, and well signposted.

By Foot -- This is how most people discover Agadir. Those based in the city center will find themselves walking everywhere, as most travelers' needs are met within a relatively small area. For those staying in one of the southern beachfront resorts, the 20-minute walk into the city center or beach promenade usually depends on the heat and the desire to leave the confines of the resort.

By Scooter -- More for heading to the beaches north of Agadir rather than to get around the city itself, hiring a scooter or motorcycle is an option for a fun day out. Plan on paying around 250dh per day for a scooter, or 300dh per day for a 125cc motorcycle. There's a string of pavement operations located along the shaded, southern stretch of boulevard du 20 Août, but I would steer clear of them. These boys are unlicensed, uninsured, and uninterested in anything other than your money. It's better to hire from a reputable agency such as Transrent (tel. 0528/843378 or 0661/385000), on the corner of boulevard du 20 Août and rue de la Jeunesse, open Monday to Saturday 9am to 7pm.

By Taxi -- Petits taxis are really only needed to get around town if you are staying in a beachside resort, and this is where you'll find many of the orange-color vehicles waiting for business. Travelers heading to/from the bus station should also consider using one. At all times, request that the driver put on the meter. Most trips within the main tourist areas of Agadir should cost no more than 15dh during the day and a bit more after 8pm, when a 50% evening surcharge kicks in. For transport to the bus station, the metered fare should only rise 10dh at the most. Petits taxis are licensed to operate only within the city environs. If you wish to head to Taghazout and the beaches north of the city, charter a grand taxi. These Mercedes sedans take a maximum of six passengers -- though four is comfortable -- and cost around 250dh for the day. You can find them on the southern edge of the city on the corner of rue de Fes and rue d'Essaouira.

By Car -- As with scooter hire, renting a car for the day is an option only if you want to explore the coastline north of Agadir, which is easy to navigate and makes for a fun day. The high number of car-rental firms based in Agadir can equate to some very good deals among the local companies; however, make sure they have acceptable logistical and mechanical assistance to match the major international companies, which also offer one-way rentals. Rates vary greatly between seasons, and sometimes discounts of 10% to 40% can be negotiated, especially with the local companies. For a general idea, plan on 550dh to 650dh per day for a small, four-door sedan with unlimited mileage and insurance.

The major international firms can be found on or near the northern ends of boulevard Hassan II and boulevard Mohammed V and include Budget, Residence Marhaba, boulevard Mohammed V (tel. 0528/848222); Europcar, corner of boulevard Mohammed V and rue Hubert Giraud (tel. 0528/840203); Hertz, Residence Marhaba, boulevard Mohammed V (tel. 0528/449984); and National/Alamo, Immeuble Sud Bahia, boulevard Hassan II, opposite rue des Orangiers (tel. 0528/840026).

Companies with desks at the airport include Avis tel. 0528/839244 or 0661/530618), Budget (tel. 0528/839101 or 0675/386175), Europcar (tel. 0528/840337), Hertz (tel. 0528/839071 or 0667/619069), National/Alamo (tel. 0528/839121 or 0667/199979), and SixT (tel. 0668/190570); all are usually open from 8am to 10pm.

Reputable local companies include Abid Rent A Car, Complexe Tivoli, at the junction of Chemin de Oued Souss and rue des Dunes (tel. 0528/827777 or 0661/574266), which offers one-way rentals to Marrakech; Transrent (tel. 0528/843378 or 0661/385000), on the corner of boulevard du 20 Août and rue de la Jeunesse; and Always Rent-A-Car, Agadir Toyota, southern end of boulevard Hassan II (tel. 0528/842543 or 0666/019385), which also has a desk at the airport (tel. 0528/846061).

By Train -- It's not really a train, but it sure looks like one. Petit Train d'Agadir (tel. 0661/164384) is a battery-operated tourist train that takes visitors on a 40-minute circuit of the city, encompassing the southern beach resorts all the way to the northern edge of the beach promenade and up to avenue Hassan II and avenue du Prince Moulay Abdellah. The main pickup/drop-off is on boulevard du 20 Août, at the bottom entrance to the Vallée des Oiseaux. The circuits commence at 9:15am and continue on the hour to 6pm, costing 18dh per adult and 12dh children 5 to 12.

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.