Rebuilt after a major earthquake in the mid 1960s, Agadir is a thriving fishing port and tourist town, and one of Morocco's most modern cities with both French and German influences. However, it has a storied history that revolves around its coastline, as well as true Moroccan culture that adventurers can find if they detour off the beaten path. An important entry point for African trading markets, Agadir's port has long been used by Arab peoples for the exportation of everything from gold and olive oil to minerals and metals to seafood. Though the Portuguese attempted to establish a trading post there in the 1500s, the Berbers eventually prevailed and built the Kasbah--a fort overlooking the bay--to keep other Christians out. They commanded the city for 200 prosperous years.
In the early 20th century, both the Germans and French attempted to influence the area, likely drawn by the 300+ days of sun each year and lovely beaches. The French dominated until the 1950s, leaving behind much infrastructure and cultural practices. After the earthquake, the Germans became increasingly influential and helped rebuilt the city with wide streets, simple houses and hotels for the thousands of tourists who flock there every year.
Within a 50-mile radius of Agadir, there are dozens of clean, long and wide Atlantic Ocean beaches that offer everything from sailing and sunbathing to kite- and windsurfing and paragliding. Boating is also popular in the area, and provides fishing and whale- or dolphin-watching opportunities. The backpacker, fresh from days or weeks of wandering, can really settle in, relax and enjoy some Western-style (but still affordable) luxuries in this fresh, clean city. Or, they can pitch a tent, as the city offers camping opportunities. Daily temperatures are consistently comfortable throughout the year, but summers see almost no rain and far more tourists. Avoid the beaches from June until late September if you want more a more peaceful stay in Agadir.
Western influences dominate, but plenty of Moroccan culture lies off the beaten path, though there is a disconcerting contrast between income levels once you leave the tourist central. The large Souk el Had market is close to the center of the city and is home to vendors that sell everything from fish to Berber-styled souvenirs. Additional cultural gems can be found at Agadir's Museum of Berber Art, which features 19th century carpets and clothing. The city's old fishing port bustles much like it has for centuries, and is an excellent place to watch boats dock. It's also close to the busy fish market, where adventurers can check out or try out fresh seafood.
The coastline north and south from Agadir boasts dozens of world-class surfing spots, and with its highly developed tourist industry--including plenty of places to stay and eat as well as information on guide services--Agadir is the perfect place from which to base any surfing trip. Reefs and superb beach breaks for surfers of all levels can be found at Anchor, Banana, Hash and Killer points, among others, and just a few miles away from Agadir lies Taghazout, a surfers' haven. A plethora of hard-to-get-to, but often people-free surf spots can be found with a bit of work. October through March is the ideal time to surf this region because that's when swells are the biggest.