Where exactly are we off to!
This is a Looped Route (more or less!!) beginning and ending at Agadir Airport. We’re heading south along the coast before turning in towards the Anti Atlas Mountains and back to Agadir.
Who’d like this Trip?
This is more for those of you already familiar with Morocco (first-timers will want to see the highlights – Marrakesh, the desert, the High-Atlas and maybe Fez, Volubilis, Rabat, Casablanca, etc.). This region is not exactly off the beaten track but it doesn’t get the same attention as the major centres. It’s particularly popular with campervanners and surfers.
7 is just a number!!! You could do this in 3 or 4 days or – as with one couple we met with their RV – spend 3 months dawdling along!
When to go?
We went at the end of March, just slightly ahead of the European Easter holiday break. Roads were quiet and rooms were available (although we’d pre-booked nonetheless). Weather was warm during the day, 22-28 degrees along the coast rising to the mid 30’s as we headed inland. Nights were cooler – you’d need a sweater or light jacket when out and about.
Our trip coincided with Ramadan which meant we had to deal with restrictions that don’t apply to the rest of the year. There was very little open at lunchtime – we adapted quickly to taking bread and honey at breakfast and stocking up on crisps, biscuits, fruit and water…. not the ideal diet but it was only for a few days. Our evening meal was usually after Iftar (when Muslims break their fast and eat after sunset). There were more options available in the bigger, more tourist-orientated towns.
We rented our car at Agadir Airport. Its not a huge place and the car rental parking space is just in front of the terminal. We managed almost everywhere without a 4X4. The access roads around the airport are good and well signposted. All the main roads on our route are paved. The general advice pre trip was to avoid driving in the dark so we didn’t risk it.
We have driven before in Morocco and experience is the teacher of all things! After driving into Marrakesh some years ago and losing the road to the airport….. we can survive anything! Nowadays, with data, sure finding your route and accommodation is a doddle!!!
The only place we encountered traffic was on the ring road in Agadir. The roundabouts were….. challenging let us say! Tom, as the sole driver, adapted very quickly to them ( I think it helped when I eventually shut my eyes and decided to try and nap rather than stress him further with my continuous yelping!!)
Don’t forget to photo your car before you leave the airport – record every scratch, stain and bump – and check that the spare tyre is usable (and actually exists!).
Cash or Card…
We brought some Euros which we changed at the airport as well as using the ATM (no harm in bringing some cash – we still have horror memories of out-of-order ATM’s and closed bureaux de change in airports!)
We used more cash on this trip than we’ve done for a while – small businesses, traders and even some petrol stations still opt for cash. Having said that, credit cards are widely accepted.
Typically, we find airport vendors very helpful and Agadir was no different – A well spent €10 bought us more than enough data for our trip (on one phone). No need to do anything – just hand over your phone and they’ll switch the cards for you.
It’s always polite to learn a few words anyway but any attempt at Arabic is appreciated everywhere – so start practising your please and thank you’s.
French is more widely spoken here than English – away from the bigger towns, don’t expect English at all.
Lets get Going…
This is just a summery – I’ve already elaborated a bit on some of the highlights in previous posts – but it’ll give you a flavour of the area….
The road south along the Atlantic coast offers up tiny fishing communities, spectacular beaches and wild scenery….
First impressions of the sleepy town of MIRLEFT, stretching along the highway, do not appeal. But the dusty streets in behind the main road house an unexpected choice of cafes, restaurants, shops and accommodation.
LEGZIRA ROCK ARCH PLAGE
SIDI IFNI served as a Spanish port city from the mid-19th century until it’s secession to Morocco in 1969 so you can imagine a crumbing colonial centre intermixed with Moroccan shops and homes….
The Anti-Atlas Mountains, running parallel and southward of its better known neighbours, the High Atlas, stretch some 180 miles from the Sidi Ifni coast to the desert. There are no major cities in this traditionally Berber region – instead, the landscape is marked by small settlements, terraced fields, dry-stone walls and kasbahs (small castles) dominating the rocky outcrops.
Most visitors on the road are heading to TAFRAOUTE – the main town in the region. Known as Morocco’s Berber Heartland, it was discovered by the hippies in the 60’s and still seems to be a winter destination for RV dwellers from Europe. Surrounded on all sides by red granite mountains, the town is a great base for hiking, rock-climbing cycling or driving.
This is Le Chapeau de Napoleon – I can’t really see Napoleon’s hat to be honest but there’s some chance of recognition compared to La Tete de Lion which was close to our guest house – NO – I’ve no photo (I didn’t actually know where to aim the camera!!)
Love them or hate them, LES ROCHES BLEUES are a huge attraction here…..
An extra day here allows time to explore the beautiful canyon of AIT MANSOUR
Heading north again – the road from Tafraoute to Taroudant…
The town of TAROUDANT boasts fabulous 7.5km ramparts and souks that don’t have the hard sell of Marrakesh….
From Taroudant, the main road takes us back to the coast….
Instead of heading directly to Agadir, we deviated some 24km up the coast to the surfing centre of TAGHAZOUT…….
… before ending our trip in AGADIR…..
Agadir Airport > Mirleft 131 kms
Mirleft > Sidi Ifni 32kms
Sidi Ifni > Tafraout 187kms
Around Tafraout – Ait Mansour etc. 131 kms
Tafraout > Taroudant 148kms
Taroudant > Taghazout 105kms
Taghazout ->Agadir Airport 48kms.
(Total circa 800kms / 500miles)
Sleeping and Eating
(Prices valid March / April, 2023. Accommodation based on 2 adults sharing)
AGADIR AIRPORT (1 night)
There is no airport hotel. After a late arrival, we wanted to stay close by and collect our car the following morning . We weren’t exactly spoilt for choice and opted for a homestay that was pricey for what we got (circa €50) but was within walking distance of the airport and included breakfast. The host will come and meet you at the airport if you wish….
MIRLEFT TAYOUGHT GUEST HOUSE (1 night)
Lovely choice in Mirleft town centre. €33 including breakfast.
Our host recommended AYOUR for dinner – popular place right around the corner on the main street …
HOTEL SUERTE LOCA, SIDI IFNI (1 night)
A well known spot beside the beach and close to the town centre. Has a nice roof terrace and date shakes for breakfast. €27 (room only)
We ate inhouse – typically you make your choice earlier in the day – menus usually include bread basket, soup, two or three main courses ( tagine, couscous, fish…) and a desert of fruit or creme brulée etc..
HOTEL L’ARGANIER D’AMMELNE, TAFRAOUTE (2 nights)
A bit outside town – 5.5kms – but has a pool and restaurant. €31 including breakfast / Lunch or dinner €8
DAR TOURKAI, TAROUDANT (1 night)
Ah – definitely going back to this one!!! Within the city walls so everywhere walkable – if you can tear yourself away from the garden!!!! Room only €60 / Breakfast €6.50 / Lunch mains €5-€6 / Dinner mains €10
RADISSON BLU RESORT, TAGHAZOUT (1 night)
Didn’t fancy a hostel in town and left it a bit late with booking so ended up here at €123 including breakfast. We thought we were miles out but it was a lovely 10 minute walk along the promenade into Taghazout. There is poolside service at lunchtime or lots of options in town.
We’d booked DAR JOSEPHINE earlier in the day when walking around town – just as well!!! It was packed when we arrived at 8.00pm!
(2 mains, bread, water , coffee = €16)
ALLEGRO AGADIR (5 nights)
Not the most exciting All- Inclusive we’ve experienced – food and drinks ok (buffet only – no restaurants) / sunbeds – seemed to be enough at circa 60% capacity (wouldn’t like to see it when full but probably no worse than most resort hotels) / poolside activities – the usual / entertainment uninspiring (but to be fair we didn’t partake in much) / Location – good – along the promenade – one block in from the beach. (€109 per night AI)
It was ok for a few nights and rounded off the holiday for us. We’ve been to Agadir before so apart from a daily walk along the prom, we did absolutely nothing except sit and read for 4 days.
Ah – we’re always so wise after the event!!!
*The roads around the airport are good – we would rent our car immediately upon arrival and just drive a little bit to accommodation – not into Agadir city but somewhere along the main road..
*We’d stay 2 nights in Mirleft and just visit Sidi Ifni instead of booking a hotel there. We’d a lovely place in Mirleft and there is a better choice of restaurants.
*We’d tear ourselves away from the garden in Dar Tourkai and walk the 7.5kms around the walls – which was the original plan!!!
*I’d leave the 4 sleeveless tshirts at home – they are not appropriate for walking around the towns or countryside and a beach dress suffices at the resort pools.