Morocco: A Week in Agadir

This year was the first time I traveled to Africa in my life and oh my what an experience it was. It’s definitely a culture shock, the standard of living is much different and the climate is much more humid than what I had been used to.

Ever thought about travelling to Morocca? Here’s everything you need to know whilst travelling to Agadir, a holiday city in the south-west Morocco.

20180703_132406

Currency

Currency in Morocco is Moroccan Dirham. You can pre-order it in most major banks in Ireland, I bank with Ulster Bank and I was able to pre-order enough to last me for first few days.

1 Euro = 11 Dirhams (Approximately)

Travel

We booked our flight with Air Arabia which we never used before and I have to say it is a very decent airline (plenty of leg room) πŸ˜‰ Return flights cost us €200.00 per person and we traveled June/July of this year. We flew directly to Agadir from Dublin.

Visa

When you land and make your way to the passport control, nobody will tell you but you will need to fill out a form on which you state all your personal details, where you will be staying, how long, and what is the purpose of your stay. Without this document you will not be admitted to the country.

** TIP ** Bring a pen with you as the airport does not provide you with pens to complete this form.

On a separate note, brace yourself as the passport control is extremely thorough and we queued for approximately 2 hours.

Accommodation

Book only 5 Star accommodation. This is where I made a huge mistake and booked a “4 Star” Hotel which turned out to be a ruin, completely horrible and to this day I am fighting to get some money back. (I will not be naming this property, however trust me on this).

Who is Agadir for?

Funnily enough this is a place for 2 types of travelers:

  • Those who love to be “out-out”: Agadir has one of the most exclusive night clubs I have ever seen and there’s one for every day of the week. They are all high end, exclusive with vast amount of security outside. You are guaranteed a good party till early hours of the night.
  • Those who love peace & quiet: Agadir is a very very quiet town in general, with few cafes, a boardwalk, a beach and a little square where the locals have their summer fests and concerts.

** TIP ** You will not find your usual “strip” in Agadir, as you would in Spain or Portugal. Most places (bars/cafes) don’t serve alcohol, you will not find live music or comedy shows here at night. If a long strip of bars is what you’re after this is not for you.

Food & Drink

La Grilladiere – Lovely restaurant, with great food somewhat out of the way from the center. Here you will not be served alcohol, however food is tasty, you get exactly what’s promised on the menu and it’s affordable.

Le Maxwell – Here, you will get one of the loveliest Chicken Tagines I have tasted. Tagine is an original Moroccan dish and the way spices go through the meat throughout the cooking process is heaven! This is a great place for couples, as you will be served alcohol and they show all major sporting events on their TVs (I’d know being a footballer’s wife) πŸ˜‰

Shopping

Agadir offers plenty of local shops in the center, and if you are a fan of replicas of high end brands this is the place to go.

Food and drink is extremely cheap in the shops, however please note – you will not be able to purchase alcohol in the shop before 12.30pm or after 8.00pm daily.

Generally I try to bring some meaningful souvenirs back home, for when we finally get our own place we will be able to display it. This time my husband came across an incredible street seller named Elmghari who painted views of local beach, local area and Arabic accents. I fell in love with the below painting, however I knew there’d be no way I could transport it home safely, now I am totally regretting it. Instead we purchased, the painting of the beach below and within the price he included both mine & hubbys name in Arabic as a personal touch. If you are in Agadir, definitely look him up – he’s lovely, extremely affordable and I love the idea of supporting local people who love what they do.

20180706_181833.jpg

Excursions

Marrakech: 1 Day trip to Marrakech costs approximately 400 Dirhams (depending where you go to book) and it lasts a whole day. Don’t be fooled when they tell you it’s 1.5 hours. It is a 3 hour ride one way to Marakkech. You have a guided tour of the Palace and you are given approximately 2 hours free time to eat and ramble around the Marrakech Market. Marakkech is nothing like I’ve ever seen before – full of beggars, snakes, monkeys, street performers. It’s quite overwhelming actually. Personally I wouldn’t book Marakkech as a day trip – if you’re comfortable renting a car I’d do that instead and then you decide how you spend your own time. We found sightseeing in 43 Degree Heat a little too much.

Paradise Valley: Half Day Trip costs approximately 250 Dirhams. It’s a 1.5 hours drive (1 way) from Agadir to a valley where then you will hike for 30 minutes only to discover the most amazing oasis I’ve ever seen in my life. There you can avail of the “fish spa” au naturelle of course, you can jump of the cliffs into the valley and enjoy the waterfall. It’s truly the most magical place, the only pity it’s so commercialized due to volume of tourists its slowly losing it’s charm. Definitely wear comfortable shoes as the hike is 30 minutes one way up a hill.

Unfortunately I cannot recall what company we went with but please take everything they tell you with a pinch of salt, as they will tell you what you want to hear just to make money. Sad but it’s true. One thing for sure, I would not travel to Morocco as a single woman, I wouldn’t feel safe.

Locally in Agadir town there’s a huge hill from which you can see the coast, the whole town and the view is breathtaking. It’s quite a hike, however we have rented a taxi for 120 Dirhams and he waited on the top for us while we looked around and then brought us back to the hotel.

IMG-20180705-WA0019

Lastly, the town has an enormous Souk (Market) and you will literally find anything you want there. From food, fruit to livestock, home goods – cleaning products, to curtains, carpets, clothing, washing machines. You name it it’s there! It’s a great opportunity for some authentic photographs. You will need some patience as the vendors will try to get you to buy their things immediately as you walk in.

I hope you found this post useful and it gives you a clearer picture of Agadir, if you are thinking of going.Β  As always I will answer any further questions you might have in the comments below.

Joanna

20180705_105401-01

 

Day Out in Dublin: Botanical Gardens & Glasnevin Cemetery

Botanic Gardens & Glasnevin Cementary have always been on my “local bucket list” however I have always imagined it to be so much effort having to drive down to Dublin in traffic. I couldn’t be more wrong! They are less than 10 minutes drive once you get off the M50 and they have their own parking – winning. [There’s also free street parking on Sundays]

It’s a perfect day out for the family, easy on the eye for nature lovers and you can mix in some Irish culture if you decide to visit the museum at the Cemetery.

Admission to the cemetery and the gardens it’s free of charge, however if you wish to access the museum it’s €6.50 per adult, the O’Connell Tower admission is €12.00 per adult. This of course is not mandatory, but for those who enjoy a bit of history that option is always there. There are also number of general tours available, for more information visit the Glasnevin Cemetery Page.

Botanic Gardens

The gardens are suitable for families with children of all ages as well as the elderly. There are no bicycles and scooters allowed; picnics are also prohibited. It’s a perfect calm spot for a family and a place where children can run freely among nature. There is plenty of benches to take a rest on, however I have not seen 1 rubbish bin (strange) so if you have kids and you bring snacks make sure you have an extra rubbish bag.

There is a visitor center there where you will find all the information required, and for €1 you can purchase a little map to show you all the sections of the garden. It’s handy if you don’t want to miss a photo opportunity πŸ™‚

There are number of glass houses which are homes to various exotic plans such as palm trees, ferns, Poinsettias and you will even find a waterfall. It’s incredible how they managed to create a beautifully appointed shapes out of the flowers and their colors compliment one another.

There’s a stream going along the edge of the garden which is a nice feature when you’re walking along hiding from the sun (like I was!). If you’re lucky you might come across a squirrel; we even managed to find one that was “begging” for food, completely used to people.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a very Instagrammable Place!

Some of the sections of the garden are: Roase Garden, Sensory Garden, Viking House, Orchid Haouse, Cherry Trees and many more!

Glasnevin Cemetery

You can access the cemetery directly from the gardens itself. You will then find a map of all the major individuals who where lay there to rest. Among these you will find Michael Collins, John Stanislaus Joyce (James Joyce’s Father), Charles Stewart Parnell, Eamon de Valera and many more.

I have to admit, cemeteries aren’t meant to be beautiful as that’s not their “function” however this is the most beautiful burial ground I have ever come across. The Celtic Crosses and elaborate thumb-stones really make a huge impression and show off the beautiful handiwork. The O’Connell Tower is a focal point of the cemetery and on a nice day it really makes an impression. The entrance to the museum is below the Tower.

Michel Collins’ Grave has its own special place, nearby the cafe. You will easily spot it, as it’s covered in flowers.

I’m going to let the photographs speak for themselves.

Overall it’s an enjoyable, educational trip for the whole family, especially if you’re on a budget as there are no admission fees involved. There’s a cafe serving light snacks and hot lunch in the gardens and you can bring a blanket and enjoy the rare sunshine we get here in Ireland.

Botanic Gardens Dublin

Joanna x