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6th Jun 2014 2:40pm | By Tom Coote
From bustling streets to silver screen-worthy landscapes, Morocco is a country that offers culture, beauty, and a bloody good time.
A popular winter sun destination with cheap flights from the UK, Agadir is known for its long crescent beach and attractive Atlantic Ocean Boulevard. The beach-side coffee shops, restaurants and luxury hotels are little different to what you would expect to find in any beach resort in Europe, but most independent travellers opt to stay further inland in the better-value hotels to be found around Noveau Talborjit. From there, you can negotiate a cheap taxi fare up to the ruins of the old Kasbah, overlooking the port and the northwest of the town, before making your way down the snaking hillside paths towards the beach. If you need to travel out to the bus station to sort out ongoing tickets, then it is worth stopping off at the expansive Souq al-Had to wander around the atmospheric market for a while. You might even pick up a bargain.
What else? As you wander along the beach-side promenade, you will inevitably be approached by a series of young men, opening up large photo books full of exotic nearby locations in the hope of flogging you various excursions. Your immediate response might be to avoid them like the plague, but it might well make sense to use Agadir as a base for side trips to Souss-Massa National Park, Aourir and Tamraght (Banana Village), and further on into the High Atlas foothills to Paradise Valley.
Other than the Taoukirt Kasbah - a UNESCO restored citadel - there isn’t much to see in the actual city of Ouarzazate (pronounced ‘war-zazat’). It's the adventure sports and desert tours that really attract travellers, plus its close proximity to many memorable movie locations. The Atlas Film Corporation Studios offer good-value tours around the sets and props used in such films as Gladiator, Sahara, Kingdom of Heaven, The Mummy and Alexander the Great. There is a regular bus that takes visitors the 5km from the city to Atlas Studios, but many visitors choose to combine a visit to the film studios with a tour to the spectacular Aït Benhaddou kasbah, around 32km out of Ouarzazate. You may well recognise the famously scenic hillside city from Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. If not, after visiting Aït Benhaddou, you will forever be spotting it in any number of ‘swords and sandals’ epics.
What else? A number of companies offer horse, camel, quad bike and motorbike tours out into the surrounding stony desert. Many visitors also use Ouarzazate as a base for organising trips further afield to the Saharan sand dunes.
Want to book your own trip to Morocco? TNT Tour Search has plenty on offer - browse to your heart's content here
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