Just a short drive from Agadir is the ancient town of Taroudant. This is a spectacular example of an old walled city which to this day is still very authentic and traditional to its early roots.
Take the main N7 from Agadir and travel towards the airport. You are faced with 3 choices of routes, the new toll road, a dual carriageway past the airport, or the old road. For our trip, we chose the old road to get there and the dual carriageway to return to Agadir.
The old road passes through the normal countryside in this region with lots of small towns along the way. The road is pretty narrow and passing places few and far between, but what’s the hurry! It is about an 80km drive from Agadir.
On the approach to Taroudant, some new road works are underway, a new bridge across the river and so some care is needed through the temporary diversions.
As you approach the city, the first thing you will notice is the walled perimeter which is very traditional and incredibly well maintained. One issue you will quickly find is the lack of parking. We wanted to park up and walk around the edge of the wall, exploring the many portals etc, but struggled to find any form of parking or signs for parking.
We were quickly spotted by a local “guide” who latched onto us and lead us to parking within the city walls. As normal, you can try to fight them off or go with the flow, but as we had not visited the city before, we braced ourselves ready for the fee at the end of the tour.
Our new found guide, Abdulla, got us parked up at his friends safe place, and proceeded to take us on a tour of the inner city walled complex. Our first stop was the very old part of town, traditional Berber houses made from mud and straw, supported by pillars of Argan wood. These types of houses have been used over many years and keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Inside they are spacious and comfortable.
Taroudant is unusual as it has two permanent souks within the walls, one a Berber souk and the other an Arabic souk. Each souk is slightly different but both have an abundance of Leather goods, shoes, pottery, metal work and of course food including vegetables, meat and fish. Both markets were very busy, but one good thing is that unlike Marrakesh, you can take photos without problems And you do not get unduly hassled and pestered.
There are plenty of horse draw carriages about so you can take a tour of the city from the comfort of a carriage, or do it on foot as we prefer.
In the centre of the town there is a large square which in the evening becomes a very lively place to eat, watch story tellers and jugglers etc, so it is a place to visit overnight if you have the time.
As normal our guide lead us to his favourite stalls and shops, and of course you will get a great price on any wares you want! Do not feel you must buy anything from any of these places, just look and thank them on the way out.
Finally, after a few hours of exploring, we headed back to the car. As a word of caution, you must always agree a price and what you will see before had, and how much it is to park….our friend Abdulla did try his luck a bit, but soon realised that we are not such a push over as many tourists are….we gave a fair price for his efforts and help but not the crazy sum he believed he deserved! But that’s all part of the game in Morocco.
Getting out of the town was pretty nerve racking as well as there are very few sign posts and lots of one way streets, however we did work it out and ended up going past the very old Kasbar or old walled city, which is pretty much in ruins by the look of it, but without being able to park anywhere, it is a good reason to come back next time to explore alone without the use of a guide.
So when on your beach front holiday in Agadir, do make time out to travel to Taroudant. I am sure that this place will become a firm favourite for our next holiday in morocco as it is such a short distance from the villa in Aourir.