Tangier is considered to be the third largest city in Morocco. It is a bustling city located in the extreme north of the country, it is also a common entry for tourists thanks to its location and proximity to Europe. The city keeps daily growing up with unbridled rhythm, preserving a cosmopolitan character. The city is full of stories, myths and legends. According to mythologists, it was founded by Anteo, the son of Neptune, who gave the city the name of his wife, Tingis. History confesses Tangier was inhabited since the Paleolithic era. During colonization time, Tangier was the inspirational centre for a whole generation of artists and politicians.
Tangier has been continually shaken by waves of western and eastern invasions. The coasts of the city have seen disembarkation of Carthaginians, Vandals, Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs and, more recently, the Spanish, French, English and Portuguese.
Its streets, hotels and cafes can be presumed of having hosted Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet…Additionally, Barbara Hutton and Malcolm Forbes experienced crazy parties in its gorgeous palaces… Its light inspired Matisse and his mystery to Paul Bowles. For all of them, a trip to Tangier was a unique experience and the white city continues to inpsire and attract geniuses and artists.
Tangier is arranged to be like an amphitheater over the Strait of Gibraltar, overlooking the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Its location, its history and the hotel amenities it offers, make this city a privileged destination for travelers looking for romantic memories.
Only few cities in the world have that mesmerizing cohesion between African and European culture. The Mediterranean Sea and the proximity to Europe have fostered all kinds of exchanges between Tangier, Morocco and the neighboring continent, all thanks to short distance of 14.5 km that separate this city from Algeciras. It has many attractions that will amaze you. Attractions which most of people do not know, but once you see them for the first glance you fall in love with.
Despite being one of the largest towns, it is a city that can be easily explored by foot. Alike most of cities of Morocco, Tangier is divided into two parts: we have the old town or ‘medina’, which starts from the port up the hill. On the other side, we have the Ville Nouvelle ‘modern area’ built by Europeans during the 20th century. The famous place in modern town is called French Square.
The walled medina is made up of countless narrow streets full of bazaars and shops selling local products. If you know other medinas in Morocco, Tangier is quite similar, but because of its cosmopolitan character, Tangier is slightly different and special. These labyrinthine streets of the medina are full of life, thanks to many cafes, shops and hotels that invade the old part of the city since the protectorate era. What to see in Tangier can be done comfortably in a day or two.
Tangier got many sites to see as The Grand Souk or square of April 9, 1947. This large square is located between the medina and the new part of the city and has been recently remodeled. It is a great place to contemplate the vibrant life of the city. This square, which has been the weekly traditional market spot, is now full of cafes, while the historic market stalls have been located in the surrounding streets. The square hosts Sidi Bou Abid Mosque, dating back to 1917, and has a beautiful minaret of polychrome tiles.
Nearby the square, on a parallel street, we find the slippers market and the Anglican Church of St. Andrew consecrated in 1905 when Hassan I donated a piece of land to the old British community of Tangier. Its interior ‘British community’ is made up of diverse styles, among which the Andalusian style stands out. This church has an attached cemetery where some personalities were buried.
Close by is Mendubia Park “Delegation”, which seems to be a simple square from the first glance, rather it is a pleasant spot to relax and enjoy the silence and peace after the bustle of the medina and the souks. It is a good place to enjoy the culture of Tangier and Morocco, and appreciate its lifestyle. At the entrance of this park we find an arch with a caption written in Arabic. This park is full of exotic plants and trees, among them a banyan tree which is more than 800 years old.
Walking down the Siaghins Boulevard, which is a very lively street with artisan shops. This street leads to a Catholic church along the path. By the way, Siaghins means silversmiths which is one of the old traditional profession the ancient ancestors used to do. The Catholic church with a facade of clear oriental influence dates from 1880 and is called Purest Conception Church. Then, at number 41 of the street, there is the Dar Niaba “house of representation”, a former Renaissance-style palace that was the seat of the French legation and also served as the office of the Naib (representative of the Sultan), the old French consulate. Next, the Small market, also called the Dakhil Souk, the heart of the medina and one of the most attractive and characteristic places in the city. It is a Spanish-style square, with balconies and wrought iron bars, surrounded by cafes and hotels.
Nearby, we find the old United States Legation, from 1821, existed there for over a century. Now only antique furniture, documents, photographs, maps and all kinds of objects from the golden age of the city left there. It can be visited on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 01 pm and from 03 pm to 05 pm. If you are interested in museums, nearby we find the Museum of Lorin Foundation, dedicated to Marisha Lorin (1943-1993), lover of the arts. This museum is located on Tuahin Street, inside a synagogue with a cyclectic architectural style, which contains a large collection of photographs, scores, cartoons and documents from the first half of the 20th century of the city of Tangier. This museum can be visited from 11 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 5 pm.
Another monument that must be seen in Tangier is: The Great Mosque, founded by Moulay Ismail in 1684. It was occupied by numerous civilizations, among them the Romans, as in the mosque’s interior, there have been remains of the Capitol found. During the Portuguese invasion, the mosque turned out to be a Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. In front of the Great Mosque there is an old Madrasa rebuilt in the 18th century. Further down, we find a nice viewpoint with beautiful views of the port.
Following the path towards Bab El Bahr (sea gate) we find the legendary Hotel Continental, the oldest in Tangier and Morocco. The hotel was the chosen accommodation for high profile political personalities such as Winston Churchill or the American actress Ava Gardner. It is one of the places that have become fashionable thanks to TV series “The Time In Between”, because several scenes from the series were shot inside. Among them, those of Ramiro smoking the traditional kifi pipe, and where some beautiful Arab salons are shown.
Aissawa Square is a recommended site to visit in Tangier. It is located to the left side of the small souk. Tangier is the only city where to find the original famous Madini perfumery, which is known for its faithful reproductions of perfumes and essence at an affordable price. This perfumery is run by the family that has given its name to the establishment. From Ben Raisul boulevard we will access the Kasbah through its main gate, called Bab el Assa (Gate of the surveillance), where formerly prisoners were tortured and executed.
Entering through the square lead us to Kasbah Square where Dar el Makhzen, the Kasbah Museum, are located. The visit is free on Tuesdays from 1pm to 4pm and on Fridays from 9 am to 12pm and from 1pm to 4pm. It is the old palace of the sultan founded by Moulay Ismail in the seventeenth century, the building has two patios arcaded by marble columns and arches covered with tiles that lead to various rooms and the throne room. This palace is famous in Tangier and in Morocco for its beautiful cedar ceilings and stucco walls. Inside is the museum, which contains pieces of Moroccan art and antiques. The building has an archaeological section too.
To start the tour of this wonderful part of Tangier, it is so recommended to start from its main street, Boulevard Pasteur. At the beginning of the street we find Faro plaza, the sluggards square, where there are several cannons of Portuguese origin. From the square you can enjoy stunning views. Close by, Cervantes Gran Theatre takes place, Modernist Art Deco building, built in 1913 by Diego Jiménez. In its streets you can feel the authenticity and modernity of Tangier and Morocco: people, veiled women as well as the architectural diversity. A single walk into the bustle life of Tangier surely will gradually make you understand what being here is about.
Another legendary place in Tangier is the Café de Paris, which is located in France Square. The legend recognizes the site as the meeting point for spies during the World War II.
Kasbah Square is also a great spot where to enjoy a total view of the bay and the port area. A sunset time is worthy from the place. The Marshan Neighborhood is where most of the city’s attractions are found.
In this part of the city the Punic necropolis stands, which is made up of 98 tombs. More than 50 are carved into a coffered ceiling on the edge of a cliff with beautiful views of the strait. Here utensils of Punic and Neo-Punic tradition have been found, as well as Roman objects from different eras. The last phase of the occupation of the necropolis dates back to the end of the 4th century AD. Located on a cliff with beautiful views of the strait. At the entrance you can see some Roman columns. Near this necropolis we find the famous Café Hafa.
Another interesting place to see in the new Tangier is the luxurious Hotel Minzah, built by the English aristocrat Lord Bute in 1930. Along with the Hotel Continental is one of the most historic establishments in the city. It was during a time a refuge for spies and personalities from all over the world. This hotel is built with beautiful Arabic and Hispanic decorative elements, with a terrace with beautiful views and wonderful gardens. Like the Hotel Continental, scenes from the TV series ‘The Time In Between’ have been recorded in the Minzah, highlighting the meeting between Marcus and Sira in the fourth chapter of the series.
Spartel Cap is located about 12 kilometers northwest of the center of Tangier city, Morocco. It is one of the must-see places if you are passing through here. In this wonderful place you can enjoy a beautiful view where the turquoise color of the Atlantic Ocean meets the dark blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Formerly, Spartel Cap was known as Cabo Ampelusia or Cabo de las Viñas. Here, can see its famous lighthouse built in 1865 by the Tangier diplomatic corps. Thanks to the high humidity in the environment, its environment is very lush and is mainly covered with rockrose and cork oaks. Nearby, are the spectacular Caves of Hercules, natural cavities that the sea invades at high tide. The coastal route between Tangier and Ceuta offers spectacular views over the Strait, secluded beaches and small coves.
Malabata Cap, in addition to the views of the Bay of Tangier and the Strait of Gibraltar, allows you to admire a curious medieval-looking building: Malabata Castle, built at the beginning of the century. The small Roman town of Cotta, with its farms and fish and garum canneries, speaks to the curious traveler of the ways of life of the first centuries of our era.
Tangier is very accessible city from all roads. It is just five hours by train from Rabat. If you are not coming to Tangier from Morocco and you are coming from Spain, you can easily get to the city by ferry.
By plane: Tangier airport is the fourth in air traffic in the country and is very well connected with international flights (Royal Air Morocco, Iberia and Air France).
By boat: if flying doesn’t suit you or if you are interested in making the trip to Tangier by car, train, or bus … in the end you will need to take a ferry. The most economical solution is to reach Algeciras, which is located in the extreme south of Spain, and then cross the Strait of Gibraltar by boat. From Algeciras you must make the decision to go to Tangier, in Morocco, or to Ceuta, in Spain and then cross the border.
Note: You can also take ferries from Sete (France), with a journey time of 36 hours. There is also a line from Almería (Spain) to Nador and Melilla.
Where to eat on your trip to Tangier
As in the rest of Morocco, in Tangier you can eat very cheaply and quite well. There are many small locals that serve snacks and combined dishes and are the most used by the native population. Apart from these are:
- Restaurante Anna & Paolo, Avenue Lafayette Angle Prince Héritier: As in the rest of Morocco, in Tangier you can eat very cheaply and quite well. There are many small locals that serve snacks and combined dishes and are the most used by the native population. Apart from these are:).
- Le Saveur du Poisson, Escalier Waller 2: restaurant with typical décor, very attentive and friendly owner and a very complete closed menu (about 20 euros per person).
- Dall’Italiano, Avenue Mohamed VI N. 42 Route de Malabata: authentically Italian food right on tangier’s seafront, for they have a wonderful chef coming straight from Italy.
- Restaurant L´Ocean, Plage Sidi Kacem: 20 minutes from the center of Tangier, on the Atlantic beach, good fish cuisine but above all an atmosphere between bohemian and chic very special
- El Tangerino, 186 Boulevard Mohamed VI: Highly recommended place to eat good quality fish. While it is true that it is more expensive than other restaurants in the area, it is reasonably priced for the quality of the product.
- À L’anglaise, 37 Rue de la Kasbah: high quality food and fresh produce at a good price. They make some natural juices that are delicious. Very successful and original decoration. But best of all is the attention and kindness of the owners who make you feel at home
- El Morocco Club, Rue Kachla, Place du Tabor: the right attention. Very good and decorated dishes, small amount and high price but very good and nice and original recipes.
- Cafes and bars include Cafe Le Detroit and Awtar Cafe Restaurant and the legendary Cafe Hafa.
- Moroccan food restaurants and belly dancing shows: Marhaba and Damasco in the Alcazaba.
Tangier, like Morocco, has no difficulty finding accommodation. In this city you will find hotels for all budgets and tastes. In the link below you can find and book a hotel at the best price for your trip to Tangier.
Find here hotels and sleeping accommodation in Tangier at the best price.