Tangier Travel Guide: Tips and Recommendations

Tangier Travel Guide

If you’re planning a trip to Morocco, make sure to include Tangier in your itinerary. This unique city has been a gateway between Africa and Europe for centuries, and its blend of cultures and influences is unlike anywhere else in Morocco. From its bustling markets to its serene beaches, Tangier has something to offer every type of traveler.

As you plan your trip to Tangier, keep in mind that the best time to visit is during the fall or spring months, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. You can explore the city’s historic medina, visit the Great Mosque, or take a stroll through the beautiful Gardens of La Mendoubia. For a unique experience, head to the Caves of Hercules, where the mythical hero is said to have rested after his labors.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just soaking up the sun on the beach, Tangier has something to offer. With its unique blend of African and European influences, this city is a must-see destination for any traveler to Morocco.

History and Culture

Historical Overview

Tangier has a rich and fascinating history that spans over 2,500 years. The city has been inhabited by a variety of different cultures and civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Portuguese, and French. It was also once an international zone, governed by a committee of foreign powers.

In 1956, Tangier was returned to Moroccan control, and since then it has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Today, the city is a melting pot of different cultures and influences, making it a unique and exciting place to visit.

Cultural Influence

Tangier’s cultural influence can be seen in its art, architecture, and cuisine. The city has been home to many famous writers and artists, including Paul Bowles, who lived in Tangier for many years and wrote about his experiences in his famous novel “The Sheltering Sky.”

The American Legation, located in the heart of the old city, is a testament to the strong ties between Morocco and the United States. The Legation was the first American public property outside the United States, and it played an important role in the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Tangier’s cultural heritage can also be seen in its ancient Phoenician tombs, the old Kasbah, and the Sultan’s Palace. These historic sites offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past and are a must-see for anyone interested in history and culture.

Geographical Overview

Tangier is a city located on the northern coast of Morocco, overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. It is situated in North Africa and is the second-largest economic hub in the country. The city is known for its unique blend of cultures and influences, making it a popular destination for travelers from around the world.

Strait of Gibraltar

Tangier is located on the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Europe from Africa. The strait is only 14.3 km wide at its narrowest point, making it one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. From Tangier, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the strait and the southern coast of Spain, which is just a short distance away.

North Africa

Tangier is situated in North Africa, a region known for its rich history and cultural diversity. The city has been ruled by various empires and civilizations throughout its history, including the Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, and Portuguese. Today, Tangier is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that reflects its diverse heritage.

Mediterranean

Tangier is located on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The city is known for its beautiful beaches and stunning coastline, which attracts visitors from around the world. The Mediterranean climate in Tangier is mild and pleasant, making it a great destination for travelers looking to escape harsher climates.

Getting Around

When it comes to getting around Tangier, there are several options available to travelers. Here are some of the most common ways to get around the city:

By Car

Renting a car is a great option for those who want to explore Tangier and its surroundings at their own pace. Several car rental companies operate in the city, and you can find their offices at the airport and in the city center. However, keep in mind that driving in Tangier can be challenging, especially for those who are not used to the local traffic rules. It’s also worth noting that parking can be difficult to find in some areas of the city.

By Taxi

Taxis are a popular and affordable way to get around Tangier. Petit taxis are the most common type of taxi in the city, and they are easily recognizable by their blue color. They are metered, and you can find them at taxi stands or flag them down on the street. It’s important to note that some taxi drivers may try to overcharge tourists, so it’s always a good idea to negotiate the fare before getting in the taxi.

By Train

The train is a convenient and comfortable way to travel between Tangier and other cities in Morocco. The main train station in Tangier is Gare de Tanger Ville, which is located in the city center. The national railway company, ONCF, operates trains that connect Tangier with cities like Casablanca, Rabat, and Marrakesh. You can buy tickets at the station or online, and it’s recommended to book in advance during peak travel seasons.

CTM is a popular bus company that operates in Morocco. They have a bus station in Tangier, and you can find their schedule and fares on their website.

Map

It’s always a good idea to have a map of Tangier with you when you’re exploring the city. You can find maps at tourist information centers or download them online. Maps.me and Google Maps are great options for digital maps that you can use offline.

Attractions

Tangier is a city that offers a lot to see and explore. From the historic Kasbah to the beautiful beaches, there is something for everyone. Below are some of the must-see attractions in Tangier.

Kasbah

The Kasbah is the oldest part of Tangier and is surrounded by walls that were built during the 15th century. The Kasbah is home to the Dar El Makhzen palace, which was built in the 17th century and is now a museum. The Kasbah also offers stunning views of the city and the sea.

Medina

The Medina is a maze of narrow streets and alleys that are filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Medina is home to the Grand Socco and Petit Socco, which were once the center of Tangier’s nightlife. The Medina is also home to the American Legation Museum, which is the first American public property outside of the United States.

Beaches

Tangier is home to several beautiful beaches, including the popular Plage de Malabata and Plage de Achakkar. These beaches offer stunning views of the sea and are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.

Caves of Hercules

The Caves of Hercules are a popular tourist attraction in Tangier. These caves are located near the sea and are believed to have been used by Hercules during his 12 labors. The caves offer stunning views of the sea and are a great place to explore.

Souks

The Souks are a maze of narrow streets and alleys that are filled with shops selling everything from spices to clothing. The Souks are a great place to explore and to find unique souvenirs to take home.

American Legation Museum

The American Legation Museum is the first American public property outside of the United States. The museum is located in the heart of the Medina and offers a glimpse into the history of the United States and Morocco.

Kasbah Museum

The Kasbah Museum is located in the Dar El Makhzen palace and offers a glimpse into the history of Tangier. The museum is home to a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the city’s rich history.

Cap Spartel

Cap Spartel is located at the northernmost point of Tangier and offers stunning views of the sea. The cape is also home to a lighthouse that was built in the 19th century.

Dar El Makhzen

Dar El Makhzen is a palace that was built in the 17th century and is now a museum. The palace is located in the Kasbah and offers a glimpse into the history of Tangier.

Phoenician Tombs

The Phoenician Tombs are located near Cap Spartel and are believed to date back to the 5th century BC. The tombs offer a glimpse into the history of Tangier and the Phoenician civilization.

Tangier is a gateway to Africa and offers a variety of sights and itineraries for travelers. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or just relaxing on the beach, Tangier has something for everyone.

Food and Drink

When visiting Tangier, you will be able to enjoy a delicious variety of Moroccan cuisine. The city is famous for its aromatic spices, fresh seafood, and sweet mint tea. Here are some of the best places to eat and drink in Tangier.

Local Cuisine

One of the most popular dishes in Tangier is the tagine, which is a slow-cooked stew made with meat, vegetables, and spices. You can also try couscous, which is a traditional Moroccan dish made with steamed semolina grains and served with vegetables, meat, or fish.

If you are a seafood lover, then Tangier is the place for you. The city is located on the coast, so you can find fresh seafood in many restaurants. Some of the most popular seafood dishes include grilled sardines, fried calamari, and shrimp tagine.

Cafes and Bars

Tangier has a vibrant café culture, and you can find many cozy cafes throughout the city. One of the most famous cafes in Tangier is Cafe Hafa, which has been serving mint tea and pastries since 1921. The café is located on a hill with a stunning view of the sea.

If you are looking for a place to enjoy a drink, then head to one of the city’s bars. The El Morocco Club is a popular bar that serves delicious cocktails and has a lively atmosphere. If you prefer a more relaxed setting, then check out the Tanger Inn, which is a cozy bar with a fireplace and comfortable seating.

When it comes to alcohol, Morocco is a Muslim country, and it is not widely available. However, you can find alcohol in some bars and restaurants in Tangier. Just be aware that it can be expensive.

Accommodations

If you’re planning a trip to Tangier, you’ll need to find a place to stay. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available, from luxurious hotels to traditional riads.

Hotels

Tangier has a range of hotels to suit all budgets and tastes. Some of the most popular options include:

  • El Minzah Hotel: This luxurious hotel is located in the heart of Tangier and offers stunning views of the city. With its elegant décor and excellent service, it’s a popular choice for those looking for a touch of luxury.
  • Mamora Hotel: Located in the Petit Socco area, this hotel is a great choice for budget-conscious travelers. It offers comfortable rooms and a central location, making it easy to explore the city.
  • Hilton Garden Inn: This modern hotel is located in the Tangier City Center and offers a range of amenities, including an outdoor pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant.

No matter what your budget or preferences, you’re sure to find a hotel that meets your needs in Tangier.

Riads

For a more traditional experience, consider staying in a riad. These traditional Moroccan houses are typically located in the old medina and offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. Some of the most popular riads in Tangier include:

  • Dar Nour: This beautiful riad is located in the heart of the medina and offers a peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With its traditional décor and friendly staff, it’s a popular choice for those looking for an authentic Moroccan experience.
  • Riad Tanja: This charming riad is located in the Kasbah and offers stunning views of the city. With its rooftop terrace and comfortable rooms, it’s a great choice for those looking for a cozy and welcoming place to stay.

No matter where you choose to stay in Tangier, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Shopping

Tangier is a shopper’s paradise, with a wide range of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for traditional Moroccan handicrafts or modern luxury goods, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste and budget.

Local Markets

The local markets in Tangier are a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city’s vibrant culture and unique shopping scene. From fresh produce and spices to handmade crafts and clothing, these markets offer a wide range of products at affordable prices.

One of the most popular local markets in Tangier is the Grand Socco, which is located in the heart of the city. Here, you can find everything from traditional Moroccan pottery and textiles to fresh fruits and vegetables. The market is also a great place to sample local street food and watch street performers.

Another popular local market is the Marché Central, which is located near the port. This market is known for its fresh seafood, spices, and traditional Moroccan clothing. It’s a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts to take back home.

Souks

The souks in Tangier are a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city’s traditional shopping scene. These narrow, winding streets are lined with shops selling everything from handmade crafts and textiles to traditional Moroccan spices and perfumes.

One of the most popular souks in Tangier is the Souk El Kasbah, which is located in the historic Kasbah district. Here, you can find a wide range of traditional Moroccan handicrafts, including pottery, textiles, and jewelry. The souk is also a great place to sample local cuisine and watch traditional Moroccan performances.

Another popular souk is the Souk Dakhel, which is located near the Grand Socco. This souk is known for its traditional Moroccan clothing and accessories, including kaftans, babouches, and leather goods. It’s a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts to take back home.

Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Tangier is during the fall (September to November) or spring (March to May) when the weather is ideal and the holiday crowds aren’t around. The temperature during these months ranges from 18°C to 25°C, making it perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Summer can be unbearably hot, although the ocean breeze helps to keep it cooler than other Moroccan cities. If you do choose to visit during the summer months, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and stay hydrated.

Currency

The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). It is recommended that you exchange your currency at a bank or authorized exchange bureau, as the rates are generally better than at hotels or airports. Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but it is always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller purchases and tipping.

Tips

Tipping is a common practice in Morocco, and it is customary to leave a small tip for services such as restaurants, cafes, and hotels. A tip of 10% is generally expected, but it is always up to your discretion. It is also a good idea to carry small change for tipping taxi drivers and other service providers.

In terms of safety, Tangier is generally a safe city for tourists, but it is always a good idea to take precautions such as avoiding dark alleys and carrying only the necessary amount of cash. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you in crowded areas.

Weather

Tangier has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. The temperature during the winter months ranges from 8°C to 16°C, and it can be quite rainy. The summer months are hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.

Summer

If you plan on visiting Tangier during the summer months, be prepared for high temperatures and humidity. It is important to stay hydrated and wear light, breathable clothing. The beach is a popular destination during this time, but be aware that it can get crowded. It is also a good idea to book your accommodations and activities in advance, as this is peak tourist season.

That’s it for our travel tips for Tangier. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a safe and enjoyable trip to this beautiful Moroccan city.

Nearby Destinations

If you’re planning a trip to Tangier, there are a number of nearby destinations that are definitely worth visiting. Here are a few of our favorites:

Chefchaouen

Located just a few hours away from Tangier, Chefchaouen is a picturesque town that’s known for its blue-painted buildings and stunning mountain views. It’s a great place to relax and unwind, and the local markets are a must-see for anyone interested in traditional Moroccan crafts.

Marrakech

Marrakech is one of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. With its vibrant markets, stunning architecture, and rich history, it’s a city that’s full of life and excitement. Be sure to check out the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square, which is always bustling with street performers and food vendors.

Casablanca

As Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca is a bustling metropolis that’s full of energy and excitement. It’s home to some of the country’s most impressive architecture, including the famous Hassan II Mosque, which is one of the largest mosques in the world. If you’re a fan of art deco design, be sure to check out the city’s many historic buildings.

No matter where you choose to go, there are plenty of transportation options available to help you get there. If you’re looking to explore more of Morocco, you can take a bus or a train to other cities like Rabat or Fes. Alternatively, you can take a ferry to Spain from Tangier or nearby ports like Tarifa or Algeciras. And if you’re coming from further afield, there are direct flights to Tangier from cities like Lisbon and New York.

Transportation

If you’re planning a trip to Tangier, you’ll need to know how to get there. Fortunately, there are several transportation options available, including ferry and air travel.

By Ferry

Tangier is located on the Strait of Gibraltar, making it a popular destination for travelers arriving by ferry. The Port of Tangier is the main ferry port in the city, and there are regular ferries that connect Tangier to several ports in Spain, including Algeciras and Tarifa.

Ferries are a convenient and affordable way to travel to Tangier, and the journey takes around an hour. You can book your ferry tickets online in advance, or you can purchase them at the port on the day of your departure.

By Air

If you’re traveling from further afield, you may prefer to arrive in Tangier by air. Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport is located around 12 kilometers from the city center and is served by several airlines, including Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, and Air Arabia.

The airport has several facilities to make your journey more comfortable, including restaurants, shops, and currency exchange services. You can also take a taxi or bus from the airport to the city center.

Whether you arrive in Tangier by ferry or air, you’ll find that the city is well-connected and easy to navigate. English and Spanish are widely spoken, so you shouldn’t have any trouble communicating with locals or finding your way around.