Considered as one of the largest cultural cities in Morocco, Tangier is nevertheless little known, sometimes even ignored. This Moroccan city is very lively and is located at the entrance of the Strait of Gibraltar. Its geographical location has made it a major international port. It has been a strategic point between Africa and Europe since the 12th century…before our era, that is to say, in the time of the Phoenicians (-1200 to -300 BC approximately). Tangier currently occupies a good third of the peninsula forming, on the Moroccan side, the Strait of Gibraltar. Over the centuries, Tangier has grown and expanded.
Today, it is a cosmopolitan cultural center that has managed to retain its Moroccan identity, while welcoming others with open arms. Its inhabitants are as warm-hearted as their country. It is a real gold mine, in terms of discoveries, but also in terms of artistic, natural or architectural wealth. Here are below 10 best places to visit in Tangier that you shouldn’t miss.
The Medina of Tangier
The Medina is obviously a must-see on your visit to Tangier. It is certainly not the biggest Medina in Morocco but it is certainly worth visiting. Perfectly maintained, it shows Moroccan history and culture. If you don’t know what to do in Tangier, we can only suggest you to go to the “petit Socco”, a place where you will be able to taste local specialists in small typical restaurants and drink a very good mint tea. Then, head for the “grand Socco”. This souk is impressive and a very active market.
Located about fifteen kilometers from the city, it is unthinkable to go to Tangier without going to Cape Spartel. Situated on the western tip of the peninsula on which Tangier is located, there is a lighthouse that seems to watch over the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is said that it is at its feet that the two meet.
Inaugurated in 1864, it was Morocco’s first lighthouse. You will find it in many representations, illustrations, tourist souvenirs in particular. And for good reason, since it is one of the icons of this Moroccan city, Tangier.
Café Hafa is a café in Tangier, Morocco, located along the cliff overlooking the bay of Tangier. Opened in 1921, the café has retained its 1920’s style of decoration and over the years has been visited by many writers and singers, from Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The café is known for its Moroccan mint tea, a special Moroccan drink.
The Cave of Hercules
The Caves of Hercules are one of the main emblems of the city of Tangier. They are natural caves, in the Strait of Gibraltar, with a breathtaking opening to the ocean. This cave takes its name from the hero of Greek mythology, Hercules, who, after a long journey, would have taken the time to rest in this place…
On the road leading to Cap Spartel from Tangier, there is a green parenthesis: a park named “Parc Perdicaris”. Facing the strait, this park extends over 67 hectares. Marked trails will allow you to discover this preserved area in peace and quiet. It is a real botanical garden, rich with varied flora and fauna. The park’s forest is home to many species of trees, such as acacias, laurels, and local pines.
Moreover, migratory birds use this forest as a dormitory during their great expeditions. This is a place you should visit if you want to spend some time close to nature. As a break from the city.
The grand mosque
The Grand Mosque is one of the most important monuments in Tangier. Place of worship since the highest antiquity, it must have served as a temple to the Romans. The Muslims built a mosque there. The Portuguese transformed it into a church afterward. In 1684, after the English defeat, the Moroccans transformed it again into a mosque. It was extended in 1815 by Moulay Slimane.
The Mendoubia garden
The Mendoubia garden or “Jardin de la Mendoubia”, takes its name from the building surrounding it, which is the Commercial Court. The Mendoubia garden is a place to visit in Tangier if you don’t know what to do. This green space, in the heart of the city, is home to trees including a giant rubber tree of 8 centuries old. There, you can take a walk on the banks of the Mendoubia River, where you can admire local craftsmen. You can even ask them for unique “creations”.
The Kasbah and the museums of Tangier
The Kasbah is one of the main attractions of the city. This ancient fortress dates from the 12th century and dominates the Medina and the city’s port. It was built at the highest point of Tangier and has a panoramic view of Spain and the Strait of Gibraltar. It is the ideal place to observe two continents at the same time.
Inside there is an open patio, which will take you to Dar el Makhzen, the Sultan’s palace dating from the 17th century, which is now a museum. The building is beautifully designed with wonderful tiled wooden ceilings and a marble patio. There is also a museum of Moroccan art and archaeology.
La place de la France
The Place de France is one of the busiest places in the new city of Tangier. The square is considered to be the heart of the city. In this area, there are the city’s legendary cafés, bars, restaurants, and hotels, which have retained the charm that made the city so famous in the early 1930s and is know to have been frequented by artists from all over the world. It’s also there that most banks and post offices are. Always lively, the Place de France is a must-see place in Tangier.
The corniche and the beaches of Tangier
Situated between two seas, Tangier benefits from a privileged strategic position which makes it one of the most diverse destinations in terms of beaches. For lovers of the sea and water sports, this is the guarantee of an authentic and relaxing holiday.
The high-quality Atlantic beaches are ideal for water sports such as surfing and kite surfing. Stretches of fine sand along kilometers of beaches are only limited by the horizon. The smaller Mediterranean beaches, with a calmer sea, are ideal for sunbathing and enjoying mild sunshine all year round. The proximity of small villages such as Ksar Sghir and its historic castle adds to the attractiveness and special character of these beaches.
Finally, for the more urban ones, the municipal beach of Tangier and the Corniche, recently redeveloped, offer a more relaxing experience, complemented by the beaches of Malabata and Ghandouri, true holiday resorts for sun and fine sand lovers.