Whether you are visiting Tangier on a day trip from Gibraltar or Tarifa or it is part of your Morocco itinerary, it is worth a day or two of your time.
My expectations weren’t high when I visited Tangier, as I had heard that it wasn’t very interesting. And also, that it was chaotic and possibly dangerous.
So, I was very pleasantly surprised when I finally got there and found this to be untrue!
The medina is really pretty and colourful, the locals just as nice as in any other Moroccan city and harassment by shop owners actually less than in Marrakech and Fes.
Wondering what to see in Tangier?
Also, the city is a really cool mix of international influences, mainly Spanish, with interesting architecture found all over the city. There are so many things to do in Tangier, if you have the time you should plan to stay a couple of days at least to fully experience the city.
The Moroccans pronounce it “tanja”, and in my opinion the city belongs on any northern Moroccan itinerary. To help you plan your visit I have put together this list of the best things to see in Tangier, and it is easily possible to see it all in one day.
So, here are the 7 best things to do in Tangier, Morocco:
Get lost in the Medina
Just like in any other Moroccan city, the medina is worth a visit. The medina of Tangier is very colourful, you can find everything from yellow to pink to green on the bottom part of the houses.
It might be easy to get lost, but don’t worry, the medina is not big enough for that to actually be a problem. Just follow your nose and explore this area. Look out for a small doorway in the north east corner of the medina leading out onto a terrace. This is part of the cities old fortifications and lined with old cannons.
From here you get the best views over the port, the new port mosque and the Strait of Gibraltar. If the weather plays along, you can see all the way to Spain from here and maybe discern the white villages along the coast.
A very pretty street is the main road connecting the Grand Socco with the Grand Mosque of Tangier, the Rue Siaghine. Halfway along, stop for a coffee at the Petit Socco. Make sure to look up while walking along, as the buildings almost all feature cute little balconies and sometimes other decorations.
Visit the Kasbah
It is a little tricky to find out from the maps where the kasbah starts and ends, as it is part of the medina. Head uphill to the north and west until you hit the strong fortified walls. That means you found it. Here the alleys seem even narrower and it can feel like you are just walking in circles.
Visit the Kasbah Museum for an interesting collection of artifacts and enjoy a tea, or coffee, in one of the cafés around the square in front of it.
Pay respects at the tomb of Ibn Battuta
Have you ever heard of Ibn Battuta? He was pretty much the Marco Polo of the Islamic world. He was born in Tangier at the beginning of the 14th century and over the course of his life travelled all the way to China and back as well as through parts of east and west Africa. His accounts were written down by a famous writer of the time, but kind of got lost for a few centuries. These days he is a famous figure in the Islamic world and his tomb is here in Tangier.
It is a bit hidden in the western part of the medina and rather unimposing. But I think it is a great place to pay respect to one of the greatest travellers of all times. There is a marker for it in the maps.me app, which I generally recommend downloading before visiting Morocco. It is much more accurate than Google maps, especially within the medinas.
Go shopping in the souk
The souks, or markets of Tangier are a pleasure to the eyes, but might be a insult to the nose. You can find everything from fruit to fish to meat and of course any kind of souvenir. The main food market is right off the Bab al Fahs, where you entre the medina from the Grand Socco, the main square of Tangier. It is worth a look and if you like fresh fish I recommend visiting the fish market and picking up some fish for lunch.
People watching in the main square
The Grand Socco, the main square of Tangier is an awesome place for some people watching. You can grab a tajine for lunch in one of the restaurants lining the eastern part of the square and watch the locals go about their business.
Check out the Cinema Rif, and if you’re up to it, go catch a movie. They show mostly arthouse films, so if you’re lucky, they might show something in English with subtitles.
In the late afternoons and evenings a lot of the locals come to hang out here, so it can get really busy if the weather is nice.
Visit St Andrew’s church
Just up the street from the Grand Socco you can find St. Andrew’s church. It is a rather small church in a wonderfully overgrown church yard hosting old graves of former, mostly English, inhabitants of Tangier.
The interior is a really interesting mix of Anglican and Moroccan architecture and design elements.
Take a trip to the Hercules grotto
The Hercules cave, or Hercules grotto, might be one of the best-known Tangier attractions, but is actually located a few kilometres west of the city. These days it is easy to visit, as the path down into the cave is paved, making it safe to explore in any weather.
The grotto’s entrance from the seaside looks like an inverted cut out of Africa and it is a very popular photo motif.
If you take the road closest to the coast, make sure to turn off to visit Cap Spartel on the way. It is the point where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, although looking at the map, I find that rather debatable.
How to get to Tangier
Tangier has an international airport with many connections from Europe. Just catch a taxi to head into the city.
There are also plenty of ferries, e.g. from Tarifa, Gibraltar, Genoa, Barcelona, some of these allow you to bring your car.
From Casablanca, the best option is the fast train to Tangier. From Marrakech and Fes, check for train connections via Casablanca or take a bus, either CTM or Supratours are good options. Read more here for info on public transport options.
Where to stay in Tangier
I would definitely recommend staying in the medina, so you can walk anywhere and really absorb the atmosphere. Here is a choice of accommodation in Tangier for all budgets.
Hotels in Tangier
Hostel in Tangier
Dar Sami, Riad Bab Kasbah (great views from rooftop terrace)
For more general information on Morocco, also check out these posts:
For your trip planning, also look at these posts:
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