Top 8 essential things to do and see in Tangier, Morocco
Tangier, a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar, has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times. Its whitewashed hillside medina is home to the Dar el Makhzen, a palace of the sultans that's now a museum of Moroccan artifacts. The American Legation Museum, also in the medina, documents early diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Morocco in an 1821 Moorish-style former consulate.
We have selected the 8 essential things to do and see in Tangier for a successful and authentic stay.
1. The Grand Socco
Who says to visit Tangier, says to visit its center. The Grand Socco is undoubtedly one of the most lively parts of Tangier. In reality, it is the main access to the medina and the fresh fruit and vegetable market. Bordered by palm trees, this large square is very popular among locals who easily come to rest near the fountain.
You can see the Rif Cinema, emblematic building of the city. It houses the Cinémathèque de Tanger (CDT), an association promoting the democratization of cinema in Tangier.
2. Cape Spartel
It is unthinkable to visit Tangier without going to Cap Spartel. This is the western tip of the peninsula on which Tangier is located. You will discover a lighthouse, which seems to monitor the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is said that it is at its feet that the two meet.
This lighthouse, inaugurated in 1864, was the first in Morocco. And for good reason, it is one of the icons of the city of Tangier. The Cap Spartel is located about fifteen kilometers from the city.
3. The medina of Tangier
Who has never dreamed of entering a medina and being guided by its alleys until losing its north? It's a great way to visit Tangier: explore it and get to know it. The narrow, but inhabited alleys, will show you all the colors: blue, pink, yellow, green ... The medina has its own architecture and style. The locals love plants and it shows. Some push their decoration to the maximum, for our greatest pleasure. But the medina is not only housing, there are also many shops, for tourists and food.
With a little luck, you will be able to meet a person, often a man, who will offer you a guided tour of the medina. Be careful, however, because at the end of the “tour”, he will ask you for money. This is where you will need to apply your negotiation skills.
4. Local gastronomy
For a gourmet and typical break, we can only recommend Moroccan pastries. In chocolate, honey, cinnamon or orange blossom, they take different forms. As delicious as they are famous, Moroccan pastries are a real institution in Tangier, there are shops everywhere!
Discover a new world of deliciousness with zlabia, chebakia, ghribia or gazelle horn! And to accompany this delicacy, opt for the lightness of a fresh orange juice.
It’s a must when you visit Morocco: taste its cuisine! Indeed, Moroccan cuisine is one of the essential things to discover when it comes to visiting Tangier. So fragrant, comforting and delicious, this southern gastronomy will delight the most gourmet. You can stop at one of the many restaurants in Tangier. They serve couscous, tagines, chicken pastillas and keftas to die for!
But also, you can buy some local specialties from a street vendor. For example, batbout which is flatbread made from wheat semolina. Otherwise, discover the baghrir, known as a “thousand hole pancake”, very flexible and light.
5. The Cave of Hercules
Probably the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower, the Caves of Hercules is one of the main emblems of the city of Tangier. Located approximately 15 km from the city center.
These are natural caves, with a breathtaking opening to the ocean. Water sometimes rushes powerfully and resonates in the entire cavity. It takes its name from the hero of Greek mythology who, after a long journey, would have taken the time to rest at this place ...
6. The municipal beach
This is a very large and beautiful beach, with fine white sand. If you cross it in its width, you will pass not far from the Jardins de la Corniche, a green space with games.
Also, take a moment and go soak your feet. On the beach, it is not uncommon to see camels waiting to be taken care of. Do not worry, their owner is not far away, ready to offer you a ride, for a few dirhams.
7. The Perdicaris Park
On the road that leads to Cap Spartel from Tangier, there is a parenthesis of greenery: the Perdicaris Park. Facing the strait, this park covers 67 hectares. Marked routes will allow you to quietly discover this preserved space. It is a real botanical garden, rich in varied flora and fauna. The park's forest is home to many species of trees, such as acacias, laurels, and local pines.
Besides, migratory birds use this forest as a dormitory during their great expeditions. It is a place that you are recommended to visit if you want to spend some time close to nature.
8. Tea in a large Cafe
Obviously, there is no Morocco without the iconic mint tea! And that, the people of Tangier know it. Tea is a real institution there, as in most of the Arab countries. And this, for our greatest happiness.
Indeed, savoring a cup of hot tea on the terrace of a Tangier café is like stepping into culture once again. The city center of Tangier has some well-known historic cafes, like the impending Cafe El-Hafa (photo), open since 1921. Guests of famous names stopped there, like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.