Tangier city in Morocco is one of those fascinating cities that you visit and never forget. There’s something about this Moroccan city that just exudes charm, mystery, and adventure.
If you’re planning a trip to Tangier Morocco, be sure read this travel guide as it provides a detailed list of top things to do and see as well as a many other things to consider while you’re visiting.
Tangier is a marvelous city that has been occupied by many different cultures over the centuries including the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and Europeans. This has resulted in a unique blend of cultures that you can see reflected in the architecture, food, and customs of the city.
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Where is Tangier located in Morocco
Tangier is located in the northwest corner of Africa on the Strait of Gibraltar. The city sits just 14 kilometers (about nine miles) from the southern tip of Spain.
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Absolute best things to do in Tangier
Stroll in Grand Socco
Grand Socco also known as Place du 9 Avril (9 April Square) is the main square that connects the new and old city of Tangier. It’s a great place to start your exploration of the city as it’s centrally located and there’s plenty to see and do in the surrounding area.
In the center of Grand Socco, you’ll find a beautiful fountain that was built in 1912. The square is also lined with cafes and restaurants where you can take a break, have a bite to eat, and people watch.
It’s new name Place du 9 Avril was given to commemorate the speech given in the square by the king Mohammed V on that date in 1947.
Shop at the Grand Socco Market
Given the name, the Grand Socco Market is located in the square of the same name (mentioned above). Grand Socco Souk is the biggest indoor market in the city and it’s where locals come to pick up fresh produce, spices, and other daily supplies.
For you, this market is a great place to get a feel for the local culture and see how Moroccans go about their daily lives. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, it’s still worth browsing and taking in the sights and smells of the Souk.
Visit the American Legation Museum
The American Legation is the first American public property outside of the United States and it’s located in Tangier. It was in Tangier that the United States first established diplomatic relations with a foreign country in 1777.
The building houses a museum and a cultural center that chronicles the history of American-Moroccan relations. Located not far from Bay Merican in the city center, American Legation Museum will cost you only 20MAD to enter (about $2).
Explore Tangier Kasbah (Old Medina)
Getting lost in the Old Kasbah of Tangier is absolutely one of the must have Morocco experiences. The Kasbah is the old fortified city and is home to a number of important historical sites of the city.
The old city is also home to endless winding alleyways and colorful tiny shops where you can find everything from spices to souvenirs. The experience of Tangier old Medina is completely different from other Moroccan cities like Marrakech.
While Marrakech is all about the hustle and bustle, Tangier is much more relaxed and laid back and you will be also safe from the harassment from the shop sellers
Head to Cafe Hafa
No visit to Tangier would be complete without stopping by Cafe Hafa (means Edge Cafe in English). This is one of the most popular cafes in the city and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The cafe was established in 1921 and it’s been a popular spot for everyones visiting Tangier ever since.
Hafa cafe is always packed with locals and tourists especially in the evenings. So, if you want to get a seat with a view, be sure to arrive early. Getting there is so easy, just head to the hill where the old Kasbah, then follow the Road Hafa and you will find it at the end.
Go back in time with the Phoenician Tombs
For a taste of Tangier’s history, be sure to visit the Phoenician Tombs. These tombs date back to the 11th century BC and are some of the best-preserved Phoenician tombs in the world. There are about 108 tombs that were carved directly on the rock of a gorge
These tombs are located on a hill between Hafa cafe and the old Kasbah entrance. The location also offer stunning views of city’s harbor.
Many locals love hanging out in this area especially in the evenings to enjoy the views of the sunset
Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Cultures
When you want to learn more about a city, what you do is look for its local museum and in Tangier, you should visit the Kasbah Museum.
Built in 1151 of the Muslim era (1782-1783 D.C.) the museum is located inside the old city walls inside Dar El Makhzen palace and it’s one of the most precious tourist attractions in Tangier.
The museum houses a collection of artifacts that date back to different periods of the region’s history. You’ll find a wide range of interesting exhibits including Roman mosaics, pottery, and even ancient weapons.
Cinema Rif (Cinematheque of Tangier)
25 dh ($2.40) will give you access to Tangier’s historic movie house, Cinema Rif. This is one of the most popular places to see a film in the city. The cinema was built in 1937 and it’s been a popular spot for locals and tourists ever since. The beautiful Art Deco building is worth a visit even if you’re not planning on seeing a movie.
You can also grab a coffee or tea at the cafe outside the cinema. The cafe offers lovely atmosphere with its outdoor seating and views of the busy street where you can enjoy your drink and people watch.
Visit the port mosque of Tangier
My favorite part of visiting new cities even in my own country is to visit and pray in their famous mosques. If you are like me looking to discover these religious buildings, head to Tangier grand mosque.
This mosque was established between the 13th-15th century and it went into multiple transformations and renovations since. The current design of the mosque dates back to the 19th century.
Like many religious building in Morocco, tourists are not allowed inside but you can still take pictures and enjoy its bright white and gold colors.
Marvel at Gran Teatro Cervantes ancient building
Gran Teatro Cervantes is one of the most beautiful and ancient buildings in Tangier. The building was constructed in 1913 by the Spanish and it was used as a theatre and opera house.
The theatre near the Place de France and it’s just a short walk from the Cinema Rif. The theater is currently undergoing a renovation by the Moroccan government after Spain has finally agreed to donate it to Morocco in 2020.
I can’t wait to for the grand opening to see the beautiful inside of the theatre but if you are visiting tangier now, you can still marvel at its beautiful exterior.
Relax by the waterfront in Tangier
After a busy day of sightseeing, head down to the waterfront to relax. This is a great place to people watch and enjoy the views of the sea. I always enjoy an empty place by the sea, but the ones seaside in Tangier is usually crowded in the evenings .
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the waterfront where you can enjoy a light meal or drink. I prefer taking my own snacks, finding an empty bench and enjoy the sunset.
Try the Moroccan food
When it comes to food in Morocco, Tangier has a lot to offer. Be sure to try some traditional Moroccan dishes like Couscous, Tagine, and Pastilla in one of the famous restaurants in the city. Also, no trip to Tangier would be complete without trying some mint tea at the Hafa cafe.
If you are not sure what to eat on your trip to Tangier or Morocco in general check out our Moroccan food guide.
Spend an afternoon in Cape Spartel
If you’re looking for some great views of Tangier, head up to Cape Spartel. This is the northernmost point in Africa and offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
You can also visit Hercules Caves while you’re here. These caves are said to have been used by Hercules himself and are definitely worth a visit.
Where to stay in Tangier, Morocco
Whenever I visit Tangier, I like to stay in one of the traditional Riads in the city. Riads are Moroccan houses with an inner courtyard and they’re usually very beautiful and comfortable but if you’re looking for a more modern hotel, there are plenty of those in Tangier as well.
Dar Chams Tanja
This beautiful traditional Moroccan Riad is located just a few minutes walk from the beach and the Kasbah museum. The Riad has a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city and sea. My second favorite part of Dar Chams after the stunning terrace views of course is the nicely decorated rooms and breakfast.
Mini Calpe is what you need to go for if you want to spend a little bit more on luxurious stay in Tangier. Mini cape hotel is beautifully set in a central location near the port. You can walk to almost all the famous attractions in the city. The hotel has a pool which is great and a panoramic terrace where you can relax and sip your Moroccan mint tea.
Grand Mogador Sea View & Spa
If you stay in Grand Mogador hotel in Tangier you can enjoy a direct access to the beach. In addition to their huge pool and views of the Atlantic beach, Grand Mogador’s room are spacious and comfortable with all the amenities you need for a great stay.
The Riad Hostel Tangier
The Riad Hostel is a great option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly place to stay in Tangier. The hostel is located in the heart of the old Medina. They have shared and private rooms to choose from. The rooms are super clean and the staff is just amazing and helpful. I definitely recommend this place if you’re looking for a great value for your money.
How to get to Tangier, Morocco
If you are coming from Europe, the best way to get to Tangier is by taking a ferry from Spain. The journey takes about 35 minutes and there are several companies that operate this route.
But if you are visiting from other parts of the world, you can take a flight into Tangier International Airport which is located about 15 kilometers from the city center.
And if you are already in the country, there are buses and trains that connect Tangier to other major cities in the Morocco. We prefer the train over buses in Morocco because it’s much convenient and comfortable.
A train ride from Casablanca to Tangier will take about two and half hours in the high speed train (TGV) called Al Boraq. A first class ticket to Tangier costs about 340MAD (Approx. $34 USD). You can also take the same train Al Boraq from Rabat instead of Casablanca which will take about one and half hours to reach Tangier.
If you are planning on taking a train ride from Marrakech to Tangier, you will go through Casablanca first so except the ride to be long one with a travel journey of 5 hours or more. The best way is to divide your trip by staying a night or two in Casablanca then head to Tangier.
How to get around Tangier
Tangier city is very small and most of the famous attractions are within walking distance from each other. You can explore the city by foot and when you feel like you need a break from walking, take a petit taxi (Turquoise taxis).
Petit taxis are a famous way of transportation in Moroccan cities. They are small cars that can fit up to three passengers and they are relatively cheap.
If you have plans to venture outside of the city, there are plenty of taxis and buses that can take you to your destination.
Another best way to explore Tangier is by hiring a car. My husband and I always make sure to hire a car when we visit Morocco. We just find it more convenient and it gives us the freedom to explore at our own pace.
How to get around Tangier, Morocco
Do you have any tips for visiting Tangier? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re looking for more travel inspiration, be sure to check out our other blog posts. Thanks for reading!
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