Tangier in North Morocco offers an interesting mix of Africa, France and Spain. Separated from Spain by just 20 miles of the Strait of Gibraltar, it’s a thriving port, but not as crowded with tourists as the rest of the country, thus providing a good escapade.
Tangiers attracted such literary personalities like Oscar Wilde, Andre Gide, and Tennessee Williams as well as artists like Henri Matisse, Cecil Beaton among others.
Finding your way around Tangier is very easy . Its two main roads are Boulevard Mohamed V that runs from near the Medina through the ville nouvelle and Boulevard Mohamed VI that runs along from the beachfront from the port to Malabata. The Medina area is best accessed on foot.
There are plenty of things to do in this fascinating city.
1. See the Kasbah
Kasbah is among the few places you can ill afford to miss while in Tangiers. Located on the highest point of Tangiers, it offers a panoramic view of the Straits of Gibraltar and it close neighbour Spain. It’s rare that you can see two continents from one point.
The Sultans of Morocco built this enchanting complex of castles and mansions in the 17th century around a beautiful palace, Dar el Makhzen. The palace houses the museum now. It’s a spectacular building with beautifully carved wooden ceilings and a marble courtyard. You can also view the museum of Moroccan archaeology and arts. The breath taking view from the top makes it worthwhile to go up the steep hill.
2. Explore the Grand Socco
The Spanish equivalent of a large market is “The Grand Socco”. It’s a large square, aptly in the heart of the city, where the old and the new town come together.
It is a huge market that presents the visitors a peek into the local lifestyle. Today, the market place is lively with restaurants and cafes. Here you’ll notice the difference between the old and the new city. This part of Tangier reflects its past with narrow roads, snake charmers and storytellers. Musicians line up on the streets to entertain people. But these days it forms as the main junction for transport, mostly for taxis. You can feel the pulse of the city and its people.
3. See the Hercules caves
The Hercules caves, about fourteen kilometres west of Tangiers, are a source of startling natural beauty and immense archaeological importance. As per mythology, this was where Hercules would come to take rest.
The caves open towards the Atlantic and get flooded at night when the tide is high with water rushing through them up to hillside. It’s a very remarkable sight.
When the tide is low, you get gorgeously colourful views of the sea from inside the caves. The blue Atlantic Ocean and sky above bear the resemblance of a reverse outline of Africa.
The caves in fact are a combination of a man-made and a natural phenomenon.
How the caves came into being is not ascertained yet. For centuries the caves have been used as dwellings and you will find several passageways in the caves.
4. Visit the peculiar and astonishing Forbes Museum and the magnificent Museum of Moroccan art
5. Go to the International Jazz Festival. It’s Tangiers’s key international event taking place.