What To Do in Tangier: Our Countdown City Guide

What To Do in Tangier: Our Countdown City Guide

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To make optimal decisions regarding what to do in Tangier, it is very important to understand the city in itself. Tangier is a cosmopolitan cultural center that has managed to keep its Moroccan identity, while welcoming others with open arms. Its inhabitants have their hearts on their hands and are as warm as their country. It is a real gold mine, not only in terms of discoveries, but also in terms of artistic, natural or architectural wealth.

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Considered as one of the largest cultural cities in Morocco, Tangier is nevertheless little known, even sometimes, ignored. If you’re wondering what to do in Tangier, here are the 5 must-do things for you in Tangier, for a successful and authentic stay.

tangier grand socco

1. Visit the Grand Socco

Start by visiting the Grand Socco, located between the Medina and the new part of the city. This is the ideal place to start the visit, as it is the nerve center of Tangier and one of the most famous tourist attractions. It always has a lively atmosphere, full of life for a sustainable amount of time, and a traditional place of market.

Nowadays, it is also full of cafes and large areas to rest. Its tall palm trees and the buildings that surround it make it a typical postcard spot with amazing views. Taking a photo here is definitely one of the foremost things to do in Tangier.

In the surroundings of the Great Socco there used to be some narrow streets that were known for being a place of drug dealers and prostitutes. Nowadays, though nothing remains of those times. Today, it is known as Petit Socco and it has become a common place to drink a typical Moroccan tea – another thing you should definitely do in Tangier, Morocco, by the way. This tea is one of the most typical drinks of the Moroccan culture, with fresh mint leaves and a touch of sugar elevating it to almost mythical status in satisfaction.

2. Relax at Cape Spartel

Located on the outskirts of the port city of Tangier, about 20 kilometers from the town, Cape Spartel is an essential place to relax and enjoy the views of the strait. Also, if you do not have a car, you can get here directly by taxi for an economic price of about 10 or 15 euros. By the way, don’t forget that you are in Morocco and haggling is an unwritten rule. Before you get into the taxi, give it a bit of a push and always haggle! Cape Spartel on the coast of Tangier is a place that exudes peace. A place to relax while watching the sea and having a drink on one of its terraces. From here you can also reach the Grotto of Hercules and see the whimsical gap between the rocks with the silhouette of the map of Africa.
tangier cape spartel

3. See the Medina of Tangier

Thirteen gates, mostly of Portuguese origin, protect the medina. It is through the great souk that we enter this labyrinth of narrow streets lined with white houses whose terraces give a sensational view of the bay of Tangier.

The nerve centre of the city, this vast square is also known as the Square of 9 April 1947 because of the speech on independence given there that day by Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef. Just behind it you can see the minaret with the beautiful multi-colored earthenware of the Sidi Bou Abib Mosque.

On Thursdays and Sundays there is a large market attended by many Rifians who dress in the traditional striped bullfighting and wear straw hats with wool pompoms that sell their products.

In these alleys that go up and down, you can find many craft shops, jewelry stores, herbalists, kissariyas and even stumble on these ancient walls from where you can sometimes see the ocean or the sea.

Starting from the Grand Souk, Es-Siaghin, the Jewellers’ Street has quickly taken your steps towards the small souk, a colorful and always lively square. Central crossing of the alleys around which the city was formed and extended, there are many cafes and cheap accommodation. Nearby, on Rue de la Marine is the minaret of the Great Mosque of Tangier, built by Moulay Ismaïl at the end of the 17th century.

4. Visit the Cave of Hercules

Probably the equivalent of our Eiffel Tower, the Caves of Hercules are one of the main emblems of the city of Tangier. To get there, you will have to take the taxi or stopover option, as they are located about 15km from the city center. However, it’s worth the effort.

They are natural caves, with a breathtaking view of the ocean. The water sometimes rushes in powerfully and resonates throughout the entire cavity. It is named after the hero of Greek mythology who, after a long journey, would have taken the time to rest in this place.

tangier caves hercules

5. Taste the Cousins at Salé

Salé is absolutely an obligatory step when you visit Morocco: taste its cuisine! Indeed, Moroccan cuisine is one of the must-see things to discover when visiting Tangier. So fragrant, comforting and delicious, this gastronomy of the south will delight even the most gourmand. You can stop at one of the many restaurants in Tangier. They serve until late couscous, tagines, chicken pastillas and other keftas to fall down!

 

But also, you have the possibility to buy some local specialties from a street side shop. For example, the batbout, which, unfortunately, is not Batman’s bread, but a flat bread made of wheat semolina, and which I imagine is just as tasteful as Batman’s bread. 

In case you’re not into the harbor, you should definitely explore the baghrir, known as the “pancake a thousand holes”, very supple and light, to be seasoned with salt or sweet, as you wish.

4 Places to Eat and Drink in Tangier

For a typical gourmet break, we can only recommend Moroccan pastries. Here are four places where you can get only the best of the best to eat and drink.
tangier cafe hafa

1. Café Hafa

Also referred to as the hidden café, the Café Hafa has one of the most astounding views in Tangier. Its design is a mix of modern intricacy with vintage ambience. Its remarkable view is born of the fact that it’s located along a cliff, and you’re always guaranteed an adventure on its grounds.

2. Café A L'anglaise

Fresh juices, sumptuous chicken dishes, traditional delicacies like the couscous, these are some of the dishes you get to enjoy at this sidewalk café. You also go for the food and return for the warmth and hospitality. And, of course, the decor, which is just absolutely breathtaking from local artists.

3. Le Nabab

Le Nabab is a local restaurant very worthy of a place on any list of best restaurants in Tangier. It boasts of chefs with remarkable experience of local dishes. Here you get food such as tangine and couscous made the way they should be. They also have some great wine and beautiful interior design.

4. Anna and Paolo

Another local restaurant with great warmth and hospitality, Anna and Paolo’s restaurant serves both Mediterranean and Italian food including pizza and pasta, so in case you’re in the mood for some Italian, you know where to go. But act fast, as this place is really in high demand and gets booked up fast.

3 Places to Stay in Tangier

Lodging in Tangier is actually very easy. There is a plethora of hotels, riads and rooms and apartments available on AirBnB. Below are some of the best accommodation available for each category.

1. Classic Moroccan - Palais Zahia

Palais Zahia is a traditional hotel with some really great services and remarkable view. Here you have beautiful restaurants, yoga classes, and great customer service.

2. Modern Ambiance - Der Tanja

This is a general hotel mainly for couples and travelers in business trips. It is located right in the middle of a residential area and conducive for easy commutes. If offers features such as well-furnished rooms, spa, swimming pool and restaurant.

3. Luxury - Le Mirage

If you’re looking for absolute, pure luxury, then Le Mirage is where you want to be in Tangier. It is a five-star hotel with crème de la crème features. I’m talking marble floors, spa, chic restaurants, private beach and so much more.

2 Instagram Spots in Tangier

tangier medina

1. The Tangier Medina

The walled medina is made up of countless streets full of bazaars and shops selling local products. These labyrinthine streets of the medina are full of life, thanks to the numerous cafes, shops, small pensions and hotels that invade the old part of the city.

2. Café Hafa

The famous hidden Café El-Hafa, already mentioned on our list for great restaurants, is also a wonderfully appealing place with terrific view – making for some remarkable, Instagram-worthy shots. Famous guests have also stopped here, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Its terraces overlooking the sea have everything it takes to elevate your Instagram page to the next level.

1 Insider Tip for Tangier

Tangier is a city full of minarets, which the muezzins occupy at certain hours of the day, and sometimes at night, for the call to prayer. If you’re not used to it, it’s surprising, but it’s incredible to experience. If you’re staying in the old city, make sure to pack a pair of ear plugs.

Author's Bio

Driss Benchemsi is a writer and an explorer. He’s a serial expat who studied on three continents and speaks four languages. He blogs and shares articles, photos and videos about Morocco at Think Morocco.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. We are due to go to Morocco when the borders open… so your post is very helpful thanks for sharing!

    1. Have the best time! We can’t wait to go back to Morocco – it’s a wonderful place to explore 🙂

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