A Day in Tangier, Morocco
Tangiers is an interesting city in northern Morocco and situated on the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier is just twenty miles from the coast of Spain. Many of Tangier’s residents are multilingual and can speak Spanish, Portuguese, French, and their native Arabic. Tangier is dirty and chaotic, but it is also wonderfully authentic and full of life. Tangiers is undergoing several changes, namely in the form of a lux marina, handsome seaside pedestrian promenade, and modern beachside cafés.
However, I didn’t visit for a package holiday, I was there for the nitty gritty. There is much to see and do within the old city walls.
Tangier can be overwhelming for the first-time visitor to Morocco and, to be honest, even for some hardened travellers. Tangier can be roughly divided into three distinct sections: The Old Medina, the Kasbah and the New City. As soon as I got off the boat (from Tarifa) I negotiated a price with a tour guide who agreed to show me around for 10 euros per hour. Make sure your guide is certified (he’ll have an official ID card from the tourist board, otherwise you’ll get robbed or scammed at some point during or after your tour). You’ll get hounded by the locals and easily lost if you don’t have a guide, so ask you hotel.
The Best of Tangiers
Get lost in the Medina
If you ever truly get lost, keep in mind that “uphill” is the direction to follow for most of the main exits, or “babs,” of the medina. If you ask anyone for the direction of “Zoco Chico” or “Bab el-Fahs,” they should point you in the right direction.
Looming over the medina is the Kasbah, the ancient fortifications that were once in charge of the city’s defences. Today, many of the historic buildings and palaces of the Kasbah have been bought by Europeans and turned into private homes or converted into hotels, restaurants and museums.
Hang out at Café Hafa
Café Hafa is located outside of the Kasbah, close to the necropolis and the Phoenician tombs, William Burroughs, Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, Jim jarmusch, the Rolling Stones and many others have stopped by Café Hafa for a smoke and a look out over the Mediterranean to Spain. There are pictures on the walls of the famous faces who have enjoyed some exotic tobacco here.
Visit Town Beach
Tangier Beach, or Town Beach, is about a 15-minute walk from the Medina. The area is undergoing major renovations, so look past the construction. The beach itself is not safe for swimming, but there are some new restaurants at the edge of the beach and you can ride a camel across the beach for about 10 DH.
Check out the shops
Your tour guide will take you into many shops as he’ll receive commission if you buy something. Here you can find nice rugs, throws and other Moroccan treasures. I got myself a scarf made from camel or something. Always haggle and if you don’t want to go in a shop on your tour or are over the experience of seeing ten different Moroccan rugs you have no interest in buying, don’t be afraid to say so and leave.
March 23, 2018
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