When it comes to most visited tourists’ cities in Morocco, Tangier may not be the most likely of candidates. In the past, it has been known to have major issues with guides who aren’t very pleasant to visitors–haranguing them for personal tours and such, for instance. The Moroccan tourist authorities have begun to really crack down on this, however. For the experienced traveler, though, you can be sure that a trip to Tangier will now offer up some of the country’s best highlights.
Tangier, Morocco is a very interesting city. And while the town’s beach isn’t exactly the cleanest, the other beaches are absolutely gorgeous, as they are cleaned through administrations. Guides who aren’t exactly official will bother you while you’re there, but if you are a relaxed traveler who doesn’t mind that, or if you have already spent some time in Morocco to get familiar with it, then you should have no worries.
The fact is that Tangier has quite a few amazing sights to see, including the fact that this particular city is the model by which Casablanca, the American classic starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, was based on. On top of that, head just ten minutes down away from the city and you can see beautiful and clean beaches that you can spend all day on. It also has the air of having been a bit of a magnet for celebrities, with a very international feel to it.
Tangier’s town beach is very much designed for tourists, with a very long curve along the white Tangier houses that eventually bottoms out at the mountains. Everyone from Moroccan families to the Europeans who are there only for a few days come and visit this beach, which makes it crowded but certainly a pleasant social event. As the afternoon begins to creep along, another of the more popular activities in Tangier is the beach walk, where you can see the older colonial homes further from the beach before you see the much more modern houses. Along this walk, the events are very commonplace, but it is a social gathering, a place to see and be seen. If you’re looking for a less tourist-based beach, then certainly consider looking at the myriad of Atlantic Morocco beaches in the area, framed by mountains.
While you won’t necessarily want to buy anything in the Medina, given the inflated prices, this is a place to see all on its own. The actual Medina of Tangier is a genuine one, with narrow streets and quite a few houses in completely different styles, but it is in beautiful condition. You can rest assured that with such a large medina, you will see areas that are commercial, yet they are geared towards the tourist traffic in the area. You won’t really find much by way of worthwhile craftsmanship, but the architecture is why you should visit. Seeing the outside of the buildings, as well as just walking the streets, is a true feast for the eyes.
The medina holds some of the quaintest cafes, restaurants and places to eat. Finding them and eating at them are two treats you are not soon to forget. If you don’t like to eat out, then you can visit one of Morocco’s souqs (souk=Morocco outdoor market) to buy some of your own produce, spices and poultry. On top of the Petit Socco, there is also the Grand Socco, which is the Spanish equivalent of the suuq that you can visit in other Moroccan cities, and this one is now more of a place to meet and visit. While walking through this area, you will see taxis everywhere, as well as people meeting and having a grand time.
Walking in Morocco
If you decide to take a trip along Tangier’s Atlantic side, you will be greeted with charming architecture and scenery, as the houses are precariously perched near the steep hills in the area, and while it is one of the impoverished areas of the city, the view is amazing, and quite often, you can see people playing on the beaches below for the area. Take a walk in the city or the countryside to see and meet the real Morocco. Once ten minutes from the tourist’s zone, you’ll be out with the real people that make Morocco very special.
While not for the inexperienced traveler, Tangier certainly holds its own charms as an unusually beautiful city with unique sights to see and a much more realistic approach to traveling. A family Morocco tour can highlight the best and bona fide parts of this city. The city isn’t meant for purchasing a lot of baubles and pottery, but is a true exploration into Tangier’s modern culture.
by Sam Mitchell