Tangier is the ever-resolute face and heart of Morocco. Once home turf to hustlers and drug runners, Tangier is now a long-retired philanderer of a city – one that has seen all too much, but is alive and kicking with a twinkle in its eye. And probably something in its hand to fend off the remaining hustlers.
Follow suit and put on your game face before taking a camel ride down to Tangier Beach. Cool off with a windsurf through the waves or a beachfront beverage before lingering over a showcase of everyday Moroccan life at the Contemporary Art Museum. Wander through the intriguingly derelict Spanish Theatre at Gran Teatro Cervantes, but don’t let the dilapidation get you down – it’s getting dark, and unlike Charlie Sheen, Tangier is never too old to party!
Tangier's Top 10
10. Terrasse des Paresseux Take in sweeping views over the port and pretend you’re warding off usurpers with the ancient cannons.
5. Grand Socco Tangier’s main market square. Absorb the atmosphere and stroll through the bizarre bazaar.
9. Church of the Immaculate Conception This church was built in the 1800s when one-fifth of Tangier’s population was Spanish. The influence is clear.
4. The Kasbah Sharia didn’t like it, but you certainly will! A chic residential area in the 1920s, this luxurious estate is still well worth an exploration.
8. Grande Mosquée Said to have been the site for both a Roman temple and Portuguese church. In any case, the fascinating and largely debatable history will not detract form the stunning view.
3. Le Petit Socco Once the sleazy underbelly of Tangier filled with drugs and prostitution, now a quaint café-filled square that is one of the most picturesque in the Old Quarter.
7. St Andrews Church An eclectic mix of English country church and traditional Moroccan décor, this is one of Tangier’s oldest churches.
2. Tangier American Legation Museum A mix of United States national history and dreamy Moroccan art. The highlight is the American flag in the form of a Berber rug.
6. The Mendoubia Gardens Escape the blistering midday sun underneath the leaves of an 800-year-old banyan tree.
1. Grand Hôtel Villa de France The once-thriving and now-crumbling hotel has been called ‘a painter’s paradise’.
- Grand Hôtel Villa de France - You can see the now closed Tangier hotel that once hosted Matisse and Degas.
- Tangier American Legation Museum - This museum commemorates the fact that Morocco was one of the first countries to recognize the United States.
- Kasbah Museum - Located in the former sultan's palace, this museum's exhibits run from prehistory to the 19th century.
- Musée de la Fondation Lorin - This museum is all about 20th-century history.
- Tomb of Sidi Hosni - You can visit the tomb and the palace next door.
Tangier Art & Culture
- Musée d'Art Contemporain - This art museum displays art from the 1980's and 1990's.
- Galerie Delacroix - The exhibits are ever changing as this gallery continually updates its collection.
- Cinema Rif/Cinematheque de Tangier - This movie house shows mainstream and indie films.
- Institut Français - A venue that presents musicals, concerts and theatre in French.
- Cinéma Dawitz - This movie theatre has a screen for Hollywood and a screen for Bollywood.
- Boutique Majid - An antiques store where the main draw is the owner.
- Parfumerie Madini - This family-owned business can make any scent you desire.
- Bazaar of Silver Jewellery - This store has an extensive collection of silver jewellery on two floors.
- La Casa Barata - This Tangier store sells a little of everything, ranging from electronics to food.
- Covered Markets - These markets sell fresh food and goat cheese.
Gay & Lesbian Tangier
- Scott's Nightclub - This bar is for everyone but is a mostly gay bar.
- Tanger Inn - On the weekends, this place becomes the place to be.
- Ibis Moussafir Tangier - A very nice hotel and resort, gay friendly as long as you are discreet.
- Dar Nilam - This lovely hotel features free Internet and rooms decorated in the Moroccan style.
- Riad Dar Sultan - This accommodation is more openly gay friendly than some other businesses in the area.
- M'Nar Park - The best place to take the children, with go-karts, playgrounds and an arcade.
- Hercules Cave - Partly manmade and partly natural, explore this cave with two entrances.
- Tangier Beach - The beaches are meant for strolling and soaking up the sun.
- Medina of Tangier - As you walk the bazaar, you can see vendors, mosques and all the things that make Tangier unique.
- Terasse des Paresseux - This landmark is known for its view of the sea and for being the most popular place to take photos.
- Horseback riding should be done with a guide, and the Royal Club Equestre provides the horse, the guide and the route.
- Golfing, of course, and the place to golf is at the Royal Country Club of Tangier.
- Shooting enthusiasts find the Shooting Club of Tangier to have an endless supply of clay pigeons.
- Surfing is a growing sport in Tangier, and surfers have their choice of the Atlantic or the Mediterranean.
- Seeing the Hassan II Trophy may inspire you to work on your tennis game, and you might choose to do so at the M'sallah Garden Tennis courts.
Enjoy the smooth grooves of Tanjazz in May – it’sTangier’s annual Jazz festival.
Celebrate the sunshine with folklore and Latin music at the International Summer Carnival in June.
Nights of the Mediterranean brings an entire week of music and dance in July. Up your coffee intake and join in the nonstop fun.
Immerse yourself in traditional Berber culture at the Amazigh Festival in July.
Roman archaeology gets a vibrant update at the Volubilis Festival in August thanks to music and folkloristic expressions.
When To Go
- For the sunniest weather and very limited rainfall, visit Tangier between June and August.
- Winter in Tangier can get relatively cool, with a minimum temperature of around 9°C (48°F).
- The biggest rainfall in Tangier occurs in November and December. But hey – at least they’ll get you into the museums.
- Tangier is relatively compact, so the best way to unwind and take in the sights is to walk.
- There are plenty of Petit taxis around town and, with a bit of negotiation, they’re an inexpensive way to get around.
- If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, strap on your helmet and hire a motorbike.
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