Most people stay in Tangier for a few days, using the port city as a jumping off point to the rest of Morocco. We spent a month living in Tangier, with plenty of time to dig deep into this lively city, as well venture into the surrounding countryside. Our Tangier, Morocco Travel Guide will lead you on a colorful journey through a place we once called home.
The Medina is chaotic, and the ‘new city’ lacks the historic beauty. Neither are ideal for your stay. The Kasbah, however, is Moroccan perfection. Still a touristy area filled with sites and museums, but high above the Medina in a much more peaceful location. Not to mention, the Kasbah is home to the most epic views in Tangier.
We found a comfortable home in a renovated Riad at the top of the Kasbah and we highly recommend this very spot for your stay. The house itself is a work of art, from the tiled floors to ornate walls and ceilings. Not to mention, the best terrace in all of Tangier!
I started every day with yoga on our beautiful terrace. If you’re interested in doing the same, contact Meriem at Yoga Tanger. She will come to you for a private lesson, and speaks English perfectly.
I also indulged in weekly massages during our stay. It’s only 300 dhr ($30) to have a therapist come to your home. Everything was arranged by the team hosting us at top of the Kasbah. They provide a level of service that’s rare and unique. The onsite host, Manolo, even accompanied me to appointments where I might need a translator! They arranged all our transfers and activities, making our visit a relaxing and luxurious experience from start to finish.
What made everything we ate in Morocco so unique was the mixture of sweet and savory. Most of their dishes are spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cumin, paprika and saffron. The combination was one I had not tried anywhere else, and it made my pallet rejoice! Our Foodie Guide shares all of our favorite Moroccan treats – not to be missed!
We were asked if we wanted some “Moroccan whisky” upon arrival. This question was followed by a jolly, Moroccan laugh, as we were served tea. In general, it’s possible to buy alcohol if you area tourist, but when in Morocco it’s best to embrace the culture. Enjoy the delicious tea instead! Tea is a very important part of Moroccan culture… it’s in the blood. Traditional, Moroccan tea is a green tea prepared with spearmint leaves and sugar (though many restaurants seem to have their own blend, combining other herbs as well). It is served after every meal, in between meals… basically at any time of day (except apparently before a meal). Moroccans even have a saying about its daily taste…The first glass is as gentle as life; the second glass is a strong as love; the third glass is as bitter as death.Click To Tweet
We recommend hiring a guide for at least one day to visit Tangier’s beaches, the camels, the Cave of Hercules and Parc Perdicaris. It’s the perfect introduction to a beautiful side of Tangier that lies just outside of the main port.
If I had a home, I would fill it with things from Morocco. Without much room to spare in our bags, we still couldn’t leave without a few essentials. If you are looking for souvenirs in Morocco, the Medina (while overwhelming) is the best place to shop.
Traditional Tea Set: Find your Moroccan tea set in the Medina on one of the many, narrow alleys filled with antiques. This is the perfect souvenir and reminder of your timing sipping delicious mint tea.
Colorful Slippers: I ended up bringing back more than what would fit in my suitcase. These are fabulous, handmade gifts that are unique to Morocco.
Comfy Panchos: Soft and colorful, plus you can find them in 100% pashmina for ridiculously low rates.
Fancy and Unique: Head to Laure Welfling’s boutique in the Kasbah (just beside the Kasbah museum) where there are one of a kind designs. The clothing, jewelry and bags are pricey (especially in comparison to the shops in the Medina!) but what you purchase is high quality, and you can be certain that you own the only one in the world as only a single item in each style is made. They also carry beautiful, antique post cards.
Our top two recommendations for day trips from Tangier are Asilah and Chefchouen, though if you have time it’s worth staying in Chefchaouen for at least a night or two, and stopping in Tetaoun along your way. You can head to each of these locations by hiring a driver, or hopping in a shared taxi for $7 per person. You’ll be riding in a van, along with other travelers, and will likely make a new friend or two (we did!).
This beautiful, coastal town is popular among artists, and just a walk through the old town makes it clear as to why.
Vibrant colors fill the streets, and murals fill almost every wall. There is an annual festival that takes place, where local artists decorate the old town walls with new murals for the new year.
This ever-changing, artistic vibe makes Asilah a very special place.
Two hours from Tangier, perched just below the peaks of the Rif Mountains, you’ll find what is known as The Blue Pearl of Morocco. Chefchaouen is known for its blue hued buildings, leather and weaving shops, and steep cobbled lanes. Each narrow alley is a photographer’s dream.
Chefchaouen’s famous blue hues date back to the 15th century, when an influx of Jews escaping the Spanish inquisition painted the town. The color, symbolic of the sky and heaven, reminded them of god. Today the tradition continues – 40,000 people call Chefchaouen home and take pride in keeping their village beautifully blue. Some say that the color also acts as a repellant for mosquitos!
We stayed in this dreamy town for two nights, at the luxurious Lina Ryad and Spa. We hiked to the Spanish Mosque for an epic view over the city, and had in incredible meal at Bab Ssour (order the beef that’s been cooking for 6 hours!). The highlight of our time in Chefchaouen, however, was wandering the Medina streets. The beauty of some locations cannot be put into words, so I’d prefer to share a bit of visual stimulation to inspire your visit…
For centuries, Tangier has been Europe’s gateway to Africa. It was once an open territory (not governed by Morocco), attracting artists, unconventional travelers and even spies. It was said that, whoever you are and wherever you came from, you are no one from nowhere in Tangier. This was alluring to many! Today, Tangier has transformed from its slightly seedy reputation of year past. A blend of foreign residents gives Tangier a unique vibe, while the cultural life is buzzing and the city gleams with confidence.I will warn you that if you plan your trip well, it’s impossible not to fall hard for the colorful, alluring Tangier.Click To Tweet
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