12 great reasons to discover Tangier

Travelling to Morocco means venturing into a country of contrasts that allows you to discover a different culture through its traditions, history and people.

Tangier is the gateway to Africa in Morocco, a beautiful coastal city that still harbours its European influence. Here are some great reasons to visit Tangier:

1. Get lost in the medina

Morocco is known worldwide for its medinas, mazes of winding streets where it’s relatively easy to get lost. One of your main plans, if not your number one, should be to wander aimlessly around the medina in Tangier for a few hours.

It’s is a great place to observe some of the local customs in its shops, and the puzzling distribution is made up of a maze of charming narrow, winding streets for you to fall in love with. This could quickly become your favourite place in the city!

Ancient gate to Medina of Tangier, Morocco

2. Explore the Fondouk Siaghine

Fondouks can be found inside the medinas of many Moroccan cities. They’re a hybrid of hotel and stable for craftsmen set around a central courtyard. Workshops were traditionally on the ground floor along with the stables for the camels and the sleeping quarters were upstairs.

Fondouks have always been places where craftsmen and travellers traded goods, and you can still see traditional small shops in the Fondouk Siaghime selling typical Moroccan crafts and leatherwear.

3. Visit the Tangier Grand Mosque

The cultural tour of the Great Mosque is fascinating. It was the site of a Roman temple in the fifth century, after the Portuguese conquest it was converted into a cathedral and from the seventh century was used as a mosque, although it then became a church again and then back to a mosque with the appearance we see today.

All of these conversions since its first construction make it a fascinating example of Morocco’s rich and varied history, as well as an architectural point of interest.

4. Watch a film in the Cinema Rif

The Grand Socco, officially known as Place April 9, 1947, is located right at the entrance to the medina. It’s a meeting point for locals and tourists alike, and the best known and liveliest square in Tangier. The Sidi Bou Abib Mosque and the Cinema Rif are both located nearby.

Morocco: the Cinematheque de Tanger, Cinema Rif, North Africa's first cinema cultural center in the historic heart of Tangier

A visit here is an authentic Tangier experience. The cinema is an old colonial style building, and a popular haunt among locals. Cinema Rif screens both mainstream and independent films and seems to glorify its mixed cultural roots with films in French and Arabic.

5. Go shopping in the Central Market

The Central Market is undoubtedly a ‘must’ for every traveller visiting Tangier, as it’s something of an adventure. Inside, it’s divided into several areas where you can find vegetables, fruit, fish and meat. A stroll through a traditional market is filled with colours and smells, and is a joy for the senses.

Colorful ornate Moroccan jewelery

6. Enjoy a mint tea in the Petit Socco

If the Grand Socco doesn’t seem very genuine and too touristic, or you simply fancy seeing a more traditional souk in Tangier, then head to the back of the mosque in Place April 9, 1947 and you’ll find a small autochthonous souk.

Historically, the Petit Socco was a place with a bad reputation, but that’s all changed today, and it’s a great spot to enjoy a delicious mint tea or a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Moroccan mint tea, unlike the packaged teabag version, is made with fresh mint leaves and a touch of sugar. The result is a deliciously refreshing drink.

7. Visit the Jewish quarter

The mythical Jewish quarter is not to be missed. You’ll be surprised by its most famous street, the street of jewellers. Although… you might be more seduced by its small, colourful, narrow streets than anything else.

8. Stroll around the Kasbah

Entering this mythical neighbourhood of blue and white streets is a more than enjoyable experience as you can discover places where there are hardly any tourists.

Moroccan mint tea

9. Visit an American Embassy converted into a museum.

What was once the American embassy during colonial times is today the American Legation Museum. You’ll be surprised by all its historical content, its European style décor and because it was the first U.S. public property outside the United States.

10. Buy a book in the mytical Librairie Des Colonnes

The Librairie des Colonnes has been an institution in Tangier since 1949. It was once a favourite haunt of some of the most important writers of the 20th century, including Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. The bookshop has now been renovated but the exterior retains its charm and the inside is lined with shelves and shelves of fascinating books.

11. Have a peek inside the Catholic Mission Church

In countries of Muslim tradition, you don’t expect to find a Christian church, but Morocco is different and has the Catholic Mission Church on one of the main streets in the medina in Tangier. This is probably one of the few existing Catholic churches inside a Muslim medina. Nowadays, it’s not used as a place of worship, but it’s still possible to go inside for a visit.

Tangier in Morocco

12. Stroll along the promenade by Avenue Mohamed VI

The beaches of Tangier have reaped the benefit from the investment and development tourism has brought to the city. They are an oasis outside of the city, with golden sand and sparkling blue water. The beaches proximity to the port means an atmosphere of hustle and bustle always exists. Avenue Mohamed VI runs along the entire promenade next to the sea, making it an ideal spot for a stroll, or even by car, the choice is yours!

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