Tangier, also sometimes known as Tangiers, is one of Morocco's most beautiful and historic major cities. Located on the Maghreb coast, looking out over the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean, Tangier is the capital of both the Tangier-Assilah prefecture and Tangier-Tatouan-Al Hoceima region. Nicknamed 'The Blue and White City' and 'The Bride of the North', Tangier has a population of almost a million people, making it the third largest city in the country, and attracts many more each year through its thriving tourism industry.
Tangier has a mysterious, inspiring sort of atmosphere, with a lot of stories to tell. Regarded as the gateway between Europe and Africa for many years, the area has seen a lot of travelers pass through, resulting in a real melting pot of cultures, ideas, and styles. In the 1930s and 40s, in particular, it was a highly stylish destination that attracted a lot of artists and writers from around the world, and it retains a lot of its special charms to this day. In short, there's no other place in the world quite like Tangier.
Getting to Tangier
There are many different ways one might choose to travel to Tangier. The city is served by the Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport, named after a famous Moroccan explorer. The airport sees more than a million passengers passing through each year and is linked with many major airlines like Air Arabia Maroc, Iberia Regional, Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, Vueling, and Transavia. Many travelers looking to visit Tangier tend to head to a European location first like Barcelona, Paris, or Madrid, and then take a connecting flight to Tangier.
If you're traveling to Tangier on a budget or don't mind spending a little longer on your journey, there are various bus, ferry, and train options to choose from. For example, one of the most popular and commonly-taken routes to Tangier from Europe is the ferry from Algeciras in Spain. Ferries leave from this port to Tangier every single day, all year long, and the journey only takes about half an hour in total. Other Spanish cities like Tarifa and Barcelona also offer ferries directly to Tangier for various prices. If you happen to be in France, you can hitch a ride on a ferry from Sete to get to Tangier, and there's also a route connecting Italy to Morocco via the city of Genoa.
Staying in Tangier
There are many forms of accommodation to be found around Tangier, ranging from low budget hostels and guesthouses to classy waterfront hotels and resorts. You'll tend to find the cheapest hotels and options down by the medina, while the more deluxe accommodation can be found in the 'Ville Nouvelle' area. Here are some examples of the best hotels in Tangier.
- Villa Joséphine, Phone: +212-539-33-45-35
Offering astonishing views of the water from one of the most elevated points in all of Tangier, Villa Joséphine is one of the best-rated hotels in the area and is frequently classed as the top spot to stay for people who can afford it. You will need to pay top dollar to stay at Villa Joséphine, but it's worth the added expense, with luxurious rooms boasting stunning decoration to make you feel like you've stepped into a palace.
- La Tangerina - 19 Rue Riad Sultan, Tangier, Phone: +212-539-94-77-31
The rooms at La Tangerina are what make this Tangier hotel stand out as better than the rest. Each room is very tastefully decorated in an authentic yet homely manner that will make you feel completely comfortable from the first minute of your stay to the last. Rooms at La Tangerina can be reserved much cheaper than in a more upscale location like Villa Joséphine, but this hotel still has a classy, elegant vibe to it.
- La Maison de Tanger - 9, rue Al Mabarra, Tanger 90030, Phone: +212-539-93-66-37
Located among some beautiful gardens that make you feel a million miles away from the city, this classy guesthouse location provides some of the prettiest views in all of Tangier. It's only a short walk away from some of Tangier's top touristic spots like the Kasbah Museum and Dar el Makhzen Palace, but there are only eight rooms, so you'll need to book well in advance if you want to secure a spot at this gorgeous Tangier hotel.
Things to Do in Tangier
- Kasbah Museum/Dar el Makhzen Palace
The Dar el Makhzen Palace, also known as the Sultanate Palace, is one of the most beautiful and storied pieces of architecture in the entire city. As its name suggests, this palace was the home of the Sultans of Morocco whenever they visited Tangier. Nowadays, the palace is home to an open tourist attraction known as the Kasbah Museum, featuring a large array of Moroccan artwork including carpets, textiles, manuscripts, mosaics, and more.
- The Tangier American Legation
The Tangier American Legation is located in the medina area of the city and is actually a very important building. It's the first American public property outside of the United States, due to the fact that Morocco was the first country in the world to recognize the United States' independence. American visitors to Tangier will definitely want to check this building out. Inside, you'll find a whole host of art from some of history's leading luminaries.
- The Medina
The Medina is the old part of Tangier. It's a walled-off section of the city and it's the place to be if you want to see the authentic, less modern side of Tangier and imagine how this city used to be a few centuries ago. You'll find a labyrinth of alleyways and street vendors offering all kinds of wares, along with many interesting shops and cafes.
- Ville Nouvelle
The Ville Nouvelle is the 'New Town' part of Tangier, in contrast to the 'old town' Medina district. This is the more modern and classy side of the city, appealing to wealthier tourists and artists. The heart of this area is the Place de France, a large square with a lot of good local tearooms and some beautiful views of the surrounding city and sea.