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Things to do in Tangier: itinerary through the highlights of the city, including travel tips and information on what to eat and where to stay.
Tangier is the gate to Africa beyond the “non plus ultra” boundaries of what they used to call the inhabitable world.
The Strait of Gibraltar separates Spain from Tangier that welcomes you to a completely different land from nearby Europe.
From the highest points of the city you can see the European coast on one side and the African coast on the other. And it’s incredible that two lands that can almost touch each other are actually so different.
While landing at Tangier from Casablanca, my friend Cinzia and I can see the two continents from the window.
This is my third trip to my dear Morocco.
Our travel itinerary consists of getting to Tangier in the evening, visiting the city in the morning and taking a road trip to the lovely blue pearl of Chefchaouen.
During our trip we took what we ironically called “a little detour to Ceuta”.
But let’s slow down. I will tell you soon about our funny adventure to Ceuta.
Now it’s time for me to introduce you Tangier and the things to do in this fascinating city.
We can split our itinerary in two. One part of the itinerary will be around the medina, the old city, and the other part around Ville Nouvelle, the new city.
So let’s find out first the things to do in the medina of Tangier.
THINGS TO DO IN THE MEDINA OF TANGIER.
As you read also in other posts I have written about Morocco, in the medinas there is not a specific itinerary to follow.
So basically the best thing to do is to wander around the little streets and alleys.
Going up and down, turning around and around, you will eventually pass by Petit Socco, the Kasbah and other points of interest in the medina.
Let’s discover them together.
Petit Socco is a square that doesn’t really look like a square.
It’s more like a crossroad inside the medina where people come and go all the time.
The perfect place to enjoy some mint tea!
OLD SPANISH CHURCH.
Not far from Petit Socco you will find the old Spanish church.
It’s a little church of Misión Católica Española, a community that helps children and women victim of abuse or who generally live in difficult situations.
If you get back to Petit Socco and walk a little bit further you will see the Grand Mosque of Tangier.
It was once a Portuguese church. But today it’s the largest mosque of Tangier and only Muslims can get in.
PANORAMIC VIEW OVER THE PORT.
Once you pass the Grand Mosque you will end up to a panoramic terrace that offers a view over the port of Tangier.
Here you can see the iconic Strait of Gibraltar that separates Europe from Africa.
Now we start going up over steep streets and stairs to get to the highest point of the city: the Kasbah.
The Kasbah of Tangier was once the sultan’s fortress protected by high fortified walls.
Today you can visit a museum of the history of the area from prehistory to the 19th century inside the former sultan’s palace and the gardens.
In the Kasbah there are a few panoramic viewpoints over the sea.
Around here there are some unfortunate looking guys who will ask you to follow them to the Kasbah. Do I need to tell you? No, right. Just ignore them.
Now we finally head down back to the medina. After you go up, you always go down!
We say hi to all the cats we see around and get back near Petit Socco.
So let’s leave now the medina behind and explore Ville Nouvelle of Tangier.
THINGS TO DO IN VILLE NOUVELLE OF TANGIER.
The new city of Tangier looks way different from the medina.
The streets of Ville Nouvelle are a good place for a nice walk around.
And in the new city of Tangiers there are many points of interests and things to do.
Let’s go see them!
Once you leave the medina behind, you will get to Grand Socco, a square between the medina and Ville Nouvelle.
Grand Socco is the big brother of Petit Socco.
It’s a large square with a fountain in the middle surrounded by palm trees.
The landmarks of Grand Socco are the minaret of Sidi Bou Adib Mosque and Cinema Rif.
Right next to Grand socco there are the Mendoubia Gardens, a park which is very popular among local people.
And of course among cats too!
The Mendoubia Gardens surround also St. Andrew’s Church.
ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH.
St. Andrew’s Church is an Anglican church that mixes elements of the Anglican religion to elements of the Muslim religion.
Inside the church there are in fact Moorish decorations and a cleft that indicates the direction of Mecca.
Moreover the bell tower is in the same style of the Muslim minarets and on the wall behind the altar you can see the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic and some passages from the Qur’an!
So although it is an Anglican church, St.Andrew’s church is rich in elements of the Muslim religion.
Another peculiar thing of the church is the courtyard where there is a peaceful garden with the graves of some English characters and soldiers who died during the Second World War.
Let’s leave now the peace of St. Andrew’s Church and walk towards the large alleys of Ville Nouvelle.
ALLEYS OF VILLE NOUVELLE.
We take now a nice walk around the streets and the alleys of Ville Nouvelle, like Boulevard Mohammed VI with its viewpoints over the sea.
Or Boulevard Pasteur with its colonial buildings and Librairie des Colonnes.
And we finally pass by Place de France where we see the elegant building of Consulate General of France before ending our walk in Rue de la Liberté.
WHERE TO EAT IN TANGIER.
We arrived in Tangier in the afternoon and decided to have dinner at Le Salon Bleu.
The restaurant is located in the upper part of the city, right in the Kasbah.
The best thing about this place is its location and the terrace that offers nice views over the kasbah.
Dinner is amazing, just like everywhere in Morocco.
We had a mixed appetizer with cheese patties, cherry tomatoes and cheese, local bread, delicious Moroccan olives, and sauces like hummus, avocado and banana cream, and pumpkin cream.
As our main course we shared the traditional chicken tajine with olives and sesame.
After dinner we were a little cold for the cool breeze in the terrace, so we decided to go inside and order the usual mint tea and my beloved gateaux marocains.
WHERE TO STAY IN TANGIER.
We stayed at Fredj Hotel and we really enjoyed it.
It’s in Ville Nouvelle, in a short walk from Grand Socco.
Our room is fabulous and has a nice and large bathroom.
We loved our private terrace in particular where we enjoyed amazing views over the Strait of Gibraltar.
You know, it’s not every day you stay at a hotel with Europe and Africa view!
Breakfast is plentiful and there is just about anything, from sweet to savory, from local food to Western food.
The reception staff is nice and helpful and they allowed us to leave our car in their private parking even after check-out time.
So we recommend it for sure!
If there is no availability or if you are looking for something else, have a look at this map to choose where to stay.
I wouldn’t recommend the area near the port and along the Corniche because it’s not very safe at night.
OUR ROAD TRIP TO CHEFCHAOUEN.
And after this quick stop at Tangier we are ready to get on the car and hit the road to Chefchaouen.
While having a look at the route we decide to take the panoramic street along the coast and take a detour to Ceuta before driving to Chefchaouen.
This unpredicted change of plan made our trip full of memories and fun. We didn’t expect at all to find what we found in Ceuta!
But I will tell you all about it in my next post!