Tangier was one of the highlights of our Morocco trip. This port city was the birthplace of Ibn Battuta, a historical figure that I had always admired for his world exploration and epic itineraries. I was over the moon to land in this historic city and Tangier didn’t disappoint us. So here are the best things to do in Tangier Morocco!
17 Best Things to do in Tangier Morocco
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Tangier is also spelt as Tanger. It is a historic city located in the northern part of Morocco. Tangier’s history is very interesting and being a port city, you can imagine that this city was a melting pot of many cultures and civilizations.
It was a strategic Berber town and then became a prominent Phoenician trading center, whose contributions to the city is evident from the heritage remnants. Many colonial powers also favored Tangier – as it provided an entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean Sea met the Atlantic Ocean.
As a tourist, a huge plus for Tangier is that it connects you to Spain in a mere 45 minute ferry ride. Thus making it easy for you to travel there via water. Tangier also has an international airport – Tangier Ibn Battuta Airport (international). It serves the Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region.
We found Tangier to have the perfect balance of an old Moroccan town with the medina and traditional riads and food, and the new city with lounges, night life and a good transportation system to reach other cities in Morocco.
City of Tangier is mainly divided into 2 parts – the old town or the medina and the Ville Nouvelle or the new city. The port is located near the medina walls.
Explore the old town – Tanger Medina
The Tanger medina is the MOST visited attraction in the city. Rightly so, as you will find alleys of Moroccan culture and history layered inside the medina. Historically, Tangier is a younger city as compared to its older siblings like Fes and Marakesh.
Inside the Tangier medina you will find restaurants, shops, hotels and riads, handicrafts and textiles workshops and more. It is worth taking half a day to explore the medina at ease.
The old city or medina is very easy to maneuver and hard to get lost. It is also very clean as compared to the oldest medina – Fes el Bali.
Explore the Place du Grand 9 April Square – Rue Naciria Medina (Grand Socco)
Place du Grand 9 April is a huge square in the Tangier medina. It was named as such after the speech delivered by Mohammad V for Moroccan independence in 1947. This grand socco or the big souk is a busy market square with local vendors selling handicrafts, food and souvenirs.
Grand Socco is like an entry to the inner part of Medina, and it rightly divides the new city ‘Ville Nouvelle’ area from old medina. There are marble fountains adorning the square, with the Mendoubia Gardens.
There is a Petit Socco, located in Tangier as well. It was known to be a meeting place of drug dealers and prostitutes. But today it is safe for a stroll or quick exploration. You can enjoy a mint tea or orange juice at the souk, while watching the hustle-bustle of the marketplace.
Experience the lively city by staying inside the medina
Morocco is all about the experience – their history and hospitality. One of the unique things to do in Tangier is to stay inside the medina and in an old traditional home called riad. If you prefer a hotel, choose one inside the old town.
Most hotels and riads will offer you free breakfast and wifi. The one we stayed at – Hotel Mamora – had a rooftop terrace restaurant and we LOVED relaxing there in the morning and evenings for dinner. BOOK YOUR STAY AT HOTEL MAMORA
Another hotel option in the medina is to stay at the Dar Nour. Dar is a traditional home in Morocco, with a courtyard. This bed and breakfast style hotel offers a rooftop terrace with a view of the beach and a massage room to rejuvenate you. BOOK YOUR STAY AT DAR NOUR
Visit the American Legation in Tangier
The American Legation is a museum in Tangier. This 5 story museum is located inside the medina and it speaks volume about the Morocco and Morocco–United States relations.
It is home to many historical remnants and cultural studies for Morocco-US relationship. If you wish to learn about Tangier’s past, this is a great place to start.
Did you know that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as a nation in 1777. The museum was opened in 1821.
Address: 8 Rue d’Amerique, Tanger, Morocco
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday – 10:00 am to 05:00 pm. Saturdays – they close at 03:00 pm. Sundays are closed.
Entry fee: Free
See the Port of Tangier
There are two ports in Tangier – Tangier ville and the Tangier Med. If you are traveling from Spain, most likely you will get an opportunity to visit both. Learn how to take a ferry to Tangier from Spain.
Tangier Ville is located near the Tangier town. When we started from Tarifa Spain, we landed here and the old medina is very close by. We had access to wonderful views of the port from our hotel window.
The Tangier Med, on the other hand is located about 45 kilometers from the city, on the Strait of Gibraltar. If you are arriving from Algeciras, you will come via Tangier Med. The Tangier Med is the largest port on the Mediterranean and in Africa by capacity.
Explore the Tangier Kasbah Square – Kasbah de Tangier
The Kasbah in Tangier provided uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean and of the old medina. The white washed alleys and houses look absolutely stunning against the blue water backdrop.
The Kasbah square is the place to admire the Sultan’s creations and get entertained. We saw snake charmers doing their magic, and many selling Tangier souvenirs. The restaurants located at the square, reminded us of Greece – white and blue houses, located at a height offering mesmerizing sea views.
The Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Cultures located at the square is the place to learn about this historic city.
Learn about the city’s past at the Kasbah Museum
The Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Cultures is a popular museum in Tangier, showcasing historic relics about Tangier’s past. Notable displays include – mosaic of Venus from Volubilis and statuary and many map replicas from the middle ages. The museum exhibits range from pre-historic to the 19th century.
The museum is housed in the palace of Dar El Makhzen – the former Grand Palace of the Sultans, and entrance is located outside of medina via the Bab Kasbah or the Bab haha gate.
Address: Place de la Kasbah, Tanger 90030, Morocco
Hours of operation: Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Entry fee: 10 dirhams
Explore the Cape Spartel – entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar
Cape Spartel is a high level land mass arising at 1000 feet above sea level, guarding the Strait of Gibraltar. A lighthouse adorns the Cape Spartel. Below the Cape Spartel are the archaeological caves of Hercules.
Learn about the Cave of Hercules – Grottoes of Hercules
The Caves of Hercules are a natural and man-made archaeological site near Cape Spartel. It is believed that the Phoenicians created the cave that resembled the map of Africa – pointing at the sea. The caves today are well maintained, with walking pathways and lightning, making it easier to explore and access the cave site.
Inside the cave, you can also see Berber drawings and writings.
Outside of the cave complex, there is a restaurant and a cafe, souvenir vendors and stunning blue waters.
Address: 14 kilometers west of Tanger, Morocco
Hours of operation: Everyday – 10:00 am to 08:00 pm.
Entry fee: 5 dirhams
Summer Palace of the King of Morocco in Tangier
Located very close to the Cap Spartel is the summer palace of the King of Morocco. The palace is not open to the public. And that is true for all royal palaces in the country.
This summer palace has beautifully decorated doors, which are worth checking out.
Relax at Tangier beaches (Delia beach, Mikki beach)
Being a port city, Tangier offers a stunning coastline with unadulterated beaches. The main beach is located in the heart of the city and it boasts of long stretches of white sand. Tangier beaches are perfect for a day of lounging or relaxation.
You can also go water-skiing, sailing or scuba diving in Tangier beaches. One thing to keep in kind is that there are some beaches in Tangier where you will easily find lounge beds and umbrellas and there are many which are barren – so will have to carry a beach mat or chair to relax and enjoy.
There are many seating areas and view points, located in and around beaches like the Achakkar Beach and Mikki beach. Beaches are safe to enjoy. They are clean and not very crowded.
Sidi Kacem beach is another great place to enjoy a beach day out. It is located close to many resorts and hotels.
Enjoy a good Moroccan meal and entertainment
When in Morocco, don’t miss out on the cuisine and hospitality of this country. Tangier has all the ingredients to get the taste of Moroccan culture. Eat in the medina and opt for Couscous with vegetables, Moroccan tea and soup.
Many restaurants have local performers in-house – singing and playing traditional music.
Explore the handicrafts and essentials oils of Morocco
Tangier medina is filled with souks and shops selling traditional textiles and handicrafts. We didn’t find any sellers who were pushy or aggressive. You can join a textile workshop tour to learn about the work and the process involved. Many of these processes are century-old traditions that have not changed generation after generation.
Morocco’s gift to the world (or at least the cosmetic world) is Moroccan Argon oil. There are natural oils demonstration and healing procedure/workshop and massaging etc. for travelers to enjoy. If you want something natural and a good souvenir to take back home – essential/natural oils are cheaper and won’t take a lot of space in your luggage.
Stroll the Tanja Marina Bay
Tanja Marina Bay is Morocco’s first and the largest urban marina. It is an amazing place to go for an evening stroll. The marina is safe and even in the evenings, you will see it bustling with activities (and families enjoying a cool breeze).
Enjoy night life at the City center
Tangier is a nice place to experience the old traditions and urban city benefits.
The Tanja Marina bay and pretty much the city center area is filled with urban entertainment areas like luxury hotels with pools, night clubs and lounges and fine dining areas. Evenings can get quite crowded in here.
The city center is safe to enjoy an evening out or to indulge in a romantic dinner overlooking the bay.
Go on a quick camel safari
Tangier doesn’t have a desert, but it does have sandy white beaches. Near Mikki beach, you can go on a quick camel ride for 2 euros. The camel safari is for 10 minutes or less, but is a cool way to enjoy Moroccan tourist attractions.
Hike La Terrasse des Parasseux for some amazing city views
Terrasse des Paresseux is a popular sightseeing spot in Tangier. With a climb/hike you will be blessed with amazing views of the city and the sea.
The viewpoint has a few military cannons on display, pointing at the sea.
Location: Avenue Pasteur, Tanger, Morocco
Quick Morocco Travel Guide
Tangier is a wonderful city. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. It is a perfect place to start exploring the Kingdom of Morocco, from Spain. Being a port city, Tangier’s development and urbanization progress have been increasing at a lightning speed.
When you arrive in the city, you can appreciate how clean it is – with beautiful tree lined boulevards and pretty houses surrounding the medina old city and the busy port.
If you are planning a trip to Tangier, we say do it – you won’t be disappointed. Here are some quick travel tips to help you
How to arrive in Tangier
There are many ways to reach Tangier. You can fly directly to Tangier (the city has an international airport), ferry (2 ports serve the city/region) or by train and bus from other Moroccan cities.
There are 2 bus stations in the city – one is just a hub for CTM bus network and another one has multiple bus networks including CTM. There is one train station in Tangier with good connectivity to other major cities in the country.
You can also take day trips to Tangier from other Moroccan cities like Rabat. CHECK OUT THIS DAY TOUR OF TANGIER FROM RABAT
Or Casablanca – Here is a full day of Tangier in a high speed train from Casablanca. CHECK OUT THE TOUR HERE
Exploring Tangier tourist attractions
From the port or the airport, you can easily arrive at the medina by using grand or petit taxi. No taxis are allowed inside the medina, so you will have to walk or take a guided tour to explore the same. This medina is not hard to navigate and is very clean!
For other sightseeing attractions like the caves of Hercules or the beaches, you can take a hop on and hop off style bus to explore Tangier. BOOK HOP ON AND HOP OFF BUS TOUR OF TANGIER.
Is Tangier safe?
We found Tangier to be super safe. There were tons of European tourists vacationing in the city. Being an important port city in Africa, you will also find a lot of travelers visiting for business or commercial reasons.
We also found that travelers, particularly women were dressed less conservatively – mostly wearing shorts and sleeveless tops.
It is also common to see many women or families with children outside in the evenings, enjoying a walk at the park, garden or the bay. As a city, Tangier is very welcoming to tourists.
Also sellers in the medina were not aggressive, they let you enjoy the city. I think this openness and modern approach made us like the city the most.
But even though, it had an urban vibe, it still held on to many historical and cultural nuances that Morocco is known for. I definitely recommend this city.
As for me, I am still beaming with joy, as I landed and explored the birthplace of Ibn Battuta 🙂
Additional Resources on Morocco
- Essential tips before your trip to Morocco
- Exploring Morocco in 7 days
- Take a day trip from Tangier to Chefchaouen
- Guide to the blue city – Chefchaouen
- Fes Itinerary and Guide
- Guide to Morocco Packing
Last Update: January 01 2020
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.