Tangier (طنجة) is an important port city in Morocco.
Tangier is a fascinating Moroccan city to visit. It has many of the things that travellers love--a sense of exotic mystery, interesting history, beautiful vistas, unspoiled beaches, and friendly people.
Tangier is an interesting mix of north Africa, Spain, and France. It is located in northern Maroc , was under the control of France for the first half of the 20th century and is less than 20 miles from Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Frequent ferries make the short crossing from Europe each day, and many Cruise ships sailing between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic often include Tangier as a port of call.
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Boukhalef Airport (TNG) is located 12 km (7.5 miles) from the city (travel time about 20 minutes). Taxi 100 Dh (10€) to Tangier (150 Dh (15€) at night). At present only Royal Air Maroc, British Airways, Easyjet, Ryanair, Iberia, and Regional Airlines fly here. Coming in by plane is the easiest and hassle free way of coming to Tangier. All persons entering or leaving Morocco are required to complete an entry/exit card. Tourists who are look different to the stereotyped image of a particular nationality will also be asked to identify their origin; for example a person who is of Chinese appearance with a British passport will be asked his origin and a simple answer of "British" will not suffice irrespective of his or her actual nationality or their parents nationality. This question does not appear on the card but those who appear "different" should be prepared to deal with this enquiry. There are no touts at the airport and the prices of the taxis are more or less fixed.
Europe and North America (New York and Montreal) serve Morocco.
ONCF opened a new train station, Tanger Ville, in 2003, which is now the end of the line. While it's closer to the city center than Tanger Morora, the original end-of-the-line, it's still quite a long walk so take a petit taxi for 15dhs or so.
The country has an excellent railway system with 1,893km (1,176mi) of track and a fine intercity passenger service utilizing 669,637 passenger cars. Overnight train services running throughout Europe can connect with Morocco. Most of the time, non stop trains are fine but those which are not direct sometimes make unscheduled stops en route but do not panic as you will reach your destination eventually.
There is a night-train leaving from Tangier to Marrakesh at 9:05PM costing 350 Dirams for a couchette. There is a daily Train service to Fez for 120 Dirhams for a first class fare (5 hour journey)
When travelling overnight by train, it is usually cheaper to buy a couchette ticket than a first class ticket and much more comfortable.
When coming into Tangier by car, be careful of hustlers on motorbikes who will ride alongside you and attempt all manner of dodginess.
Coming by car can be a daunting process especially if you are new to Morocco. You have to complete a temporary import form for the Customs, the "Douane". Sometimes this is done on the ferry (usually in the busy summer months) and at other times at arrival in Tangier. Like at the airport all persons entering Morocco also have to complete an entry/exit card. The Police and the Customs will both search your car - often not together so you need to be patient. Things have improved considerably for tourists and you are not likely to be bothered too much but you will have to go through all the formalities of bringing your car into Morocco like everyone else. You can only bring your car in for 6 months in any one year. You are not allowed to leave it in Morocco unless you are prepared to pay the tax for the car which can be up to three times the actual cost of the car. This applies even if your car breaks down or is written off. If you do not have insurance from your home country, then local insurance can be purchased at small insurance booths situated at the port. The insurance companies are reasonably reputable and will pay out if you have an accident. Note that this insurance policy has limitations and you are likely to have much more comprehensive cover from insurers from your own country. Most European insurers will cover Morocco and many include it under their standard level of European cover.
Tangier has two long distance bus stations. The first, at the CTM offices near the port, is the arrival point of most CTM buses. Some other CTM buses, and those from other companies, arrive at the station on Place Jamia el-Arabia.
- C.T.M. - Place d’ Espagne. Gare routière - Tel. 00212 (0)39 931 172 - CTM website
- TRAMESA , 29. Av. Youssef Ben Tacheffine. Tel. 00212 (0)39 943 348 - Tramesa website
The port is located beside the medina, and a few hundred metres from the ville nouvelle. Although the government has been partially successful in reducing the number of touts, money changers, taxi drivers and faux guides hassling people arriving by boat, expect to be mobbed. Look like you know where you're going, politely refuse any offers of help or ignore the "guides" completely, or if you really feel like you need to escape jump in a taxi to escape the throng; just make sure that the taxi driver is no worse than the mob you are trying to escape. The taxi rank is inside the port area - you are likely to be mobbed by requests from many drivers. There is no queuing system - just take the taxi which you have agreed a fare with and are comfortable with. The blue coloured petit taxis are substantially cheaper and used more by locals and are preferable to the cream coloured grande taxis who are mostly unmetered.
Walking is perhaps the best way to see the relatively compact Tangier. Petit taxis are common, but if it is unmetered make sure you agree on a price first. Tangier is very easy to navigate around; the two main roads are Boulevard Mohamed V which runs from near the Medina through the ville nouvelle and Boulevard Mohamed VI (formerly Ave des FAR) which runs along from the beachfront from the port to Malabata. The Medina area is a complex array of alleyways some of which can only be accessed on foot. Mohamed V has a whole range of clothes shops, pharmacies and cafes as well as Hotel Flandria, Hotel Rembrandt. Hotel Minzah lies just off this road. Mohamed VI runs along the beach front where you will find numerous hotels (Rif, Ramada, Sherezade, Solazure, Tariq, Movenpick), bars, discos, restaurants and cafes. Most hostels are situated on the roads heading uphill near the port area.
Most locals in Tangier will be unfamiliar with what we call the "ville nouvelle". To help with agreeing fares and generally with navigating using taxis - the central main thoroughfare is simply known as the "Boulevard", the beach area as "Playa", the port as "Marsa", the medina as "souk barra", the hilly area to the west of Tangier with the Golf Course and Race Track as "California", the residential area heading towards the main road to Tetouan as "Idrissia", the thieves market as "Casa Barata".
Take a simple walk along the beach (Ave Mohamed VI) to enjoy what the city is famed for.
- The Kasbah
- The tomb of Ibn Battouta, a 14th century famous traveller who was born in Tangier. Pay tribute to a fellow traveller.
- Teatro Cervantes, rue Salah Eddine et Ayoubi. Closed and falling to pieces but take a photo from outside the gates as you pass by on the way up to the Grand Socco.
- The American Legation, 8, Rue America, . The Tangier American Legation Museum (TALM), a thriving cultural center, museum, conference center and library in the heart of the old medina in Tangier, is housed in the only historic landmark of the United States located abroad. The museum exhibits a large collection of art and historical items. It also houses the Paul Bowles Museum dedicated to the writer and composer who lived most of his adult life in Tangier.
- Musée d'Art Contemporain de la Ville de Tanger
- The Kasbah Museum, the former Sultan's palace deserves to be seen not only for it's collection of artefacts from the Phoenician to modern times, but also for the building and garden. There is a small fee for entrance (about 5 euros) and varying opening times winter and summer.
- People watching on the Terrasse des Paresseux, boulevard Pasteur.
- Drink a mint tea in rustic café of El Hafaa 1925 and enjoy the view of a wide wide ocean .
- Mnar Park aquatic park with a tremendus view of the coast. Open in 2005 it costs 5€ for children and 10€ Adults has aqua slides, karting circuits, café, romantic restaurant. (Excellent pancakes!).
Most brasswork is made in other towns but is available here. Leather goods are also available. Stay away from the tourist traps and you may find the price quite agreeable. There is a infamous market in Tangier called "casa barata" (the house of cheap things) - there are bargains to be had here but be wary of forgeries and stolen goods (these are sold along vegetables, electronics, clothing, shoes, spices, carpets, ironmongery and everything else one can think of!). There are other markets notably the souk in the medina (mainly vegetables, clothes and tourist items) and in Ben Mekada (vegetables). The latter does not cater for tourists at all and is known as one of the "rough spots" of tangier and back in the 1980's there were bread riots here.
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There are many choices of different cuisine available. The El Minzah Hotel offers a good selection of both Moroccan and Continental Fare. There are many restaurants along the Ave Mohamed VI (the beachfront) where one can enjoy a nice meal with a glass of wine on the beachfront.
Its worth exploring the restaurant at the Continental Hotel where I can recommend an excellent Cheese souffle.
There is an excellent Morocan reatuarant Marhaba which should not be missed, it is in the street that starts in the stairs of the La Gitana restaurant in the port entrance to the medina, there are some other cheap and nice restaurants in this street.
Some of the popular restaurants and places to eat in Tangier are as follows:
- El Minzah Hotel (Moroccan) - located near the French Consulate at top of Boulevard Mohamed V
- Otori Sushi (Japanese) - located near the Grande Poste, Avenue de la Resistance
- San Remo (Italian) - located near the town centre
- Pagoda (Chinese) - located near the town centre
- Sable d'or (Indian) - located on the beachfront, Ave Mohamed VI
- Continental Hotel (continental)
- Marhaba (Moroccan)
- McDonalds located in the Dawliz complex and on the beachfront
- Pizza Hut located near the beachfront
- Oslo (Pizzas and snacks) located on the Boulevard and on the beachfront
- Many cafes also serve snacks and many bars on the beachfront serve tapas
There are many places in Tangier to drink - people have their own favourite haunts. Much depends on the current owner who tends to give the place a certain ambiance. Favorite bars/discos with foreign (and local) clientele include Casa Pepe, Sable D'or, Morocco Palace, Marco Polo (popular with truck drivers) and hotel bars such as Ramada and El Minzah.
You could opt for a coffee instead - there are no shortage of cafes; some of which are the best in the country. Some have amazing views (cafe Hafa), some good coffee, some are popular (cafe Tropicana, cafe Celine Dion), some with music (cafe in the Dawliz complex), some have good cakes (cafe Oslo), some are places to relax after a hard day shopping (cafe Madam Porte, cafe Vienna), and some are just plain sleazy - the choice is yours.
Fresh fruit juices are sold by street vendors during the summer months. The cafes also serve fresh juices and often have what is called a panache - a mix of fruit juices often with milk, apple and almond - try it - its delicious.
There is an enourmous quantity of small hotels and hostals in or near the medina. (50 - 300 Dh)
- Ave des FAR. Biarritz, Family and others.
- Rue Marco Polo. Marco Polo and others.
- Rue Sahab Eddine El Ayoubi. Packed with them: Valencia, Madrid, Miami, Detroit, Atou and others.
- In the medina go near the Zoco Chico, there are the Becerra, Fuentes and a whole lot more. Try also the street which starts on the stairs of the La Gitana restaurant, on the port entrance to the medina.
- Hotel Continental, 36 Rue Dar El Baroud, Tel: 039 93 10 24. This hotel, situated in the medina and within easy reach of the port, is very much in the 'former glory' category, with past guests including Degas, Churchill, Kerouac and friends. Definitely spend extra for a nicer room if given the opportunity, it is not a lot extra and the best rooms were absolutely palatial. Get one facing the port if you can. It has a really nice terrace out front where you can enjoy mint tea with spectacular views of the harbour. Make sure not to confuse it with the Intercontinental which is a more modern hotel and not as central. The price of 365-420 dirhams for a double translates to around €33-38.
- Hotel Sherezade, Ave des FAR - next to Ramada. On the beachfront, clean and comfortable, cheap and cheerful (30-35€)
- Hotel Solazure, Ave des FAR. On the beachfront but caters mostly to package tourists. Poor service and not particularly clean or cheap. About 50-60€
- Dar Jameel, No.6 rue Mohammed Bergach, Dar El Baroud, Tel: 00-212-61092780. This new guesthouse/ boutique hotel is a stone's throw from the Hotel Continental and needs to be seen. A former restaurant and gallery, the house has been amazingly restored with typical Moroccan style. The view from the large terrace and penthouse is 360 degrees, taking in the medina, the bay of Tangier, Gibraltar and Spain. The 8 rooms/suites vary in price from 45 euros to 120 euros a night.
- Hotel Ramada on beachfront - 4 star hotel. Modern and reasonably priced with sea facing rooms (about 80-100€).
- Hotel Movenpick in Malabata - Expensive but modern luxury hotel with an adjoining Casino. 5 star Hotel (about 160-180€)
- Hotel El Minzah near the Medina - centrally located. Decor is traditional Moroccan arabesque. This is the most famous 5 star hotel in Tangier.
- Hotel Omnia el Puerto opposite Ramada - not on the beachfront but is clean and comfortable 4 star hotel. (about 70-80€)
- Hotel Intercontinental, Near the big Mezquita. Good service and clean. Not part of the Intercontinental chain. About 50-70€
- Hotel Le Mirage in Cap Spartel. This is a 5 star hotel on the Atlantic coast. It is a little far from Tangier and an ideal secluded spot. Popular with Royalty and the discreetly rich
- Hotel Rif on Ave Mohamed VI (on beachfront). Recently renovated and reopened. 5 star Hotel. Famous former guests include Winston Churchill and Jean Claude Van Damme.
- Villa Josephine on the Old Mountain is an 11-room luxury residence with fine dining, bar and swimming pool. It is located away from the crowds downtown.
Generally, Tangier is a very safe city compared with many places in Europe. The only trouble you may encounter is the persistent touts whom you should ignore, or the con-men ready to fleece you. There are policemen everywhere and you will probably feel safer than at home.
You can buy train, bus and ferry tickets at the stations and ports listed above, although you may find it easier to purchase ferry tickets from travel agents rather than face the gauntlet of touts at the port. If you plan on leaving by ferry, it is important to note that the ferries to Algeciras often do not follow a set schedule, and departure times can change even within a day of having purchased tickets. One alternative is to take a fast ferry to Tarifa, because these are more likely to run on time and at least one of the companies provides a free bus to the port at Algeciras. You can also flag grand taxis at the major bus stations and ferry port.
This page was last edited at 22:33, on 25 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Ian Sergeant, jan and Peter Fitzgerald, Wikitravel user(s) Eiland, Imuhdjen and Monique1111, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.