Souvenirs from Tangier
Souvenirs from Tangier

Overview of TANGER

Things to see | Nearby | Travel

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Visitors will most likely first set foot on Moroccan soil at Tangier. Their first impressions of Morocco will be punctuated by the scent of sulphur that hangs in the air and the sultry atmosphere that accompanies it. It is this very mood that has proved irresistible to writers and artists alike. Henri Matisse, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Orson Welles and the heiress Barbara Hutton added a bohemian touch to this remarkable city.



From 1932 until its incorporation into Morocco in 1956, Tangier was an international tax free zone, under the control of a committee of 30 nations. This was an era that was characterised by financial fraud, espionage, large-scale smuggling and outrageous sexual licence by wealthy and eccentric expatriates.


From the tops of the mountains that surround Tangier, a magnificent spectacle unfolds as the evening sun sinks into the Atlantic Ocean and a bright moon slowly rises up out of the dark waters of the Mediterranean. Such is the view of Cape Spartel, where the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet. This cape, famed since antiquity, contains the Caves of Hercules—for centuries the haunt of the Barbary Corsairs, the savage pirates who were the curse of the Mediterranean.

The Phoenicians set up a trading post here and it later became the Roman town of Tangis. Arab rulers from the east took over in the 8th Century AD and Portugal captured it in the 15th century.


Things To See

Grand Socco
Just outside the city walls is the Souk, where you can see traditional products being made and sold. Walk through the archway into the medina and encounter a medieval world as you traverse the narrow lanes of the old town.

Petit Socco
Here, in the heart of the medina, you will find an open space with cafés where you can take a break from shopping and strolling, and watch people from all cultures go by.

A complex of castles on top of the hill overlooking the city. The Sultan, Moulay Ismail, built his palace here, and the gardens are part of his 17th century palace, called Dar el Makhzen.


Museum of Moroccan Art
Here you will find all manner of treasure, from Berber carpets to wood and metal antiques and ceramics.

Archaeological Museum
This museum holds artefacts dating back to the Stone Age, and includes beautifully preserved Roman mosaics. There are two wonderfully decorated courtyards.

Forbes Museum
A museum of toy soldiers (honestly) left behind by Malcolm Forbes, the American magazine tycoon, in his former residence at the Mendonb Palace.

New Town
Centred around the Rue de la Liberté, the Place de France and the Boulevard Pasteur. Sit at one of the pavement cafés and it isn't too hard to imagine life under French colonial rule.


Cap Spartel
The cape to the west from where the lighthouse shines out across the Straights of Gibraltar. You can visit the lighthouse observation platform, which overlooks not only a magnificent seascape, but also the expansive beaches nearby.


The Ferry terminal has frequent car ferries to Algeciras and a fast hydrofoil service. For more information about Ferry Service, click here.

Located 10 km to the southwest, it has about two flights a day to Malaga and Casablanca, daily flights to Paris and seven a week to London.

There is a train service to Casablanca and a night train to Marrakech.