Tangier: Europe’s Gateway to Africa

  • View of a lighthouse overlooking the ocean in Tangier

  • View of the Hilton Garden Inn in Tangier

  • Alleyway next to a market place in Tangier

  • View of a missive lake overlooking Tangier

The city of Tangier in Morocco guards the narrow Strait of Gibraltar, and is split into two areas, “new town” and “old town”. Tangier offers a blend of French, Spanish, and Italian cultures and history which never fail to mesmerize visitors. Back in the 1960s, it was an exciting destination for the literary and artistic due to its location close to Europe and the top of Africa which still evokes glimpses of its inspiring past.

Take a trip to the town called Medina to experience some of these attractions from the past. Medina is encircled by a medieval wall that has colorful small markets and winding, hilly streets. Follow these streets to The Kasbah Museum – a former sultan’s palace on the edge of the medina, it features a traditional courtyard garden and contains exhibits about the history of Tangier. You can also find fresh vegetables, Moroccan arts and crafts in the markets lining the wall. Its beautiful Bab Haha Gate opens into a large courtyard to museums and small “Riads” – traditional Moroccan houses or palaces.

The Grand Socco, a large palm-fringed market square, is where old meets new. It features a mosque on one side and a cinema to the other – bridging across the ages. There are traditional market stalls selling everything from kaftans to fresh foods, and a central fountain surrounded by benches. This is an ideal place to experience where the different eras and cultures meet.

Take a break from walking and visit the cinema, called Cinema Rif; popular with locals and visitors alike, it offers both mainstream and independent films. The colonial style building showcases films in French and Arabic and offers an authentic Tangier experience.

Walking along the Grand Socco leads to the Boulevard, a modern area of Tangier, where there is a lot to see. From restaurants and hotels to bookshops and boutiques.

Continue walking along the Grand Socco to reach the Tangier Playa – a long promenade leading to the Tangier Marina which offers a variety of entertainment on the beach, including cafes and shops.

Tangier has its fair share of hidden gems. A 30-minute journey west of Cambridge takes you to Cap Spartel, the African continent’s extreme northwest corner sitting high above the rocky coast. A large lighthouse sits on the main summit, offering incredible views of the Mediterranean Ocean, right where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Head west to reach Hercules Caves, one of the most famous historical monuments of Tangier and a big hit with both local visitors and foreigners. Discovered in 5000 B.C. the now renovated caves were originally dug by the waves of the sea and create a natural entrance to the Atlantic.

The city of Tangier makes for a great weekend trip from Spain. A 1-hour ferry ride would transport you to a different universe worth exploring. Crumbling Kasbah walls, old Spanish cafés, an endless beach, and many other remnants of a time gone by, will lure you to this historical location for a great vacation.

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Lina R. Are you interested in traveling to Tangier? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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