Things to do in Tangier

Must-sees in Tangier include the fortified 17th-century kasbah, a fortress of winding alleys and old buildings, and the city's main square, the Grand Socco, which comes alive as a food market at night. The city also has some good museums, including the Tangier American Legation Museum, the first property of the United States on foreign soil, and the art museum housed in the formidable Dar El Makhzen, a former sultan's palace. Natural attractions include the lovely Dalia Beach and the storied Cave of Hercules.

Tangier also boasts many beautiful palatial residences of varying styles in its Marshan villa district, about 15 minutes' walk from the medina. One of the most attractive of these is on the Rue Muhammed Tazi, which used to belong to United States multi-millionaire media magnate, Malcolm Forbes. The house is open to the public and contains Forbes' collection of about 8,000 miniature soldiers.

There are a number of fun excursions possible from Tangier and travellers can enjoy the mountains and the coast near the city. The picturesque seaside town of Asilah is close by, and so is the gorgeous medieval mountain retreat of Chefchaouen.

Grand Socco photo

Grand Socco

The word socco is the Spanish version of souk, meaning market, and has stuck to this square in the heart of Tangier because of its Spanish heritage. The square is, however, no long…

Grand Socco

The word socco is the Spanish version of souk, meaning market, and has stuck to this square in the heart of Tangier because of its Spanish heritage. The square is, however, no longer a marketplace, but rather a city crossroads and huge taxi rank, fronted by cafes, outside the fortified old part of the city. It is an interesting spot to spend time watching the passing parade, particularly the Rif women in colourful traditional costume touting vegetables and fresh mint. It is also the hop off point for entry to the medina, for admiring the luxurious Mendoubia Gardens on the north side, and the mosaic-studded minaret of the Sidi Bou Abid Mosque to the west.


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Tangier American Legation Museum photo

Tangier American Legation Museum

In the midst of the old medina in Tangier, the US has provided a thriving cultural centre, museum, conference venue and library in the only historic landmark of the United States t…

Tangier American Legation Museum

In the midst of the old medina in Tangier, the US has provided a thriving cultural centre, museum, conference venue and library in the only historic landmark of the United States that is located abroad. The American Legation Museum is housed in the American Embassy, established in Tangier soon after Morocco became the first power to recognise the United States of America as an independent country in 1777; Sultan Moulay Slimane gifted the US this building in 1821. Although the sultan presented such buildings to a number of countries, the US is the only one to have held onto the property until the present day. The museum houses art collections, restored historic rooms, and a number of permanent exhibitions.

Website www.legation.org

Dar el Makhzen photo

Dar el Makhzen

A collection of art from all over Morocco is housed in the imposing Dar el Makhzen, a former sultan's palace dating from the 17th century. The art collections are housed in the pri…

Dar el Makhzen

A collection of art from all over Morocco is housed in the imposing Dar el Makhzen, a former sultan's palace dating from the 17th century. The art collections are housed in the prince's apartments, which are breathtaking with frescoed ceilings, sculptured plasterwork and intricate mosaics. The art on display has been assembled from all regions of Morocco, and includes firearms decorated with marquetry, pottery, carpets from Rabat, silks, and bound manuscripts from Fez. The Dar el Makhzen palace is also home to a fascinating museum of antiquities relating to Morocco's pre-history, gathered from archaeological sites such as Lixus, Cotta and Volubilis. The museum includes a life-size model of a Carthaginian tomb.

Chefchaouen photo

Chefchaouen

Chefchouen is a magical little town up in the Rif Mountains, just a short drive from Tangier. The town has an interesting heritage, as it was a home to Spanish refugees in the midd…

Chefchaouen

Chefchouen is a magical little town up in the Rif Mountains, just a short drive from Tangier. The town has an interesting heritage, as it was a home to Spanish refugees in the middle ages, and took in Christian and Jewish refugees alike as the centuries progressed. Its medina is renowned as one of the most charming in Morocco, with whitewashed, gabled houses and blue-rinsed buildings where craftsmen sit in their shops sewing caftans and embroidering jellabahs. Probably the best thing to do here is hike, though, and one of the best places to trek to is the tiny, traditional village of Kalaa, hiding in the hills outside Chefchaouen.

Asilah photo

Asilah

The fishing village of Asilah, south of Tangier, has become a popular seaside resort because of its nearby Paradise Beach, relaxing ambience, and picturesque, 15th-century, Andalus…

Asilah

The fishing village of Asilah, south of Tangier, has become a popular seaside resort because of its nearby Paradise Beach, relaxing ambience, and picturesque, 15th-century, Andalusian medina, which extends to the sea wall. Asilah is characterised by picturesque white buildings reminiscent of Santorini, but with a dash of Moroccan flavour. The town's long and fascinating history dates back to 1500BC, and it was not always as peaceful as it is now. In the 19th and 20th centuries Asilah was a notorious base for pirates, and the Spanish occupied it from 1912 to 1956. The ramparts and gateworks designed to fortify the old town against invaders of old are still intact.

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